Category: For Staff Page 1 of 14

Masking Optional in Classrooms Beginning Sept. 22

Sept. 16, 2022

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As communicated earlier, Duke’s masking policy will be guided by the community risk category as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Thursday, Sept. 22, Durham will have been below the high-risk category for two consecutive weeks, so beginning that day masking will become optional in classrooms.

We recommend that anyone experiencing cold-like respiratory symptoms, even after a negative COVID test, continue to wear a mask indoors until symptoms resolve. Unvaccinated individuals, who are at increased risk for severe illness, are encouraged but will no longer be required to wear masks indoors beginning next Thursday. Please note that any individuals who feel more comfortable continuing to mask should do so and all members of the community should respect the rights of those who wish to remain masked. 

Faculty members may request that students continue to wear masks in their classrooms if they wish to do so. In such cases, faculty should clearly communicate those expectations to the class. Masking helps protect the masked individual, even in the presence of those who are unmasked, so those with concerns – faculty or students – should continue to wear a well-fitted mask in class.

Student who have tested positive or have COVID symptoms should not attend class until they have tested negative or been cleared by Student Health to return. Faculty will work with students to navigate any missed classes.

Masks will continue to be required on Duke buses and vans and in all clinical settings until further notice.

The best precaution you can take now is to get the new bivalent COVID booster, which protects against transmission from the current variants now in circulation. Appointments are being added to the COVID Vaccine website as supply becomes available. Boosters may also be available at your medical provider or local pharmacy.

Medical experts caution that we are not out of this pandemic yet, and we can expect ongoing variants to emerge that may prove more elusive to vaccines and antibodies and could lead to increases in severe illness and hospitalizations. If so, we must be ready to embrace a return to familiar restrictions and requirements, including indoor masking, that have proven effective in safeguarding our community.

But for now, as we take this next step towards more normalcy on campus and in classrooms, we are grateful for the efforts of all members of the Duke community that have allowed us to continue the work of the university throughout the pandemic.   

Sally Kornbluth, Ph.D.

Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor

Russell Thompson,

Interim Vice President, Operations,

Emergency Coordinator

New Omicron COVID Booster Shots Available

Sept. 8, 2022

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

Duke is beginning to offer the newly reformatted booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine that provide greater protection against the omicron variant of COVID, including the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants currently in circulation in our community and across the country.

The bivalent booster shots were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week for individuals who have had the initial series of the vaccine. The Pfizer booster is available to those ages 12 and older, and the Moderna booster is available to those 18 and older. Those who recently received an initial vaccine shot or a booster should wait two months before getting the new booster, and anyone who recently tested positive for COVID should wait 90 days after the onset of symptoms or a positive test.

Appointments are available through the Duke COVID Vaccine website for eligible students, faculty and staff. Appointments will expand as Duke Health receives additional shipments of vaccine throughout the month. But individuals should also explore other vaccination options such as local pharmacies or their healthcare provider.

We strongly recommend the bivalent booster shot for those who are eligible to help provide individual protection against severe illness and limit the potential for the broader community spread we typically see during the fall and winter months.

If you have waited to get a booster shot, this is the time to get it. Broad vaccination with this new booster can make a significant difference in finally getting to the other side of this pandemic. Thank you. 

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

John Vaughn, MD

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs,

Director of Student Health Services

Gail Shulby, RN, MA, CPPS
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

Reminders about COVID Protocols for fall semester

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

We are looking forward to the beginning of the new academic year and vibrant activity on campus as many of our students arrive on campus later this week. As more people return to campus, we want to take this opportunity to remind you of our current COVID protocols to promote the safety of our community.

The latest COVID variants are far more transmissible than earlier variants, which has led to an increase in cases in recent weeks. By taking the appropriate precautions, we can help prevent the potential for a surge at the beginning of the semester that could hinder the ability for many to fully participate in campus life. 

Here are some quick reminders:  

  • Get tested before returning: Students are required to get a negative PCR test before arriving on campus, preferably within 72 hours of arrival. Tests are not required to be submitted to Duke, but participation is considered part of the Duke Community Standard. Anyone who tests positive should contact Student Health and delay their arrival until cleared by Student Health.
  • Be ready to mask upMasking is currently required in classrooms, on Duke buses and vans, and in all clinical settings. Masks will no longer be required in classrooms once the CDC community risk for Durham drops below “high” for two consecutive weeks. Masking is also recommended for other indoor gatherings while the community risk remains at “high” as defined by the CDC.
  • If in doubt, get tested: Duke will continue to offer asymptomatic testing for anyone who believes they may have been exposed to someone with COVID.
  • If you have any symptoms: Do not report to class or work, and contact Student Health or Employee Occupational Health & Wellness for symptomatic testing.
  • If you test positiveReport your results, wear a well-fitted mask, and isolate for a minimum of five days before returning to work or class. Wear a mask for another five days after isolation. Health sciences students will be required to isolate for seven days due to working in the healthcare environment.
  • If you live on campus: Residential students who test positive will isolate in place within their room. Roommates who have been exposed will need to test and also wear a mask. If you test negative and are medically high-risk for severe illness, you may request temporary alternative housing during your roommate’s isolation period.

You can find more information about all the COVID protocols for the fall semester on the Duke Coronavirus Response website.

Thank you and here’s to a great semester.

Sally A. Kornbluth
Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor

Daniel Ennis,
Executive Vice President

COVID Safety Protocols for the Fall Semester

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As we approach the fall semester and provide community health guidance, we find ourselves in a considerably better position for managing COVID than we have since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The Duke community has effectively embraced the challenge of helping mitigate the impact of COVID on our campus the last two years. Now, we essentially have a fully vaccinated campus community, which means the risk for severe illness is considerably lower than it would be in the general population. We have also had compliance with masking requirements and no documented cases of transmission within our classrooms.

Among our campus community, there have been few cases of hospitalizations in the last year, and no student hospitalizations to our knowledge in 2022 year-to-date. The latest variants of virus currently circulating within the community are also less likely to cause severe illness than earlier strains of COVID, especially among those fully vaccinated.

Given these factors, we are able to more readily manage COVID cases on campus as we enter the fall semester. We also know there will be circumstances where special arrangements will need to be considered for individuals with higher risk factors for severe illness.

Below are the guidelines for the fall semester. As has been the case throughout the course of this pandemic, we will need to continue to be flexible and make adjustments as circumstances change.

Vaccination Requirements:

  • Students are required to complete a World Health Organization-approved COVID vaccine series prior to participation in on-campus activities. Duke also recommends students receive a booster dose when eligible per CDC guidelines. Note: Health Science students are required to receive the booster dose when eligible per CDC guidelines.
  • All new employees are required to have a WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccination and booster shot or a Duke-approved medical or religious exemption.

Masking:

  • Duke University’s approach to masking in classrooms will be tied to the CDC community level category. Currently, Durham County remains at the “high” level of community risk, so masking will continue to be required in classrooms. If and when the community risk has been reduced to medium or low for two consecutive weeks, masking will no longer be required in classrooms. Masking will continue to be encouraged in classrooms for anyone who is concerned or is at high-risk for severe disease.
  • Masks will continue to be required on Duke buses and vans and in all clinical settings, regardless of the CDC community level.
  • Individuals who are unvaccinated are still required to wear a mask in all indoor settings.
  • Anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should wear a mask, not report to work or attend classes, and get tested as soon as possible. Anyone experiencing respiratory symptoms, even after a negative COVID test, should remember there are many respiratory viruses circulating in our community. Please be considerate to others and wear a mask whenever you have any cold-like symptoms.
  • Masks may still be required in other locations based on specific circumstances, so student, employees and visitors should carry a mask and be prepared to wear it, if needed. Masking is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others, especially in indoor settings. Please continue to respect an individual’s decision to wear a mask even if it is not required.

Testing:

  • Duke will require all students to get a negative PCR test before arriving on campus, preferably within 72 hours of arrival. Tests are not required to be submitted to Duke, but participation is considered as part of the Duke Community Standard.
  • Anyone who tests positive should contact Student Health and delay their arrival until cleared by Student Health.
  • Duke will continue to offer limited surveillance testing at four locations during the fall semester. Testing is optional for all students, faculty and staff. For more information about surveillance testing, visit the Coronavirus Response website.

Isolation Management:

  • Students, faculty and staff who test positive will be required to wear a well-fitted mask and isolate for a minimum of five days before returning to work or class and will need to continue to wear a mask for another five days. Health sciences students will be required to observe the longer isolation requirement for those working in the healthcare environment.
  • Residential students who test positive will be allowed to isolate in place within their residential hall room or apartment while wearing a well-fitted mask until released by Student Health. Residential students can arrange for food delivery through Merchants on Point. Roommates who have been exposed will need to test and also wear a mask to reduce further exposure or infection. Duke has secured space to help relocate exposed medically high-risk roommates, if needed.

Our community has been exceptionally resilient in navigating the worst of the pandemic the last two years. And while we must be prepared to renew our efforts again if circumstances change, we look forward to moving back into more normal routines this academic year. Thank you.

Carol Epling, MD, MSPH
Assistant Professor in Family Medicine and Community Health,
Executive Director, Employee Occupational Health and Wellness

John Vaughn, MD
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs,
Director of Student Health Services

Gail Shulby, RN, MA,CPP
Chief of Staff to the Vice Dean for Strategic Development,
Duke University School of Medicine

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

Vaccine Booster Available for Children Ages 5-11

May 20, 2022

Faculty and Staff,

Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved a booster dose the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11, and we encourage parents at Duke to schedule an appointment with their pediatrician to get the vaccine to help protect them and others from the spread of COVID.

While hospitalizations remain low, cases are continuing a steady increase in our area and on our campus, including some who have now tested positive on multiple occasions. So, if you haven’t already, get your required booster shot once eligible or a second booster, if you meet the criteria. Breakthrough infections are less likely, and the possibility of developing severe illness requiring hospitalization is significantly lower if an individual is fully vaccinated and boosted. Details regarding appointments and walk-in clinics are available on the COVID Vaccinewebsite. If you have questions about if and when you should get a booster, you can find answers in a recent Q&A on Duke Today.

Limited surveillance testing is still being offered on campus for asymptomatic students, faculty and staff. Please note that testing will be closed on Monday, May 30 in observance of Memorial Day. Anyone who is experiencing flu-like symptoms should not participate in surveillance testing but should instead call the COVID Hotline (919-385-0429 option 1 for employees) to be tested and receive support and guidance, as appropriate.

The federal government has also now made additional home test kits available. Individuals can easily request up to 8 test kits per household. Any faculty or staff member who tests positive from an outside test should still call the COVID Hotline (919-385-0429 option 1 for employees) to report it to Employee Occupational Health and Wellness.

As we manage through this increase in cases, we encourage people to wear masks when gathering with people indoors to help prevent the spread of the virus. Masking remains one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others, and it is still required on all campus buses/vans, in classrooms, and in clinical settings.

Thank you, and have a safe and enjoyable summer.

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 Emeritus Duke Health

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

Paul Grantham,
Assistant Vice President of Communication Services, Deputy Emergency Coordinator

Co-Leaders of the COVID-19 Vaccination Planning Work Group

Masking Requirement for Summer Session

TO:Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers
FROM:Sally A. Kornbluth, Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor

Paul Grantham, Assistant Vice President, Deputy Emergency Coordinator
RE:Masking Requirement for Summer Session

Today marks the beginning of Duke’s Summer Session, and because we are seeing an increase in COVID cases on campus and in our community, we will continue to require masks for in-person classes, on Duke buses and vans, and in all clinical settings.

The current increase in COVID cases is the result of the BA.2 subvariant that has now become the dominant strain in our community. While severe illness is less likely with this strain, we are seeing a slow but steady increase in hospitalizations in the state and in our community. Thankfully, no Duke faculty, staff or students are currently hospitalized.

Indoor gatherings, especially when eating together, continue to pose an increased risk for transmission. Masking remains one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others, especially in indoor settings. Please continue to respect an individual’s decision to wear a mask even if it is not required.

Vaccination Clinics:

Duke has added additional options for employee vaccination clinics, and we encourage everyone to get a booster shot or second booster once eligible. Breakthrough infections are less likely, and the possibility of developing severe illness requiring hospitalization is significantly lower if an individual is fully vaccinated and boosted. Details regarding appointments and walk-in clinics are available on the COVID Vaccine website. Please consult your health care provider if you have questions about the vaccination.

COVID Testing:

Duke continues to offer limited surveillance testing Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the summer. Testing is currently being offered at the Washington Duke Inn on Monday – Wednesday and at the Levine Science Research Center (LSRC) on Thursday. No appointment is needed.

Anyone experiencing COVID-like symptoms should contact Employee Occupational Health and Wellness COVID Hotline (919-385-0429 option 1) or Student Health (919-681-9355, option 2) to be tested and receive support and guidance, as appropriate.

Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to helping lead us through what we hope are the end stages of this pandemic.

Health Guidance for Upcoming Events

TO:       Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers

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

 Paul Grantham, Assistant Vice President, Communications, Deputy Emergency Coordinator

RE:       Health Guidance for Upcoming Events

As we approach the end of the academic year and commencement, we want to provide some guidance on gatherings and eating in congregate settings to help mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 as we close out the semester.

During the last couple of weeks, we have seen an uptick in cases on campus. This uptick coincides with recent travel over spring break, gatherings afterward, and the emergence of the BA.2 subvariant in our community. Thankfully, we have not seen a corresponding increase in severe cases or hospitalizations. By taking common sense precautions, departments and units can safely gather to celebrate the end of the academic year.

These precautions include:

  • All attendees (employees, students and their guests) should be vaccinated.
  • Outdoor events and gatherings present a much lower risk for COVID transmission, especially if serving food.
  • No individuals should be required or expected to attend a reception, party or gathering. We should recognize that some of our colleagues have family or health concerns and will choose not to participate.
  • Masking is still required on Duke buses and vans, in classrooms and clinical settings.
  • Masking remains one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others, especially in indoor settings. We should respect an individual’s decision to wear a mask even if it is not required. 

The end of the academic year is a time of celebration, and we hope to do so in a responsible way to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Thank you for your continued diligence as we navigate this latest uptick in cases at the end of the semester.

COVID Safety Protocols for Summer Sessions

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students

While we begin the final month of the spring semester, we are also preparing for a busy summer on campus. We continue to see promising signs with fewer cases of severe illness related to COVID-19 nationally, across North Carolina, and here in our Duke Community. However, we want to do our part to continue that trend by taking appropriate precautions during the summer for students, faculty, staff and participants in camps.

As part of this effort, we are making some changes to our COVID protocols for summer sessions (effective May 9, 2022):

Students in Summer Session

  • All incoming summer students will be required to be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption. Summer students who have not already done so, should submit documentation through Student Health Services. (Students can email immunizations@duke.edu to request a medical or religious exemption form.)
  • All incoming students, regardless of vaccination status, must have a negative COVID test (PCR) 72 hours prior to arrival to campus. Students will be required to show documentation during the in-take process. (Note: Students who have tested positive in the last 90 days and have completed their required isolation period should bring a dated copy of the positive test result to show during the in-take process. Those who have not completed their required isolation period will need to wait until doing so before coming to campus.)
  • Any students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested at Student Health or other provider.
  • Students testing positive must be isolated for at least 5 days (if on-campus, will isolate in a single room in their residence hall).

Surveillance Testing for Students, Faculty and Staff

  • Required surveillance testing of students ended on March 17 due to limited public health benefit given high vaccination rates among students. The limited surveillance testing available on campus will end on May 1 (after final exams).
  • Required testing and daily symptom monitoring for unvaccinated faculty, staff and students will also end on May 1. Unvaccinated individuals remain at higher risk for severe illness related to COVID and should consider getting vaccinated to protect themselves and others at risk for severe illness.
  • Symptomatic testing for students, faculty and staff will continue to be available through Student Health, Employee Occupational Health and Wellness, or an outside provider.

Residential Summer Camps and Programs

  • All residential camp and program participants are required to be vaccinated or have a medical or religious exemption.
  • All residential camp and program participants must have a negative COVID test (PCR) 72 hours prior to arrival to campus. Participants will be required to show documentation during the in-take process. (Note: Participants who have tested positive in the last 90 days and have completed their required isolation period should bring a dated copy of the positive test result to show during the in-take process. Those who have not completed their required isolation period will need to wait until doing so before coming to campus.)
  • Each program must have a designated COVID Coordinator who will be responsible for verifying vaccination status and a negative test within 72 hours of arrival for campers and program staff. No medical documentation will be collected other than a form confirming vaccination status during the in-take process.
  • Student Health will do symptomatic testing of participants for camps and programs that have a contract for the service; otherwise, participants should be tested at an outside facility (e.g. urgent care, pharmacy). Any participant who tests positive will be removed from participation. Residential youth camp participants will be isolated in a single residence hall until a parent or designated adult caregiver can pick up the individual.

Day Camps and Programs

  • Participants in day camps and programs are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated before arriving. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should not report to camp until after receiving a negative test.
  • Student Health will do symptomatic testing of participants for camps and programs that have a contract for the service; otherwise, participants should be tested at an outside facility (e.g. urgent care, pharmacy).
  • Any day camp or program participant who tests positive while on campus will be removed from participation, and youth participants must have a parent or designated adult caregiver pick up the individual.

We are so proud of the efforts each of you have made in helping navigate the worst of the pandemic. While we must be prepared to ramp up our efforts again if a new variant or outbreak emerges, we hope to continue easing back into more normal routines this summer. Thank you.

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration, Duke University

Russell Thompson,
Interim Vice President, Operations, 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

Second Booster Shot Available for Eligible Faculty, Staff and Students

Duke is now offering second booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine for eligible faculty, staff and students over the age of 50, as well as anyone who is considered severely immunocompromised to increase their protection against severe disease.

Following approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week, Duke will offer the Pfizer vaccine as a second booster shot for those who have had their first booster shot at least four months ago. The second booster shot is not currently required for Duke students, faculty or staff, but it is offered as an option for those who are eligible.

Second booster shots are available by appointment or walk-in at the Duke Medical Pavilion in Conference Room 2w91, Duke Clinic 1J, Duke Regional Hospital and Duke Raleigh Hospital. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit the Duke COVID Vaccine website. Eligible faculty, staff and students are also encouraged to consider vaccination options at local pharmacies or their healthcare provider.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to keep yourself, your loved ones and the Duke community safe. 

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

Indoor Mask Requirement Lifted in Most Duke University Facilities

March 4, 2022

Students, Faculty and Staff,

The City and County of Durham will end the indoor masking mandate on Monday, March 7, as will Orange County. Wake County ended its indoor masking mandate on February 25. As a result, and after reviewing CDC guidance and consulting with our infectious disease experts, Duke University will also revise its indoor masking requirements.

As of Monday, March 7, fully vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to wear masks inside most campus and leased facilities. However, masks will continue to be required for all individuals in the following locations on the Duke University campus unless otherwise indicated:

  • In-person classes
  • Duke buses and vans
  • Clinical and patient care areas*

*Note: Easing of mask requirements does not apply to Duke University Health System hospitals, clinics, procedural centers and PDC clinics. Further communication regarding changes in mask requirements will come directly from DUHS and PDC leadership and will be in accordance with CDC health care recommendations.

Masks may still be required in other locations (such as the Lemur Center) based on specific circumstances, so we encourage students, employees and visitors to carry a mask and be prepared to wear it if needed. Individuals who are unvaccinated are still required to wear a mask in all indoor settings. Anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should wear a mask, not report to work or attend classes, and get tested as soon as possible.
Over the next several weeks, we will continue to evaluate campus and local conditions to determine if further changes need to be made in our masking policies.

This transition recognizes that COVID-19 will be with us in some form, but the spread and severity can now be managed through vaccinations and medical treatment. As a result of our high vaccination rates, frequent testing and care and concern for each other, we have not seen any cases of serious illness among students, and very few among employees since the emergence of the Omicron variant.

After two years of navigating the pandemic, we recognize this change may feel uncomfortable for some, and we ask you to be respectful of those who prefer to continue wearing masks, particularly for those who have underlying high-risk medical conditions or live with those who do. It took time for us to adjust to life in a pandemic, and it will take time as we adjust to living with COVID as the pandemic eases. But this is another positive step toward that future.

We are deeply grateful for your engagement and compliance with masking and other safety measures to help protect each other throughout the pandemic. We’re sure this change is welcome news for many and expect we’ll see a lot more smiles around campus in the days ahead.

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

Sally Kornbluth, Ph.D.
Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor

This message was sent to all University students, faculty and staff.

Page 1 of 14

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén