TO:       Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers

FROM:  Matthew Stiegel, Ph.D., Director, Occupational and Environmental Safety Office

 Paul Grantham, Assistant Vice President, Communications, Deputy Emergency Coordinator

RE:       Health Guidance for Upcoming Events

As we approach the end of the academic year and commencement, we want to provide some guidance on gatherings and eating in congregate settings to help mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 as we close out the semester.

During the last couple of weeks, we have seen an uptick in cases on campus. This uptick coincides with recent travel over spring break, gatherings afterward, and the emergence of the BA.2 subvariant in our community. Thankfully, we have not seen a corresponding increase in severe cases or hospitalizations. By taking common sense precautions, departments and units can safely gather to celebrate the end of the academic year.

These precautions include:

  • All attendees (employees, students and their guests) should be vaccinated.
  • Outdoor events and gatherings present a much lower risk for COVID transmission, especially if serving food.
  • No individuals should be required or expected to attend a reception, party or gathering. We should recognize that some of our colleagues have family or health concerns and will choose not to participate.
  • Masking is still required on Duke buses and vans, in classrooms and clinical settings.
  • Masking remains one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others, especially in indoor settings. We should respect an individual’s decision to wear a mask even if it is not required. 

The end of the academic year is a time of celebration, and we hope to do so in a responsible way to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Thank you for your continued diligence as we navigate this latest uptick in cases at the end of the semester.