Category: For Faculty Page 1 of 6

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

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

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.

Update about Spring 2021 Undergraduate Study Away Programs

The Duke University Global Education Office (GEO) has suspended all outgoing undergraduate study away programs for spring 2021 due to ongoing health, safety, and logistics concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension applies to Duke-In, Duke-Approved, and petition programs, including domestic study away programs and U.S.-based exchange programs. GEO will continue offering spring semester opportunities for Duke students unable to return to Duke’s campus through the Duke at DKU and Study Away at Home programs.

Duke academic policy states that online transfer credit, such as those offered through virtual study away programs, will not be accepted by the registrar’s office. Please note that should a student choose to study away this spring on an unsanctioned program, they do so without access to university financial aid and travel resources, and will not be permitted to transfer credit back to the institution.

Duke students who have paid deposits towards suspended Duke programs will have those funds credited to their bursar accounts. Non-Duke students will be contacted by their GEO Program Manager about deposit refunds. Students on Duke-approved programs should check with their program provider regarding cancellation, withdrawal, and refund policies.

GEO will withdraw all spring study away applications from MyGlobalEd. To ensure a seamless continuation of your studies this spring, we recommend students refer to updates on Keep Learning regarding the Duke spring semester.

For the latest from the Global Education Office, please visit their website:

President Updates Community at Midpoint of Semester

To the Duke Community,

We are now halfway through the fall semester. This may seem surprising, both because we started earlier than usual this year and because it feels like the first day of classes was a decade ago.

There are still challenges ahead, but we have much to be proud of at Duke. Thanks to the cooperation of the Duke community, our comprehensive testing program, and generally good adherence to our health and safety protocols, we have so far kept the rate of coronavirus infections relatively low.  This has enabled us to continue our semester as planned.

Read the full message on the Duke Today website.

Update on Duke’s Operational Plans

As the State of North Carolina moves to Phase 3 of pandemic restrictions on Friday October 3, we write to advise you that Duke University will not be changing campus safety protocols and practices.

For more details, see the story on the Duke Today website.

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: August 17, 2020

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing program has administered 5,765 tests to the students who have returned to campus since Aug. 2, school officials announced Monday, the first day of undergraduate classes for the fall semester.

A total of 11 positive results have been reported and those students are in mandatory isolation. Any student who tests positive is required to isolate until getting medical clearance to access campus facilities. These 11 include the four positive results reported by Duke last week.

Read the full announcement on Duke Today.

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