Category: Duke University Page 1 of 23

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.

Additional information for undergraduates: Updated Guidance for the Start of the Spring Semester

Dear students,

Please be sure to carefully read the University’s most recent update on Spring semester reopening. It includes updated guidance that reflects the CDC’s new isolation protocols, and provides information around what to do if you cannot schedule a PCR test during the 48-hour period in advance of your arrival in Durham.

We know there are shortages in PCR testing availability in some areas. If you are in a location where you can arrange for a test during the 48-hour period in advance of your arrival in Durham, please still do so. If you cannot schedule a PCR test, you can instead sequester through two rounds of entry/surveillance testing. The attestation for undergraduates, which you will receive via email tomorrow, will ask you to confirm that you had a PCR test before returning to Durham and will follow sequester guidance after your re-entry test, OR that you you agree to sequester until you have had a re-entry test at Duke and a second surveillance test administered 48 hours later.

Here are a few additional points to consider as you plan your return to campus:

  • We continue to plan to have three days of virtual instruction Wednesday-Friday, January 5-7th.
  • Residence halls will open at noon on January 2 , and entry testing will now be available starting Sunday, January 2nd from 4:00-8:00 PM in the Bryan CenterWe have expanded entry testing for students who want to delay their return to Durham to the weekend of January 8-9.
  • Surveillance/entry testing will be available Saturday, January 8th and Sunday January 9th from 1pm to 5pm at several on campus locations. Updated information will be available at the Duke United page.
  • As a reminder, sequestering means you will stay in your on-campus housing or off-campus residence until you complete re-entry protocols listed above. Please plan ahead for this. During a sequester, you can leave your apartment to exercise, get food, or attend to other essential health and safety activities, but the objective is that you limit in-person contact until it’s determined that you’re not contagious and spreading COVID to others (and others to you). Doing this helps the Duke community manage the influx of arriving students and mitigate any transmission associated with a return to operations. Our university systems—health providers, testing processes and others—need your cooperation here.
  • Off campus undergraduates should test on Tuesday, January 4 if they are in Durham by that date. If not, they should test on the date they return to Durham. If sites are closed at that time, they should test the following day.

We know that Omicron has upended many plans, and we know that the Duke community can once again come together to respond to this moment to ensure a pathway towards an in-person university experience this spring. Thank you for doing your part.

Sincerely,

Duke Student Affairs

Resources for students

STUDENT HEALTH: If you feel sick, you should call Student Health during business hours at 919-681-9355 and choose option 2 to speak to a triage nurse if you are experiencing any symptoms or have any concerns. After hours, students should call 919-681-9355 and follow the prompts to speak to a nurse.

  • Choose Option 1 for COVID Hotline related concerns.
  • Choose Option 2 or remain on the line for other health concerns.
  • Medical emergencies should call 9-1-1

DUKEREACH: DukeReach will help you identify support services from among the variety of resources across campus or in your local community. You can contact DukeReach at 919-681-2455 or by emailing dukereach@duke.edu.

HOUSING AND RESIDENCE LIFE: Have questions about on-campus housing or move-in? Email housing@duke.edu

Updated Guidance for the Start of the Spring Semester

Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

During the last month, we have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases as a result of the Omicron variant that has set new records on campus, in North Carolina and across the country. In order to begin and continue normal operations during the Spring semester, we once again need your help to protect the Duke community.

Isolation Guidelines:

Based on new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Duke is updating its isolation protocols for those who test positive for COVID-19.

  • Vaccinated individuals who are asymptomatic (i.e. no symptoms) can end isolation five days after testing positive once cleared by Employee Health or Student Health and must then wear a well-fitting mask for the next five days when around others.
  • Symptomatic and all unvaccinated individuals must continue to isolate for 10 days to protect others who could become infected. Exceptions may be made for essential healthcare staff and other personnel needed to address critical needs, but those individuals will be required to follow additional masking protocols prescribed by Employee Health.

According to the CDC, this change in protocol is supported by data demonstrating that the majority of COVID-19 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.

These changes in the Duke policy will help us manage an expected spike in individuals testing positive due to Omicron and holiday travel. We’ve already seen a significant increase in positive tests among staff and students who have been on campus during the winter break. If these rates continue when the majority of students return to campus next week, we may face staffing shortages in critical operating areas and will likely exceed available dedicated isolation space for residential students, requiring them to isolation within their residence hall rooms instead.

What You Can Do Now

Please continue to practice safety protocols such as masking while indoors, avoiding large unmasked gatherings, and washing your hands frequently. In addition, please take the following steps:

  • If you have not already, please get your booster shot before returning to campus. This is the best protection against the Omicron variant and will be required for all students and employees.
  • Students should get tested 48 hours before returning to campus. If you test positive, please isolate at home until you have met the isolation criteria of your local health authority before returning to campus. (Note: Any student who cannot test before returning should sequester until after completing two rounds of surveillance testing on campus.)
  • After returning to campus, students should take an entry (surveillance) test administered by Duke as directed and then sequester in their on- or off-campus residence until they receive notification via email that their sequester can end.
  • Unvaccinated faculty and staff must resume surveillance testing and daily symptom monitoring the week of January 3.
  • If you develop any symptoms, do not come to campus.  Call your health care provider to arrange for a test.

As we close out what has been an extraordinary year, we want to acknowledge the many efforts and sacrifices of our community to weather this historic and ongoing pandemic. We remain Duke United.

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

Mary Pat McMahon,
Vice Provost and Vice President, Student Affairs

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

John Vaughn, MD,
Director of Student Health

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

COVID-19 Booster Shot Required as a Condition of Employment for University

NOTE: The deadline for the booster shot was extended to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021 

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As communicated earlier, Duke University will now require that all faculty and staff, regardless of work location, receive and show documentation of a completed COVID-19 booster vaccination as a condition of employment. Below are the details regarding compliance:

Requirement:

  • All faculty and staff members, regardless of work location, must receive and show documentation of their completed COVID-19 vaccination by 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, or within 28 days of their eligibility under CDC and state guidelines.
  • Those who already have received an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement are exempt from the booster requirement and do not need to reapply for a new exemption. (Note: weekly COVID test and submission of daily symptom monitoring is required for those unvaccinated).
  • Anyone who has not received the booster shot or have an approved exemption by the deadline will be issued a Final Written Warning and placed on administrative leave. (Accrued vacation or discretionary holiday time may be used if available; otherwise, the leave will be unpaid.) After the seven days, anyone not compliant will be terminated and not recommended for rehire.

Documentation:

  • Faculty and staff who received their booster through Employee Occupational Health & Wellness (EOHW) do not need to provide additional documentation.
  • Those who received the booster in the community (such as a retail pharmacy or a Duke patient clinic), will need to submit an image of their booster vaccination documentation through the confidential Duke VaxTrax system so that our records can be updated accordingly.

Vaccination Locations:

Booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and free. While existing data suggests the Omicron variant appears to cause fewer cases of severe illness, it is also much more contagious than the Delta variant and can spread much more quickly, threatening our education, research, and healthcare activities. 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.

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 our facilities. Practice good hand hygiene. Maintain a safe distance from others, especially when removing your mask to eat or drink. Thank you for your continued partnership in helping to keep our community safe.

Sincerely,

Kyle Cavanaugh
Vice President, Administration

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

Booster Shots, Return to Campus, and Spring Protocols for Students

The message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Friday, December 10, 2021Dear students, As fall term draws to an end, we want to provide some information and guidance as you depart for winter break to help us start the spring semester as successfully and safely as possible.

Booster Shots:

  • During winter break, you are strongly encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster if you have not done so already and are eligible based on the date of your last primary immunization dose (6 months after your second dose of Moderna/Pfizer, 2 months after single dose of Johnson & Johnson). Duke has not yet decided whether to require the booster shot and will continue assessing case trends and activity when students return.
  • If you get your COVID booster dose outside of Duke, go to the “Student Health Gateway” to upload your booster documentation.

Return to Campus:

  • If you are traveling internationally, pay close attention to testing requirements for re-entry into the United States. These requirements may change rapidly and with little notice. An up-to-date listing of worldwide travel restrictions and screening requirements is available in the COVID-19 section of Duke’s International SOS portal.
  • If you are traveling domestically, we strongly encourage you to get a COVID test within 72 hours before traveling back to campus for the spring semester.
  • If you test positive for COVID during winter break, notify Duke Student Health by emailing your test result to dshcheckin@duke.edu and isolate for 10 days before returning.
  • Upon your return to Durham, avoid large crowded indoor gatherings. We have seen that these types of gatherings, especialy right after many have traveled, lead to a high risk of COVID super-spreader events, even among those who are fully vaccinated.

Spring Semester Protocols:

  • Required COVID surveillance testing for asymptomatic students will resume on January 3 and continue until further notice.
  • If you develop possible COVID symptoms during the spring semester, notify Duke Student Health by registering your symptoms in the Duke SymMon app. A case management nurse will cal you to give you further guidance and schedule a COVID test for you at the Student Wellness Building.
  • A 10-day isolation period will remain in effect for anyone who tests postive for COVID, even if fully vaccinated. This is a State of North Carolina and Durham Public Health requirement.
  • Contact tracing will continue for those who test positive for COVID.

We hope everyone has a fantastic and restful winter break. Thank you for doing your part to help us start the spring semester as safely as possible. – Duke Student Affairs

Get Your Booster Shot Before Upcoming Holidays

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving break with family and friends. Unfortunately, the pandemic did not take a break, and we find ourselves now confronted with news of the omicron variant that appears to now be spreading throughout other regions of the world.

While scientists are still studying and assessing the risks and potential impact of this variant, the best precaution you can take now is to get your booster shot before the upcoming holidays, when more travel and indoor gatherings are expected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommend that all adults should receive the booster shot after six months of receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Duke has special clinics for faculty and staff, and we encourage you to do so at your earliest opportunity. Visit the Duke COVID Vaccine website to make an appointment or find a walk-in clinic.

The CDC also said that individuals can choose any of the three boosters now authorized regardless of their original shot. Duke medical experts suggest that anyone who received the J&J vaccine preferentially get a booster shot of either Pfizer or Moderna, which have been proven highly effective in preventing infection and severe illness. 

If you have already received your booster shot from an outside provider (any location, including Duke Health, not listed on the Duke COVID Vaccine website), please submit documentation of your additional dose through VaxTrax online form so we can update your records accordingly.

While the booster shot is not yet a condition of employment for Duke University or Duke University Health System at this time, we encourage all eligible individuals to receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to protect you and others from potential infection during the winter months when people are expected to gather indoors more frequently. 

Thank you for your efforts to keep the Duke community safe during this new phase of the pandemic. Please continue wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently and maintaining social distance.  

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

Reminder: Schedule Your COVID-19 Booster Shot

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Currently, about 15,000 Duke faculty and staff have received their booster shot for the COVID-19 vaccine. As a reminder, you are eligible to receive a booster shot as long as you meet the time criteria since your last dose, which are described below:

  • Faculty and staff who have received their last dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines over 6 months ago. 
  • Faculty and staff who have received their initial dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago and are 18 years of age or older.

Duke has already seen a recent uptick in positive cases in the last couple weeks, and we are seeing a rise in cases in Europe and in some northerns states. Getting a booster shot can help protect you, as well as your friends and family as we move into the holiday season when more people are expected to travel and gather in larger groups.

Employee vaccination clinics are located at Blue Devil Tower, Duke University Hospital, Duke Raleigh Hospital and Duke Regional Hospital by appointment (except at DRAH). Specifics about each clinic’s location and operating hours can be found on the Duke COVID Vaccine website. Appointments are being added regularly, so please check back later if you do not find an available appointment. 

Duke medical experts suggest that anyone who received the J&J vaccine preferentially get a booster shot of either Pfizer or Moderna, which have been proven highly effective in preventing infection and severe illness. A booster with the J&J vaccine also remains an alternative for these individuals. 

If you have already received your booster shot from an outside provider, please submit documention to Employee Occupational Health and Wellness using the VaxTrax online form.

While the booster shot is not a condition of employment for Duke University or Duke University Health System at this time, we encourage all eligible individuals to receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to protect you and others from potential infection. 

Thank you for your efforts to keep the Duke community safe. Please continue wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently and maintaining social distance.

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

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