Category: For Students Page 1 of 12

Gatherings and Events on Campus – updated guidelines

This message is being sent to all University Faculty and Staff.

Dear Colleagues,

With the continued progress nationally and statewide in controlling the spread of the COVID-19, Duke will begin easing restrictions for gatherings of people and hosting of events.

Effective June 1, 2021, Duke schools, departments and units may host events, activities and performances on and off campus, including meetings of faculty, staff, students and invited guests, without prior approval as long as they observe current Centers for Disease Control and State of North Carolina guidelines for capacity. Food and drink will be permitted subject to state and local regulations. Updated guidelines can be found at

This guidance only applies to Duke-hosted activities. Outside organizations cannot hold events on the Duke campus without prior approval from the Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations.

Sponsors of events or gatherings on campus should strongly encourage all attendees to be vaccinated, and as previously announced, masks are required inside on-campus buildings. Access to all campus buildings will continue to be limited to those with active DukeCards. Daily symptom monitoring is still required by members of the Duke community to activate their DukeCard for building access.

Widespread vaccinations have proven to significantly reduce the positive cases of COVID-19 on campus and in the community.  Duke faculty, staff or students who have not yet been vaccinated should schedule an appointmentthrough the Duke Employee Vaccination Clinic.

Duke is continuing surveillance testing for all students residing on campus during the summer. Faculty and staff who are working on campus are encouraged to participate in the testing as well.

Together, we are making great strides to protect our community and return to some of the activities we have not been able to do during the worst of the pandemic. Thank you for your ongoing cooperation and resilience that has allowed us to reach this positive milestone.


Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

Testing Update: April 26 – May 2, 2021

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program administered 17,128 tests to 9,363 students and 1,733 tests to 985 faculty/staff for the period April 26-May 2, 2021, with a total of four positive results. The total positivity rate was 0.02 percent.

For the second consecutive week the number of positive cases and positivity rate are at the lowest level of the academic year. This is also the final week of testing for the Spring semester.

Testing will continue during the summer and will be posted to Duke’s coronavirus website every Monday afternoon starting May 10.

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

Testing data is also available on our Testing Tracker.

Updated Masking Requirements on Campus

Effective immediately, Duke University will not require students, employees or visitors to wear masks or face coverings while outdoors, with the exception of crowded areas and gatherings where social distancing is not possible. Masks or face coverings are still required inside Duke University owned or leased buildings, and while riding a Duke bus or shuttle, except under the following circumstances:

  • When alone in a confined room such as a private office or residence (Note: this does not include meeting rooms, break rooms, or shared environments such as cubicle work stations).
  • When alone in a vehicle.
  • When eating or drinking while following safety guidance such as social distancing.

This new protocol is consistent with Centers for Disease Control and State of North Carolina guidelines and covers all students, faculty, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.Vaccination and masking are the most effective means of protecting yourself and others from COVID-19 and will be key to getting us beyond this pandemic.  We strongly encourage all members of the Duke community who have not been vaccinated to do so  at no cost through the Duke Employee Vaccination Clinic or Duke Student Health. If you have been vaccinated at a location other than a Duke Employee Vaccination Clinic or Duke-operated site, please submit documentation of vaccination as follows:

  • Faculty and Staff: upload a picture of their completed vaccination card through the confidential Duke VAXTrax online form.
  • Students: email a photo of your vaccination card to Student Health at after your vaccine series is completed.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to keeping the Duke community safe.

Sally Kornbluth,
Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

Summer 2021 Plans for Students Who Will be on Campus

This message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who will be on campus this summer.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

You are receiving this message because our records indicate you are planning to be on campus this summer, whether enrolled in coursework, participating in research, or engaged in a co-curricular program. If your plans have changed and you will not be at Duke this summer, please disregard this message.

This message provides information about our summer COVID-19 protocols. While details of these policies may change, we are sharing this information now to facilitate your planning.

All new and visiting students and program participants who have not yet signed the Duke Compact and a data usage consent form will be required to do so prior to arrival on campus. You will receive the forms in your Duke email account about a week before your program is due to begin in Durham.

The last day of spring 2021 surveillance testing is FRIDAY, APRIL 30.  Students will be required to continue completing daily symptom monitoring via SymMon to maintain Duke Card access for the rest of the spring semester.


  • Most students will need to complete an entry COVID-19 test to have their DukeCards activated for summer. Some graduate and professional students enrolled in specific programs may be exempt from entry testing; your program director will communicate with you if you do not need an entry test. Otherwise, you should plan to participate in entry testing this summer.
  • Entry testing will generally be conducted one day per week, usually on Mondays, starting Monday, May 10. Please visit: for the summer entry testing dates, location and hours. You must participate in entry testing on the date that is closest to the start of your program, or when you need to access campus.
  • Students living on campus this summer must go through entry testing before they move into their housing assignment on their approved move-in date.
  • Following entry testing, you must sequester in your residence until you receive a negative test result, usually within 24-48 hours.
  • Once entry testing is complete, you will be activated in the surveillance testing group for the summer.
  • There are no sign-up slots for entry testing for the summer. You just need to arrive during the hours the site is open, on the date closest to the start of your program. For updated hours please visit:

While rising vaccination rates and the gradual loosening of public health restrictions in North Carolina are positive signs, please note that in order to protect the health and wellbeing of the Duke and Durham communities, we will continue COVID surveillance testing throughout the summer.

  • Students living on campus this summer are required to complete surveillance testing two times per week, on the days indicated in the test notification emails you will receive from Duke United.
  • Summer surveillance testing will begin on Monday, May 10, and will take place Mondays through Thursdays throughout the summer.
  • Students living off campus are required to complete surveillance testing at least once per week; you will receive a notification email each week with your test date.
  • Summer surveillance testing sites and hours can be found on the Duke United site:
  • If you miss a test, your DukeCard will be deactivated at 7 p.m. on the day of the missed test; it cannot be reactivated until the missed test is made up on the next available testing day.
  • While we continue to discourage all unnecessary travel during the summer, if a student must leave the Durham area for any period of time, the student is required to complete surveillance testing immediately upon returning to campus. There is no travel form or post-travel quarantine period required.
  • All students accessing campus this summer must complete daily symptom monitoring using Duke’s SymMon app.

For all students, both undergraduate and graduate/professional, please be sure to update your COVID vaccination record if you have not done so already.

  • If you received the vaccine at any off-campus location, including the Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center: please email a photo of your vaccination card to Student Health at after your vaccine series is completed.
  • If you received your COVID vaccine at a Duke Student Vaccination Clinic at Blue Devil Tower or Trent Semans: there is no need to send a copy to Student Health. Please log into your Student Health Gateway to verify that your COVID vaccine record is up to date.

For those of you who have been on campus during this academic year, thank you for your compliance with COVID protocols and your adherence to the Duke Compact. For those of you who will be new to Duke this summer, thank you in advance for following our guidelines and keeping the community safe and healthy.

Wishing you a successful end of the semester and a terrific summer.

Jennifer Francis
Executive Vice Provost

Kyle Cavanaugh
Vice President, Administration

Masking Protocol on Campus

Duke will be issuing updated protocols regarding masking on campus early next week based on new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Until then, the current requirement for all staff, faculty, students, and visitors to wear a mask while on Duke’s campus remains in effect.

Currently, masks are still required in outdoor campus settings where social distancing measures cannot be maintained and at all times in shared spaces indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to keeping the Duke community safe.

Sally Kornbluth,
Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

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

Testing Update: April 19 – 25, 2021

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program administered 18,387 tests to 9,925 students and 2,124 tests to 1,127 faculty/staff for the period April 19-25, 2021, with a total of four positive results. The total positivity rate was 0.02%.

This is the lowest number of positive cases reported since testing started in August 2020.

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

Testing data is also available on our Testing Tracker.

Summer Surveillance Test Sites

Surveillance testing will be conducted during Summer Sessions 2021. The schedule and list of test sites has been posted to the Duke United website.

That link is here:

Testing Update: April 12 – 18, 2021

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program administered 18,504 tests to 9,951 students and 2,190 tests to 1,125 faculty/staff for the period April 12-18, with a total of 26 positive results. The total positivity rate was 0.13 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.

Update on Plans for Fall 2021

This message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, as well as the incoming Class of 2025. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Dear Students,

As you know from President Price’s announcement last week, we intend to require all students—undergraduate, graduate and professional—to be vaccinated in order to attend classes and other campus activities this Fall. Underlying this plan are several factors which we will closely follow, including the anticipated FDA approval of vaccines, WHO recognition of vaccines related to international students, ongoing availability of vaccines, and continuing (and new) travel restrictions. We will expect all of our students to provide proof of vaccination or to obtain a medical or religious exemption. In addition to protecting the community through vaccination, we expect to continue masking and some level of surveillance testing. 

We know you have many questions about Fall planning. Please see the FAQ on the Keep Learning website, as well as the information below.

We anticipate returning to in-person instruction with normal classroom density—however, we will provide an exemption process for faculty who have medical reasons precluding their immediate return to in-person instruction. These plans are subject to change, of course, depending on the status of the pandemic. The mode of delivery for each course will be shown during course registration.

One unpredictable element to our planning comes from uncertainty around international student access to the U.S. We have assembled a set of FAQs for International Students to address these issues.


Sally Kornbluth, Provost

Jennifer Francis, Executive Vice Provost 

Student Conduct Updates, April 15

The message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Dear students,

We are writing to share the April COVID conduct and compliance update. We are now less than two weeks away from the last day of classes, and we know it’s taken a tremendous effort to get through this semester and this year. We are so proud of the ways you all have come together and supported each other, while rising above extraordinary challenges. 

We are so close—keep following all health and safety guidelines, keep following the Duke Compact and COVID policies and expectations, and let’s help make sure our seniors get to have commencement, and that all of us get to finish out the semester as we’ve planned.  


As we have throughout the year, we are providing a monthly update to share aggregate data around conduct outcomes for individual students and student organizations found responsible for any violations of COVID and Duke Compact-related expectations. As you know, we follow up on all reports of on- or off-campus conduct and investigate to determine any student responsibility. 

For the period from the start of the term through Friday, April 9, we can provide an aggregate overview of following categories of conduct sanctions:

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

  • Sanctions for COVID-related violations are implemented by either the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards or Housing and Residence Life. 187 sanctions have been issued this spring to students (total number of sanctions does not equal total number of students; in other words, one student could receive multiple sanctions). These actions, which include suspensions for an upcoming semester, formal warnings, disciplinary probation, withdrawal of campus privileges, and educational initiatives, 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. 

  • 2 campus organizations currently on suspension for COVID-related infractions; this status carries over from the Fall 2020 semester in both cases. (Note: this does not include organizations disaffiliated with the University.)

Administrative Action Review Panels are held to determine if allegations of flagrant violations of COVID policy expectations and the Duke Compact could result in interim measures to preserve the health, safety, and welfare of the Duke and Durham community, pending the conduct process.

  • 11 students have had cases this semester addressed through Administrative Action Review Panels. Examples of flagrant violations include: hosting gatherings, failing to follow quarantine and isolation protocols to protect fellow students, and repeated violations of COVID expectations. (Note: individuals affiliated with unrecognized student organizations and who host organizational events are accountable as individuals, not as part of an unrecognized group.) As in Fall 2020, interim measures have included loss of campus privileges, interim suspensions, and other interim restrictions.

We will provide the next update in mid-May, and OSCCS will report aggregate conduct outcomes for the 2020-21 academic year in August 2021.


Following the incident on East Campus on March 20, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS), Office for Institutional Equity, and DUPD launched an investigation of this incident to determine if more could be learned about the circumstances surrounding this incident. The investigation included an audit/review of any nearby security camera footage, interviews with residents of the building and witnesses, as well as review of all reported information and tips. 

To date, no responsible students have been identified through the investigation; however, the investigation is on-going and has not concluded. Anyone who has any information related to this incident can report it here. If Duke students are found to be responsible for a policy violation related to this incident, the OSCCS will issue sanctions to the responsible student(s). Any incident that is motivated in whole or part by an individual’s race, warrants “acceleration” or elevation of sanctioning. Any conduct process will be confidential under FERPA, but OSCCS will report aggregate conduct outcomes for the 2020-21 academic year in August 2021.


We are in the season of final examinations, projects, and end-of-year assessments. 

Do your own work and follow faculty guidance carefully in each of your courses.

If you are experiencing challenges in your coursework, please reach out to your faculty member as soon as possible to seek assistance. There are also additional campus resources, such as the Academic Resource Center and the Thompson Writing Center, that can help through tutoring, time management, developing skills and strategies for writing essays and papers.

We would like to remind students that academic dishonesty is a violation of the Duke Community Standard. All reports are carefully reviewed and adjudicated; students found responsible for serious violations of academic integrity will also face sanctions of disciplinary probation or suspension from Duke. 

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again—thank you for everything each of you continues to do to make sure we can finish out the semester strong, safe, and healthy. Your fellow students, all of us here at Duke, and the Duke and Durham communities appreciate it.

Thank you and go Duke,

John Blackshear
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

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

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