Duke will expand staffing in some areas as early as next week, Vice President of Administration Kyle Cavanaugh and Executive Vice Provost Jennifer Francis announced in a Friday news release.
According to the release, Duke will “phase in a return of faculty and staff over time” in a way that allows for social distancing, availability of personal protective equipment and testing for the coronavirus. There will be expanded staffing in “areas of greatest need,” like health clinics and research laboratories, beginning as early as next week.
“These efforts are being tightly controlled and coordinated to mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of faculty and staff, as well as the communities we serve,” Cavanaugh and Francis wrote.
Units and departments should not expand staff levels beyond what is necessary for their current operations without approval from their respective dean, vice president or vice provost, according to the release. Duke plans to return to restricting on-site staffing to only “those necessary to support critical operations” if easing social distancing measures in the state and region leads to new outbreaks of COVID-19.
“Our approach to staffing will need to be phased in over time and fluid as conditions change,” the announcement reads.
The release follows a Thursday announcement by N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper that extended the statewide stay-at-home order until May 8. The City of Durham and Durham County announced Friday that they’ll be extending their stay-at-home-order through May 15, though restrictions on some businesses will be eased.
The release made clear that no decisions have been made regarding the Fall 2020 semester. President Vincent Price recently appointed a committee called Strategy Team 2021 to assess conditions and discuss possibilities for when students and staff can return to campus. Cavanaugh and Francis are co-chairs of the committee.