Masking Requirement for Summer Session

TO:Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers
FROM:Sally A. Kornbluth, Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor

Paul Grantham, Assistant Vice President, Deputy Emergency Coordinator
RE:Masking Requirement for Summer Session

Today marks the beginning of Duke’s Summer Session, and because we are seeing an increase in COVID cases on campus and in our community, we will continue to require masks for in-person classes, on Duke buses and vans, and in all clinical settings.

The current increase in COVID cases is the result of the BA.2 subvariant that has now become the dominant strain in our community. While severe illness is less likely with this strain, we are seeing a slow but steady increase in hospitalizations in the state and in our community. Thankfully, no Duke faculty, staff or students are currently hospitalized.

Indoor gatherings, especially when eating together, continue to pose an increased risk for transmission. Masking remains one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others, especially in indoor settings. Please continue to respect an individual’s decision to wear a mask even if it is not required.

Vaccination Clinics:

Duke has added additional options for employee vaccination clinics, and we encourage everyone to get a booster shot or second booster once eligible. Breakthrough infections are less likely, and the possibility of developing severe illness requiring hospitalization is significantly lower if an individual is fully vaccinated and boosted. Details regarding appointments and walk-in clinics are available on the COVID Vaccine website. Please consult your health care provider if you have questions about the vaccination.

COVID Testing:

Duke continues to offer limited surveillance testing Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the summer. Testing is currently being offered at the Washington Duke Inn on Monday – Wednesday and at the Levine Science Research Center (LSRC) on Thursday. No appointment is needed.

Anyone experiencing COVID-like symptoms should contact Employee Occupational Health and Wellness COVID Hotline (919-385-0429 option 1) or Student Health (919-681-9355, option 2) to be tested and receive support and guidance, as appropriate.

Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to helping lead us through what we hope are the end stages of this pandemic.

Health Guidance for Upcoming Events

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.

COVID Safety Protocols for Summer Sessions

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students

While we begin the final month of the spring semester, we are also preparing for a busy summer on campus. We continue to see promising signs with fewer cases of severe illness related to COVID-19 nationally, across North Carolina, and here in our Duke Community. However, we want to do our part to continue that trend by taking appropriate precautions during the summer for students, faculty, staff and participants in camps.

As part of this effort, we are making some changes to our COVID protocols for summer sessions (effective May 9, 2022):

Students in Summer Session

  • All incoming summer students will be required to be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption. Summer students who have not already done so, should submit documentation through Student Health Services. (Students can email immunizations@duke.edu to request a medical or religious exemption form.)
  • All incoming students, regardless of vaccination status, must have a negative COVID test (PCR) 72 hours prior to arrival to campus. Students will be required to show documentation during the in-take process. (Note: Students who have tested positive in the last 90 days and have completed their required isolation period should bring a dated copy of the positive test result to show during the in-take process. Those who have not completed their required isolation period will need to wait until doing so before coming to campus.)
  • Any students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested at Student Health or other provider.
  • Students testing positive must be isolated for at least 5 days (if on-campus, will isolate in a single room in their residence hall).

Surveillance Testing for Students, Faculty and Staff

  • Required surveillance testing of students ended on March 17 due to limited public health benefit given high vaccination rates among students. The limited surveillance testing available on campus will end on May 1 (after final exams).
  • Required testing and daily symptom monitoring for unvaccinated faculty, staff and students will also end on May 1. Unvaccinated individuals remain at higher risk for severe illness related to COVID and should consider getting vaccinated to protect themselves and others at risk for severe illness.
  • Symptomatic testing for students, faculty and staff will continue to be available through Student Health, Employee Occupational Health and Wellness, or an outside provider.

Residential Summer Camps and Programs

  • All residential camp and program participants are required to be vaccinated or have a medical or religious exemption.
  • All residential camp and program participants must have a negative COVID test (PCR) 72 hours prior to arrival to campus. Participants will be required to show documentation during the in-take process. (Note: Participants who have tested positive in the last 90 days and have completed their required isolation period should bring a dated copy of the positive test result to show during the in-take process. Those who have not completed their required isolation period will need to wait until doing so before coming to campus.)
  • Each program must have a designated COVID Coordinator who will be responsible for verifying vaccination status and a negative test within 72 hours of arrival for campers and program staff. No medical documentation will be collected other than a form confirming vaccination status during the in-take process.
  • Student Health will do symptomatic testing of participants for camps and programs that have a contract for the service; otherwise, participants should be tested at an outside facility (e.g. urgent care, pharmacy). Any participant who tests positive will be removed from participation. Residential youth camp participants will be isolated in a single residence hall until a parent or designated adult caregiver can pick up the individual.

Day Camps and Programs

  • Participants in day camps and programs are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated before arriving. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should not report to camp until after receiving a negative test.
  • Student Health will do symptomatic testing of participants for camps and programs that have a contract for the service; otherwise, participants should be tested at an outside facility (e.g. urgent care, pharmacy).
  • Any day camp or program participant who tests positive while on campus will be removed from participation, and youth participants must have a parent or designated adult caregiver pick up the individual.

We are so proud of the efforts each of you have made in helping navigate the worst of the pandemic. While we must be prepared to ramp up our efforts again if a new variant or outbreak emerges, we hope to continue easing back into more normal routines this summer. Thank you.

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration, Duke University

Russell Thompson,
Interim Vice President, Operations, Duke University

Carol Epling, MD, MSPH
Assistant Professor in Family Medicine and Community Health

Gail Shulby, RN, MA, CPP
Chief of Staff to the Executive Vice President, Duke Health

Cameron R. Wolfe, MBBS (Hons), MPH, FIDSA
Associate Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Duke Health

Co-Leaders of the COVID-19 Vaccination Planning Work Group

Second Booster Shot Available for Eligible Faculty, Staff and Students

Duke is now offering second booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine for eligible faculty, staff and students over the age of 50, as well as anyone who is considered severely immunocompromised to increase their protection against severe disease.

Following approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week, Duke will offer the Pfizer vaccine as a second booster shot for those who have had their first booster shot at least four months ago. The second booster shot is not currently required for Duke students, faculty or staff, but it is offered as an option for those who are eligible.

Second booster shots are available by appointment or walk-in at the Duke Medical Pavilion in Conference Room 2w91, Duke Clinic 1J, Duke Regional Hospital and Duke Raleigh Hospital. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit the Duke COVID Vaccine website. Eligible faculty, staff and students are also encouraged to consider vaccination options at local pharmacies or their healthcare provider.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to keep yourself, your loved ones and the Duke community safe. 

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration, Duke University

Carol Epling, MD, MSPH
Assistant Professor in Family Medicine and Community Health

Gail Shulby, RN, MA, CPP
Chief of Staff to the Executive Vice President, Duke Health

Cameron R. Wolfe, MBBS (Hons), MPH, FIDSA
Associate Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Duke Health

Co-Leaders of the COVID-19 Vaccination Planning Work Group

Indoor Mask Requirement Lifted in Most Duke University Facilities

March 4, 2022

Students, Faculty and Staff,

The City and County of Durham will end the indoor masking mandate on Monday, March 7, as will Orange County. Wake County ended its indoor masking mandate on February 25. As a result, and after reviewing CDC guidance and consulting with our infectious disease experts, Duke University will also revise its indoor masking requirements.

As of Monday, March 7, fully vaccinated individuals [primary series and booster shot] will no longer be required to wear masks inside most campus and leased facilities. However, masks will continue to be required for all individuals in the following locations on the Duke University campus unless otherwise indicated:

  • In-person classes
  • Duke buses and vans
  • Clinical and patient care areas*

*Note: Easing of mask requirements does not apply to Duke University Health System hospitals, clinics, procedural centers and PDC clinics. Further communication regarding changes in mask requirements will come directly from DUHS and PDC leadership and will be in accordance with CDC health care recommendations.

Masks may still be required in other locations (such as the Lemur Center) based on specific circumstances, so we encourage students, employees and visitors to carry a mask and be prepared to wear it if needed. Individuals who are unvaccinated are still required to wear a mask in all indoor settings. Anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should wear a mask, not report to work or attend classes, and get tested as soon as possible.
Over the next several weeks, we will continue to evaluate campus and local conditions to determine if further changes need to be made in our masking policies.

This transition recognizes that COVID-19 will be with us in some form, but the spread and severity can now be managed through vaccinations and medical treatment. As a result of our high vaccination rates, frequent testing and care and concern for each other, we have not seen any cases of serious illness among students, and very few among employees since the emergence of the Omicron variant.

After two years of navigating the pandemic, we recognize this change may feel uncomfortable for some, and we ask you to be respectful of those who prefer to continue wearing masks, particularly for those who have underlying high-risk medical conditions or live with those who do. It took time for us to adjust to life in a pandemic, and it will take time as we adjust to living with COVID as the pandemic eases. But this is another positive step toward that future.

We are deeply grateful for your engagement and compliance with masking and other safety measures to help protect each other throughout the pandemic. We’re sure this change is welcome news for many and expect we’ll see a lot more smiles around campus in the days ahead.

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

Sally Kornbluth, Ph.D.
Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor

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

Campus COVID-19 Testing Before and After Spring Break

Feb. 23, 2022

Students, Faculty and Staff,

From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we have relied on Duke’s faculty experts in infectious disease and public health to help with the design and implementation of our protocols and procedures. Based upon their recommendations and the recent positive trends in our testing results, Duke will make the following changes to our COVID-19 testing protocols in the coming weeks.

Spring Break Travel/Exit Testing:

Students and others who need proof of a negative COVID-19 test to travel can get a PCR test next week at the Bryan Center. Tests will be available from Monday, Feb. 28 through Friday, March 4 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.

Surveillance Testing:

Week of March 7: Limited surveillance testing will be available during the week of March 7 for those who remain on campus or are required to test weekly. Visit the Duke United website for locations and hours of operation.

Week of March 14: Following Spring Break, Duke will resume a normal surveillance testing schedule for one week for all eligible students, as well as faculty and staff. Visit the Duke United website for locations and hours of operation.

Week of March 21: Required surveillance testing for asymptomatic vaccinated students will end. Surveillance testing will continue at a limited number of sites across campus for unvaccinated students, staff and faculty who are required to test each week, as well as those who wish to do so voluntarily.

Duke launched an innovative approach for surveillance testing in August 2020 as a way to quickly identify and limit COVID-19 transmission on campus. Since then, more than 1.2 million COVID-19 tests have been administered and processed by the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. This extraordinary effort allowed Duke to quickly return to a residential experience and in-person instruction, and protected the health and safety of our community.

While the program has served us well, it is now time to adapt to the changing landscape, just as we did with prior modifications to isolation and contract tracing. This change is being made after consultation with Duke’s infectious disease experts and is based on several factors, including our high vaccination rate and the decline in positive cases in recent weeks. 

Symptomatic Testing:

Testing will remain available through either Student Health or Employee Occupational Health & Wellness for those experiencing COVID symptoms. For more information, visit the Duke United website.

We are deeply grateful for the efforts of so many during the last two years to help us manage the constant and evolving challenges of this pandemic. We have learned much and leaned on each other often. The resilience, ingenuity, and commitment each member of this community has displayed reminds us of what makes Duke so special. We are not out of the pandemic yet, but we are one step closer to reclaiming the promise of what a post-pandemic life can be.

Until then, please continue to use appropriate caution when gathering with others, and remember that face masks are still required indoors in Durham and within all Duke owned and leased facilities. Thank you.

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

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

Extending deadline for required booster shots (Students)

The message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Dear students,

Duke University will extend the deadline for students to receive the booster shot due to a change in the eligibility criteria.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed the eligibility criteria for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from six month to five months after receiving a second dose. This change leaves little time for those who are newly eligible after five months to get their booster shot by the Feb. 1 deadline.

As a result, all Duke students, faculty, and staff will now be required to get a booster shot by 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, or within 28 days of their eligibility under CDC and state guidelines, whichever date is later.

Please note that due to the infectiousness of the Omicron variant, we encourage all students to get the booster as soon as they are eligible.

Still need your booster?
If you have not yet received one, schedule your booster by calling Student Health at 919-681-9355, Option 1, or schedule your booster online. Booster vaccinations are also conveniently available in the community at local pharmacies, supermarkets and many other locations listed on the Durham County Department of Public Health website or NC DHHS directory.

Already received your booster? 
All students must provide proof of receiving the COVID booster shot as soon as they are eligible under CDC and state guidelines. If you received your booster outside of Duke, be sure to submit your vaccination documentation online (scroll down to “outside vaccination reporting”). If you received your COVID booster at one of Duke’s on-campus locations, Student Health already has your vaccination record.

Exemptions
If you have already submitted and received a COVID-19 vaccine exemption, you do not need to reapply for an exemption for the booster at this time. Questions about medical/religious exemptions for students can be directed to immunizations@duke.edu.

Safe Practices
In addition to receiving your COVID-19 booster vaccination, it is crucial to continue to practice safe behaviors to keep ourselves and those around us safe and healthy. Wear a mask at all times in Duke owned and leased facilities. Practice good hand hygiene. Maintain a safe distance from others, especially when removing your mask to eat or drink.

Getting the booster can help protect you, your friends, and the Duke community, as well as ensure that our hospital and clinical resources are available to support the community during a time of urgent need. Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe.

Go Duke,

John Vaughn, M.D.
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Director of Student Health Services 

John Blackshear
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Extending Deadline for Required Booster Shots (Faculty & Staff)

January 10, 2022

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Duke University will extend the deadline for faculty and staff to receive the booster shot due to a change in the eligibility criteria.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed the eligibility criteria for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from six month to five months after receiving a second dose. This change leaves little time for those who are newly eligible after five months to get their booster shot by the Feb. 1 deadline. As a result, all faculty and staff will be required to get a booster shot by 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, or within 28 days of their eligibility under CDC and state guidelines, whichever date is later.

Please note that due to the infectiousness of the Omicron variant, we encourage all faculty and staff members to get the booster as soon as they are eligible.

Next week, school and department leaders will begin receiving weekly reports for eligible faculty and staff who have not yet received their booster shots.

Locations

The booster shot is a condition of employment for all faculty and staff of Duke University, regardless of work location. For booster scheduling options at Duke facilities, visit the Duke COVID Vaccine website. In the community, booster vaccinations are conveniently available at local pharmacies, supermarkets and many other locations listed on the Durham County Department of Public Health website or NC DHHS directory.

Exemptions

If a faculty or staff member has already submitted and received a COVID-19 exemption, they do not need to reapply for an exemption for the booster at this time.

Submission of Booster Documentation

If you received your booster through Employee Occupational Health & Wellness (EOHW), you do not need to provide additional documentation. If you received the booster in the community (such as a retail pharmacy or a Duke patient clinic), you will need to submit your vaccination documentation using the Duke VaxTrax online system.

Safe Practices

In addition to receiving your COVID-19 booster vaccination, it is crucial to continue to practice safe behaviors to keep ourselves and those around us safe and healthy. Wear a mask at all times in Duke owned and leased facilities. Practice good hand hygiene. Maintain a safe distance from others, especially when removing your mask to eat or drink.

Getting the booster can help protect you, your friends, and your colleagues, as well as ensure that our hospital and clinical resources are available to support the community during a time of urgent need. Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe.

Kyle Cavanaugh
Vice President, Administration

Carol Epling, MD, MSPH
Director, Employee Occupational Health & Wellness

FOR FACULTY re: Dec. 31 adjustments to spring semester

December 31, 2021

Dear faculty colleagues,

You will have received the announcement of additional adjustments we are instituting for the beginning of the Spring semester, chief among them the change to remote-only instruction until January 18.  

Given the extraordinarily rapid spread of the Omicron variant, we anticipate a significant wave of COVID infections within the Duke community as students return after the holidays. Although the majority of Omicron cases nationally appear to be mild for those who are fully vaccinated,  we must prepare for operational disruptions related to the mandatory isolation and/or caregiving responsibilities of many members of our community.

We also recognize that for many instructors, teaching in person while also trying to accommodate significant numbers of students in isolation, as has occurred during several periods of the pandemic, is a considerable challenge. In order to avoid the added complexities of hybrid teaching approaches whenever possible – and to ensure that all students have been thoroughly screened for COVID before attending classes in person – we will require all classes to be delivered remotely until January 18. 

Please note that Duke Learning Innovation provides many resources to support instructors shifting to remote learning, including twice-daily online open office hours January 3-7 and help via email at learninginnovation@duke.edu.

Finally, I thank you for your continued commitment to our public health protocols and urge you to get your booster shot without delay if you have not already done so. Voluntary surveillance testing will again be available for vaccinated faculty and staff during the Spring semester; note that we do expect large numbers of students at testing centers for required entry testing in early January.

We will keep you apprised of emerging information as we strive to protect the health of our campus and community members and ensure continuity of campus operations. 

With best wishes,

Sally

Sally Kornbluth, Ph.D.
Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor

 This message has been sent to all Duke University faculty.

Dec. 31 Update to Plans for Start of Spring Semester

December 31, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

We have all watched with great concern the extraordinarily rapid spread of the Omicron variant in our communities and around the world. On Thursday, the state of North Carolina reported the highest daily number of new COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, representing a 60% increase over the previous one-day record. We have also observed an incredibly high number of positive cases across our workforce this week, and increasing numbers among students who are already here in Durham.

Duke’s infectious disease and public health experts have advised us to anticipate that a large number of students will test positive during campus entry testing next week, requiring them to isolate in accordance with the new CDC guidelines. We also anticipate that positive test results, isolation periods and caregiving responsibilities affecting our faculty and staff will have an impact on campus operations and services as the semester begins. 

This is a disappointing reality that requires us to once again revise our plans for the beginning of Spring semester in order to protect the health of our campus and community and to ensure the continuity of campus operations. These changes include:

All undergraduate, graduate, and professional school classes will now be remote until Tuesday, January 18 instead of January 10 as earlier announced. During this time, no hybrid or in-person classes will be permitted.

Residence halls will open as planned on January 2. However, on-campus residential students are strongly encouraged to delay their return to campus to a time between January 3 and January 18, if possible. This will give us the ability to effectively and safely manage what is likely to be a surge of students and other members of the Duke community testing positive.

All students (undergraduate, graduate and professional) must still comply with re-entry and surveillance testing requirementsas previously outlined, whenever they return to campus. 

Students who reside on campus and who test positive will isolate in their residence hall rooms. The university’s dedicated isolation space will be reserved for on-campus students with pre-existing medical conditions whose assignment to isolation space is approved by Student Health.

Priority for early (January 3-5) entry testing will be given to graduate and professional students to facilitate their return to clinical- and lab-based studies and research.  

All on-campus dining will be grab-and-go until January 18; no indoor dining will be permitted during this time. 

All Duke facilities will remain open.  Events and activities may continue as originally scheduled at the discretion of the sponsoring department or unit.

These plans are subject to change should further adjustments be warranted in response to campus, local and national conditions. As a reminder, all Duke students and employees must get the COVID booster shot and observe Duke and Durham policies for wearing masks in indoor public spaces.

This is an uncertain time for all of us. We have to make decisions with the best information we have, and that sometime means quick and potentially disruptive changes. Through it all we are most appreciative of your commitment to safeguarding the health of our students and colleagues, their families, and the larger Durham community, as we navigate yet another unwelcome development in this global pandemic.

For the past two years, the Duke community has demonstrated extraordinary resilience, determination, and a collaborative spirit in the face of many unexpected challenges. We are confident that working together, as a Duke United, we will overcome this latest challenge and have a successful Spring semester. 

Sincerely,

Sally Kornbluth
Provost

Jennifer Francis
Executive Vice Provost

Kyle Cavanaugh
Vice President for Administration

Mary Pat McMahon
Vice President/Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Gary Bennett
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

This message is being sent to all Duke University students, faculty and staff.

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