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COVID Protocols Updated for 2021 Fall Semester

June 29, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Together we have made extraordinary progress in combating COVID-19 on campus. More than 81 percent of our faculty and staff and nearly 10,000 of our students are fully vaccinated, and that number increases every week. We ended the Spring semester with a very low number of positive cases and had a joyous in-person celebration for our graduates. In addition, since May 3, there have been 35,000 surveillance tests completed with only 7 positive results.

In preparation for the Fall semester, we continue to work closely with Duke’s infectious diseases experts and follow the guidance of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others, to promote a safe environment for our students, faculty, staff and visitors. While the national news is good, the pandemic is not over yet. Vaccination rates in our region continue to lag and the emergence of new and more transmittable variants of COVID-19 mean we must continue to practice some of our public health protocols as we begin the Fall semester.These protocols include:

  • Vaccinations: All Duke undergraduate, graduate and professional students must present proof of vaccination in order to attend classes and other campus activities this Fall. All faculty and staff are expected to present proof of vaccination by September 1. Students, faculty and staff may apply for a medical or religious exemption. Individuals granted medical or religious exemptions will be subject to daily symptom monitoring, regular testing, masking and other protocols applicable to those who have not been vaccinated.
  • Testing: All students will be tested upon arrival at Duke and must then participate in weekly surveillance testing regardless of their vaccination status. All students who have obtained an exemption from vaccination will be required to participate in surveillance testing twice a week. Faculty and staff who have not been vaccinated will be required to participate in surveillance testing once per week. The testing schedule for each group is based on the number of interactions they are likely to have that could lead to the transmission of COVID-19. Students tend to live in congregate settings and will likely have substantially more interactions than faculty and staff.
  • Symptom Monitoring: Fully vaccinated faculty, staff, and students will not be required to complete daily symptom monitoring. Anyone who has not been vaccinated, regardless of the circumstances, will be required to complete daily symptom monitoring.
  • Masking: Fully vaccinated faculty, staff and students will not be required to wear a mask in most indoor areas effective July 1. Because masks are still required in certain settings – including health care facilities, buses and shuttles on campus, and childcare centers – everyone should have a mask ready and available if needed. Also, please respect anyone who chooses to continue wearing masks as a means to prevent exposure to themselves or loved ones. Faculty, staff, and students who have not been vaccinated will be required to wear a mask indoors at all times. Masks will be provided to all students as part of the initial testing program.
  • Social Distancing: Social distancing is no longer required on campus, though distancing is still recommended for those who are not vaccinated.
  • Flu Vaccination: All members of the Duke community will be expected to participate in the annual flu vaccine program.

We will continue to assess our COVID protocols and test results as the semester progresses to determine whether it is safe to further ease restrictions.

With your participation and support, Duke has led the way back from this pandemic. Your perseverance, creativity and sheer will to overcome the many challenges that confronted us reflects the best of Duke and will define our future.

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.

Testing Update: April 26 – May 2, 2021

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

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

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

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

Testing data is also available on our Testing Tracker.

Testing Update: April 19 – 25, 2021

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

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

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

Testing data is also available on our Testing Tracker.

Summer Surveillance Test Sites

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

That link is here: https://returnto.duke.edu/public-health-measures/covid-19-testing/#summer-sites

Testing Update: April 12 – 18, 2021

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

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

Testing data is also available on our Testing Tracker, which is updated every Tuesday.

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.

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.

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.

Testing Update: March 15-21, 2021

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program administered 20,018 tests to 9,729 students and 2,437 tests to 1,246 faculty/staff for the period March 15-21 2021, with a total of 78 positive results. The total positivity rate was 0.35 percent.

This represents a significant decline from last week. The downward trend allowed the university to lift most of the restrictions that were part of the “Stay in Place” order for undergraduate students which began March 13 at midnight and ended at 9 a.m. March 21.

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.

Testing Update: March 8-14, 2021

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program administered 19,131 tests to 9,675 students and 2,590 tests to 1,363 faculty/staff for the period March 8-14 2021, with a total of 231 positive results, 211 of which were undergraduate students. The total positivity rate was 1.1 percent.

This was the highest number of positive cases reported in a single week and nearly equals the total number of positive cases reported for the entire first semester (241). In order to curtail further spread of the virus, a “Stay in Place” order was issued for all undergraduate students effective Saturday, March 13, at midnight and extending through Sunday, March 21.

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.

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