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Reporting of COVID-Related Absences

June 9, 2021

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

FROM: Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration

RE:        Reporting of COVID-Related Absences

Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has continued to support our staff members as they navigate the demands of work and home life while ensuring the safety of our community.

We are seeing progress in our fight against the pandemic with more than 78 percent of University faculty and staff now fully vaccinated, which has allowed easing of some restrictions and revision of COVID policies. Given our advancement in vaccine distribution along with other key indicators, Duke University, consistent with the approach for Duke University Health System, will begin a transition back to use of accrued time off for any future COVID-related absences (i.e. illness, isolation, quarantine, reactions).

From July 1 – Aug. 31, 2021, Duke will continue to provide up to 40 hours of COVID paid time for staff who must be out for any of the following reasons:

  • COVID testing (up to two shifts per test/results)
  • Quarantine or isolation related to COVID.
  • Hospitalized because of COVID or COVID complications.
  • Side effects following COVID vaccination (up to one shift per dose)

Submitting & Tracking COVID Time

  • In order to maintain confidentiality, Employee Occupational and Health Wellness (EOHW) will include the appropriate COVID-19 pay code on the Health Recommendation Form (HRF).
  • Supervisors should then submit a Gross Adjustment form to Corporate Payroll Services using the designated pay code and corresponding reason code provided by EOHW so the time is paid as part of the normal payroll cycle. This form is only necessary for biweekly-paid (non-exempt) staff, since monthly-paid (exempt) staff will continue to receive their salary for time missed..
  • Staff members should not report the time on their timecard or record the time as vacation or sick leave between July 1 – Aug. 31.
  • Managers should use the COVID Time Tracking form to track any COVID Time used by biweekly-paid and monthly-paid staff members to ensure no individual exceeds the 40-hour cap from July 1 – Aug. 31.

In all cases, staff members will be required to be cleared to return to work by EOHW and are expected to report to their next scheduled shift. COVID-19 Paid Time is provided at the team member’s base rate of pay without differentials.

Beginning Sept. 1, 2021, staff should use accrued vacation or sick time as appropriate for all instances where work is not being performed. Rare exceptions may occur where individuals require hospitalization for severe infections. These situations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The interim COVID pay practice has been in effect since June 2020 to keep staff members in a paid status due to COVID-19 exposure or illness and limit the potential spread of the virus.

We continue to strongly encourage all team members to receive their COVID vaccine. At this time vaccination is not yet required as a condition of employment, but those who are not vaccinated by the beginning of the fall semester may be required to continue wearing masks and be tested weekly.

We remain committed to providing equitable, efficient access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for all members of the Duke community. All students, faculty, staff and family members age 12 and over are now eligible for vaccination. Appointments can be made online and walk-ins are welcome, too.

Thank you.

Student Conduct Updates March 17 — Sent to Parents and Families

This message was sent to parents and families of undergraduate students

Dear Parents and Families, 

Each month the Dean of Students Office sends an update to all undergraduate students to provide transparency and awareness of our response to COVID-19 related and other allegations of misconduct. Duke University takes the health and safety of the Duke and Durham communities seriously and part of our responsibility during a pandemic is educating our students about their responsibilities and holding individuals accountable when violations of policy occur.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards has reviewed all submitted allegations of Duke Compact violations and held those found responsible of flagrant or repeated disregard of these policy expectations accountable. 

Thanks, 
Parent & Family Programs  

This message was followed by the full email sent to undergraduate students. That message is available here: https://coronavirus.duke.edu/2021/03/student-conduct-updates-march-17/

Update to Trinity S/U Grading Policy this Fall Semester

The message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Dear Duke Students,

It is a privilege to write to you as the newly appointed Dean of Academic Affairs for the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. I’m honored to work with you and our faculty and staff to ensure that we’re supporting you during your time at Duke.

Leaders of our faculty governing body, the Executive Committee of the Arts & Sciences Council, recently met to discuss urgent faculty proposals regarding Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grading policies for Fall 2020. The committee decided to allow Trinity departments to choose which of their courses—numbered 199 and below—should be graded as S/U this fall.

You can view the final list of fall courses in Trinity that will be graded S/U here:

https://trinity.duke.edu/undergraduate/academic-policies/unsatisfactory-satisfactory-grading-option

There are several things you should know about the Executive Committee’s decision:

  • The change for these courses is to a mandatory S/U grading basis, so no student in these S/U courses will be able to opt into receiving a letter grade.
  • As a special provision of this decision, courses converted to S/U under this policy will satisfy the requirements of any major, minor or certificate program as well as T-Reqs and other requirements for graduation.
  • Any S/U courses you take this fall will not count toward the number of S/Us allowable per year or upon graduation.
  • S/U grades are not factored into your GPA, and will not count toward Latin Honors.
  • No decision has been made in regards to S/U grading for Spring 2021, and any extension of this policy would follow further review by the Trinity Arts & Sciences Council this fall.

Please note that this decision applies only to courses that originate in Trinity. It does not apply, for instance, to courses that originate in Pratt or Nicholas or Sanford. However, as noted above, the S/U grading basis will apply to courses that originate in Trinity and are cross-listed in other departments or schools.

Faculty governance entities like the Arts & Sciences Council and the checks and balances they provide to administration are an important and necessary part of Duke operations. The details regarding these changes were long considered by our faculty leaders and are intended to alleviate stress and prioritize your well-being.

Over the past month, I have listened to and spoken with students enrolled in my summer school course, current Duke students, and even former Duke students regarding their concerns about COVID-19, police brutality, the upcoming election, students’ roles in protesting, student housing, graduation and careers, extracurricular activities, and college sports. These conversations have been challenging, thought-provoking, gratifying and eye-opening. I entered them understanding that many of you were feeling pressure due to the uncertainty of life in 2020, but I came away realizing that many of you are also deeply concerned about a myriad of other issues. I left these discussions hopeful and emboldened by the passion and voice of Duke students.

As someone who is deeply invested in the lives of Duke undergraduates, I know that you are all working through a very difficult year. As you prepare for Fall 2020, please understand that Duke University is a better place because you are here. I miss seeing all of you on campus and I am looking forward to having some of you in my class this fall. If I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Sincerely,

Martin P. Smith
Dean of Academic Affairs of Trinity College
Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
Assistant Professor, Program in Education
Duke University

Pool Testing for Undergraduate Students

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Dear undergraduate students,

We are writing to share information about additional measures the University is taking to protect the health and safety of the campus community during the fall semester. As undergraduate classes get underway next week, the University will begin ongoing testing of students and other members of the campus community who are here in the Durham area and not exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19. These additional tests will be conducted regularly beginning the week of Aug. 17.

In addition to the testing of all students coming to campus and the daily symptom monitoring, this additional step will help us identify and respond to the potential spread of the virus and limit the potential for local outbreaks. This ongoing testing process will begin with undergraduate students residing on campus. It will be expanded in subsequent weeks to include other Duke student populations and then faculty and staff who regularly interact with students on campus.

The self-administered process should take about 5 minutes, and testing sites will be established in multiple locations on East and West campuses for convenience. Collection of samples will involve a testing participant inserting a cotton swab into each nasal passage and rotating it against the inner nasal lining in a circle three times. The swab does not need to be inserted far—just enough so the cotton tip is no longer visible. The swab is then placed into a collection tube with a bar code, which will be placed in a bag and then deposited into a cooler at the collection station. Site coordinators at each location will ensure these tests are transported to a nearby lab and any positive test result will be communicated back to the student within 48 hours.

This testing process will be conducted throughout the fall semester. Duke hopes to make this as quick and convenient as possible for all participants, and it is critical that you participate to ensure we can maintain on-campus activities during the pandemic. Participants will need to bring their DukeCard ID or their mobile phone with the SymMon mobile app to one of the many testing sites that will be conveniently located across campus.

If you are selected for pool testing, you’ll receive an email and text message alerting you to your day. Please be sure to attend carefully to these texts and plan accordingly. You can find more information about the process, testing sites and answers to frequently asked questions on the Duke United website.

Thank you and go Duke,

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

Mary Pat McMahon
Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Gary G. Bennett
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Duke Updates Plans for Fall Semester

With the growing numbers of new COVID-19 cases in both North Carolina and the country, Duke University is adjusting plans for the residential component of its fall semester.

In a message sent to Duke students, faculty and staff Sunday, President Vincent E. Price said the university will limit Duke-provided housing in the fall to first-year students, sophomores and students who require special accommodations because of personal, academic or other reasons.  Juniors and seniors will receive priority for the spring semester, Price added, with first-year students and sophomores to join them if conditions improve.

(The full message, along with an FAQ on residential life, safety measures, and COVID-19 testing, can be found on Duke Today.)

Invitation to Faculty to Submit Comments for Fall Planning

This message was sent by email to all Duke Faculty on June 11, 2020

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

Summer is usually a time of relaxation and restoration after the intensity of the academic year, and an opportunity to advance your research and scholarship.  This particular summer, of course, is anything but relaxing.   I know that you have devoted considerable time and energy to transitioning your classes and research to the new work-from-home and remote teaching realities and that preparing for the fall will require continued hard work.  I want to offer my sincere thanks to every member of the faculty for your extraordinary dedication to your students, your scholarship and to Duke.

In planning to meet our goal of welcoming students back to campus, President Price and I, along with many members of the university and academic administration, have engaged with our faculty colleagues in the schools, on various committees, and the Academic Council to talk about the various options for the fall semester.

Since there are many aspects of the upcoming semester that are still being refined, from classroom configuration to campus dining, I invite you to the share your questions and concerns on this open-ended survey form (open until Wednesday, June 17 at 11:59pm EDT).  Your submissions will be anonymous unless you choose to identify yourself and will be shared with the appropriate university leaders for consideration and, as needed, action.  If you have questions or concerns about specific situations or issues, I encourage you to contact your dean or department chair.

I want to reiterate here that our foremost priority is the health and safety of every member of the Duke community, including faculty, staff, and students as well as our families and neighbors.  And as we noted last month, you will not be required to teach on campus if you have concerns about your health and safety, nor will you have to disclose your personal health information or seek special accommodations if you choose to teach through an online or remote delivery.

Thank you again for being part of this inspiring academic community.  I look forward to hearing from you, and to seeing you either virtually or, hopefully soon, in person.

Sincerely,

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

Update for Staff from President Price on Fall 2020

Dear Colleagues,  

As we continue to prepare for the 2020-21 academic year—a year that will be unlike any other in Duke’s history—I want to provide you with an update and further direction on our planning. As it has from the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of our campus and Durham community is our paramount priority and will always drive decisions.  

Across the university, many are working around the clock to continue our core missions of education, research, patient care, and service with the excellence that characterizes Duke.  Already we have reopened—deliberately, thoughtfully and safely—numerous research laboratories and clinical practices, bringing several thousand faculty, staff and graduate students back to campus with new safety practices, and we are learning every day from their experience.  We have also been in contact with many university colleagues over the last several months to understand their interests and concerns during this challenging time.  

We are still on track to decide many details about the upcoming academic year by the end of June. Let me tell you where we are now:   

Our goal is to enable as many of our students who are able and who choose to participate in an on-campus experience for the fall semester to do so, but only if it can be done safely.  We are fortunate to have, in Duke Health, the resources of a world-leading academic medical center to help guide and support our university community.  As our faculty and academic leaders collaborate to prepare a dynamic and flexible educational experience, we are working with medical and public health experts, as well as with specialists in residential and classroom facilities, food service and environmental health and safety to reinvent our living, working, and learning spaces and adapt to the new realities that we will confront in all aspects of our lives.  I will describe some of those details below.  

Our academic calendar will change to maximize our time on campus, and to minimize the disruptions and potential health hazards of travel during the semester.  Fall semester classes for undergraduates will begin a week earlier than originally planned, on Monday, August 17, and final exams will conclude before Thanksgiving.  We expect the arrival of residential students to be staggered over several days before the start of classes. There will not be a Fall Break in 2020.  The spring semester will begin a week later than normal, on Tuesday, January 19, and final exams will be held the week of April 26. Commencement for the Class of 2021 will take place on Sunday, May 9.  There will be no Spring Break in 2021. More information on course registration and re-registration, and housing assignments, will be available by the end of June.  

Our first-year students will receive additional information on move-in and orientation programs, which are being developed now. Orientation will include online programming prior to first-year students’ arrival on campus, which we now expect will take place over several days during the week of August 10.  Final details will be provided by the end of June.

Graduate and professional schools will operate on calendars specific to their needs, and students will be notified about the schedules directly by their schools.  

Assuming students will be on campus, all Duke courses will be offered in one of three formats: in-person instruction conducted in classrooms on the Duke campus, fully online courses that take advantage of the best pedagogy and technology available for remote education, and hybrid courses that involve some combination of in-person and online instruction.  Students who are on campus can expect their courses to be taught in both in-person and online modes.  Students who cannot or who do not wish to be on campus, or who have to be quarantined or return home, will still be able to engage in a full curriculum of courses and make progress toward their degrees.  To this end, all in-person classes will also have the necessary online components.  

Our faculty and staff, too, are making the transition to this new environment, and we have engaged experts in digital learning to ensure that we have the best guidance in developing and presenting our courses, whether in a newly-configured classroom or online.  In addition, courses that include labs, performances, travel, and other unique requirements will be revised to accommodate protocols for physical distancing and online access, though we recognize that might not be possible in all situations. We are also looking to create special “immersion” periods when students might come to campus to complete lab, or lab-type, components of courses.  

To do all this safely and successfully, we all must make significant changes to the way we live, study and work, and we are reconfiguring residential, classroom and office facilities to make it possible.  Success will only be achieved if all members of the Duke community do their part—which will call upon extraordinary mutual support, clearly articulated behavioral norms, and an unshakable personal commitment. To this end, we expect that all members of our university community will enter into a compact, the Duke Compact, that recognizes our shared responsibility for our collective health and well-being. Committing to the Duke Compact means we care enough about each other to comply with new policies and protocols. These are under careful development, and final policies and protocols will align with the latest and most reliable scientific information, experience, and local, state, and federal guidelines.  At this point, we expect practices along the following lines.   

  • All members of the Duke community—faculty, students, staff, visitors—will be required to wear masks in classroom and public settings and practice physical distancing as mandated by local law and university policy.
  • Robust and wide-ranging testing systems will be in place. All students living on campus will be tested for COVID-19 before they are permitted to begin classes.
  • All students will complete daily health checks through a monitoring app and report concerning symptoms to the Student Health and Wellness.
  • All students living in on-campus or off-campus housing will be expected to remain in the Durham area during the semester.
  • All students who report symptoms will have to follow the testing, contact tracing and quarantine protocols established by Duke, Durham County and the State of North Carolina should they become ill or exposed to COVID-19.
  • While many co-curricular and extra-curricular activities (lectures, performances, club activities,  events) will be held virtually, there will be opportunities for in-person gatherings that meet university and public health guidelines.
  • On-campus dining centers will provide expanded take-out options and limited in-person service using reservation systems.
  • Access to campus facilities by students, faculty, staff and visitors will be restricted and new guidelines on space configuration, capacity, traffic flow, cleaning and sanitation protocols will be in place.  

Perhaps more than ever before in our lifetimes, the actions of one member of our community can have catastrophic implications for all.  Thus, we will take these commitments seriously at all levels.  For students, failure to adhere to these guidelines could be grounds for disciplinary and other actions necessary to protect the health and safety of the Duke community.  

We remain steadfastly committed to inclusivity, and for its sake, to flexibility. We will continue to encourage, where practical, work from home.  Students who choose not to participate in the on-campus experience in 2020-2021 – or who are unable to be physically in Durham due to travel restrictions, personal circumstances, or family obligations – are assured that we will make every effort to support their continued learning and engagement in campus life while remote.  Our experience this spring has been instructive in many ways, and we will build on this unplanned shift to develop the safest possible working and learning conditions to advance our core missions.   

Finally, and it bears repeating, all of this is subject to change based on public health guidance, medical advice, local conditions and laws, and variables that may not even be known to us today.  Such is the nature of life in and after a pandemic.

Regardless of the circumstances, I know we will get through this.  It won’t look easy, and it won’t look anything like we’re used to experiencing.  But we’ll get through it because our people—faculty, students, staff, families and friends — are thoughtful, collaborative, creative, adaptable, and committed to excellence. We will get through it because we are Duke.     

I so look forward to seeing many of you on campus, in all the familiar places. In the meantime, stay tuned to your email and Duke websites for more information and updates. And please accept my very best wishes for your health and safety and the start of what will be an unforgettable summer.

Sincerely,

Vincent E. Price
President

Securing Our Financial Future

This message was sent to all Duke University and Duke University Health System faculty and staff

Dear Colleagues,

What sets Duke apart are our people and our purpose, and both have been tested over these past few weeks.  We have all lived through what for many has been the most tumultuous and unsettling period of our lives.  The combination of understandable concern for our health and safety, and those of our loved ones, with massive disruptions to society, education, business and even our ability freely move around our communities, is deeply unsettling.

But we have as a Duke community met these unprecedented challenges with an extraordinary outpouring of creativity, commitment and courage from thousands of people spanning the globe.  Each of you has contributed in your own way, through actions that have saved lives, supported our students, faculty, staff and patients, and ensured that our important work continues despite the challenges we confront every day.  Many of you have done so while balancing health concerns, caring for family members, and navigating the mental and emotional challenges of an uncertain and isolating time.

Your extraordinary effort brings home the truth that we can only do great works through great people, and that ensuring the well-being of our people is critical to our purpose of seeking knowledge in the service of society.

Even as we confront present challenges, we must be clear that the pandemic will also produce profound and lasting effects, including severe and negative effects on our operations and finances.  Duke is not alone in this, of course: every business, government, nonprofit organization and family is now making difficult choices. While it is too soon to determine with precision the magnitude of disruption to our finances, it is clear that the impacts will be both severe and prolonged.  All of our formerly reliable sources of revenue – tuition, research grants, clinical revenue, private philanthropy and income from our investments and endowment – will almost certainly be significantly and adversely affected, even as we face increased expenses in our education, research and patient-care services.

The responsible institutional course is to engage in a thoughtful, comprehensive, and strategic review of our operations and finances, and we are initiating exactly that.  In the meantime, we must also act responsibly now by taking immediate steps to mitigate our deepening financial challenges.  As a result, we are today either confirming (in the case of actions that were announced earlier) or implementing the following Duke University policies, which do not apply to the Duke University Health System:

Expenditures:  All schools, units, departments and programs will need to pause new non-salary expenditures, including (but not limited to): contracts, service or consulting agreements; computer, office and laboratory equipment; renovations; furniture; travel and entertainment; meetings and conferences. Any ongoing expenditure of university funds (including grant, gift and endowment funds) greater than $2,500 will continue to require pre-approval by the Executive Vice President, Provost or Chancellor for Health Affairs or their designees.  There will be additional guidance forthcoming regarding information technology services, including software licenses.

Hiring:  All staff hiring is paused until further notice.  Requests for exceptions for positions that are essential to the operation of the university can be made through the vacancy management process, which requires the approval of the Executive Vice President, Provost or Chancellor for Health Affairs, depending on the unit.  Subject to the approval of the appropriate dean, ongoing faculty searches may continue provided that all salary and startup funds are identified.  Likewise, searches for staff positions that are fully funded by external research grants that have already been received by the university may continue, subject to review through the vacancy management process.

Salaries: For the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, there will be no salary increase for University employees making more than $50,000 per year.  Employees earning up to $50,000 who earn satisfactory performance evaluations will receive a one-time, $1,000 payment.  The only exceptions to this policy will be certain academic promotions.   Positions covered under collective bargaining agreements will be governed by the terms of the contract.  This action also does not cover Duke University Health System (DUHS) employees.  DUHS administers compensation on a different calendar from the University, and guidance for the next year will be provided to DUHS employees at a later date.

Benefits: At this time, we do not anticipate making any changes in our insurance programs (health, dental, vision and disability).  We are reviewing our 403b program to determine whether adjustments are now appropriate.

Construction:  All new construction projects are on indefinite hold, except those related to safety, repairs, infrastructure, virus research and a small number of obligations to new faculty.

As we adapt to this new reality, I pledge to you that Duke will never lose sight of our highest commitments, to our people and our purpose.  We remain firmly committed to meeting the financial aid needs of our students, which are likely to rise.  Our decisions will be guided by and aligned with Duke’s overarching strategic framework, Toward our Second Century.  We will be mindful of the needs of the most vulnerable among us and committed to the health, safety and security of our students, faculty and staff.  And we will be true to our shared values of respect, trust, inclusion, discovery and excellence.

We will get through this, together, by supporting one another and our shared mission as a university.  Thank you for all that you are doing for Duke. I am proud to call you colleagues.

Sincerely,

Vincent E. Price
President

Duke Student Assistance Fund Now Open

Dear Duke Students,

Today we are opening up applications for funding from the Duke Student Assistance Fund which has been established to assist undergraduate, graduate and professional students with unexpected and extraordinary expenses related to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students may now submit applications for grants using your Net ID at https://studentassistance.duke.edu.  All applications will be reviewed individually by the Duke Student Assistance Fund team, which includes Student Affairs professionals who have experience with the many unique experiences of our students.

While the Duke Student Assistance Fund has been established with funds from the university, we are also receiving contributions from generous alumni and donors who want to help in providing relief to our students.  The university has also created and funded similar relief efforts for patients at our hospitals and for the Durham community.

We know this is a challenging time for every member of our community, but at the same time we are all a source of inspiration and resilience for each other.  Duke is committed to providing support for all of our community, particularly those members who have the most urgent and compelling needs, and we will continue to do so for the duration of this crisis and beyond.

Sincerely,

Sally Kornbluth, Ph.D.
Provost

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

Faculty and Staff Parking Fees Suspended through June

This email was sent to all faculty and staff

While many of our faculty and staff are now working remotely, others are continuing to report and serve our students, patients, and vital research operations. Each day we are confronted with new challenges, which our faculty and staff continue to rise and meet. We are also seeking ways to help support you during this time to make life slightly less challenging.

To that end, Duke will suspend all faculty and staff parking permit fee deductions from paychecks issued April through June.

Existing permits will remain active and valid for access to assigned lots and parking facilities. Permits requirements and parking facility restrictions will continue unchanged during this period.

We hope this measure provides some financial flexibility for individuals who have had to make accommodations to address personal or childcare needs to continue to support our vital work at Duke or those who have had to make adjustments to work remotely.

Thank you for your continued support, dedication and perseverance in support of Duke’s missions during this unique and challenging time.

Kyle J. Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration
Emergency Coordinator

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