Category: For Students Page 1 of 14

Health and Safety Protocols Announced for Home Basketball Events

Duke University Athletics has announced health and safety protocols for men’s and women’s basketball events at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season. The policy has been developed in consultation with medical experts at Duke as well as local and state officials.

COVID Updates for Undergradudates

The message below is being sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Good afternoon,

We, like you, are pleased to see that the number of new COVID cases on campus has been declining in the past two weeks. This is no doubt due to the actions that each of us has taken as we continue to adjust to the constraints that Delta has added to our Fall 2021 semester. As we have learned, however, the situation can change quickly, so we need to make sure that we do not let our guard down completely. 

The university released updated guidance on Monday and we’re writing to provide more specific information for undergraduates. Please note that while some of the guidelines are changing, others are continuing.

Guidelines that have been modified:

Guidelines that are continuing:

  • Indoor masking is required, including in all areas of the residence halls (except your assigned room/suite/apartment). Along with the vaccine, masking is the most effective strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Indoor seating at Duke Dining facilities remains limited.Outdoor group dining will still be available across campus. Thank you for making use of the tents on East and West!
  • Student organization programs with 50 or more attendees need to be registered and approved through DukeGroups in consultation with UCAE. This continues a practice established last academic year. Suggestions for how to host a safer event include providing pre-packaged food, allowing for a virtual option, remaining masked, and thinking creatively about seating options that allow for different levels of comfort (spaced out blankets, small groups of 4-5 chairs, etc.). Events should be held outside when possible and, if an event is not approved before the event is to take place, event hosts should plan to hold it virtually.
  • Undergraduate students hosting informal social gatherings on- or off-campus must ensure attendees are fully masked and limit attendance to no more than 50 people. Hosting larger and/or unmasked events while this policy is in place will be considered a violation of the Undergraduate Student COVID-19 Policy Plan and will result in disciplinary action for hosts and possibly for attendees.  

Our data show that what we’re doing is working and we encourage you to continue making decisions that support the health and wellness of our community, especially those who cannot be vaccinated. Community and connection are vitally important and we’ll continue our efforts to support all students during this time. 

We know most undergraduates are getting into a solid routine at this point in the semester, with classes and commitments keeping you engaged. Please remember that connection is critical; we encourage all of you to find ways to connect safely with one another, with faculty and mentors, and to seek out campus activities and opportunities where you can explore and have fun. 

Well done, all, and let’s continue the good work.

Go Duke,

Gary Bennett, Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education
Mary Pat McMahon, Vice Provost of Student Affairs

Important COVID updates for undergrads, Aug. 30

The message below is being sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Dear students,

As announced to the Duke community this afternoon and following consultation with infectious disease experts, the university has updated its guidance on COVID-19. We are writing as a follow-up to that message with more information specifically for undergraduate students.

From that message, we know that our numbers of COVID-positive tests are going up. We also know that our near-fully vaccinated student (98%) and employee (92%) populations are protected from serious illness, and that we continue to see no evidence of transmission in our classrooms and other campus locations where all individuals are masked. However, not everyone can be protected through vaccination–this includes some of your peers and the children of faculty and staff who are under 12. This surge is also placing significant stress on the people, systems and facilities that are dedicated to protecting our health, safety and the ability of Duke to fulfill its educational mission, particularly our isolation space for on-campus students who test positive. 

As stated in today’s university message, the following new guidelines will be in effect starting Monday, August 30, and subject to review in two weeks’ time:

  • Masks will now be required on the Duke campus in all indoor and outdoor locations, unless you are exercising [outdoors] alone, actively eating or drinking, or otherwise not around others. After vaccinations, masks are the best way to prevent the spread of COVID. We have seen this both on campus and in our health system.
  • Indoor group seating at Duke Dining facilities will be temporarily suspended. All Duke Dining facilities will transition to grab and go, and more than 25 tents have been erected across the campus to provide outdoor seating for meals and other gatherings.

Additionally, the following new limitations will be placed on student activities to reduce the possibility of COVID transmission:

  • All student organization programs with 50 or more attendees need to be registered and approved through DukeGroupsThis continues a practice established last academic year. To reduce the risk of transmission, events should be held outside when possible. This policy applies to events already scheduled and posted in DukeGroups. If an event is not approved before the event is to take place, event hosts should plan to hold events virtually.
  • Undergraduate students hosting social gatherings on- or off-campus must ensure attendees are fully masked and limit attendance to no more than 50 people until further notice. Hosting larger and/or unmasked events while this policy is in place will be considered a violation of the Undergraduate Student COVID-19 Policy Plan and will result in disciplinary action for hosts and possibly for attendees.
  • We are postponing The Devil’s Gala scheduled for September 3. A smaller event will be held at the same time. More information will be available soon. 
  • We urge all students to use caution in attending events that carry greater risk of infection and transmission to others. Delta is at least 2 times more transmissible than previous COVID variants, so it takes very little time for someone to become infected while unmasked. 

Please know that the university remains committed to striking a balance between steps that reduce the spread of Delta with efforts to further your educational opportunities and ability to connect with one another, as well as your faculty, mentors, and campus resources. If you’re a returning student, please be assured that we’ve heard your feedback about ways to get this balance right, and we remain open to all students’ input and perspective as we find our way forward together.

We recognize fully that all students, like us, are eager to resume a more open and unencumbered approach to life on campus.  To get there, we have to listen to our experts in infectious disease, public health, and medicine and continue to heed their advice as part of that effort. Thank you for doing so, too. 

New Guidance on COVID-19 for the Duke Community

August 30, 2021

Dear Students and Colleagues,

We are writing today with new information and guidance on COVID-19 and the Duke University community.

Duke’s comprehensive surveillance testing program has given us detailed insight into the pervasiveness of the Delta variant in the university community regardless of vaccination status. In the last week alone, 304 undergraduates, 45 graduate students and 15 employees tested positive for COVID-19 and are isolating. All but eight of these individuals were vaccinated, and the vast majority of them were, and continue to be, asymptomatic. A small number have minor, cold- and flu-like symptoms, and none have been hospitalized.

The good news is that we are able to identify these infections early and quickly, that our near-fully vaccinated student (98%) and employee (92%) populations are protected from serious illness, and that we continue to see no evidence of transmission in our classrooms and other campus locations where all individuals are masked.

Nonetheless, this surge is placing significant stress on the people, systems and facilities that are dedicated to protecting our health, safety and the ability of Duke to fulfill its educational mission, particularly our isolation space for on-campus students who test positive. We cannot stop COVID-19, but what we can do is adapt to our local and national realities and seek to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

As a result, the following new guidelines will be in effect starting Monday, August 30:

  • Masks will now be required on the Duke campus in all indoor and outdoor locations, unless you are exercising [outdoors] alone, eating or drinking, or otherwise not around others. After vaccinations, masks are the best way to prevent the spread of COVID. We have seen this on campus and in our health system.
  • Indoor group seating at Duke Dining facilities will be temporarily suspended. All Duke Dining facilities will transition to grab and go, and more than 25 tents have been erected across the campus to provide outdoor seating for meals and other gatherings.
  • Given the absences in some undergraduate classes due to increased number of students in isolation, faculty teaching undergraduate courses have the option to teach remotely for the next two weeks if they would prefer. This is not a requirement but an accommodation to allow for increased flexibility as needed; those who are able to continue teaching in person should certainly do so.
  • New limitations will be placed on student activities to reduce the possibility of COVID transmissions. Individuals and groups that violate these limitations will face disciplinary consequences. Further information will be provided directly to students.
  • The COVID-19 vaccination will now be required for ALL Duke faculty and staff as a condition of employment. Details will be provided directly to those employees who have not yet submitted proof of vaccination or an approved medical or religious exemption, as well as their deans or vice presidents. As of today, 92% of our 22,136 faculty and staff are fully vaccinated.

As a reminder, every faculty and staff member can participate in the Duke surveillance testing program at any time. It is free, convenient, and can offer peace of mind to those who are concerned about exposure. For more information see the Duke United website.

We want to be clear: the problem is not our people, the problem is COVID-19. Our Duke community has been extraordinarily united and resilient in fighting, and adapting to, this pandemic over the last 19 months. Your efforts have made it possible to fulfill our educational commitment to our students, to advance knowledge and discovery through our research, and to serve our region and society.

And yet, we must continue to do more. This is a time to be prudent, to take care of ourselves and each other so we can continue our important mission, which is now more important than ever.

Go Duke,

Sally Kornbluth,
Provost

Daniel Ennis,
Executive Vice President

Jennifer Francis,
Executive Vice Provost

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President for Administration

Mary Pat McMahon,
Vice President/Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Gary Bennett,
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

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

Masks now required at outdoor events, and other COVID-related updates

Dear students,

Please pay careful attention to this email message, which was sent to faculty and staff from the Provost and VP Cavanaugh with COVID guidance. As you know, the COVID situation is changing quickly. We need to limit COVID transmission as much as possible, even among vaccinated people, in order to prevent spread to young children and to people in our community who can’t be vaccinated.

  • Masks will now be required at larger (100+ people) outdoor on-campus events (yes, this includes today’s Involvement Fair and Heatwave this Friday). This is to keep you and others safe, and we need your full cooperation so that everyone can enjoy these fun events as safely as possible. 
    • Don’t forget that masks have been required indoors at Duke since July 30—this includes in all areas of residence halls except your assigned room. Masks are also required on all buses and at bus stops.
  • Eat outdoors as much as possible, and find other ways to dine more safely. Here are some ideas:
    • Use mobile ordering to order ahead and pick up your food to go. Most Duke Dining vendors offer mobile ordering, and more will be going live soon as soon as staffing allows. 
    • Merchants-On-Points (MOPS) was just extended to deliver 24/7, instead of just late-night. Check out the current vendors on the Duke Dining website
    • Duke Dining is working with Durham food truck vendors to bring food trucks to West Campus during lunch soon, in addition to dinner. Follow Duke Dining on Instagram to find out when trucks are coming to campus!
  • As a reminder, you can always go to the Duke United website for real-time information and updates related to the university’s COVID-19 response and guidelines. 

Thanks, and go Duke! 

Student Affairs

Things to Keep in Mind as Duke Reopens this Fall

The message below is being sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Welcome (back) Duke students! We truly missed you this summer—campus was not the same without you, and we look forward to welcoming the Class of 2025 and transfer  students this week. We are so very excited to see you on campus as Duke reopens amid a much more typical year’s atmosphere. We at Duke have spent the summer doing everything we can to restore and resume the energy, connections, and interactions we’ve missed since March 2020. 

However, as you know, the Delta variant of COVID is complicating this plan. Emerging data from Duke and national experts show that the Delta variant is highly transmissible (regardless of whether or not you’re vaccinated). We asked some of our student leaders to share some thoughts to keep in mind as we open the fall semester in the video below. 

Let’s break this down:

  • Yes, most students are at lower risk, but that doesn’t mean we can let our guard down. 
  • One reason we want to reduce infection is because we don’t know the long-term effects of COVID. You may not think it’s a big deal if you do get COVID, especially if you are vaccinated. However, no one knows the long-term effects of COVID. In short—you don’t want this.
  • We need your help in reducing spread for those who can’t be vaccinated—that includes some of your immunocompromised peers and staff and faculty with young children (who can’t be vaccinated). It is up to all of us to keep the most vulnerable among us safer.

We’re committed to creating a community in which Duke students can learn and thrive. Duke wants to support as many opportunities for you to connect with your faculty and mentors, to explore research and leadership opportunities, and just have the chance to be together and have fun.  We’re going to do everything we can to safely promote events and opportunities for connection this year, particularly outdoor events.

A few reminders of what you need to do:

  • For the time being, everyone needs to be masked while indoors, including in residential common areas. This is also a local Durham ordinance.
  • Eat outside as much as possible, or take your food to-go. We’re still seeing higher transmission rates indoors and over shared meals, so do what you can to mitigate any risk for yourself and others while eating.
  • Participate in surveillance testing weekly. Most breakthrough cases are asymptomatic or resemble a mild cold, so you might not know you’re positive without the surveillance test. Student Health will contact you within 48 hours if you’ve tested positive for COVID.

We also hope you’ll think with us about all that we’ve learned in the past 15 months. 

We have learned a lot in the past year and recently we shared some thoughts with our faculty. We’ve also been talking with students about ways many of you have built intentional practices, gained new skills, and found ways to connect to your  passions and purpose in the pandemic. How do we go forward from here and build on that learning? There will be opportunities to connect and engage this fall, and we’re eager to be in conversation with your student groups and residential communities to think about how we can encourage your growth here at Duke.

Thank you for helping us kick off this academic year as safely as possible. We can’t wait to see you at the Blue Devil Return or on the plaza soon! 

Go Duke, 

Mary Pat McMahon
Vice Provost of Student Affairs

Gary Bennett
Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education

Third Dose of COVID Vaccine for Immunosuppressed Individuals

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

On Thursday, Aug. 12, the FDA reviewed and authorized an expansion of its emergency use authorization for the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna. This action is designed to allow immunosuppressed individuals to receive an extra dose of the vaccine.

We are closely monitoring these developments. Before we administer any additional doses of authorized vaccine, Duke experts will review all available safety and efficacy data to ensure the science supports its use. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice is meeting on Friday, Aug. 13, to review the data.

In anticipation of this expansion of emergency use authorization, we are preparing for Duke to participate in the equitable and efficient distribution of the additional dose to the immunosuppressed population. We expect to learn more during the upcoming CDC/ACIP review process about these patients, as well as specific guidance for administering an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

We are encouraged by the authorization of this additional dose to help us keep immunosuppressed patients safe and protected from COVID-19. Once the expansion is approved, we will notify all our team members, patients and the community of the qualifying criteria and how to schedule their additional dose of the vaccine. (UPDATE: The CDC has now issued criteria for those moderately to severely immunocompromised who are recommended for a third dose of the mRNA vaccine. See qualifying criteria link above.)

We hope this early information helps you understand how Duke is preparing for the distribution of the additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to the qualifying patient population once it is available. If you have questions, you can contact us at stopcovid@duke.edu.

Please continue to take every means to reduce the spread of infection and protect yourself, your loved ones and our Duke community. Get vaccinated, wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces, stay at least six feet apart from others, and stay home and get tested when you are feeling ill. Thank you for all you are doing to keep yourself, your family and our community safe.

Sincerely,

Kyle Cavanaugh
Vice President, Administration, Duke University

Carol Epling, MD, MSPH
Assistant Professor in Family Medicine and Community Health

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

Two Clusters of COVID Cases Identified Among Students

Duke and Durham County Department of Public Health have identified two clusters of COVID-19 cases related to gatherings of two groups of students over the last week. A “cluster” is defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as five or more related cases that are deemed to be in close proximity of time and location, such as a residential hall or apartment complex. 

For more information, visit the story on Duke Today.

Building Access for the Fall Semester

TO: Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers
FROM:
Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration
Jim Churchman, Vice President, Supply Chain Management
RE: Building Access for Fall Semester

In preparation for the fall semester, Duke University will return to its normal building access for campus buildings effective Monday, Aug. 16. Research labs in the School of Medicine will continue to require an active DukeCard for access.

  • Buildings that are normally open to public access will return to that status on August 16. DukeCards will not be required during regular business hours.
  • Buildings such as residence halls that were in a controlled-access state before the pandemic will remain so after August 16. Any other modifications to building access should be made to the DukeCard Office.
  • Individuals who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to complete symptom monitoring to activate their DukeCards.
  • Individuals who are NOT vaccinated WILL be required to complete symptom monitoring every day to reactivate their DukeCards.
  • All students, faculty and staff should continue to report any COVID-related symptoms using the SymMon app or by contacting Employee Occupational Health and Wellness or Student Health.
  • Schools and departments should ensure appropriate staffing in buildings during normal operating hours. Delivery companies and vendors will begin delivering packages directly to buildings that are open.
  • Numerous packages still remain unclaimed at the central receiving location set up by Procurement & Supply Chain last year at the Golden Drive Warehouse. Inquiries about missing packages should be directed to deliveryinquiries@duke.edu with any available tracking information and original recipient/location details. The Golden Drive Warehouse location will begin phasing out its redelivery status once the buildings are open on August 16, 2021.

Thank you for your attention to these changes.

Fall 2021 COVID-19 Requirements for Non-Degree Students

You are receiving this message because you are enrolled as a visiting student in one or more Duke courses for the fall semester.
 
We look forward to welcoming you to campus soon for the start of the semester. We are writing today to outline what you can expect related to Duke COVID-19 entry testing and other COVID protocols this semester. All visiting students are subject to Duke’s COVID-19 protocols.
 
Entry Testing
All students must complete an entry test for COVID-19 prior to the Fall 2021 semester. Entry testing will be by appointment only through August 23 (with walk-in testing available after that day); all students should sign up for an entry testing slot, which you can do here. (If you are able, please sign up for a timeslot during the week of August 9. We anticipate the week of August 16 to be our busiest.)
 
Entry testing will be available in Penn Pavilion on West Campus, most Mondays through Fridays in August between 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. EST. Shortly before your test date, you will be emailed a parking pass for the Card Lot, which you can use while you are being tested in Penn Pavilion. Per the recent university announcement, please bring a mask to your entry test.
 
You will only be notified of your test result if you test positive for COVID-19. Put another way, no news is good news.
 
Once you have completed your entry test, you will enter Duke’s surveillance testing program for the remainder of the fall semester. 
 
Vaccinations
If you have not yet received your COVID-19 vaccination or do not have a Duke-approved medical or religious exemption, you’ll be directed to check in with Student Health. 
 
Students have until Monday, August 23 to complete the university’s vaccination requirement. Failure to do so may result in the revocation of your campus access. More information about the vaccination requirement and how to update your vaccination status can be found at the Duke COVID vaccine website. 
 
Surveillance Testing
After entry testing is complete, all students will participate in Duke’s surveillance testing program this fall, which helps us monitor any transmission of the virus within the Duke community. The frequency of how often you’re called in for testing will depend on a number of factors, including your vaccination status and whether you’ve been potentially exposed to the virus.  Students living on campus will be tested twice a week.  Students living off campus can expect to be called for surveillance testing once per week. Students who have approved medical or religious exemptions can expect to be tested more frequently. 
 
Like entry testing, you’ll only be notified of your result if you test positive for COVID-19. If you don’t hear anything, that means your test was negative. 
 
You can find more information on surveillance testing, including hours and locations, on the Duke United website. If you have additional questions, please follow the instructions regarding connecting with your  designated contact person
 
Get your Mobile DukeCard 
If you’re new to campus, your first DukeCard will be on your iPhone or Android device. First, please visit the DukeCard website for photo specs and instructions to upload your photo online. Due to the current global chip shortage, we are asking students to “go mobile” if possible unless a physical card is needed. Once your photo has been approved and you have completed entry testing, as outlined above, you can add your DukeCard to your iPhone or Android device. Detailed instructions are available on the mobile DukeCard site
 
If you need a physical DukeCard in addition to the mobile DukeCard, you can visit the DukeCard office to obtain one. Instructions for setting up an appointment can be found on the DukeCard appointment site
 
Please note: Students who are a part of the Schools of Medicine and Nursing OR need access to Duke Health buildings, including those with labs, should follow the instructions given to them by their departments to obtain a DukeCard for access to those buildings.
 
As a reminder, all plans, processes, and guidelines–including testing processes, masking, and other protocols–remain subject to change based on the continually evolving pandemic landscape. Be sure to check out Duke’s COVID-19 website for information and updates. Thank you for your continued partnership in helping keep the Duke and Durham communities safer. We look forward to seeing you on campus this fall. 

The message above was sent by the Office of the Registrar to all non-degree students.

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