Category: Duke University Page 1 of 10

Testing Update: Sept 5 – 11

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing program administered 7,582 tests administered to students, faculty and staff from September 5-11  with six positive results.

Since the start of the program on Aug. 2, Duke has completed 31,362 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.

Message from President Price about Fall Sports at Duke

Dear Duke Students and Colleagues,

Early September is typically a time of great energy and excitement at Duke, as students and faculty challenge each other in the classroom, the campus is active with events and programs, and visitors come from all over the world to take part in our academic and cultural life.  Fall is also, of course, a very active time for our student-athletes, as well as for their fans and supporters on campus, in the community and around the world.

Over the past several months, the Atlantic Coast Conference, of which Duke is a founding member, has carefully assessed the prospects to continue intercollegiate sports in this most complicated of years.  An ACC Medical Advisory Group – which included physicians from Duke and other universities in the conference – worked over the summer to advise the member institutions on the risks and options for fall activity, and to develop comprehensive standards for testing, hygiene, medical monitoring and other practices that are essential for students to compete safely in team and individual sports.  After careful review, the ACC adopted those guidelines and committed to begin the season in all six fall sports (football, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, field hockey and cross country).

After consultation with our own medical faculty experts, Duke has decided to take further steps to mitigate the risk to the health and safety of our student-athletes, our communities, and the continuity of our educational and research missions.  In advance of the start of competition this week, and knowing that many have questions about intercollegiate athletics in these challenging times, I want to take a moment to inform you about the safety protocols that we have now put in put in place:

  • All student-athletes, related staff and coaches participating in football, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball and field hockey, which have been identified as higher risk by the ACC Medical Advisory Group, will have daily COVID-19 testing for the duration of their seasons.
  • To protect against potential spread of COVID-19 in our residence halls and the broader population, student-athletes competing in those five sports will be required to temporarily sequester to designated residential areas following each home or away game until testing and medical monitoring confirms that they are cleared to return to the community.  Student-athletes will receive all academic, wellness and mental health support services, as well as access to Student Affairs staff.
  • All teams will travel by charter bus or plane and, to the extent possible, will depart and return to campus on the same day.  Only student athletes and essential coaches and staff will be permitted to travel to the games and, once on-site, Duke student-athletes, coaches and staff must strictly comply with distancing requirements, stay in areas separated from others, and not interact socially with members of the opposing team, spectators, or fans except for immediate family members.
  • As announced earlier, spectators will not be permitted at any Duke games.  Attendance from the visiting team will be limited to essential personnel as determined by the ACC.

We are immensely proud of our student-athletes and celebrate their dedication to academic and athletic success.  But we never lose sight of the fact that they are, first and foremost, Duke students.  Thus, student-athletes who choose for any reason not to participate in competition this year will continue to receive their scholarships, financial aid and other services, and they will maintain their academic and residential standing as well as their eligibility to participate in future athletic seasons.

I want to stress that these are our initial plans.  As with every other aspect of this global pandemic, we will remain vigilant and flexible, monitor outcomes, and prepare to make changes as we learn from our experiences and others around the country.  Our experience with fall sports will help inform planning for winter and spring sports as well.  If conditions warrant further restrictions, a pause or even suspension of activities, then we will not hesitate to take that action.  Every decision we make will be based, first and foremost, on safeguarding the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and the Duke community.

This has been and will continue to be a difficult semester in many respects; but in just as many ways it has been wonderfully inspiring.  I’ve been inspired by our dedicated faculty and staff, including those many who have been supporting Duke Athletics through these complicated times, in meeting successfully the numerous challenges posed by the pandemic.  And I have been inspired by way our Duke students, including our student-athletes, have stepped up to support and protect each other and our community so responsibly by adapting to the public-health demands of the moment. We are, on and off the field, a Duke united. For that, and for all you do, I am deeply grateful.


Vincent E. Price

Testing Update: Aug 29-Sept 4

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing program administered 6,840 tests administered to students, faculty and staff from Aug. 29-September 4 with six positive results.

Since the start of the program on Aug. 2, Duke has completed 23,880 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 and compliance updates, Sept 6

The message was sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

We hope you have had a great first few weeks of classes, whether you are here in Durham or engaging remotely this semester.

We are so proud that the overwhelming majority of you who are working so hard every day to keep your peers and the Duke community safe. This is no small effort. Thank you for all you are doing.

Now, we need your help—every single one of you—to help keep up this momentum and keep our community moving in the right direction.

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote to you with updates on COVID-19, Compact compliance, and to enlist your help in taking daily actions to keep our community safer. We are writing today with our next update on COVID and compliance efforts.


The latest updates on COVID testing, cases, and quarantine/isolation numbers are posted each Monday to the Duke COVID Testing Tracker. The dashboard includes data on testing, quarantine, and isolation in our community, both weekly and cumulatively (from the start of classes). Weekly summary data are also published on Duke Today. Please note you can check back tomorrow to see the numbers as of this past Friday, September 4.

By the numbers (August 22-28): 

  • 5,355 — Asymptomatic/surveillance student tests administered
  • 3 — Positive results from asymptomatic/surveillance testing
  • 3 — Positive results from reported symptoms 
  • 6 — Students in isolation 
  • 54 — Students in precautionary quarantine*

*Students in quarantine must stay away from others until Student Health determines if they have contracted COVID-19.  


As a reminder, enforcement is a part of Duke’s COVID response and our efforts are nuanced and hold students progressively accountable. Updates as of August 27 are included below, with all numbers cumulative.

  • Several hundred — Students who have received verbal reminders, warnings, and other interventions from Residential Life, Student Affairs, and the Compliance Team (C-Team).
  • 200+ — Formal reports of  possible undergraduate violations of COVID-19 policy expectations and which the University has endeavored to identify and follow up with individuals or groups responsible for the alleged conduct.
  • 90 — Students referred for formal educational interventions and training for less severe infractions of the Duke Compact.
  • 29 — Pending cases involving more flagrant misconduct and persistent non-compliance by individuals or groups of students currently under investigation by the Office of Student Conduct.*
  • As a result of COVID violations, students have lost their right to access campus and must work remotely for the remainder of the semester.

*Note: If found responsible, students and student organizations face a range of possible sanctions, including: disciplinary probation, suspension to be served in an upcoming term, immediate suspension or removal from campus, or permanent dismissal from Duke. 

Please also note that even though the state and city restrictions for events and venues have loosened somewhat, all Duke students are still required to adhere to University requirements limiting numbers to 10 persons or fewer.

Thank you for all the ways you are taking tangible action to keep your fellow students, our staff and faculty, and the entire Duke and Durham communities safe. We are in this together.

Thank you and go Duke,

Mary Pat McMahon
Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Gary G. Bennett
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education  

Governor Announces Move to Phase 2.5

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper announced this week that North Carolina would move to “Safer at Home: Phase 2.5” of easing COVID-19 restrictions beginning on Friday, September 4 at 5 p.m.

Phase 2.5 will last through at least October 2. Governor Cooper and N.C. DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen explained that the state has used a modest approach to easing restrictions and that many of the state’s COVID-19 metrics are stabilizing or declining. Additional details on Phase 2.5 can be found here.

Testing Update: Aug 22-28

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing program received results from 5,639 tests administered to students, faculty and staff from Aug. 22-28.

Since the start of the program on Aug. 2, Duke has completed 17,040 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.

Testing Update: Aug 15-21

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing program received results from 5,028 tests administered to students, faculty and staff from Aug. 15-21.

Since the start of the program on Aug. 2, Duke has completed 11,398 tests.

Read the explanation of the testing results on Duke Today

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

Attendance Restrictions Announced for Fall Sports

Due to the impact of COVID-19, Duke University will begin its fall sport program seasons without spectators at home events.

“To be sure, our venues will not be the same without our passionate, energetic fan base,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White. “Given the unique and challenging circumstances, this determination was reached with the health and safety of our fans, student-athletes, coaches and staff at the forefront. As this evolving process continues, it is imperative to be both adaptable and compliant in anticipation of hosting fans in the near future.”

Contests played on Duke’s campus will include essential game management personnel and broadcast media. Traditional parking lots used by fans on gameday will be closed.

Fans who have purchased season and single-game tickets for the upcoming football season or have seating and suite contracts in Blue Devil Tower will receive email correspondence regarding options.

Despite the attendance constraints for football games, Duke fans have an opportunity to support the team at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium with a “fan cutout” of an individual(s) or pet(s). Several different packages are available and include stadium location options, weekly prize drawings and the ability to have the cutout autographed by head coach David Cutcliffe. Images placed in the seats will help replicate the gameday atmosphere in the stadium as well as provide an enhanced visual presence for the television audience. Proceeds from sales will go directly to Duke Athletics to support our student-athletes during these unprecedented times. For more information, visit

Information regarding the virtual fan experience for football games at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium will be available at a later date.

The Blue Devil football team opens the home portion of the 2020 schedule against Boston College on Saturday, September 19. Amended schedules for Duke’s men’s cross country, women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s soccer, women’s soccer and volleyball teams have yet to be released.

Resources for Duke International Students

This message was sent to all undergraduate international students.

August 18, 2020

Dear international students,

We hope this message finds you healthy and able to find moments of peace during these unsettling times. While these have been stressful moments for all of our students, we know that the uncertainty you all have faced has been particularly challenging. We have said it before, but we want you to know that we see you, and we are here for you.

As we enter the drop-add period, we wanted to reach out to ensure you are equipped with information to access classes that best fit your circumstances.


The best way to find accurate information regarding online asynchronous courses is through DukeHub, where students can easily search by this designation. Some faculty are willing to work with students studying remotely to ensure access to their class, even if the course is hybrid or in-person. We encourage you to contact faculty directly for more information about their courses. Many faculty are aware of the challenges faced by international students and expect to receive these types of messages.


Provost Kornbluth sent a message to all faculty several weeks ago indicating that if a student needs a particular course for a major or a graduation requirement, they can contact the instructor and academic dean to request an accommodation, allowing you to participate remotely. This class experience may not be identical to that of local students, but this is an option if you need a particular course to progress towards your degree.


As you may have seen, we recently implemented a new part-time policy for juniors and seniors for the fall semester. We took great care to learn what this would mean for international students, and we encourage you to review the policy details here: As always, you should contact Duke Visa Services and your academic dean for more information.


Please consider visiting your faculty members’ virtual office hours. These are a great way to get to know your instructors, seek support, and deepen your understanding of course content. Unfortunately, we’ve had to pause Flunch this semester, but the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE) will soon launch VLearn, a new way to bolster faculty and student interaction this fall. You can learn more about VLearn at


During the semester, if feelings of stress, anxiety, or emotional state affect your daily activities, many resources are available to you (including those listed below). Duke encourages all students to access these resources, particularly as we navigate the transition and emotions of this time. Duke Student Government has worked with DukeReach and student advocates to create the Fall 2020 “Two-Click Support” Form, and Duke Reach has expanded its drop-in hours as well.

  • DukeReach. Provides comprehensive outreach services to identify and support students in managing all aspects of well-being. If you’re concerned about the physical or mental well-being of yourself or another student, visit the DukeReach website for resources and assistance.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). CAPS services available to international students include group counseling services and workshops and discussions. Due to licensure restrictions, individual counseling sessions are not available outside of North Carolina. Call (919) 660-1000 or visit to learn more.
  • Blue Devils Care. Offers 24/7 mental telehealth support to all students at no cost. To get started, visit Register once using your email address and Service Key DUKE2020, then you’ll be ready to use the service, using your US-based phone number.

Duke offers students several resources to seek assistance on coursework and improve overall wellness, some of which we list below.

We hope this information is helpful, and we look forward to making this a successful semester—together.

Go, Duke!

Gary G. Bennett
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Mary Pat McMahon
Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Pool Testing for Undergraduate Students

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Dear undergraduate students,

We are writing to share information about additional measures the University is taking to protect the health and safety of the campus community during the fall semester. As undergraduate classes get underway next week, the University will begin ongoing testing of students and other members of the campus community who are here in the Durham area and not exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19. These additional tests will be conducted regularly beginning the week of Aug. 17.

In addition to the testing of all students coming to campus and the daily symptom monitoring, this additional step will help us identify and respond to the potential spread of the virus and limit the potential for local outbreaks. This ongoing testing process will begin with undergraduate students residing on campus. It will be expanded in subsequent weeks to include other Duke student populations and then faculty and staff who regularly interact with students on campus.

The self-administered process should take about 5 minutes, and testing sites will be established in multiple locations on East and West campuses for convenience. Collection of samples will involve a testing participant inserting a cotton swab into each nasal passage and rotating it against the inner nasal lining in a circle three times. The swab does not need to be inserted far—just enough so the cotton tip is no longer visible. The swab is then placed into a collection tube with a bar code, which will be placed in a bag and then deposited into a cooler at the collection station. Site coordinators at each location will ensure these tests are transported to a nearby lab and any positive test result will be communicated back to the student within 48 hours.

This testing process will be conducted throughout the fall semester. Duke hopes to make this as quick and convenient as possible for all participants, and it is critical that you participate to ensure we can maintain on-campus activities during the pandemic. Participants will need to bring their DukeCard ID or their mobile phone with the SymMon mobile app to one of the many testing sites that will be conveniently located across campus.

If you are selected for pool testing, you’ll receive an email and text message alerting you to your day. Please be sure to attend carefully to these texts and plan accordingly. You can find more information about the process, testing sites and answers to frequently asked questions on the Duke United website.

Thank you and go Duke,

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

Mary Pat McMahon
Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Gary G. Bennett
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

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