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President Price Provides Update on Plans for Fall Semester

President Vincent Price updated the Duke community on safety and health plans for the fall semester, reporting that Duke would continue on the path to resuming residential activity and outlining the changes in student and campus life that will enable students to safely return to classes on campus.

Read more on Duke Today.

Update on Plans for a Return to the Workplace

June 25, 2020

Duke Faculty and Staff,

We are writing to provide an update on our phased return to the workplace and the gradual reopening of offices and buildings on campus.

Consistent with our earlier guidance, university staff members should continue to work remotely unless they are specifically designated to return to the workplace. In addition, no university-sponsored or hosted events will be permitted on campus through at least the end of July.

We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Durham and North Carolina as we continue to implement Duke’s plan to safely return students, faculty and staff to campus.  Right now, we are currently in Phase 2 of the reopening process and hope to begin Phase 3 in July: 

  • Phase 1 (March – May): Critical Operations Only: essential healthcare, police/security, utilities, continued student support for remaining residential students, dining services, limited housekeeping, payroll, etc. 
  • Phase 2 (May – June): Expanded Clinics & Research Labs: additional healthcare personnel, principal investigators, research staff, etc. 
  • Phase 3 (July – August): Business Continuity Operations: business support operations, faculty offices, student/academic support services, etc. 
  • Phase 4 (August – December): Fall Semester Operations: necessary personnel to support student services & academic programming for fall semester, etc. 

While the state of North Carolina has recorded a high level of positive COVID-19 cases, we are in regular contact with public health officials and experts from the Duke School of Medicine and Duke Health System and remain confident that our plan continues to protect health and safety while facilitating the resumption of teaching, residential life, research and health care services, among other things.

As a reminder, all members of our community must wear a face covering while on Duke leased or owned property, unless you are eating/drinking or alone in a confined room such as an office. (Please note that confined spaces do notinclude meeting rooms, break rooms or shared environments, including buses.) By all accounts, wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distancing are the most effective ways to limit the spread of the virus.

Duke will provide three reusable cloth face coverings to every student, faculty and staff member to use. Distribution of these reusable face coverings for faculty and staff will be managed through the Return to the Workplace Coordinators for each school or department; Student Affairs will coordinate distribution to students.

We encourage you to read the detailed Guide for the Return to the Workplace. The guide covers important details regarding staffing, health and safety protocols, using Duke facilities, and resources for support.

Thank you for your ongoing support of your teams in helping Duke respond to the unique challenges from the pandemic.

Sincerely,

Kyle Cavanaugh
Vice President, Administration

Jennifer Francis
Executive Vice Provost

This message has been sent to all Duke University faculty and staff.

Keeping Campus Transit Rolling, Safely

Duke is instituting health and safety measures on all campus buses to protect operators and passengers from COVID-19 infection.

In preparing buses for the return of students, staff and faculty for the fall semester, crews in Parking & Transporation Services have followed a protocol since May ranging from a three-step disinfectant process to requiring physical distancing aboard all 25 buses and the rest of Duke’s transit vehicles.

Read more

Majority of University Staff to Work Remotely Through June

The following memo was send to University leaders and managers.

TO: Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers
FROM: Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration
RE: Update on Plans for a Return to the Workplace

As North Carolina and Durham continue to revise restrictions for public and business activity and Duke gradually reopens clinical facilities and research laboratories, we expect the majority of university staff will continue to work remotely through the month of June.

With the successful reopening of labs in the School of Medicine, Pratt School of Engineering, Nicholas School of the Environment and the Duke Marine Lab, several thousand faculty and staff have returned to the campus under controlled circumstances and with new protocols for safety, cleaning, scheduling, social distancing, symptom monitoring and testing.

University officials will be monitoring this new activity to ensure that the health and safety of all employees and students are protected and will make necessary adjustments as the reopening continues.

Each school and administrative department now has a Return to the Workplace Coordinator who is assessing staffing models, space configuration, scheduling, social distancing requirements, cleaning and safety procedures, and signage to facilitate the expansion of on-site work as departments are approved to reopen and staff their facilities. Any individual who is approved to return to the workplace will be required to submit a symptom monitoring assessment daily and wear a mask while on-site.

Please take a moment to review the Guide for the Return to the Workplace as we gain more experience in addressing specific needs of departments and more information will be made available over time.

Thank you for your ongoing support of your teams in helping Duke respond to the unique challenges of this time.

President Price Announces New Steps to Secure Duke’s Financial Future

Dear Colleagues,

Over these past few months, the world has seen the best of Duke. Every member of our community has risen to meet extraordinary difficulties that none of us expected when the academic year began with such promise last August. For all that, and on behalf of your colleagues around the world, I thank you. I have never been prouder to be a Blue Devil.

Even as we rise to meet the public health challenges and navigate this new world of social distancing and working from home, we must also rise to meet the financial headwinds now confronting us, both individually and collectively. As I noted last month, the fallout from the pandemic has had a significant negative effect on almost every aspect of our operations. Indeed, as predicted, every one of our sources of revenue—tuition, research grants, clinical and patient care services, private philanthropy and income from our investments and endowment—has already suffered large reductions or is expected to be quite substantially diminished in the months ahead. 

Read the full text of the message.

Guide to Return to the Workplace

The following memo was sent to University leaders and managers.

TO: Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers
FROM: Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration
RE: Guide to Return to the Workplace

As we continue planning a phased expansion of on-site operations later next month, we have developed a Guide for the Return to the Workplace to assist school and department leaders in considering guidelines to ensure a safe working environment.

The document will be one that is updated over time as conditions change and we learn more about how to best address these issues through ongoing analysis, consultation with our peers, and emergence of best practices across the country.

Coordinators have been identified by each University dean and vice president to lead the efforts within their respective areas using the policies and protocols in the guide. These coordinators will take the lead in their respective areas to identify appropriate staffing models to reduce population density in buildings, develop social distancing plans inside facilities, and coordinate requests for masks and other resources.

Please take time to review the guide to help address potential questions and concerns among staff and reinforce the steps being taken to provide a safe working environment. Duke University is taking a slow and deliberate approach to expanding operations and staffing so that we might learn from them before taking broader actions. As a result, most of the University’s workforce will continue to work remotely for the immediate future.

Update on Return to the Workplace Plans

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to provide you with a brief update regarding the planning process for Duke University’s Return to the Workplace efforts. These efforts are being carefully controlled and coordinated to ensure personal safety and mitigate potential risks of spreading COVID-19.

Team 2021, the strategy team convened by President Price to assess options and recommendations for the next academic year, continues to meet several times per week. While decisions about the fall semester will likely not be made until late June, the team is also coordinating more immediate plans to initiate the reopening of certain offices and facilities on campus.   These areas will initially include clinical services in Duke Health and research laboratories. 

While the stay-at-home orders for the state of North Carolina and Durham County’s are expected to expire on May 8 and May 15 respectively, please note we expect the majority of the University’s workforce to continue to work remotely until further notice.   

No unit or department should increase on-site staffing beyond current levels until further notice and only employees who have been specifically designated and informed by their supervisors should make preparations to return to their offices after May 15.

The University has formed a Return to the Workplace group made up of representatives designated by each dean and vice president. This group will be coordinating the process, schedule and approvals needed to ramp up activity in Duke facilities.  They will also work with their respective school, department and administrative unites to ensure appropriate social distancing practices, coordinate building controls and access, and distribute appropriate PPE and other safety resources. 

A video Q&A and a comprehensive Guide for the Return to the Workplace will be made available to all employees later this week to provide more detail on policies, practices and expectations that will need to be observed as we continue the process of restoring activity to the Duke campus and our off-campus facilities.   

We want to extend a special thanks to the thousands of front-line Duke Health staff who have continued to deliver exceptional patient care during this public health crisis, and the hundreds of University staff who are supporting the students who currently remain on campus, maintaining critical laboratories, utilities, and facilities, and providing essential operational support services to the entire Duke community. We are also deeply grateful to the countless others who are working remotely to advance our missions in new and innovative ways. 

Sincerely,

Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration, Co-chair Team 2021
Jennifer Francis, Executive Vice Provost, Co-chair Team 2021  

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

Transition Plans for Expanded Staffing Over Time

This week Governor Cooper announced an extension of the “stay-at-home” order for the entire state through May 8, and the City of Durham City and Durham County announced a joint extension until May 15. Area municipalities are also allowed to create provisions that are in addition to and extend beyond the state’s May 8 order.

Duke will phase in a return of faculty and staff over time in a coordinated process to ensure appropriate social distancing, availability of PPE (personal protective equipment) and testing capabilities for COVID-19. Expanded staffing will begin in more controlled areas of greatest need such as health clinics and research laboratories as early as next week.

These efforts are being tightly controlled and coordinated to mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of faculty and staff, as well as the communities we serve. No unit or department should increase staffing levels beyond current needs to support critical on-site operations without approval from your respective dean, vice president or vice provost. Once decisions to expand on-site staffing in certain areas have been made, those areas will receive guidelines and instructions for returning to work on campus.

Our approach to staffing will need to be phased in over time and fluid as conditions change. As areas of the state and region begin to ease restrictions on activities, we may see localized spikes of COVID-19 outbreaks. Such outbreaks will increase demands on our health system and may force us to restrict on-site staffing again to only those necessary to support critical operations until the outbreaks are contained.

We continue to work closely with local, state and federal authorities as well as public health officials, including our own Duke Health experts in infectious diseases, to determine the safest approach for all members of the Duke community.

No decisions have been made yet as to activities related to the fall semester. President Price has charged Strategy Team 2021 with assessing options for a return of students, faculty and staff to campus. More information will be communicated regarding those plans as we assess conditions through the coming months and once decisions have been finalized.

Thank you for your ongoing flexibility and support in serving our core missions and upholding our shared values during this unique time in Duke’s history.

Sincerely,

Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration, Co-chair Team 2021

Jennifer Francis, Executive Vice Provost, Co-chair Team 2021

Planning for a Return to the Workplace

The following memo was sent to University leaders and managers on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.

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

FROM: Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration, Co-chair Team 2021
Jennifer Francis, Executive Vice Provost, Co-chair Team 2021

SUBJECT: Planning For a Return to the Workplace

President Price has charged Strategy Team 2021 with assessing options for a return of students, faculty and staff to campus. As co-chairs of that team, we want to share some considerations to help set appropriate expectations for the coming weeks and months.

The “stay-at-home” order for Durham and all of North Carolina remains in effect through at least April 30. Under that ordinance, only essential staff and faculty are reporting to campus to support critical on-site research, safety and security operations, facilities, student support services and patient care. We anticipate either the state or local orders will be extended beyond the original deadline, perhaps until May 15. 

When the “stay-at-home” orders are lifted, Duke will likely phase in a return of the faculty and staff over time as we ensure appropriate social distancing and availability of PPE (personal protective equipment) and testing capabilities for COVID-19.  We are working closely with local, state and federal authorities as well as public health officials, including our own Duke Health experts in infectious diseases, to determine the safest approach for all employees.

To be clear, no dates has been set for the resumption of activity on the Duke campus, regardless of when the “stay at home” orders are ended.  Further, we ask that you not make any public announcements, statements or commitments regarding the return of students, faculty and staff and the resumption of events and programs on the Duke campus. More information will be communicated regarding the transition once plans have been finalized. Until then, only employees supporting critical operations should report to work on-site.

In the meanwhile, we are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of those required to be on campus. All employees on campus are provided masks to wear during their shifts, social distancing is being practiced to the extent possible and building access is being tightly controlled and monitored daily.

Any employee reporting to work should continue to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to work and contact the Duke COVID hotline* (919-385-0429 option 1 for employees) if presenting with any symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose/sinus congestion, sore throat, muscle aches, and headaches) before returning to work.

Please share updates with your staff to help set appropriate expectations regarding when and how Duke will manage a phased return to work and operations. Thank you for all you are doing to help lead your teams during this challenging time.

Durham Residents Required to Wear Face Coverings

The City of Durham and Durham County issued new regulations on Friday that require people to wear a clean face covering any time they are or will be in contact with other people who are not household members in public or private spaces where it is not possible to maintain social distance such as grocery stories, pharmacies, business location and public transit.

Implementation of the rules governing face coverings will become effective on Monday, April 20 at midnight.

For complete details, view the press release on the Durham County website.

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