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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.

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

Update for Students and Families from President Price on Fall 2020

Dear Duke Students and Families,

As we continue to prepare for the 2020-21 academic year—a year that will be unlike any other in Duke’s history—I want to provide you with an update and further direction on our planning. As it has from the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of our faculty, staff, students and the Durham community is our paramount priority and will always drive decisions.

Across the university, many faculty, staff and students are working around the clock to continue our core missions of education, research, patient care, and service with the excellence that characterizes Duke.  Already we have reopened—deliberately, thoughtfully and safely—numerous research laboratories and clinical practices, bringing several thousand faculty, staff and graduate students back to campus with new safety practices, and we are learning every day from their experience.  We have also been in contact with many students over the last several months to understand their interests and concerns during this challenging time, and we’ll be consulting regularly with a wide cross-section of students as we move towards the fall.

We are still on track to decide many details about the upcoming academic year by the end of June. Let me tell you where we are now:

Our goal is to enable as many of our students who are able and who choose to participate in an on-campus experience for the fall semester to do so, but only if it can be done safely.  We are fortunate to have, in Duke Health, the resources of a world-leading academic medical center to help guide and support our university community.  As our faculty and academic leaders collaborate to prepare a dynamic and flexible educational experience, we are working with medical and public health experts, as well as with specialists in residential and classroom facilities, food service and environmental health and safety to reinvent our living and learning spaces and adapt to the new realities that we will confront in all aspects of our lives.  I will describe some of those details below.

Our academic calendar will change to maximize our time on campus, and to minimize the disruptions and potential health hazards of travel during the semester. Fall semester classes for undergraduates will begin a week earlier than originally planned, on Monday, August 17, and final exams will conclude before Thanksgiving.  We expect the arrival of residential students to be staggered over several days before the start of classes. There will not be a Fall Break in 2020.  The spring semester will begin a week later than normal, on Tuesday, January 19, and final exams will be held the week of April 26. Commencement for the Class of 2021 will take place on Sunday, May 9.  There will be no Spring Break in 2021. More information on course registration and re-registration, and housing assignments will be available by the end of June.

First-year undergraduate students will receive additional information on move-in and orientation programs, which are being developed now.  Orientation will include online programming prior to  students’ arrival on campus, which we now expect will take place over several days during the week of August 10.  Final details will be provided by the end of June.

Graduate and professional schools will operate on calendars specific to their needs, and students will be notified about the schedules directly by their schools.

Assuming students will be on campus, all Duke courses will be offered in one of three formats: in-person instruction conducted in classrooms on the Duke campus, fully online courses that take advantage of the best pedagogy and technology available for remote education, and hybrid courses that involve some combination of in-person and online instruction.  Students who are on campus can expect their courses to be taught in both in-person and online modes.  Students who cannot or who do not wish to be on campus, or who have to be quarantined or return home will still be able to engage in a full curriculum of courses and make progress toward their degrees.  To this end, all in-person classes will also have the necessary online components.

Our faculty, too, is making the transition to this new environment, and we have engaged experts in digital learning to ensure that faculty have the best guidance in developing and presenting their courses, whether they are in the front of a newly-configured classroom or teaching online.  In addition, courses that include labs, performances, travel, and other unique requirements will be revised to accommodate protocols for physical distancing and online access, though we recognize that might not be possible in all situations. We are also looking to create special “immersion” periods when students might come to campus to complete lab, or lab-type, components of courses.

To do all this safely and successfully, we all must make significant changes to the way we live, study, and work, and we are reconfiguring residential and classroom facilities to make it possible.  Success will only be achieved if all members of the Duke community do their part—which will call upon extraordinary mutual support, clearly articulated behavioral norms, and an unshakable personal commitment. To this end, we expect that all members of our university community will enter into a compact, the Duke Compact, that recognizes our shared responsibility for our collective health and well-being. Committing to the Duke Compact means we care enough about each other to comply with new policies and protocols. These are under careful development, and final policies and protocols will align with the latest and most reliable scientific information, experience, and local, state, and federal guidelines.  At this point, we expect practices along the following lines:

  • All members of the Duke community—faculty, students, staff, and visitors—will be required to wear masks in classroom and public settings and practice physical distancing as mandated by local law and university policy.
  • Robust and wide-ranging testing systems will be in place. All students living on campus will be tested for COVID-19 before they are permitted to begin classes.
  • All students will complete daily health checks through a monitoring app and report concerning symptoms to the Student Health and Wellness.
  • All students living in on-campus or off-campus housing will be expected to remain in the Durham area during the semester.
  • All students who report symptoms will have to follow the testing, contact tracing, and quarantine protocols established by Duke, Durham County, and the State of North Carolina should they become ill or exposed to COVID-19.
  • While many co-curricular and extra-curricular activities (lectures, performances, club activities,  events) will be held virtually, there will be opportunities for in-person gatherings that meet university and public health guidelines.
  • On-campus dining centers will provide expanded take-out options and limited in-person service using reservation systems.
  • Access to campus facilities by students, faculty, staff, and visitors will be restricted and new guidelines on space configuration, capacity, traffic flow, cleaning, and sanitation protocols will be in place.

Perhaps more than ever before in our lifetimes, the actions of one member of our community can have catastrophic implications for all.  Thus, we will take these commitments seriously at all levels.  For students, failure to adhere to these guidelines could be grounds for disciplinary and other actions necessary to protect the health and safety of the Duke community.

We remain steadfastly committed to inclusivity, and for its sake, to flexibility. Students who choose not to participate in the on-campus experience in 2020-2021 – or who are unable to be physically in Durham due to travel restrictions, personal circumstances, or family obligations – are assured that we will make every effort to support their continued learning and engagement in campus life while remote.  Our experience this spring has been instructive in many ways, and we will build on this unplanned shift to develop sophisticated, high quality remote learning experiences for all Duke students.

Finally, and it bears repeating, all of this is subject to change based on public health guidance, medical advice, local conditions and laws, and variables that may not even be known to us today.  Such is the nature of life in and after a pandemic.

Regardless of the circumstances, I know we will get through this.  It won’t look easy, and it won’t look anything like we’re used to experienceing.   But we’ll get through it because our people – students, faculty, staff, families and friends – are thoughtful, collaborative, creative, adaptable, and committed to excellence. We will get through it because we are Duke.

I so look forward to seeing many of you on campus, in all the familiar places and, for members of the class of 2024, in your new and sometimes bewildering home. In the meantime, stay tuned to your email and Duke websites for more information and updates. And please accept my very best wishes for your health and safety and the start of what will be an unforgettable summer.


Vincent E. Price

Message from President Price About Fall 2020 Semester

Dear Duke Students and Families,

I hope this note finds you and your family well despite the complications to life caused by COVID-19. The past few months have brought us many new challenges, but also daily reminders of why we are all so proud to be members of the Duke University community. 

I write today because I know the question on everyone’s mind: what will happen with the fall semester?

There’s a lot we still don’t know.  Like every family, community and business, we are trying to make the best decisions with only partial information that changes by the day.  A month ago, we established several planning teams to prepare for the next academic year.  These teams have worked closely with our faculty, our physicians and public health experts to develop a range of options that start with protecting the health and safety of the Duke community and focus intensely on ensuring the continued excellence of our education, research, public service and patient-care missions.

That work continues, but here’s what we do know right now:  

First, Duke University will be open in the fall, with the specific details of attendance and schedule to be determined soon. Throughout the pandemic, our education and research programs continued, so in a sense we’ve never closed.  We completed the spring semester, awarding almost 6,000 degrees earlier this month to the extraordinary Class of 2020.  We started a virtual Duke Summer Session with five times as many students as last year.  Our hospitals and clinics continue to care for patients, and research on COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics has only expanded.  And we’ve now begun the very careful process of reopening our facilities in phases. This week, hundreds of additional Duke researchers and scientists are returning to campus to continue their vital research with new protocols for social distancing, daily monitoring, and testing, contact tracing and medical supervision.

Second, we expect to make decisions about the structure of the coming academic year by the end of June.  Why not decide now?  We are committed to getting this right, and responsible decision making must be based on a clearer understanding of public health and safety issues than is now available. Our decisions also have to be informed by our experience from these early campus restarts. Making choices now in the absence of this vital information would jeopardize safety of our students, faculty, staff and the wider community, even if it seems to provide the certainty so many of us desire. 

Consider for a moment where we were as a country just six weeks ago: you can see how quickly medical guidance has evolved, how rapidly legal and regulatory guidance developed, particularly around matters like testing and tracing, and how much local conditions have changed.   The next six weeks should give us far more reliable information upon which we will base our decisions.

And finally, we know enough to say that next academic year will not look anything like the past.  As we work toward coming back to school safely in the fall, we are innovating every part of the Duke experience—from the academic calendar to residential living—to provide students the best and safest possible configuration of on-campus and high-quality remote teaching.  We are dedicated to adapting the life-changing experiences that make the Duke experience so special, and to creating new ones in areas like career planning.

To be sure, there will be necessary changes in how our spaces are configured and classes are delivered, as well as in the many campus activities that make Duke so enriching and exhilarating; but, like every other part of society, we will be resilient and adapt to the new reality.

Looking beyond next academic year, we are building the Duke of the future. This too will take time, but will only be improved by the knowledge we all gain as we move through the months ahead.  Our present circumstances may be daunting; but they call upon us to determine, together, how we empower the finest scholars, redefine teaching and learning for the 21st century, deepen our commitments to community, strengthen our partnerships in the region, and engage as never before our global network of Duke alumni, families, and friends. 

So, while I may disappoint those of you who are looking for certainty now, this is where we stand today. We’ll be in touch with you directly as soon as we have more specific information about our programs, and the actions you can take to prepare for the fall semester. 

In the meantime, I can tell you that the Duke you know and love is alive and well.  The education you receive at Duke will prepare you for lives and careers of meaning and fulfilment.  Whether you are a first-year or a senior, your Duke experience will be memorable for life. And wherever you are, near or far, you can follow what is happening through The Duke Daily, our daily e-mail newsletter.  Our students receive it each weekday, and parents and families can sign up here

I offer my best wishes to you and your family, my deepest thanks for your commitment to Duke, and my appreciation of your confidence in the enduring value and promise of our great university. 


Vincent E. Price

New Courses for Duke Summer Session II

Dear Students,  

We are excited to announce a new and expanded schedule of more than 200 courses for Duke Summer Session II 2020. These courses are being updated on DukeHub and will be open for registration on Friday, May 1 at 9:00 am EDT.   Most of the courses will be listed by 9 am on Friday but others will be added over the next couple of days and we encourage you to keep checking DukeHub for updates until May 3rd.

All Summer Session II courses will be delivered remotely. If you were previously registered in a Duke Summer Session II course which is now being offered online, you will automatically be moved into the new course.  We will not automatically cancel your registration in these courses in order to maintain your enrollment in the class; however, we ask that you unregister through DukeHub if you no longer plan to take the online course so the spot can be made available to others. We have also maintained the wait list for all Summer Session II courses in order to preserve your position to get into a course.  

For more information about the course, fees and schedules, visit: or contact Kim Price at  

Thank you for your patience and for your strong interest in this wide array of courses available for the Duke Summer Session.


Jennifer Francis
Executive Vice Provost

New Duke Summer Session Courses, Registration

Dear Duke Students,  

We’re writing today with some exciting updates about Duke Summer Session online courses that we hope will provide additional opportunities for you to stay engaged with your Duke faculty and classmates and further your academic goals:  

  • We have completely overhauled Duke Summer Sessions, including pricing. The new rates are: $2,500 for a non-lab course and $3,200 for an extended recitation/lab course. This change recognizes both the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the availability of jobs and internships this summer, as well as the strong demand from Duke students for Summer Session classes. Financial aid is available for summer session courses (   
  • We have more than doubled the number of online courses available for Duke Summer Session I (May 13-June 25), from 60 to over 150. The new courses cover a wide range of departments and subjects, from Art History to Physics. Duke Summer Sessions I and II will also feature a number of courses that address pandemic-related topics, including Macroeconomics of COVID-19; Epidemics in the Age of Interdependence; Educational Impacts of COVID-19; Visualizing the COVID-19 Pandemic; and Disease through the Ages.   
  • An equally robust schedule of online courses for Duke Summer Session II will be available by April 30.  We expect this will provide even more opportunities for students to both meet degree requirements and expand your educational horizons with some of Duke’s most compelling teachers. 

Current students now have an exclusive window to register for Duke Summer Session I courses through Tuesday, April 28.  After that, any open spaces will be made available to the general public.  Registration for non-Duke students will open in one week.   

If you were previously registered in a Duke Summer Session I course which is now being offered online, you will automatically be moved into the new course.  We will not automatically cancel your registration in these courses in order to maintain your enrollment in the class; however, we ask that you unregister through DukeHub if you no longer plan to take the online course so the spot can be made available to others.  We have also maintained the wait list for all courses in order to preserve your position to get into a course.  

For more information about the course, fees and schedules, visit: or contact Kim Price at   

Thank you for your patience and for your strong interest in this new and expanded Duke Summer Session.


Sally Kornbluth, Provost
Jennifer Francis, Executive Vice Provost

Extended Spring 2020 Grading Deadline

Dear students,  

We have been working to find ways to help you navigate the uncertainty for academic outcomes created by the COVID-19 crisis. Now, as we near the end of the semester, we recognize that many students are wrestling with a host of additional academic challenges, including preparing for final exams, arranging summer plans, and, for some, deciding whether to retain the default S/U grade.   

In collaboration with Duke Student Government leadership, we have identified several ways to provide additional support as you weigh your options.  Accordingly, we are updating our Spring 2020 grading guidance, as follows:  

  • We will extend the deadline for declaring a letter grade until the end of the reading period: April 27 at 12 PM EDT. The extension will also apply to 500- and 600-level graduate courses.  
  •  Academic deans in both Trinity and Pratt, as well as college advisors, will enhance their availability during the reading period to meet with you and discuss your options. You can also seek assistance by emailing  
  • Since March, we have encouraged all faculty to maintain maximal flexibility and to share grading information wherever possible. maintain flexibility throughout the semester.   
  • We encourage you to refer to our guidance on the grading policy, which addresses a common concern: the impact of Spring 2020 grades on future graduate/professional study. In short, universities across the country – including Duke’s graduate and professional schools — have indicated that their admissions processes are holistic, and will not be biased against students who take the S/U grade under our policy at this unprecedented time.  

Again, we recognize that students have worked tremendously hard at their studies throughout their time at Duke, be this is your first or final semester.  These additional supports and flexibility from our schools and your faculty are designed to help you reflect your effort and this semester’s circumstances in a way that is supportive and which gives you optional control, not less control. Please know that your academic dean and your faculty stand ready to assist you on an individual basis as you determine your next steps.  We hope that these enhancements assist you as we near the end of the semester.     


Gary G. Bennett, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education   

John Blackshear, Ph.D., Dean for Academic Affairs, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences  

Martin Doyle, Ph.D., Senior Associate Dean for Academic Initiatives, Nicholas School of the Environment  

Linda Franzoni, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, Pratt School of Engineering  

Christina Gibson-Davis, Ph.D., Director, Undergraduate Studies, Sanford School of Public Policy  

Mary Pat McMahon, Vice Provost/Vice President, Division of Student Affairs

Price Creates Two Strategy Teams to Plan Post-Crisis Agenda

The two new strategy groups – Team 2021 and Team 2030 – will devise a structure for addressing the shorter-term issues facing the university as it prepares for the traditional start of the new academic year in August, as well as longer-term challenges and opportunities that come about as a result of COVID-19.

Read the full story on the Duke Today website.

President Price Message to Class of 2020 About Commencement Plan on ‘Marking the Moment’

In addition to a commencement ceremony in Wallace Wade Stadium at a future date, Duke will celebrate the moment that the Class of 2020 graduates this spring through an interactive digital experience that will give graduates, their families, alumni, and friends the opportunity to engage directly with the people and places at Duke that have meant so much to them over the years.

Read the full statement on Duke Today.

Student Employment – Spring Semester 2020

To:          Department Heads, Business Managers, and Payroll Representatives

From:     Jennifer Francis, Executive Vice Provost

Subject: Student Employment Spring Semester 2020

Date:      April 10, 2020

A number of efforts have been underway to provide additional support to our undergraduate and graduate students during this unusual time. We wanted to provide an update of the processes related to the student payments through the end of the spring semester. 

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students who are able to work remotely should do so, proving their hours worked per the normal process. They will continue to receive payments based upon the hours submitted on their biweekly time records.

Undergraduate students who were working at Duke prior to spring break, but are not able to work remotely now (because of the nature of the job or because of connectivity issues), will receive a payment for the three full pay periods since spring break based upon one of the four following processes. The first payment will be issued with the regular biweekly payroll on Friday, April 24 and the final payment will be issued on Friday, May 8.

  1. Federal Work Study – undergraduate students who were awarded federal work study funds will receive a payment based upon a calculation by the Financial Aid teams using cumulative earnings for the spring semester and remaining dollars on the individual’s federal work study award whichever one is less. 
  2. Duke Work Study – undergraduate students who were awarded Duke work study funds will receive a payment based upon a calculation by the Financial Aid teams using cumulative earnings for the spring semester and remaining dollars on the individual’s Duke work study award whichever one is less. 
  3. Students not using work study awards who were working prior to spring break, but are unable to continue working remotely, will receive a payment based on the calculations below:
    • Payment amount will be calculated as the average of the individual student’s gross earnings over the five Spring term pay periods prior to spring break. Dollars for both primary and secondary positions were included in the calculations. Outliers were reviewed and, as needed, adjusted.
    • Eligibility Criteria:
      • No hours worked were submitted since the pay period (02/17/2020 – 03/01/2020) which paid on 03/13/2020. If students received a payment for time worked during the period of 03/16/2020 – 03/29/2020 for the pay date of April 10, the assumption is that the individual is working remotely with pay described above. 
      • The undergraduate student did not receive federal or Duke work study awards.
      • Minimum average pay calculation is greater than or equal to $25.00.
    • Students in this category will receive a payment on April 24 which will include two pay periods, one for the April 10 pay date and a second for the April 24 pay date. The final payment will be issued on May 8, 2020.
    • A list of the payment amounts will be sent to the management centers who will disperse to the individual departments at the end of this week.

Graduate Students

  1. Payments for graduate students who are paid as non-exempt employees on a biweekly basis will be handled using the same processes noted above for undergraduate students.
  2. Payments for graduate students who are paid as exempt employees on a monthly basis will be processed according to the standard process. If adjustments to pay are necessary, departments can submit iForms to make the necessary changes.

If students need additional financial support, they should apply for the student assistance fund.

Non-Duke Students (students from other universities or high school students)

  1. Non-Duke students who cannot work remotely, but are currently receiving payments may continue to do so through the period ending April 26, pay date of May 8.  They should submit hours for average hours worked through submitting an Electronic Time Record through Duke@Work.
  2. If non-Duke students are working remotely and can continue to do so after the pay period ending April 26, they should submit hours worked using the usual methods to submit time.

For more information: FAQ: Student Employment – Spring 2020

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