The message below is being sent to all Duke undergraduate students.
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
We, like you, are pleased to see that the number of new COVID cases on campus has been declining in the past two weeks. This is no doubt due to the actions that each of us has taken as we continue to adjust to the constraints that Delta has added to our Fall 2021 semester. As we have learned, however, the situation can change quickly, so we need to make sure that we do not let our guard down completely.
The university released updated guidance on Monday and we’re writing to provide more specific information for undergraduates. Please note that while some of the guidelines are changing, others are continuing.
Guidelines that have been modified:
- Masking is no longer required outdoors in most circumstances on the Duke campus, though masks are still strongly recommended in outdoor settings with a gathering of people. Masks will continue to be required for large outdoor events on campus and must still be used indoors in classrooms and public spaces.
- Faculty have largely returned to in-person teaching.
Guidelines that are continuing:
- Indoor masking is required, including in all areas of the residence halls (except your assigned room/suite/apartment). Along with the vaccine, masking is the most effective strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Indoor seating at Duke Dining facilities remains limited.Outdoor group dining will still be available across campus. Thank you for making use of the tents on East and West!
- Student organization programs with 50 or more attendees need to be registered and approved through DukeGroups in consultation with UCAE. This continues a practice established last academic year. Suggestions for how to host a safer event include providing pre-packaged food, allowing for a virtual option, remaining masked, and thinking creatively about seating options that allow for different levels of comfort (spaced out blankets, small groups of 4-5 chairs, etc.). Events should be held outside when possible and, if an event is not approved before the event is to take place, event hosts should plan to hold it virtually.
- Undergraduate students hosting informal social gatherings on- or off-campus must ensure attendees are fully masked and limit attendance to no more than 50 people. Hosting larger and/or unmasked events while this policy is in place will be considered a violation of the Undergraduate Student COVID-19 Policy Plan and will result in disciplinary action for hosts and possibly for attendees.
Our data show that what we’re doing is working and we encourage you to continue making decisions that support the health and wellness of our community, especially those who cannot be vaccinated. Community and connection are vitally important and we’ll continue our efforts to support all students during this time.
We know most undergraduates are getting into a solid routine at this point in the semester, with classes and commitments keeping you engaged. Please remember that connection is critical; we encourage all of you to find ways to connect safely with one another, with faculty and mentors, and to seek out campus activities and opportunities where you can explore and have fun.
Well done, all, and let’s continue the good work.
Gary Bennett, Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education
Mary Pat McMahon, Vice Provost of Student Affairs