Jan. 16, 2023

Students, Faculty and Staff,

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classified Durham in the high-risk category again last week, we are seeing signs of declining trends at Duke and in the community. As a result, masking in classrooms and other indoor gatherings is strongly recommended but will not be required at this time.

Last week, COVID cases in Durham dropped by 40 percent, as did hospitalizations. With your support and preventive efforts, we have also seen our cases on campus drop more than 60 percent in the last week, even with a return to full campus activities. We believe these downward trends will continue and expect Durham to drop below the high community level soon.

Faculty members still have the option to require that students continue to wear masks in their classrooms if they wish to do so, and members of our community who choose to mask should be supported for their efforts to keep colleagues safe. As a reminder, masks are also required on all Duke buses and vans and in all patient-care settings.

In an effort to protect yourself and others around you, anyone who has flu-like symptoms should not go to class or work, should wear a mask, and should get a PCR test to confirm whether your symptoms are from COVID. Testing is available at Student Health or by reporting symptoms through the SymMon app or by caling the Employee Health COVID hotline at 919-385-0429, option 1.

It is also not too late to get a bivalent COVID booster, which is highly effective at reducing infection, reducing transmission and reducing the potential for severe illness.

These efforts will help mitigate further spread of COVID and other respiratory viruses on campus and in our community. 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 & Student Health Director
Associate Professor, Family Medicine & Community Health

Cameron R. Wolfe, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine
Transplant Infectious Disease