Category: Duke University Page 1 of 13

Mask Up: Now a State Requirement

The following message was sent to all university students, faculty and staff on Nov. 24, 2020.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Duke has for many months required a mask or face covering in all outdoor settings where social distancing measures cannot be maintained and at all times in shared spaces indoors.

Now it’s required across the state at all times.

A new executive order issued by Governor Cooper requires face covering be worn indoors and outdoors across the state. Law enforcement officers may now cite individuals who fail to wear face coverings, as well as businesses or organizations that fail to enforce the requirement.

The order includes the use of face coverings in outdoor areas where it is not possible to consistently be physically distant by more than six feet, including when exercising outdoors or indoors with non-household members.

On Duke property, this includes all indoor recreational facilities, as well as outdoor areas such as the Al Buehler and East Campus trails, the Duke golf course, Duke Forest, and other areas where people congregate. Student-athletes are excluded from the requirement while playing or practicing.

The order, which remains in effect through Dec. 11, 2020, was issued to help address the rapid increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations in North Carolina.  A number of counties across the state are seeing health care systems strained by the increase in COVID cases and infection rates are rising in virtually every county.

Duke has been fortunate and successful this semester thanks to the hard work and vigilance of our students, faculty and staff.  We strongly encourage you to apply the same vigilance as you celebrate the Thanksgiving and the winter holidays so we can, once again, be Duke United.

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

Testing Update: November 14 – 20, 2020

In the last full week of the Fall semester, Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing program received results from 15,532 tests administered to students and faculty/staff from November 14-20, 2020. In total, there were 24 positive results – five undergraduate students, eight graduate/professional students, and eleven faculty/staff, six of whom have been working remotely and have not been on campus. The positivity rate was 0.15 percent.

Duke’s rigorous testing and public health protocols were cited in a recent CDC publication and have been widely noted in the media as a model for keeping infections on campus low. In addition to adhering to the dynamic testing protocols, Duke students, faculty, and staff upheld the Duke Compact and followed public health guidelines to keep the campus safe.

Since the start of the program on Aug. 2, Duke has completed 178,084 tests.

The announcement of testing results is posted to Duke Today.

Testing data is also available on our Testing Tracker.

With the conclusion of the fall semester, this will be the last full testing report for 2020.

Reopening Plans for Spring

This email was sent to all Duke University faculty and staff on Saturday, November 21, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

As we come to the end of a successful fall semester of teaching, learning and research, we are making plans for the spring semester that will be based on the latest projections for the spread of COVID-19, ongoing mitigation strategies and the eventual distribution of a vaccine

Unfortunately, we should expect that the current surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations will continue for the next several months and will place greater stress on our community and health care system.  And while there is very optimistic news about vaccines, we also know they will not be widely available to faculty, staff and students until late spring or early summer 2021.

As a result, most university staff should continue to work remotely through the spring semester unless you are specifically designated to return to Duke facilities. Having fewer people on-site continues to be the best way to reduce the potential spread of this virus and protect our campus and community.

All students who return for the spring semester in January will be tested for COVID-19 on arrival, as was the case in the fall.  We will then resume surveillance testing of students and those faculty and staff working in Duke facilities. Anyone who is cleared to work in Duke facilities must continue to complete daily symptom monitoring, wear a mask, and practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet, where possible. Additional supplies of reusable cloth face masks will be distributed through the Return to the Workforce Coordinators for each school and department in January 2021.

Thank you for your ongoing support in helping Duke respond to the unique challenges from the pandemic. We hope you enjoy a much deserved and needed break during the upcoming holidays.

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

Jennifer Francis,
Executive Vice Provost

Message on COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Distribution for the Duke Community

In anticipation of FDA emergency use authorization, Duke is preparing to participate in an efficient and equitable distribution of the vaccine in close coordination with NC DHHS and local health departments.

The vaccine will be offered in a CDC-defined phased approach that prioritizes healthcare workers who are most likely to be exposed to the COVID-19 virus while providing care to patients – including staff within Duke’s clinical and research laboratories.

For details, view the full message posted on Duke Today.

Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing for Faculty and Staff

This email was sent to all Duke faculty and staff on Thursday, November 19

Dear Colleague,

Thanksgiving is only one week away, and we want to urge all of our faculty and staff members to reduce the risk of spreading infection while celebrating the holiday. There are many ways to reduce your chance of getting sick or sharing this virus with your loved ones and others in the community. The CDC website has several resources available to help you make a safe plan today.

Given the upcoming holiday, several faculty and staff have requested more information about available asymptomatic testing services. Please keep in mind that testing alone cannot prevent the spread of infection, and even if you test negative for COVID-19, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others. It is possible to receive a negative COVID-19 test result if the sample was collected early in your infection and then test positive later during this illness. You could also be exposed to COVID-19 after your test. If that happens, the infection could be spread to others if you are not diligent about physical distancing, wearing a face mask and performing hand hygiene.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) offers numerous no-cost community testing events for you and your family members. There are multiple events being held in counties across the state this weekend. Local health departments, pharmacies and other locations also provide convenient access to testing. You can find the service closest to you through the NCDHHS test site finder. In some instances, there may be fees for these services.

Duke faculty and staff members can also call the Duke COVID-19 Hotline (919-385-0429, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and select the option for asymptomatic testing. To help reduce the risk of spreading infection, we are now offering no-cost asymptomatic testing for Duke University, Duke University Health System and PDC faculty and staff. Appointments must be scheduled in advance – walking up to a Duke Health COVID-19 testing tent to request testing is not permitted. You should anticipate receiving a result within 48 hours. We also encourage you to ensure your MyChart is active so you can receive your test result as soon as it is processed. If you are interested in receiving this service, we encourage you to schedule your appointment for this weekend to ensure you have your result before the holiday.

This is a service with limited capacity which we plan to provide for our faculty and staff as long as our supplies and resources allow. If you would like to request asymptomatic testing for a family member, there will be a fee associated for this service.

Duke Health is experiencing a high demand for COVID-19 testing before the Thanksgiving holiday. It will take time for these tests to be processed and results communicated. This week alone, Duke Health has already received more than 1,800 calls a day to its COVID-19 hotline. If you are interested in any of these testing services, we encourage you to get tested as early as possible and to strictly isolate before traveling or gathering with others.

If your test for COVID-19 is positive, call the Duke COVID-19 Hotline (919-385-0429, option 1 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) within one hour of receiving your result to notify our Employee Health team, regardless of where you receive your testing service. As always, please call the Duke COVID-19 Hotline if you are experiencing any new or worsening symptoms.

Testing is only a single snapshot in time of your infectious status. It is one strategy to prevent the spread of infection. We encourage you to continue practicing your three W’s even if you receive a negative test result – wear a mask over your nose and mouth; wait six feet apart to avoid close contact; wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to ensure your safety and the safety of your friends, family and community.

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

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

Testing Update: November 7 – 13, 2020

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing program received results from 16,146 tests administered to students and faculty/staff from November 7 – 13, 2020. In total, there were 30 positive results – eight undergraduate students, three graduate/professional students, and nineteen faculty/staff, seven of whom have been working remotely and have not been on campus. The positivity rate was 0.19 percent.

Since the start of the program on Aug. 2, Duke has completed 162,552 tests.

The announcement of testing results is posted to Duke Today.

Testing data is also available on our Testing Tracker, which is updated each Monday.

COVID-19 Vaccines and the Duke Community

The Duke COVID-19 Vaccination Work Group distributed a message to faculty, staff and students about plans for distribution of vaccines when available.

While we are still some time away from FDA approval, planning at Duke is already underway for how we will distribute the vaccine:

  • Our Duke experts will review all available safety and efficacy data for any approved vaccine to ensure the science supports its broad use.
  • Based on CDC guidelines, vaccines will be offered in a phased approach that prioritizes healthcare workers who are most likely to be exposed to the COVID-19 virus while providing care to our patients, as well as long-term care workers and caregivers.
  • We are coordinating with the NC DHHS to help ensure that all North Carolinians have equitable access to vaccines, and that vaccine planning and distribution is inclusive.

A full version of the message is available on Duke Today.

Testing Update: October 31 – November 6, 2020

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing program received results from 15,858 tests administered to students and faculty/staff from October 31 – November 6, 2020. In total, there were 22 positive results – four undergraduate students, five graduate/professional students, and thirteen faculty/staff. The positivity rate was 0.139 percent.

Since the start of the program on Aug. 2, Duke has completed 149,614 tests.

The announcement of testing results is posted to Duke Today.

Testing data is also available on our Testing Tracker, which is updated each Monday.

Exit Testing and End of the Semester Information for Graduate and Professional Students

The message is being sent to all Duke graduate and professional students.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Dear students,

The semester is quickly drawing to a close and we know that many of you are finalizing plans to leave Duke and Durham for Winter Break. We are writing today to share important updates including sharing your departure plans with us if you’re on campus or in the Durham area, and how to complete a COVID-19 exit test before you leave. Additionally, we want to highlight valuable health and wellness information for Winter Break.

Please read this message carefully and note the required actions, whether you are living on campus or elsewhere in Durham this fall. 

Also, note that all plans for the spring semester are subject to change on short notice based on local and national public health conditions.

TELL US YOUR DEPARTURE PLANS — ALL STUDENTS

We know that many of our students are studying remotely this fall, all around the world. For all students who are living on campus at Duke or off campus in the Durham area, you must complete this short form to notify the university of your departure from Durham. Completing this survey helps us coordinate any necessary health screening prior to your planned travel and removes you from the surveillance testing pool while you are away from Durham.

It is important that you complete the form so we can provide health and testing services to those remaining on campus or in the Durham area and need access to campus. Please note that any intentional falsification of this form may result in a referral to your program leadership.

In addition to this email, you will also receive a link to the form through Duke’s text message notification system. You are welcome to fill out the form as soon as you know your plans, but at the latest, it must be completed by NOVEMBER 13. We understand that plans may change, so if you need to update your response, you can do so by visiting the same link again via this email or the link sent to you via text.

For graduate and professional students living in Durham or the surrounding area, we encourage you to limit (or avoid) travel during the winter break. 

For public health reasons, we need to minimize back-and-forth travel from Duke students to and from other locations around the US and globe. If you must travel during this period, please use the form above to provide departure and return dates. We understand that for many of you Durham is your home. We are working with school leadership to determine who will require campus access over the break, and therefore be required to participate in surveillance testing. We are aware that students in some programs will continue to engage in educational activity after the Thanksgiving break due to the unique academic calendar of their program. Such students should await further communication from their school or program leadership.

EXIT TESTING — FOR THOSE WHO REQUIRE PROOF OF TESTING TO TRAVEL

We know that some of you may be traveling to states or countries that require proof of a negative COVID-19 test before you can travel. A few notes:

  • Pay close attention to your state or country’s requirements—some require proof of a negative result within a certain time period before your departure, or require a specific type of test. 
  • Note that regular surveillance testing will NOT fulfill this requirement. If you think you need a COVID-19 test for travel, please call Student Health as soon as possible to review your needs.
IF YOU TEST POSITIVE OR HAVE TO QUARANTINE BEFORE DEPARTURE 

Students who either test positive or are required to quarantine between now and the date they plan to leave Durham will have three options:

  • Students who already reside on campus may remain in Duke-provided facilities until you are approved to leave.
  • A family member may pick you up and drive you home; you should NOT use any form of public transportation during this time.
  • You may drive yourself home; again, you should NOT use public transportation during this time.

If you test positive, we will work with you to develop a strategy that is right for you. 

DURING WINTER BREAK — ALL STUDENTS 

We hope that you stay healthy and well over the break. A few reminders

  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth; do not share your mask with others.
  • Limit your circle of contacts, and pay attention to who your contacts interact with and who in your circle is particularly at risk to complications from COVID-19 (e.g. those 65 or older, or people with underlying health conditions). 
  • Avoid higher risk settings such as indoor gatherings, places where physical distancing is not possible, activities that involve increased respiratory effort, or places or activities where people may be maskless
  • Practice physical distancing
  • If you haven’t already, get vaccinated for the flu
  • Wash your hands regularly, and if that is not possible, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Rest and spend time doing things that give you life. It’s been a tough semester!

If you are away from Durham for the break and develop symptoms and/or test positive, you should notify your local health department and notify Student Health through the SymMon app. Please note that if you test positive for COVID over break, you should submit that result by sending an email to dshcheckin@duke.edu prior to your return in January. This will assist with your re-entry testing process as well.

If you are staying on campus over the break, we will share more information with you soon about life on campus, including more details on campus office hours, dining, and surveillance testing over the break.

PLANNING AHEAD: SPRING 2021 OPENING — ALL STUDENTS 

All students, whether returning to Durham or arriving for the first time, must participate in entry testing before gaining access to campus. Entry testing for graduate and professional students will begin on January 9 in Penn Pavilion unless otherwise noted by your school; some students in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing will begin testing on January 4 and can expect to receive more specific communication from their program leadership. Entry testing for undergraduate students will begin January 15 in Penn Pavilion.

Details about scheduling an entry test for January will also be shared with all students in the coming weeks. Similar to the fall semester, all students are required to sequester in their residence until a negative test result is received via Duke MyChart. To decrease the likelihood of a positive test, we strongly encourage you to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus and to minimize contact with others during the break.

Again, please remember that all plans for the spring semester are subject to change on short notice based on local and national public health conditions.

Thank you for all that each of you has done this fall to protect the health of your fellow students, of Duke staff and faculty and the Durham community. Let’s keep it up these last few weeks of the semester and finish strong. We are all in this together.

Go Duke,

Jennifer Francis
Executive Vice Provost

John Vaughn, M.D.
Director of Student Health Services

Exit Testing and End of the Semester Information for Undergraduate Students

Friday, November 6, 2020 

Dear students,

The semester is quickly drawing to a close and we know that many of you are finalizing plans to leave Duke and Durham for Winter Break. We are writing today to share important updates including sharing your departure plans with us if you’re on campus or in the Durham area, and how to complete a COVID-19 exit test before you leave. Additionally, we want to highlight valuable health and wellness information for Winter Break. 

Please read this message carefully and note the required actions, whether you are living on campus or elsewhere in Durham this fall. 

Also, note that all plans for the spring semester are subject to change on short notice based on local and national public health conditions.

 
TELL US YOUR DEPARTURE PLANS — ALL STUDENTS

We know that many of our students are studying remotely this fall, all around the world. For all students who are living on campus at Duke or off campus in the Durham area, you must complete this short form to notify the university of your departure from Durham. Completing this survey helps us coordinate any necessary health screening prior to your planned travel and removes you from the surveillance testing pool until January. 

It is important that you complete the form so we can provide health and testing services to those remaining on campus or in the Durham area. Please note that any intentional falsification of this form may result in a referral to the Office of Student Conduct. 

In addition to this email, you will also receive a link to the form through Duke’s text message notification system. You are welcome to fill out the form as soon as you know your plans, but at the latest, it must be completed by NOVEMBER 13. We understand that plans may change, so if you need to update your response, you can do so by visiting the same link again via this email or the link sent to you via text.

When you leave Durham, plan not to return to campus until January.

In other words, if you are leaving Durham in the next few weeks (e.g., to visit family or friends, for mental health reasons), this will serve as your official departure for break and you will not be able to return to campus until spring semester. For public health reasons, we need to minimize back-and-forth travel from Duke students to and from other locations around the US and globe. Be sure to pack everything you need for break, including the materials you may need to finish your semester remotely.


EXIT TESTING — FOR THOSE WHO REQUIRE PROOF OF TESTING TO TRAVEL

We know that some of you may be traveling to states or countries that require proof of a negative COVID-19 test before you can travel. A few notes:
  • Pay close attention to your state or country’s requirements—some require proof of a negative result within a certain time period before your departure, or require a specific type of test. 
  • Note that regular surveillance testing will NOT fulfill this requirement. If you think you need a COVID-19 test for travel, please call Student Health as soon as possible to review your needs.
IF YOU TEST POSITIVE OR HAVE TO QUARANTINE BEFORE DEPARTURE 

Students who either test positive or are required to quarantine between now and the date they plan to leave Durham will have three options:

  • Students who already reside on campus may remain in Duke-provided facilities until you are approved to leave.
  • A family member may pick you up and drive you home; you should NOT use any form of public transportation during this time.
  • You may drive yourself home; again, you should NOT use public transportation during this time. 
If you test positive, we will work with you to develop a strategy that is right for you. 


MOVE OUT — STUDENTS CURRENTLY LIVING ON CAMPUS 

All students must be out of their residence halls by 12:00 p.m. on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30, unless you have been approved to stay on campus over break. If you are not returning to campus in the spring (or if you suspect that you may not return), you should take all your belongings with you; any items left behind will be considered abandoned and will be donated or discarded. If you are returning to campus in the spring, you do not have to move out entirely, but be sure to take all valuable items with you: money, visas, passports, electronics, essential school materials, medications and items of sentimental or emotional value. All students must turn in their room keys by 12:00 p.m. on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30 to the HRL West Office (for residents of main West Campus), HRL East Office (for residents of East Campus), 300 Swift Office (for residents of Swift Quad), or our satellite locations (Washington Duke, Avana, and Blue Light, respectively). You will NOT be able to return to your room for any reason over the break. 

DURING WINTER BREAK — ALL STUDENTS 

We hope that you stay healthy and well over the break. A few reminders
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth; do not share your mask with others.
  • Limit your circle of contacts, and pay attention to who your contacts interact with and who in your circle is particularly at risk to complications from COVID-19 (e.g. those 65 or older, or people with underlying health conditions). 
  • Avoid higher risk settings such as indoor gatherings, places where physical distancing is not possible, activities that involve increased respiratory effort, or places or activities where people may be maskless
  • Practice physical distancing
  • If you haven’t already, get vaccinated for the flu
  • Wash your hands regularly, and if that is not possible, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Rest and spend time doing things that give you life. It’s been a tough semester!

If you are away from Durham for the break and develop symptoms and/or test positive, you should notify your local health department and notify Student Health through the SymMon app. Please note that if you test positive for COVID over break, you should submit that result by sending an email to dshcheckin@duke.edu prior to your return in January. This will assist with your re-entry testing process as well. 

If you are staying on campus over the break, we will share more information with you soon about life on campus, including more details on campus office hours, dining, and surveillance testing over the break. 

PLANNING AHEAD: SPRING 2021 OPENING — ALL STUDENTS 

All students, whether returning to Durham or arriving for the first time, must participate in entry testing before gaining access to campus. Entry testing for graduate and professional students will begin on January 9 in Penn Pavilion unless otherwise noted by your school. Entry testing for undergraduate students will begin January 15 in Penn Pavilion. Residence halls will also open on January 15. 

More information about move-in will be shared directly with students with an on-campus assignment for Spring 2021. Details about scheduling an entry test for January will also be shared with all students in the coming weeks. Similar to the fall semester, all students are required to sequester in their residence until a negative test result is received via Duke MyChart. To decrease the likelihood of a positive test, we strongly encourage you to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus and to minimize contact with others during the break. 

Again, please remember that all plans for the spring semester are subject to change on short notice based on local and national public health conditions.

Thank you for
 all that each of you has done this fall to protect the health of your fellow students, of Duke staff and faculty and the Durham community. Let’s keep it up these last few weeks of the semester and finish strong. We are all in this together.

Go Duke,

John Blackshear
Dean of Students

John Vaughn, M.D. 
Director of Student Health Services

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