Dear students,

We’re writing at the end of a busy week to remind you of ways you can access the most up-to-date information about deadlines, testing protocols, and resources for Fall 2020.

We recognize that many aspects of the undergraduate experience are changing quickly, and that regardless of whether you will be returning to Durham or engaging fully remotely this fall, you need additional details, context, and timely information. Please know our teams in Student Affairs and the Office of Undergraduate Education are working round-the-clock with colleagues throughout campus on plans to support your experience this fall, and we will continue to share more information as we have it.

In our conversations with students and families this week, we recognized that changes to Duke’s Fall plans symbolize an additional delay of post-pandemic life. Many students and families were essentially—or literally—mapping the trip to Durham and packing their things. We share in your disappointment that this fall may not look exactly as we thought it might. However, we understand, and we hope you can as well, that these decisions are centered on our core priority: protecting the health and safety of Duke students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community.  

Where to get direct one-on-one support:

As you navigate the transition and emotions associated with this time, please know that Duke resources are available to you wherever you are. Duke Student Government has worked with DukeReach and student advocates to create the Fall 2020 “Two-Click to Connect” Support Form. In just two clicks you will be able to select the category of person who will reach out to you within 24-48 hours— be it a trained Peer For You responder or a DukeReach staff member. Take this opportunity to connect with someone and discuss whatever’s on your mind. If you’d like to reach out, are feeling concerned or anxious about upcoming transitions, or simply want someone to chat with, please click the link above. It takes less than 30 seconds to submit the form and someone will follow up ASAP. As always, we also encourage you to utilize other Duke-provided mental health resources, listed at the bottom of this message.

Where to get updated information on academic deadlines, COVID testing, arrival information, and more:

To supplement the frequently asked questions published alongside President Price’s message on Sunday, we have partnered with student leaders to create new FAQs for undergraduates on the Keep Learning site. This includes information on topics like housing assignments, academics, and financial aid. Our teams add to and update these FAQs daily, so please continue to check this site for additional details in the days ahead. For specific questions not yet answered there, please write to Doing so will help us get you the information you need, and give us insights about what to add to the site to help others. 

Testing information and health guidance: 
If you are planning to return to campus or the Durham area this fall, please read in full the important updates on arrival testing, quarantining before returning to campus, and other health guidance included at the bottom of this message and on Keep Learning. 

All students with a housing assignment will receive additional information walking you through the pre-arrival, arrival testing, move-in and sequester process early next week.

Thank you for your continued engagement, support for one another, and flexibility as the Duke family continues to navigate and pivot in this unprecedented time. Take care, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to our 2021 Student Advisory BoardFall Plans team, or Keep Learning team with any questions, concerns or suggestions.

Go Duke,

Mary Pat McMahon
Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Gary G. Bennett
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education  

The message has been sent to all Duke undergraduate students.


Latest Information:

Duke United – University information on campus reopening 

Keep Learning – Hub for student-focused information and FAQs

Mental Health Support

Blue Devils Care: 24/7 mental telehealth support to all students at no cost. To get started, visit Register once using your email address and Service Key DUKE2020, then you’ll be ready to use the service whenever you need it.

Counseling & Psychological Services: CAPS remains open and counselors are continuing to provide care remotely through telemental-health appointments.

DukeReach: Submit a report to DukeReach if you’re concerned about the physical or mental well-being of yourself or another student.


In response to recent public health guidance, the President’s July 26th message asked that all students travelling to the Durham area this month observe 14 days of quarantine prior to their travels. During quarantine, you should limit your contact to immediate household members, take care to observe social distancing, wear face coverings if you must be outside the home, and wash your hands frequently.

Quarantining is a proven strategy to minimize the likelihood of a widespread outbreak when students arrive to start the fall semester. We know that you are invested in doing everything possible to make our fall semester as safe as possible, and we appreciate your cooperation with this effort.

For more information about travelling during the pandemic, please see CDC guidance on United States and international travel. 

Pre-Arrival Testing 
Students who are returning to Durham from other locations are encouraged to obtain COVID-19 tests if possible in their areas, prior to arrival. 

If you are living on-campus or in Durham, we ask that you report any positive results to Student Health through Duke MyChart and observe isolation protocols before you return to Durham. If you do not have a Duke MyChartaccount, you will receive an activation code from Duke Health on August 3 including instructions on this process. If you are in quarantine due to exposure to others with COVID-19, please inform Student Health. You should NOT return to campus or Durham until your quarantine or isolation period has ended and you are symptom-free. If you are in isolation and cannot return to campus at the designated time, please complete the form listed above, contact Student Health and your academic dean.

Symptom Monitoring
Tracking COVID-19 symptoms is one of the ways Duke is working to keep the community safe as operations expand for the fall. All University students, faculty and staff who wish to participate in activities on Duke grounds or in Duke facilities are required to download the SymMon app to complete the daily symptom survey before arriving or participating in activities on campus. Students must complete the survey starting on or before the day of their arrival/move-in. 

The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play under the name “SymMon.” Learn more about how to download and how to use the app. 

The symptom monitoring system should be used to report ANY symptoms, even if you think they may be related to allergies or some other issue. For a full list of symptoms, visit the Duke Coronavirus Response website. If you are unsure, err on the side of caution and report potential coronavirus symptoms.

Proof of Previous Diagnosis
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 3 months (June, July, August 2020) you should bring a hard copy of your test report with you to Penn Pavilion or submit your report through Duke MyChart. You may receive additional instructions from Student Health about your arrival procedure and screening testing if you have previously tested positive for COVID-19.  


Required Testing at Duke: Arrival & Move-In

As you know from President Price’s community message on June 30th, all students who will be living on campus or who plan to be on campus for approved academic purposes are required to undergo testing for COVID-19 upon their arrival to campus. 

Students moving into Duke campus housing (“residential students”) must be tested immediately upon arrival to campus. Undergraduates living off-campus must be tested before they can begin fall classes, by August 15.

Undergraduate residential AND local off-campus students: 

Testing and check-in for undergraduate residential and off-campus students will take place at Penn Pavilion from Friday, August 7, to Saturday, August 15, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. EDT each day. 

To sign up for your 20-minute testing appointment, you will use the Transact Mobile Ordering app (available on Google Play and at the Apple App Store); this is the same app you use for mobile food ordering on campus. In the app, choose the first option, “Blue Devil Check-in.” If you are having trouble finding “Blue Devil Check-in” in Transact, please make sure you have selected “Duke Dine-In.” Do NOT select “Duke Health” as this is affiliated with Duke Hospital and not arrival testing. After a few setup questions, you should then see “Blue Devil Check-in” as the first option. If you have selected “Duke Health” instead of “Duke Dine-In” while setting up your account in Transact, please try to logout of Duke Health, and login through Duke Dine-In. If this does not work, you can contact for technical assistance.

When you pick your day and time, you’ll need to confirm in the app whether you are living on campus (meaning in Duke-provided housing) or off campus; this will help dictate what time slots are available to you.

When you arrive at Penn, staff from Housing & Residence Life, Student Health, DuWell and DukeCard will:

-Check you in, making sure that you are scheduled for that day and time;
-Complete your preliminary health checkAdminister your COVID-19 test;
-Activate your DukeCard (first-year students who have not submitted your DukeCard photo, please do so as soon as possible via the DukeCard website);
-If you are living on campus, you will receive your room key(s) and pertinent paperwork.

In order for this process to function smoothly, it is critical that you pay special attention to the date and time of your appointment. If you will be living on campus, you MUST sign up for a time on the day you let us know you were coming.

We understand that the timeframe of testing may prove to be a challenge for some of you. If you are arriving in Durham after 4 p.m., you will need to find off-campus accommodations for the night and check-in the following day. If you will be living off campus, you have more flexibility for your date and time, so we expect that you’ll be able to find an appointment that works for your schedule. In either case, you must check in and receive a test before going anywhere else on campus.

Please park in the Card Lot during your appointment if you are driving to campus. Students may be accompanied by up to two individuals to assist with move-in. These individuals will NOT be permitted to go to Penn Pavilion with you so will need to remain in their vehicle for the duration of the appointment. These individuals will also be expected to wear face coverings, wash hands often, and maintain social distance. Individuals experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to stay away from campus during move-in.

Graduate and Professional students: 

Testing for graduate and professional students will take place at Penn Pavilion from Monday, August 17, and Tuesday, September 1. Graduate and professional students who are coming to campus for classes, research or other activity must be tested. The process listed above for undergraduates will apply to graduate and professional student testing; Duke Cards will only be activated following the administration of a COVID-19 test at Penn Pavilion. 

Post-Arrival Sequester Period

After students go through the check-in and testing process at Penn Pavilion and move into their housing, students will be required to sequester in their residence hall or off-campus home until results of their arrival tests are available (this will likely take 24-48 hours). Results will be communicated through Duke MyChart. While waiting for test results, students are expected to limit any unnecessary movement and activity outside of their room. 

During this sequester period, students living on campus are permitted to retrieve food from Duke Dining locations, run essential errands, and spend time outdoors in a manner that does not increase the potential spread of COVID-19, but should avoid other students/staff during this time.

Non-symptomatic students living off-campus should make appropriate arrangements for food and necessary supplies during the sequestering period.

Isolation for COVID-Positive Students

Students who test positive will be placed in isolation on campus.

-Isolation is for students who have already been diagnosed positive with COVID-19.
-Isolated students will be under the care of Duke clinicians during an isolation window.
-A Duke clinician will determine when a student’s isolation period is complete. The average time spent in isolation is 14 days.
-For students in Duke-provided housing, isolated students will be moved to East House, Jarvis, or The Lodge near Duke Hospital.
-If isolated, students should not leave their assigned rooms other than to take strolls outside to get air. Meals will be delivered. 

Contact tracing will be used to identify other potential positive cases.


Testing, quarantine, and care operations are being coordinated by healthcare professionals from Student Health, the School of Nursing, the School of Medicine, and Duke Hospital. 


Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19, to see if they become sick or test positive. Students who are identified by our contact tracing team or who have a test ordered by a clinician for some other reason, such as COVID-19 symptoms, will be asked to quarantine.

Quarantined students may receive a new temporary housing assignment. If  a test comes back positive, quarantined students will be moved to isolation.

Students in quarantine should limit in-person contact and have all meals delivered. Once a negative test result is received, the student may resume normal activity following social distancing and masking guidelines. If they had been provided a new quarantine space, students will be allowed to return to their original housing assignment once a negative result is received.

Surveillance testing of asymptomatic students, faculty and staff during the semester

Residential students, students who will be attending classes or working on campus, faculty, and staff who frequently interact with students will be subject to regular surveillance testing during the semester. More detailed information will follow.

Testing for symptomatic or exposed individuals during the semesterAny student, faculty, or staff member who becomes symptomatic or is referred by either Employee Health or Student Health will be tested at one of five local testing sites, two of which are located on Duke’s campus. 

How to get care

Symptomatic or exposed individuals should call the Duke COVID-19 Hotline at 919-385-0429 in order to receive instructions on how to receive your care. After assessing your symptoms, a provider may schedule a telephone or video telehealth visit to determine if you should:visit a COVID-19 drive-up/walk-up testing sitebe seen in-person at a Duke Health Respiratory Triage and Care clinic. These clinics are available throughout the Triangle to treat people with respiratory symptoms.

Students may invite a third-party (e.g. parent or guardian) to join them for a telehealth visit, as long as it is requested by the patient (student).

There are five drive-up/walk-up testing sites located throughout the Triangle for the convenience of all students, faculty, and staff. Appointments are required and will be set up for you during your telephone or telehealth visit:
-Parking lot at the corner of Flowers Dr. and Erwin Rd. (across from Duke Family Medicine Pickens Building); HOURS: Monday – Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm; Saturday 10am – 4pm; Sunday 10am – 2pm
-Duke Raleigh Hospital
-Pickett Road (transitioning to University Ford)
-Morrisville (transitioning to Arrindgon Rd) (Additional site coming soon)

Services for families of graduate and professional studentsThe families of graduate and professional students are valued members of our Duke community. Families of graduate and professional students may utilize the Duke COVID-19 Hotline at 919-385-0429 to schedule walk-up/drive-up appointments for testing at Duke’s testing sites and receive appropriate follow-up care. 

Billing for students

Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students will not be charged co-pays for COVID-19 testing.

Cleaning and Safety

For the safety of our housekeepers, healthcare professionals, students, faculty, and other staff, high-touch surfaces at testing and care sites will be cleaned by the clinical team, not housekeeping staff. Student Health clinic cleaning procedures are in line with Duke Health and infection prevention practices.

In the days ahead, we will continue to provide all students with further details around the Fall semester and our shared community expectations. Thank you for your attention to this message and for all that you are doing to support a safer return to campus and fall semester at Duke.