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Duke announces procedures for fall move-out, spring move-in and entry testing

A strange semester is almost over, and students learned more on Friday about the transition to the next one. 

In an email to undergraduates, Dean of Students John Blackshear and Student Health Director John Vaughn shared Duke’s plans for students’ departure from Durham this month and return in January, including entry testing requirements for spring move-in. 

Students who are leaving Durham in the next few weeks will not be able to return to campus until the spring semester, in order to “minimize back-and-forth travel from Duke students to and from other locations around the US and globe,” they wrote. 

Students who test positive for COVID-19 or have to quarantine between now when they plan to leave Durham can either stay in Duke-provided facilities until approved to leave, have a family member pick them up and drive them home, or drive themselves home, the email read. Blackshear and Vaughn wrote that students should not use any form of public transportation during this time. 

Blackshear and Vaughn wrote that students must be out of their residence halls and turn in their room keys by noon on Nov. 30—six days after the end of the fall semester—unless approved to stay on campus during the break. Students not returning in the spring should take all belongings back with them, and those who are returning do not need to move out entirely, but should take valuables back with them, the email read. 

All students who are living on campus at Duke or off campus in Durham must complete a Housing form by Nov. 13, notifying Duke of their departure plans for the break. Students who leave Durham should not return to campus until January, the email states.

Students who are traveling to states or countries that require proof of a negative COVID-19 test should call Student Health “as soon as possible,” they wrote. The email notes that regular surveillance testing will not fulfill that requirement.

Blackshear and Vaughn noted that if students develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 while away from Durham during the break, they should notify both their local health department and Duke Student Health, using the SymMon app for the latter. Students who test positive should email the test result to dshcheckin@duke.edu prior to returning in January, the email read.

At the start of the spring semester, all students must participate in entry testing before gaining access to campus, according to the email. Entry testing for undergraduate students will begin Jan. 15—the same day residence halls open—in Penn Pavilion. Graduate student entry tests will begin Jan. 9.

Similar to the fall, students must sequester in their residence until they receive a negative result. Blackshear and Vaughn wrote that they “strongly encourage” students to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus and to “minimize contact with others during the break”

“Again, please remember that all plans for the spring semester are subject to change on short notice based on local and national public health conditions,” Blackshear and Vaughn wrote.

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