The message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Dear students,

The semester is quickly drawing to a close and we know that many of you may be traveling over Thanksgiving and/or over winter break. We are writing today to share important updates including how to get a COVID booster on campus—or how to let us know if you get one off-campus—and how to complete a COVID-19 exit test before you travel.

Exit testing for those who require proof of testing to travel

We know that some of you may be traveling to states or countries that require proof of a negative COVID-19 test before you can travel, or may just prefer to get one for peace of mind over break. A few notes:

  • All students can get a PCR test for travel at the Bryan Center testing site. Please note that you must specify that the exit test is needed for travel. Visit for testing site hours. Results take at least 24 hours, so please plan ahead!
  • Note that regular surveillance testing will NOT fulfill this requirement. If you have any questions about exit testing, call Student Health as soon as possible to review your needs.

If you test positive before departure

If you test positive before departure

Students who test positive in an exit test will be contacted and instructed to isolate just the same as if they had done a surveillance test. Students who test positive between now and the date they plan to leave Durham will have three options:

  • Students who already reside on campus may remain in Duke-provided facilities until you are approved to leave.
  • A family member may pick you up and drive you home; you should NOT use any form of public transportation during this time.
  • You may drive yourself home; again, you should NOT use public transportation during this time.

If you test positive, we will work with you to develop a strategy that is right for you.

If you test positive over Thanksgiving Break

If you are away from Durham for the break and test positive, you should:

  • Notify your local health department. Also notify Student Health by submitting your test result to prior to your return to campus.
  • Isolate at home for 10 days before returning.

Duke will resume surveillance testing after Thanksgiving, so we encourage you to get tested prior to returning to campus so you can isolate at home or off-campus if necessary.

COVID-19 Boosters

Students interested in a booster shot can schedule an appointment with Student Health by calling an immunization nurse at 919.681.9355 option 1 (COVID vaccine boosters are not currently required for students). Learn more from on COVID vaccine boosters from Student Health.

If you receive your booster over break, please be sure to upload your information to Student Health in order to keep your record up-to-date.

Tips for staying safe during Thanksgiving Break

We hope that you stay healthy and well over the break. A few reminders:

Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth; do not share your mask with others.

Limit your circle of contacts, and pay attention to who your contacts interact with and who in your circle is particularly at risk of complications from COVID-19 (e.g. those 65 or older, or people with underlying health conditions).

Practice physical distancing.

Wash your hands regularly, and if that is not possible, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Rest and spend time doing things that give you life. It’s been another tough semester!

We hope you are able to use this time over Thanksgiving Break to reflect, and of course, to continue to keep yourselves, your family and friends, and all those you encounter as safe as possible.

Be safe, be well, and have a restorative break.

Go Duke,

John Blackshear, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Hunter Spotts, M.D.
Medical Director, Duke Student Health