Category: For Visitors to Campus Page 1 of 3

Health Guidance for Upcoming Events

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

FROM:  Matthew Stiegel, Ph.D., Director, Occupational and Environmental Safety Office

 Paul Grantham, Assistant Vice President, Communications, Deputy Emergency Coordinator

RE:       Health Guidance for Upcoming Events

As we approach the end of the academic year and commencement, we want to provide some guidance on gatherings and eating in congregate settings to help mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 as we close out the semester.

During the last couple of weeks, we have seen an uptick in cases on campus. This uptick coincides with recent travel over spring break, gatherings afterward, and the emergence of the BA.2 subvariant in our community. Thankfully, we have not seen a corresponding increase in severe cases or hospitalizations. By taking common sense precautions, departments and units can safely gather to celebrate the end of the academic year.

These precautions include:

  • All attendees (employees, students and their guests) should be vaccinated.
  • Outdoor events and gatherings present a much lower risk for COVID transmission, especially if serving food.
  • No individuals should be required or expected to attend a reception, party or gathering. We should recognize that some of our colleagues have family or health concerns and will choose not to participate.
  • Masking is still required on Duke buses and vans, in classrooms and clinical settings.
  • Masking remains one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others, especially in indoor settings. We should respect an individual’s decision to wear a mask even if it is not required. 

The end of the academic year is a time of celebration, and we hope to do so in a responsible way to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Thank you for your continued diligence as we navigate this latest uptick in cases at the end of the semester.

COVID Safety Protocols for Summer Sessions

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students

While we begin the final month of the spring semester, we are also preparing for a busy summer on campus. We continue to see promising signs with fewer cases of severe illness related to COVID-19 nationally, across North Carolina, and here in our Duke Community. However, we want to do our part to continue that trend by taking appropriate precautions during the summer for students, faculty, staff and participants in camps.

As part of this effort, we are making some changes to our COVID protocols for summer sessions (effective May 9, 2022):

Students in Summer Session

  • All incoming summer students will be required to be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption. Summer students who have not already done so, should submit documentation through Student Health Services. (Students can email immunizations@duke.edu to request a medical or religious exemption form.)
  • All incoming students, regardless of vaccination status, must have a negative COVID test (PCR) 72 hours prior to arrival to campus. Students will be required to show documentation during the in-take process. (Note: Students who have tested positive in the last 90 days and have completed their required isolation period should bring a dated copy of the positive test result to show during the in-take process. Those who have not completed their required isolation period will need to wait until doing so before coming to campus.)
  • Any students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested at Student Health or other provider.
  • Students testing positive must be isolated for at least 5 days (if on-campus, will isolate in a single room in their residence hall).

Surveillance Testing for Students, Faculty and Staff

  • Required surveillance testing of students ended on March 17 due to limited public health benefit given high vaccination rates among students. The limited surveillance testing available on campus will end on May 1 (after final exams).
  • Required testing and daily symptom monitoring for unvaccinated faculty, staff and students will also end on May 1. Unvaccinated individuals remain at higher risk for severe illness related to COVID and should consider getting vaccinated to protect themselves and others at risk for severe illness.
  • Symptomatic testing for students, faculty and staff will continue to be available through Student Health, Employee Occupational Health and Wellness, or an outside provider.

Residential Summer Camps and Programs

  • All residential camp and program participants are required to be vaccinated or have a medical or religious exemption.
  • All residential camp and program participants must have a negative COVID test (PCR) 72 hours prior to arrival to campus. Participants will be required to show documentation during the in-take process. (Note: Participants who have tested positive in the last 90 days and have completed their required isolation period should bring a dated copy of the positive test result to show during the in-take process. Those who have not completed their required isolation period will need to wait until doing so before coming to campus.)
  • Each program must have a designated COVID Coordinator who will be responsible for verifying vaccination status and a negative test within 72 hours of arrival for campers and program staff. No medical documentation will be collected other than a form confirming vaccination status during the in-take process.
  • Student Health will do symptomatic testing of participants for camps and programs that have a contract for the service; otherwise, participants should be tested at an outside facility (e.g. urgent care, pharmacy). Any participant who tests positive will be removed from participation. Residential youth camp participants will be isolated in a single residence hall until a parent or designated adult caregiver can pick up the individual.

Day Camps and Programs

  • Participants in day camps and programs are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated before arriving. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should not report to camp until after receiving a negative test.
  • Student Health will do symptomatic testing of participants for camps and programs that have a contract for the service; otherwise, participants should be tested at an outside facility (e.g. urgent care, pharmacy).
  • Any day camp or program participant who tests positive while on campus will be removed from participation, and youth participants must have a parent or designated adult caregiver pick up the individual.

We are so proud of the efforts each of you have made in helping navigate the worst of the pandemic. While we must be prepared to ramp up our efforts again if a new variant or outbreak emerges, we hope to continue easing back into more normal routines this summer. Thank you.

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration, Duke University

Russell Thompson,
Interim Vice President, Operations, Duke University

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

Gail Shulby, RN, MA, CPP
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

Indoor Mask Requirement Lifted in Most Duke University Facilities

March 4, 2022

Students, Faculty and Staff,

The City and County of Durham will end the indoor masking mandate on Monday, March 7, as will Orange County. Wake County ended its indoor masking mandate on February 25. As a result, and after reviewing CDC guidance and consulting with our infectious disease experts, Duke University will also revise its indoor masking requirements.

As of Monday, March 7, fully vaccinated individuals [primary series and booster shot] will no longer be required to wear masks inside most campus and leased facilities. However, masks will continue to be required for all individuals in the following locations on the Duke University campus unless otherwise indicated:

  • In-person classes
  • Duke buses and vans
  • Clinical and patient care areas*

*Note: Easing of mask requirements does not apply to Duke University Health System hospitals, clinics, procedural centers and PDC clinics. Further communication regarding changes in mask requirements will come directly from DUHS and PDC leadership and will be in accordance with CDC health care recommendations.

Masks may still be required in other locations (such as the Lemur Center) based on specific circumstances, so we encourage students, employees and visitors to carry a mask and be prepared to wear it if needed. Individuals who are unvaccinated are still required to wear a mask in all indoor settings. Anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should wear a mask, not report to work or attend classes, and get tested as soon as possible.
Over the next several weeks, we will continue to evaluate campus and local conditions to determine if further changes need to be made in our masking policies.

This transition recognizes that COVID-19 will be with us in some form, but the spread and severity can now be managed through vaccinations and medical treatment. As a result of our high vaccination rates, frequent testing and care and concern for each other, we have not seen any cases of serious illness among students, and very few among employees since the emergence of the Omicron variant.

After two years of navigating the pandemic, we recognize this change may feel uncomfortable for some, and we ask you to be respectful of those who prefer to continue wearing masks, particularly for those who have underlying high-risk medical conditions or live with those who do. It took time for us to adjust to life in a pandemic, and it will take time as we adjust to living with COVID as the pandemic eases. But this is another positive step toward that future.

We are deeply grateful for your engagement and compliance with masking and other safety measures to help protect each other throughout the pandemic. We’re sure this change is welcome news for many and expect we’ll see a lot more smiles around campus in the days ahead.

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

Sally Kornbluth, Ph.D.
Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor

This message was sent to all University students, faculty and staff.

Guidance on Holiday Parties, Receptions and Gatherings

TO:Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers
FROM:Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration
RE:Guidance on Holiday Parties, Receptions and Gatherings

With the approaching holiday season, we want to provide some general guidance on parties, receptions and gatherings. By taking common sense precautions, departments and units can safely celebrate the holidays, and our fellow faculty, staff and students. These precautions include:

  • All attendees (employees, students and their guests) should be vaccinated.
  • No individuals should be required or expected to attend a holiday party. We should recognize that some of our colleagues have family or health concerns and will choose not to participate. Likewise, we should also respect an individual’s decision to wear a mask even if it is not required by policy or local ordinance.
  • Outdoor events present a much lower risk for COVID transmission. There are a number of tents located around the campus and at area restaurants and event venues. While the weather may not be as accommodating in December as it was earlier in the fall, heated outdoor spaces can be found.
  • Holiday events that are held indoors on campus, in a restaurant or other public space must observe current university and municipal policies that are in place at the time of the event. As of November 10, both Duke and Durham County require masks for all indoor events unless individuals are actively eating or drinking.
  • Events at private residences are not covered by university and municipal polices, but we strongly encourage hosts to be prudent in terms of density and recommend that attendees wear masks unless actively eating or drinking.

The Duke community has gone to extraordinary lengths over the past two years to protect public health, which has made it possible for us to continue our education, research and service missions. While this is a time for much-needed celebration, it is also a time to remain vigilant, and to continue to look out for each other we enter what we hope will be the final phase of a global pandemic.

Easing Outdoor Masking Guidance

Nov. 2, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

We are writing today to update our guidance for outdoor masking given the lower prevalence of COVID-19 cases on campus and in our community. Individuals on campus no longer need to wear masks in outdoor congregate settings, including athletic events.

Individuals are encouraged to carry a mask to wear in the event social distancing cannot be effectively maintained in outdoor settings. Also, please respect anyone who chooses to continue wearing masks as a means to prevent exposure to themselves or loved ones.

Masks are still required indoors in all Duke owned and leased buildings, including in most areas of residence halls except a student’s assigned room. Masks are recommended—but not required—in semi-public residential spaces (commons rooms, laundry rooms). Masks are also required on all buses and at bus stops.

We have seen a significant decline in weekly cases on campus since a high of 364 cases in late August. During the last three weeks, our total weekly cases have been in the teens. This success is directly related to our vaccination rate and your diligence to practice prevention in your daily activities.

As we approach the holiday season, please continue to follow public health guidance to limit the potential for a spike in cases during indoor gatherings of friends and family. We also encourage everyone to get a booster shotonce you meet the eligibility criteria. Appointments can be made on the Duke COVID Vaccine website. Thank you for your commitment and perseverance throughout this pandemic.

Sally Kornbluth
Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor

Kyle Cavanaugh
Vice President for Administration

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

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.

Updated Guidelines for Eating on Campus

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

With the increasing prevalence of the COVID-19 Delta variant and the resulting spike in positive tests among Duke students and employees in recent weeks, we are making changes to our public health measures to reduce the risk of potential outbreaks. In addition to required vaccination and masking indoors, we are now updating our guidance for eating meals because communal dining has continued to be one of the primary modes of transmission.

All members of the Duke community should adhere to the following while eating together with others:

  • If you are dining with others do so outdoors if possible. You are less likely to get or spread COVID-19 while outside. Additional tents with tables have been set up on campus to provide more access to shaded areas for outdoor dining.
  • Food should not be served or provided at indoor meetings, events, conferences and other gatherings, unless an outside eating option is made available.
  • When dining indoors, remain masked at all times except when actively eating and drinking. This includes waiting in line and walking to and from an eating location.
  • Be aware of surroundings in the environment, especially indoors, when deciding where to sit while you eat. Seating at indoor tables should be limited to no more than four individuals if possible to reduce overall density.
  • Minimize periods of time where multiple people are eating within the same communal space.
  • Remember to practice good hygiene before eating, including washing or sanitizing your hands thoroughly.

This guidance is in effect until further notice.  We are monitoring campus, local and national conditions and will provide updates as warranted.

The greatest protection against severe health risks related to COVID-19 is vaccination. Anyone who has not yet been vaccinated should do so at your earliest opportunity to help protect yourself and your loved ones.  As a reminder, vaccination is required for all students, faculty and staff. It is safe, free, easily accessible to every member of the Duke community and effective. You can find more information about options to get vaccinated and answers to frequently asked questions on the Duke COVID Vaccine website.

Thank you for doing your part to protect yourself and our community, and we look forward to a safe and productive fall semester.

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

Matthew Stiegel
Ph.D., Director, Occupational and Environmental Safety Office
This message is being sent to all Duke University students, faculty and staff.

Masks Required Indoors Again Due to Delta Surge

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Given the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in North Carolina related to a combination of the Delta variant and the number of people who remain unvaccinated, all individuals will be required to wear face masks in all Duke-owned and leased buildings effective Friday, July 30 until further notice.This requirement applies to all students, faculty, staff and visitors regardless of vaccination status. Masks will not be required in on-campus residence halls where there is a significantly lower risk of exposure for high-risk individuals.

In the last month, the Delta variant – which is  markedly more transmissible than earlier strains of the virus – has become increasingly prevalent nationally, across North Carolina, and in our local community. During that time, we have seen a steady rise in the number of cases on campus among unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals. However, the greatest threat for severe disease is to those in our community who are not yet vaccinated. On Monday, about 1,000 people in the state were hospitalized due to COVID, more than twice the number just two weeks ago.

While we know this is a disappointing turn, we make this move now based on the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Duke’s own infectious disease experts in hopes of containing potential outbreaks that may limit our ability to continue other activities during the fall semester.

The key to ending this pandemic is getting everyone vaccinated. We implore anyone who has not yet been vaccinated to do so at your earliest opportunity to help protect yourself and your loved ones. Too many have suffered and continue to suffer the effects of this disease. Duke stands ready and available to help answer questions or concerns and to vaccinate every member of our community.

We are making plans and preparations to welcome all students back for the fall semester, and we are eager to see a more active and dynamic campus this year. But the pandemic is still with us, and we must take appropriate steps to promote the safety and well-being of our community in the midst of this resurgence. Thank you for your continued support, patience and resilience.

Sincerely,

Sally Kornbluth,
Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

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

Masking and Social Distancing Guidance

For the next several weeks, Duke University will maintain the requirement for social distancing and wearing of masks indoors while inside campus facilities and using Duke buses and shuttles, regardless of vaccination status.

We are assessing the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and consulting with our infectious disease experts, the Office of Environment and Safety Office, and Employee Occupational Health and Wellness. While we may ease requirements in the coming month, masking and social distance continue to be the most effective way to limit the spread among unvaccinated individuals.

We are making good progress in vaccination with more than 65 percent of faculty and staff and 55 percent of students now fully vaccinated. Continued progress in vaccination will provide us greater confidence in easing restrictions for social distancing and masking inside certain facilities on campus in the next several weeks.

Faculty and staff who have not already done so can schedule an appointment for free vaccination. Those who were vaccinated outside of the Duke Employee Vaccination Clinic should submit a photo of their completed vaccination card through the Duke COVID Vaccine website.

Thank you for continued efforts to ensure the safety of our campus community.

Sincerely,

Kyle Cavanaugh
Vice President, Administration

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 https://www.nc.gov/covid-19/staying-ahead-curve.

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.

Sincerely,

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

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