Category: Travel Updates Page 1 of 3

Update on Travel for Faculty and Staff

This message was sent by email to Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads and Managers on April 21, 2021.

While Duke has extended its travel suspension due to the pandemic until at least August 8, effective May 2, 2021, top-level managers can grant exceptions for domestic travel by employees for those who are on record with Employee and Occupational Health and Wellness (EOHW) as fully vaccinated, or have an accepted medical or religious exemption on file, and for whom the travel is necessary and reasonable, meeting the criteria listed within the policy addendum.

Please note the following:

  • All Duke supported travel by Undergraduates (whether domestic or international) is suspended until August 8, with rare exceptions granted by the Provost.

  • Graduate/Professional Student travel continues to be suspended with exceptions for essential travel approved by Top-Level Manager(s);

  • All Duke supported travel should be managed carefully given Duke/Duke Health budget reductions in effect until July 1, 2022; and

  • All Duke supported travel must be entered into the Duke TravelRegistry.

Definitions as to what constitutes domestic travel, who top-level managers are and how one’s vaccination records can be put on file with Duke’s EOHW are included within the Travel Policy and Addendum for Travelamidst COVID-19, online at

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 

Vaccination of Remaining Faculty and Staff

This message was sent by email to all Duke faculty and staff.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

The State of North Carolina announced that it will expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to include a subset of Group 4 (Adults at High Risk for Exposure and Increased Risk of Severe Illness, Homeless, and Incarcerated Individuals) beginning March 17. At this time, college students in congregate housing are projected to be eligible for vaccination beginning April 7.

As a result, Duke will be inviting all faculty and staff who have not already been contacted to register for the vaccine in the coming week. Those faculty and staff identified as eligible in Group 3 (frontline essential workers) will receive an email from Duke Employee Health by Friday, March 12 inviting them to schedule an appointment.  All others on the Duke payroll, including teaching assistants and research assistants, will receive an email early next week with an opportunity to schedule an appointment beginning March 17. Appointments will be added as supply becomes available, so individuals should continue to check for availability every few days.

Please note that Duke Health continues to receive a limited supply of vaccines and cannot accommodate the current demand from eligible individuals. We strongly encourage you to explore all options for vaccination, such as local public health departments, pharmacies and other providers that may have additional supply. If you received your COVID-19 vaccine outside of Duke Employee Health, please submit your documentation to Duke Employee Health.

As a reminder, the criteria for eligibility and the amount of vaccine available are both controlled by the State of North Carolina, not Duke University or Duke Health. The availability of the vaccine will continue to dictate how many and when eligible faculty and staff will be able to schedule appointments for vaccination with Duke Health. In addition, Duke Health is still prioritizing underserved populations and those at highest risk who have not yet received their vaccinations.

We are hopeful that vaccine supply will continue to increase in the coming weeks and months. Our hope is to make the vaccination available to as many individuals as possible, as quickly as possible. In the meanwhile, everyone should continue wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, and frequent hand washing to keep everyone safe as we see our way to the end of this pandemic. Thank you.


Kyle Cavanaugh
Vice President, Administration

Carol Epling, MD, MSPH
Director, Employee Occupational Health and Wellness

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 Duke COVID Vaccination Work Group

Additional Updates on UG COVID Cases and What to Expect This and Next Week

This message was sent by email to all Duke undergraduate students and to all undergraduate parents. A copy was also sent to all faculty from Provost Kornbluth and Vice President Cavanaugh. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Dear students,

We are writing to follow up on our message from Monday regarding the recent spike in COVID-19 transmission among undergraduate students. Unfortunately, that spike has continued and the university must take additional steps to curtail further transmission in the days ahead. This new guidance will apply to all undergraduate students, and to all student groups regardless of their affiliation with Duke.

Between Friday, March 5 and Tuesday, March 9 at 8 p.m. a total of 102 undergraduates have tested positive for COVID. Tuesday’s total of 32 positive undergraduate cases is the single highest daily count within our student population since the pandemic began. The majority of students in this group either have a known Greek affiliation and/or are first-year male students in the Class of 2024. Many of these cases are connected to the off-campus rush activities and parties hosted by individuals connected to Durham Interfraternity Council, which includes Greek organizations that have recently severed their affiliations with Duke. All of these are under investigation by the Office of Conduct and Community Standards and other authorities.

All Durham-based students must adhere to the follow guidance until further notice:

  • Do not host or attend in-person events of 10 people or more. It remains Duke’s policy that student gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors or outdoors, unless specially approved by the Student Events Policy Committee.
  • Do not host, attend, or participate in any in-person rush events, on or off-campus, whether or not the group is affiliated with Duke. As has been stated, all rush events must also be virtual unless otherwise approved.
  • To be clear, students who are seeking to affiliate with any selective organization may not participate in any in-person rush, pledge, or other selection activity for any affiliated or unaffiliated student group.

Failure to comply with these expectations will be considered a flagrant violation of The Duke Compact and Duke Community Standard and will be dealt with accordingly in the student conduct process. Individuals and groups that violate Duke and Durham public health guidance are also subject to disciplinary action. Students found responsible for hosting off-campus events or other flagrant violations of The Duke Compact may face serious sanctions up to and including suspension and/or expulsion. Disciplinary processes for students found responsible for hosting off-campus events have already resulted in multi-semester suspensions.

It is essential that all students who travel away from Durham this week strictly adhere to the following guidance when returning to campus. Please note that any student who has missed their surveillance test this week will be presumed to have traveled and must also adhere to these requirements.

Every undergraduate living on- or off-campus returning from travel this week must sequester in their room or apartments until they have cleared two rounds of surveillance testing, including the 48-hour notification period following the second test.

Sequester entails staying in one’s room or apartment at all times other than to get food and essential supplies, participate in surveillance testing, or get exercise. Students must not attend in-person classes or access non-essential in-person resources until their sequester period is completed. In the fall semester, we asked students to sequester for a shorter period of time; note that the sequester period here is PENDING THE OUTCOME OF TWO TESTS. The return-to-campus sequester requirement is firm and failure to adhere may result in loss of campus privileges or suspension from the university.

As always, undergraduate students will be called to surveillance testing twice in the upcoming week; many undergraduates will be called for more frequent testing in the near term. This increase is designed to help the modeling team track and respond to any patterns in transmission.

These steps are designed to assist us in curtailing COVID transmission among undergraduates. We are confident that you all can adhere to this new guidance so that we can flatten the curve on campus without employing additional steps to restrict campus life. Should they be necessary, however, next steps may include instituting a nightly curfew, further restrictions on campus navigation and access, ending in-person courses or cancelling planned activities.

To be clear, we recognize that the vast majority of undergraduates are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our entire community— students, faculty, and staff alike. Following our Monday message, we each heard from students who asked that we be more transparent about the individuals and groups whose actions are disproportionately impacting their classmates. We are doing so by reiterating specific restrictions on, and consequences for, conducting or participating in rush events and will not hesitate to take further action if needed.

In turn, we ask the entire student community to renew its commitment to our collective goal of looking out for each other and completing our semester on campus. In a year of loss, let’s come together to ensure that our seniors can complete their time at Duke without additional interruption and that the campus community can get through a hard-fought year without wholly preventable and dangerous setbacks. We know you can ALL meet this challenge together.

Thank you and go Duke,

John Blackshear
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Gary Bennett
Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education 

Mary Pat McMahon
Vice Provost of Student Affairs

Important Reminder to Students about Days Off Next Week

This message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Dear students,

As you all know, undergraduates have two days off next week. These days were inserted into the Spring Calendar after DSG advocacy in order to give you all a well-needed break. University leadership did so because we are confident in your partnership in following the Duke Compact. We are writing to share a few important reminders before those days:

  • Rules related to travel are still in effect. If you have any planned travel, you must let us know via the travel form. Per the Duke Compact and Duke’s COVID policies and expectations, all students are expected to stay in Durham for the entirety of the spring semester.
  • Surveillance testing will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Unless you are pre-approved to travel via the form linked above, you will be called in for surveillance testing during those days.
  • We will be checking Duke IDs at all testing sites next week. Make sure to bring your physical DukeCard with you or have your Mobile DukeCard on your phone.

We need each of you to continue to do your part to keep our community safe. After seeing recent testing numbers and Duke’s tentative commencement plans, we are excited and hopeful—let’s not erase this good work so close to the end.

If students are found traveling outside of Durham without prior approval, please keep in mind that this is a violation of the Duke Compact and will be treated as such. Please do your part: submit the form if you are leaving the area, sequester once your return, and report to surveillance testing when called.

Hang in there, Dukies. Help us continue the semester as planned.

Go Duke,
Duke COVID Response Team

Update on Duke Travel Policy COVID-19 Addendum

Dear Travel Policy Update listserv,

Thank you, to all of you who have reached out to share your questions, thoughts and feedback regarding travel.  These are extraordinary times and keeping lines of communication open is more important than ever and has helped us to plan and anticipate needs better.  We want to share with you an update on where things stand today for Duke’s travel policy. 

The suspension put into place by the COVID-19 Addendum to Duke’s Global Travel Policy will be extended to August 8, 2021.

The specific criteria required for exceptions to this suspension to allow travel may be revised and possibly broadened if warranted by positive developments such as declining hospitalizations and wider distribution of vaccines.  Any such revisions will be further specified and updated officially within the Addendum in mid- to late-March and will be available online at  As with all travel at Duke, a significant change in the public health and safety environment can lead to a policy revision, with possible cancellations of travel and return of participants to their homes or Durham. The policies we outline here are subject to change at any time and such changes would be announced via this listserv and on the policy webpage noted above.

For Undergraduates: As stipulated in the January 28th email from Provost Sally Kornbluth et. al., Duke support for undergraduate travel during the Summer of ’21 will be suspended. This suspension holds true for both individual students and programs, domestic as well as international, and regardless of whether the travel is for research, internships, fellowships, academic study or another purpose.  Our fervent hope is that the outlook improves substantially so that support for some undergraduate travel can resume in the Fall of ’21.

For Graduate and Professional Students: The Duke Global Travel Policy and COVID-19 Addendum will remain in effect therefore, support for travel by Graduate/Professional students, both domestic and international, remains suspended.  However, an avenue for individual students to apply for an exception via their “Top-Level Manager” (e.g., School Dean, Institute Director, etc.) does exist.  At this point, most units, schools, and institutes have developed protocols under which a Graduate/Professional Student and/or their Faculty Advisor/Grant PI can apply for an exception which if granted would allow for travel to proceed.  (If you need help identifying who to turn to regarding travel within your unit, please reach out for assistance.)

As has been the case throughout the Academic Year, the decision-maker, faculty/PI or individual Graduate/Professional student can request a review of proposed travel by the COVID-19 Travel Sub-Committee of the Provost’s Global Travel Advisory Committee (GTAC) for input and advice on the safety and security of the planned travel and activity. The COVID-19 Sub-Committee’s review and recommendation is not mandatory for Graduate/Professional Student travel.  The ultimate decision for the exception lies with the leadership of the school/institute that will be supporting the travel.  If the supporting unit is different than the student’s home school/institute, approval must be secured from both the supporting unit’s leadership and the home school/institute’s leadership.  For example, if a Nicholas School of the Environment (NSOE) Grad student has research funded by a Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) grant, the student needs approval from both the leaderships of NSOE and DGHI for the travel to proceed.

For Faculty, Staff and Others such as Post-Docs, Fellows, etc.: The Duke Global Travel Policy and COVID-19 Addendum will remain in effect, and exceptions to the travel suspension can be granted by “Top-Level Managers.” The decision-maker can request the COVID-19 Sub-Committee’s review and recommendation on the safety and security of the proposed travel and activity.

For all travelers: Students, Faculty, Staff and others must remit a copy of approval for travel to the COVID-19 Travel Sub-Committee and individuals must enter their personal and trip details into the Duke Travel Registry.

A note to decision-makers: As stated above, we are working with senior leadership to refine the decision-criteria to aide in granting exceptions for academic and research-related travel for Faculty, Staff, and Graduate/Professional Students.  We will have more specific guidance on this in the coming weeks.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.  We also plan to host an online Travel Forum sometime in late-March or early-April once the policy changes have been formally announced.  Please watch for the invitation to this forum in the coming weeks.

Kindest regards,

Eric Mlyn, Chair, Global Travel Advisory Committee and
Christy Parrish, Travel Policy Administrator

Governor Extends Modified Stay-at-Home Order

Governor Roy Cooper announced today that he would extend the state’s current modified stay at home order for four weeks, through February 28, 2021.

The extended executive order continues to require restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses and other establishments to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and prohibits alcohol sales after 9 p.m. Exceptions include traveling to and from work, obtaining food, medical care, fuel, or social services, and taking care of a family member.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services secretarial directive still remains in effect, instructing people to stay home and only leave for essential purposes.

Update about Spring 2021 Undergraduate Study Away Programs

The Duke University Global Education Office (GEO) has suspended all outgoing undergraduate study away programs for spring 2021 due to ongoing health, safety, and logistics concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension applies to Duke-In, Duke-Approved, and petition programs, including domestic study away programs and U.S.-based exchange programs. GEO will continue offering spring semester opportunities for Duke students unable to return to Duke’s campus through the Duke at DKU and Study Away at Home programs.

Duke academic policy states that online transfer credit, such as those offered through virtual study away programs, will not be accepted by the registrar’s office. Please note that should a student choose to study away this spring on an unsanctioned program, they do so without access to university financial aid and travel resources, and will not be permitted to transfer credit back to the institution.

Duke students who have paid deposits towards suspended Duke programs will have those funds credited to their bursar accounts. Non-Duke students will be contacted by their GEO Program Manager about deposit refunds. Students on Duke-approved programs should check with their program provider regarding cancellation, withdrawal, and refund policies.

GEO will withdraw all spring study away applications from MyGlobalEd. To ensure a seamless continuation of your studies this spring, we recommend students refer to updates on Keep Learning regarding the Duke spring semester.

For the latest from the Global Education Office, please visit their website:

U.S. State Department Global Travel Advisory for all U.S. Citizens

TO:                  All Duke Students, Faculty and Staff
FROM:            Kyle J. Cavanaugh
                        Vice President for Administration and Emergency Coordinator

We want to be sure that you saw the news that the U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for all U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. The advisory (copied below) recommends that U.S. citizens arrange to return to the U.S. immediately unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.

If you are currently out of the country and intend to return to the U.S. we strongly encourage you to make travel arrangements immediately, and to observe the guidelines about self-isolating that comes from public health authorities when you return.  Additional guidance, including requirements for quarantine, is available on the Duke Coronavirus website

The full text of the State Department advisory is below:

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.  U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.  Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips.  If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure of U.S. personnel and family members from any diplomatic or consular post in the world who have determined they are at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19 or who have requested departure based on a commensurate justification.  These departures may limit the ability of U.S. Embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens.

For the latest information regarding COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.

You are encouraged to visit to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security. Please also visit the website of the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to see information on entry restrictions, foreign quarantine policies, and urgent health information provided by local governments.

Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1(888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions.

 If you decide to travel abroad or are already outside the United States:

Consider returning to your country of residence immediately using whatever commercial means are available.

Have a travel plan that does not rely on the U.S. Government for assistance.

Review and follow the CDC’s guidelines for the prevention of coronavirus.

Check with your airline, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.

Visit to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security.

Visit our Embassy webpages on COVID-19 for information on conditions in each country or jurisdiction.

Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States

Visit Keeping workplaces, homes, schools, or commercial establishments safe.

Guidance on Travel from Europe

The following memo was distributed to Duke leaders and managers on Thursday, March 12.

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

FROM: Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration, Emergency Coordinator

Last night, the U.S. government announced new travel restrictions for non-U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents on entering the U.S. for travelers from Europe.

Duke has sent the following guidance to students, faculty and staff who have registered travel in Europe.

Dear Duke Traveler,

We are writing because you are currently registered for travel in Europe.

Please be advised that U.S. President Trump recently announced restrictions for non-US citizens or legal permanent residents on entering the U.S. for travelers from Europe. Please see the Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf’s Statement on Presidential Proclamation To Protect the Homeland from Travel-Related Coronavirus Spread 

Currently, this proclamation “suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States. These countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This does not apply to legal U.S. permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.”

We strongly encourage those affected by this proclamation to change your travel plans NOW and book travel back to the U.S. before the proposed entry restrictions take effect on Friday, March 13 at midnight. In addition, we strongly encourage everybody to follow the news and subsequent announcements from the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.

We regret that we don’t have complete details, as the news was released last night in the United States and it is likely to change as the situation evolves. We want to share this information so you can start to work proactively on your travel plans. For students, we also realize that you might be receiving additional messages from Duke offices sponsoring your travel and we apologize for multiple messages. We care about your safety and are just trying to move quickly at this time. We will provide further updates as they become available.

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