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From timing to testing, here's how move-in will work amid a pandemic

Students must be tested at Penn Pavilion, pictured here before the pandemic, to have their DukeCards activated.
Students must be tested at Penn Pavilion, pictured here before the pandemic, to have their DukeCards activated.

Move-in this fall will not be marked by friend groups reuniting in crowded hallways or whole families unpacking together. 

Due to social distancing guidelines, students will be scheduled to move in on particular days and are not guaranteed a particular move-in day or time. Students cannot be accompanied by more than two individuals when moving in, according to an FAQ about move-in on Duke’s Keep Learning website.

First-year students will move in between Aug. 7 and 10, before select upperclassmen move in between Aug. 10 and 15. Undergraduate classes begin Aug. 17, after the first day of classes was moved up a week due to the pandemic.

All students, including those living off-campus, will be tested at an assigned time for COVID-19, and their DukeCards will not be activated until they have been tested. Student Health will conduct a symptom check and provide masks and nasal swabs for each student, the FAQ states.

Students can schedule their testing times through the Transact Mobile Order App. Testing will take place between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. from Aug. 7 to Aug. 16 at the Penn Pavilion. Testing appointments will be approximately 20 minutes long, and friends or family can’t accompany students to their COVID-19 testing appointments, according to the FAQ.

If students with on-campus housing arrive in Durham after 4 p.m., they will be required to find off-campus accommodation for the night and get tested the next day before moving in, per the FAQ. 

Another Keep Learning FAQ states that Student Affairs and the Office of Undergraduate Education have reserved a small number of beds for students who have on-campus housing but can’t arrive by 4 p.m. “due to circumstances beyond their control.” The spaces are for one night only and are for students who are traveling without family or from overseas, or who have a demonstrated financial need. 

After being tested, students must sequester in their rooms until they receive their test results, which may take between 24 to 48 hours, per the move-in FAQ, according to a Wednesday email to students from Housing and Residence Life. Test results will be available to Duke students via the online MyChart health management service, that email notes. 

While waiting for their test results, students living on campus are allowed to buy food from Duke Dining locations, complete essential errands and spend time outside, but should avoid contact with other students and staff, according to an Aug. 1 email to students from Mary Pat McMahon, vice provost and vice president for student affairs, and Gary Bennett, vice provost for undergraduate education, on August 1.

Students who test positive are required to isolate in East House dorm, Jarvis dorm or The Lodge at Duke Medical Center until a Duke clinician clears them for release, McMahon and Bennett wrote, with the average time spent in isolation being 14 days.

Contact tracers will determine whether individuals who have come in contact with the infected person need to be tested or quarantined.


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