Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As we enter the holiday season, we want to share some important guidance related to the safety of our community.

First, in addition to COVID, there are a number of respiratory viruses with similar symptoms circulating in our area. If you have symptoms or a known exposure to any respiratory virus (including COVID), please be considerate of others and wear a mask indoors and when in close proximity to other people.

If you have symptoms, you should also get a COVID test rather than assume you have a cold or allergies. A negative at-home antigen test, especially during early onset of symptoms, does not rule out the possibility of COVID. If you have symptoms, you can get a PCR test at Student Health, Employee Occupational Health & Wellness, or another healthcare provider to confirm whether your symptoms are from COVID.

These steps will help greatly in our efforts to reduce the transmission of infectious viruses that contribute to missed classes for students and faculty, as well as staffing shortages for Duke’s campus and clinical operations.

International students and others who need proof of a negative COVID-19 test to travel to their home countries can get a PCR test at one of the on-campus test sites, which are open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Please inform the staff at the test site that you need an “exit test” rather than a surveillance test. A link to the test results will be sent by email or text within 24 hours.

In addition, we have established the following guidelines for the spring semester:

  • All students should get a negative COVID test before arriving on campus, preferably within 72 hours of arrival. Test results are not required to be submitted to Duke, but participation is considered as part of the Duke Community Standard.
  • Any student who tests positive should contact Student Health and delay their arrival until cleared by Student Health.
  • Duke will continue to offer limited surveillance testing for asymptomatic students, faculty and staff until Friday, March 10, 2023. The following two test sites will be available from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday until that time:
    • Washington Duke Inn
    • Levine Science Research Center (LSRC)
  • While asymptomatic testing on campus will end March 10, 2023, testing will continue to be available for those who have symptoms as needed at Student Health or by calling the COVID Hotline at Employee Health (919-385-0429 option 1).
  • In addition, Duke will be securing at-home antigen tests that will be available through the Duke Stores’ Service Desk in the Bryan Center. One test kit per week is available at no charge to any student, faculty or staff member with a valid DukeCard. 
  • Masks will be required on Duke buses and vans for the beginning of the spring semester and will be reassessed later in the semester based on case rates in the community.
  • Due to influenza, RSV and the circulation of other respiratory viruses, masking indoors is strongly recommended for anyone with symptoms, regardless of test results for COVID. Masking also provides a measure of additional protection for individuals who wish to avoid infection by any of the circulating respiratory viruses, so please respect the right of others to mask.

We have had some clusters of COVID in recent weeks from people not masking after a known exposure or a false-negative at-home antigen test. Our hope is to limit such events so that we can embrace a richer and more engaging time together when we return after the holidays. Until then, be safe and enjoy the holidays with friends and family.

Thank you.

Carol Epling, MD, MSPH
Assistant Professor in Family Medicine and Community Health
Executive Director, Employee Occupational Health and Wellness

John Vaughn, MD
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
Director of Student Health Services

This message was distributed to all Duke University students, faculty and staff.