Category: Duke University Page 1 of 16

Testing Update: February 15-21, 2021

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program administered 18,977 tests to 9,577 students and 2,712 tests to 1,436 faculty/staff for the period Feb. 15-21 with a total of 25 positive results.

Among students there were 11 positive results, identified through surveillance testing for asymptomatic students as well as tests for those exhibiting symptoms. The individuals who tested positive have been placed in isolation, while those identified as potential contacts have been placed in precautionary quarantine. The total positivity rate was 0.12 percent.

The full announcement of testing results is posted to Duke Today.

Testing data is also available on our Testing Tracker, which is updated every Tuesday.

Cluster of COVID-19 Cases Reported from Birthday Party

Duke has identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases related to recent travel and attendance at a birthday party on Feb. 15 at an off-campus apartment. A “cluster” is defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as five or more related cases that are deemed to be in close proximity of time and location, such as a residential hall or apartment complex. 

Read more on Duke Today.

Testing Update: February 8-14, 2021

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program administered 19,929 tests to 10,44students and 2,809 tests to 1,524 faculty/staff for the period Feb. 814 with a total of 20 positive results.  

Among students there were 13 positive results, identified through surveillance testing for asymptomatic students as well as tests for those exhibiting symptoms. The individuals who tested positive have been placed in isolation, while those identified as potential contacts have been placed in precautionary quarantine. The total positivity rate was 0.09 percent. 

The full announcement of testing results is posted to Duke Today.

Testing data is also available on our Testing Tracker, which is updated every Tuesday.

State Updates Prioritization Plans for COVID-19 Vaccination

Dear University Faculty and Staff,

The State of North Carolina announced today that kindergarten through 12th grade teachers and support staff will become eligible for vaccination beginning Feb. 24. This group does not include college instructors or support staff.

The state indicated that beginning March 10 other essential workers in Group 3, including college instructors, food workers, custodians, clergy, law enforcement and security officers, and transit workers who are required to be physically present in the workplace to perform their job responsibilities and be in close contact with others on a regular basis as a part of their responsibilities will be eligible for vaccination.

The COVID Vaccination Work Group will work to determine which faculty and staff are included in Group 3. Duke Employee Occupational Health and Wellness will send eligible individuals direct email invitation after the state authorizes the scheduling of vaccination appointments.

As a reminder, the State of North Carolina allocates all vaccines to providers like Duke and the supply has been very limited. Last week, Duke Health received about 4,000 doses, but there are more than 50,000 individuals in Groups 1 and 2 who are on the waitlist for Duke Health. We expect it will take some time to complete vaccination of these groups.

We have seen a steady decline in the number of COVID-19 cases among students, faculty and staff in recent weeks. We are grateful for your efforts to help change the trajectory of the virus’ spread on campus. We must remain vigilant in wearing a mask, maintaining six feet of distance from others, avoiding gatherings of people, and washing our hands regularly to ensure this positive trend continues. These safeguards apply even if you have been vaccinated already. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Kyle Cavanaugh
Vice President, Administration

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

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

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

Co-Leaders of the Duke COVID Vaccination Work Group

Testing Update: February 1-7, 2021

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program administered 20,020 tests to 10,434* students and 2,839 tests to 1,593 faculty/staff for the period Feb. 1-7, with a total of 56 positive results.

Among students there were 40 positive results, identified through surveillance testing for asymptomatic students as well as tests for those exhibiting symptoms and one final baseline/gateway test. The individuals who tested positive have been placed in isolation, while those identified as potential contacts have been placed in precautionary quarantine. The total positivity rate was 0.24 percent.

The full announcement of testing results is posted to Duke Today.

Testing data is also available on our Testing Tracker, which is updated every Tuesday.

*This number has been corrected; we inadvertently included the total number of individuals tested (12,027) instead of the number of individual students tested in the initial post. 

Cluster of COVID-19 Cases Reported from Birthday Party

Duke has identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases related to attendance of birthday party at an off-campus apartment. A “cluster” is defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as five or more related cases that are deemed to be in close proximity of time and location, such as a residential hall or apartment complex. 

See full article on Duke Today.

Student Conduct Updates Feb 4, 2021

The message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Dear students,

As we did in the fall, we will be sharing regular updates on COVID conduct and compliance this semester. We are proud that the majority of you are working so hard every day to keep your peers and the Duke community safe. As we shared earlier this week, we are at a critical point this semester and we need every single student consistently following the Duke Compact. 

The choices you make each day have a real impact on the health and safety of those around you, and have real implications when it comes to accountability. 

Included below is our first spring semester COVID conduct and compliance update. But before that, we are sharing a few other Student Conduct updates from Jeanna McCullers, Senior Associate Dean and Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. 

A new name: Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards

The Office of Student Conduct is now the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS). This is not just a name change. This shift is a reflection of the work the OSCCS deans have been engaging in thus far, and a look forward at the direction of the office. 

Community is at the heart at what we do.

This means we think intentionally about our work and its impact and effects on the campus and Durham communities. We are a part of the university community and consider our role as a conduit—helping to build or bring community together to uphold standards that make community possible and conducive for everyone to thrive.Thanks for engaging in this work with us and please provide suggestions and feedback as we grow!

COVID Amnesty Policy

Reporting incidents of sexual misconduct is vital to maintaining a campus climate free from harassment and sexual violence. Therefore, if the university first learns of a violation(s) of the Duke Compact or the Undergraduate Student COVID Policy Plan as part of a student reporting sexual misconduct, the complainant and witnesses will not be charged with violating these policies. 

We do not want you to avoid reporting sexual misconduct with a fear you may face disciplinary action.

More FAQs related to new Title IX policies and how they apply in Duke policies and procedures can be found on the Office for Institutional Equity website.

It’s a new day for the Student Conduct Board

It’s a new day for the Student Conduct Board

photo of AG Chancellor
Student Conduct Board Co-Chairs A.G. Chancellor and Madison Alvarado (both T’21)

Board Co-chairs A.G. Chancellor T’21 and Madison Alvarado T’21 (both pictured above) are thinking outside the box, revising the selection process for board members and expanding the role of the board through opportunities to engage with the Duke community in meaningful ways beyond hearing panels. They have participated in restorative justice training with Ombudsperson Ada Gregory, and are working with Dean Victoria Krebs to develop OSCCS circle processes as one form of adaptable resolution for cases where students are accepting responsibility and seeking to repair harm.Student Board members will now have the option to participate in trainings to hear cases of discrimination and harassment as well as training for restorative justice and circle processes. We are also developing opportunities for the 2021-2022 academic year for board members to participate in educational outreach opportunities across campus to explore and share trends and strategies for mitigating potential policy violations.

Compliance and Conduct Updates

As we have noted in previous messages, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards conducts a thorough review of all allegations against students and organizations. If students are found responsible, sanctions depend on the severity of the violations and students’ prior disciplinary history.

 Since January 1, OSCCS has taken the following actions:

8 — Students referred for educational interventions for less severe infractions of the Duke Compact — these outcomes are not part of a student’s disciplinary record.

17 —  Individual sanctions implemented by either the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards or Housing and Residence Life. These actions may become a part of the student’s conduct record and in some cases reportable to graduate schools, study away programs, employers, and other university programs in which a student’s disciplinary record may be a factor in participation.

— Campus organizations placed on interim suspension.

— Administrative Action Hearings held for flagrant violations of COVID policy expectations and the Duke Compact. Flagrant violations include: hosting gatherings, failing to follow quarantine and isolation protocols to protect fellow students, and repeated violations of COVID expectations. 

— Student Conduct Board hearings which have resulted in suspension of one semester or more, along with other varying sanctions. In these cases, some students will be unable to enroll (remotely or in person) in future semesters. 

COVID reminder: Duke-UNC Game

We know it’s a bummer that we can’t celebrate a win over UNC by having a bonfire on Abele Quad (NO post-game bonfire this year, regardless of outcome; individuals participating in or initiating unofficial bonfire celebrations may face prosecution and compromise future bonfire permits), or even by gathering to watch the game together like we may have pre-COVID. Just remember, the sooner we practice safe behavior and get through this pandemic, the sooner we can *light up* these traditions again.

Thank you and go Duke,

Gary G. Bennett
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education  

Mary Pat McMahon
Vice Provost for Student Affairs 

Jeanna McCullers
Senior Associate Dean & Director,
Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards

University Masking Guidance

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Renewed discussions regarding the potential benefit of double masking on source control and prevention of COVID-19 transmission have prompted questions about whether changes will be made to the current University masking policy. Eleven months of experience has demonstrated that robust infection prevention protocols such as masking, maintaining physical distance, limiting gatherings, and washing hands regularly have been effective in limiting the transmission of COVID-19 on campus.

At this time, we are not aware of a well-designed study that has been conducted to scientifically answer the question, “are two masks better at preventing COVID-transmission than one?” One study demonstrates the impact of wearing a well-fitting mask to improve source control and how wearing an overlying mask may improve overall mask fit. Logically, having additional layers of barrier protection over the nose and mouth should reduce particle dispersion.

With variants of the virus that cause COVID-19 now circulating, many are looking for ways to augment the infection prevention strategies in place – double masking is one such strategy. In an effort to support this approach, Duke will make available disposable medical masks on campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors who want them. These masks can be obtained at any of the surveillance testing sites on campus.

As we strive to continuously update our COVID-19 guidance to keep in step with the scientific community, we have updated masking guidance language as follows. We will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 infections among Duke community members and, should we see any concerning trends or signals, will reevaluate our recommendations below:

  • Double masking is optional at this time. Duke students, faculty, staff, and visitors are still required to wear a mask in all outdoor public settings where social distancing measures cannot be maintained (even briefly), and at all times in shared spaces indoors. Should individuals choose to wear a second mask, they may place a Duke-issued medical mask over the top of their own mask. Wearing the Duke-issued medical mask as the outer layer provides a fluid-resistant barrier. Duke-issued medical masks will be available at any of the surveillance testing sites on campus.

In addition, the proper fit of a mask improves its effectiveness. Simple mask modifications can be made to help improve its fit, and thereby improve source control. There are many options to make your mask fit better if it is too loose.

  • This video demonstrates one way to make your mask tighter.
  • A second option is to simply twist the straps of your Duke-issued mask before you put it on so that the elastic is in a crisscross.
  • Another option is to use a plastic clip to pull the straps tighter behind your head.

More information about proper use of masks is available on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

Sincerely,

Matthew Stiegel, Ph.D.
Director, Occupational and Environmental Safety Office

Becky Smith, MD,
Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, Medical Director, Duke Infection Prevention and Hospital Epidemiology

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

Important Undergrad COVID-19 Update

This message was sent to all undergraduate students on February 2, 2021

Dear students,

We are writing today to let you know what your Duke community and your peers need from you to ensure we can go through the semester as planned.

We are at a critical point in our efforts to contain COVID transmission among Duke students both on and off campus in Durham. The actions you take each day have a direct impact on the health and safety of those around you.

Please watch and pay close attention to the information included in the video below.  

  • Residential students: Watch for additional follow-up opportunities and floor meetings to review this information later this week.
  • Off-campus students: Let us know if you have questions. The actions you take each day have a direct impact on how we go through the semester, too, and we want to make sure you have the information you need right now. 

Please let us know if you have questions, and thanks for being part of this team. 

Go Duke,

Mary Pat McMahon
Vice Provost of Student Affairs

Gary Bennett 
Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education 

View the original message here

Testing Update: January 25-31, 2021

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program administered 23,008 tests to students and 3,339 tests to faculty/staff for the period January 25-31, with a total of 76 positive results.

Among students there were 54 positive results, identified through gateway testing and frequent surveillance testing for asymptomatic students as well as tests for those exhibiting symptoms.

The individuals who tested positive have been placed in isolation, while those identified as potential contacts have been placed in precautionary quarantine. The total positivity rate was 0.29 percent.

The full announcement of testing results is posted to Duke Today.

Testing data is also available on our Testing Tracker, which is updated every Tuesday.

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