Category: For Students Page 2 of 13

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

Testing Update: April 5 – 11, 2021

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program administered 18,727 tests to 10,016 students and 2,213 tests to 1,154 faculty/staff for the period April 5-11, 2021, with a total of 39 positive results. The total positivity rate was 0.19 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.

Last call to sign up for your vaccine at Duke, or let us know you have been vaccinated!

This message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. 

Friday, April 8, 2021

Dear students,

This is the LAST CALL to sign up to receive your COVID-19 vaccination at Duke! If you have not already signed up for your vaccine appointment here at Duke, please make sure to do so ASAP. Registration is easy—just visit to register to receive your vaccine. 

As President Price announced this afternoon, Duke plans to require all new and returning Duke students to present proof of vaccination to Student Health before they can enroll for the Fall 2021 semester. 

This is time-sensitive, so don’t delay, sign up to get your shot before you leave campus this spring so you are covered for fall!

Already been vaccinated elsewhere? If you received the vaccine at an off-campus location, including Duke-affiliated community vaccine sites, please email a photo of your vaccination card to Student Health at after your vaccine series is completed. 

Thanks to the many students who have already submitted their information. If you received your COVID vaccine on campus, there is no need to send a copy to Student Health. You can log into your Student Health Gateway to verify that your COVID vaccine record has been received. 

We want to make sure you have the chance to receive your vaccine at Duke if you want it. If you are having trouble registering, or have other questions, please contact the Keep Learning team at

Thank you for all you continue to do to keep yourselves, each other, and your families and home communities safe.

Go Duke,

John Vaughn, M.D.
Director of Student Health Services

Mary Pat McMahon
Vice Provost of Student Affairs

Gary Bennett
Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education

Jennifer Francis
Executive Vice Provost 

Vaccination Requirements for Fall Semester

April 9, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

As you all know, the success of our pandemic response has relied on a number of different approaches for combating COVID-19—social distancing and de-densification, enhanced cleaning and controlled facilities access, restrictions on visitors and events, and the expectations outlined in the Duke Compact.

This spring, we have added a powerful new weapon to our quiver: three safe and effective vaccines, which are proven to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission and the risk of serious illness when the disease is contracted. Duke research played an important role in the development of these vaccines, and we are committed to leading the way in vaccine access for students and employees.

Looking ahead, we know that widespread vaccination will be the only way to facilitate a return to normal and robust campus life.

With this in mind, we plan to require all new and returning Duke students to present proof of vaccination to Student Health before they can enroll for the Fall 2021 semester. This policy will cover all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students—in all degree programs—who intend to be on the Duke campus for any period of time starting with the Fall 2021 semester. Documented medical and religious exemptions will be accommodated.

We have offered every current Duke student and employee the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Those students and employees who have not yet received a vaccination from Duke are urged to schedule an appointment as soon as possible through the message you received earlier. We cannot guarantee that our supply of vaccines will continue at the same rate; if you miss this opportunity, you will have to obtain a vaccination from another health care provider or a public health agency and provide confirmation to Student Health.

The past fourteen months have been among the most difficult and exhausting in our university’s history. Under great stress, and often at great peril, we have remained committed to each other—and to our missions of discovery, research, and patient care. Today, I ask you to join me in taking the next step toward ensuring the safety and vitality of our university community.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment and flexibility. I am so very proud to call you fellow members of the Duke family.

Vincent E. Price
This message has been sent to all Duke students, faculty and staff..

Testing Update: March 29-April 4, 2021

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program administered 18,972 tests to 9,417 students and 2,299 tests to 1,177 faculty/staff for the period March 29-April 4, 2021, with a total of 30 positive results. The total positivity rate was 0.14 percent.

Over the past three weeks, the number of positive tests among Duke students has declined from a high of 218 (for the week ending March 14) to 15 this past week. In addition, all Duke students, faculty and staff have now been offered the opportunity to get the COVD-19 vaccine.

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.

End-of-Semester Departure Survey Sent to Students

On Friday, April 2 this message was sent to all Duke undergraduate, graduate and professional students by email.

Please note that the student emails contained live links to the departure survey; those links have been removed from this public facing post. 

Dear students, 

With the close of the semester only a few weeks away, we are writing to share more information about your transition out of the spring semester and, for many of you, away from Durham.

All undergraduate, graduate, and professional students living on campus or off campus in Durham are required to complete a brief departure survey to tell us when you are planning on leaving the area. Please complete the survey by Friday, April 16, at 5:00 p.m. EST. 

As a part of the survey, you will indicate whether you also need a clinical COVID-19 test before leaving the area. Clinical tests will be offered starting on April 19 from 9-11 a.m., and normal surveillance testing will also continue until the end of the term. Please still fill out the survey if you will be staying in Durham this summer.

We understand that some plans may shift between now and the end of the semester. Please answer all the survey questions to the best of your ability now; if your plans change, you can update your response as needed using the same link to the departure survey.

For answers to frequently asked questions, visit the Keep Learning FAQ page. If you still have questions about the departure survey or end-of-the-semester processes, email

Thank you for your partnership in ensuring a smooth and safe end of the spring semester.


Student Affairs

Testing Update: March 22-28, 2021

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program administered 19,448 tests to 9,944 students and 2,495 tests to 1,329 faculty/staff for the period March 22-28 2021, with a total of 43 positive results. The total positivity rate was 0.20 percent.

This represents a significant decline in positive cases among students from last week.

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.

East Campus Union Closed Until Further Notice

The message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Dear students,

We are writing to update you on East Campus Marketplace and Trinity Café hours. Several positive COVID cases have recently been identified among the Marketplace dining staff. As a safety precaution, all of East Campus Union, including Marketplace and Trinity Café, will be closed until further notice. Duke’s Employee Health team is in the process of contact tracing and investigating those cases right now. The information collected so far indicates transmission occurred between employees who have been in close contact with one another.

Other dining options are being made available for students, and we hope to reopen East Campus Union as soon as it is advisable to do so.

In the meantime, the Duke Dining team is working on a number of alternatives for students on Meal Plan I:

  • Now: All students’ Board swipe values have been automatically transitioned to food points, which can be used at any Duke Dining venue, including Merchants On Points. These points are now available to all students.
  • Beginning Monday: Duke Dining will begin offering hot, catered meal options for both breakfast and dinner beginning with breakfast on Monday, March 29. All meals will be prepared in a separate kitchen facility nearby and available for pick-up from East Campus Union.
  • Beginning Monday: Duke Dining will be offering rotating food truck options for dinner each night in the circle in front of East Campus Union. Please see the Dining Food Truck Calendar for trucks and times. This will begin at dinner on Monday.

Please be sure to keep checking the Duke Dining website as well as follow Duke Dining on Instagram for the food truck schedule, menu options for catered meals, and other continued updates. As always, Duke Dining is committed to offering a wide range of healthy, delicious options for our students while keeping the health and safety of both our students and team members at the forefront.

Thank you for your flexibility. We hope to reopen Marketplace as soon as it is advisable to do so, and will keep you updated.

Student Affairs 

Vaccination for Graduate/Professional Students

Thursday, March 25, 2021Dear graduate and professional students,Earlier today, the State of North Carolina announced it will expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to include college students beginning March 31. Duke Health expects to obtain sufficient supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the State to offer all currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate/professional students in the Durham area the option to get vaccinated in the next several weeks.

The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been demonstrated to effectively prevent serious illness from COVID-19 infection and may prevent asymptomatic spread of the virus.  You can learn more about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on the Centers for Disease Control website.

Since the vaccine does not reach its full strength until two weeks after it is administered, and because it’s possible that vaccinated persons may still transmit the virus to others, all students must continue to follow Duke Compact and behavioral guidelines for the remainder of the semester. Students who have been participating in spring surveillance testing will be required to continue.

In the coming week, all Duke students who have not already been invited to receive the vaccine will receive a message to their Duke email account providing an opportunity to schedule an appointment for the vaccine, starting April 1. Specific details regarding registration, scheduling, and location will be included in the email.  Due to uncertainties in the supply chain, it may take several weeks to schedule an appointment at Duke. We also encourage you to explore all options for vaccination, such as local public health departments, pharmacies, and other providers that may have additional supply.

As a reminder, students are not required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have concerns about whether you should get the vaccine, you should reach out to your medical provider at Student Health or your personal physician. You can learn more about the COVID vaccine, appointments, and scheduling at

Both the criteria for eligibility and the amount of vaccine available are controlled by the State of North Carolina, not Duke University nor Duke Health. The availability of the vaccine will continue to dictate how many and when eligible students will be able to schedule appointments for vaccination with Duke Health.

Our hope is to make the vaccination available to as many students as possible, as quickly as possible. Last week’s stay-in-place directive for undergraduates was a stark reminder that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic.  Regardless of your vaccine status, everyone must continue wearing a mask, maintain social distance, report your symptoms, report for your surveillance tests and wash hands often to keep yourself and our community safe. Thank you for all you continue to do this semester to keep yourselves and each other safe so we can finish out the semester strong.

Thank you, and go Duke,

John Vaughn, M.D.
Director of Student Health Services

Jennifer Francis
Executive Vice Provost 

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