Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
As we head into the home stretch of the academic year, we find our campus’ COVID risk to be far less serious than any time during the pandemic. During the last 18 months, we have seen immunity through vaccination or natural infection increase to about 90 percent of our population. This has led to a steep decline in cases and severe illness. As a result, we are making several changes to our COVID protocols.
- Masking: Masking on Duke buses and vans is now recommended, but will no longer be required. Masks will be available on buses for those who request one. Masking is still required in all patient-care and clinical settings and for anyone who is symptomatic and around others, regardless of location or test results.
- COVID Vaccination: Duke’s medical experts are currently assessing potential changes in the COVID vaccination policy given the increase in community immunity levels and decline in severity of illness. More information will be shared once decisions are finalized.
- Surveillance Testing: The last two remaining surveillance test sites ended operation before spring break. Symptomatic testing will continue to be available on campus through Student Health or the Employee Exposure Hotline, 919-385-0431, option 1.
- Rapid Antigen Tests: At-home antigen tests are available through the Duke Stores’ Service Desk in the Bryan Center. One test kit per week is available at no charge to anyone with a valid DukeCard.
- SymMon App: The SymMon app used for reporting symptoms or test results will be retired on April 3. Employees can use the My COVID Link to report symptoms or test results, and students should contact Student Health to do the same.
- Student Case Management: Formal student COVID case management will conclude on Sunday, March 19. Going forward, students who test positive for COVID should isolate in place for at least 5 days from symptom onset andwear a mask when indoors or around others for 10 days. For nurse advice or to make an appointment with a medical provider, students can call Duke Student Health at 919-681-9355.
As has been the case throughout the pandemic, these changes are based on the data, trends and science. We acknowledge the possibility that a new COVID variant could change the current trends and require us to modify our approach regarding vaccination, masking and other safety protocols. We will continue to monitor and assess global and local data to determine if such changes are needed in the future. Anyone testing positive should continue to report to Employee Health or Student Health, mask and isolate in place as required before returning to work, class or academic activities.
Thank you for your ongoing support and collective efforts during these difficult years. Working together as a community, we have learned, adapted, and overcome so many challenges.
Carol Epling, MD, MSPH
Executive Director, Employee Occupational Health and Wellness
Assistant Professor in Occupational and Environmental Medicine
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