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Duke announces fall COVID-19 protocols, including continued surveillance testing, symptom monitoring for unvaccinated

Last spring marked the start of the COVID-19 pandemic for Duke students. Just like the trees, the campus was barren - students were sent home, with no return in sight.
Last spring marked the start of the COVID-19 pandemic for Duke students. Just like the trees, the campus was barren - students were sent home, with no return in sight.

Duke announced some of its COVID-19 protocols for the fall semester in a Tuesday morning email to the Duke community from Vice President for Administration Kyle Cavanaugh and Provost Sally Kornbluth.

All undergraduate, graduate and professional students must provide proof of vaccination in order to attend classes and campus activities in the fall. Students, faculty and staff can apply for a religious or medical exemption but must undergo daily symptom monitoring, surveillance testing twice a week, masking and other protocols if they are granted one.

All students will be tested upon arriving at Duke and will undergo weekly surveillance testing regardless of vaccination status. Unvaccinated faculty and staff must be tested one per week; faculty and staff who do get vaccinated must present proof by Sept. 1.

“The testing schedule for each group is based on the number of interactions they are likely to have that could lead to the transmission of COVID-19,” the email explained. “Students tend to live in congregate settings and will likely have substantially more interactions than faculty and staff.”

Those who are fully vaccinated will not need to complete daily symptom monitoring or wear a mask “in most indoor areas” starting July 1. The email instructed everyone to “have a mask readily available if needed” because they are still required in certain settings, such as buses, shuttles and childcare centers.

Anyone who is not vaccinated will be required to wear a mask inside at all times.

Social distancing is no longer required on campus but recommended for those who are not vaccinated. All members of the Duke community will need to receive a flu vaccine.

The email noted that more than 81% of faculty and staff and nearly 10,000 of students are fully vaccinated. 

“We will continue to assess our COVID protocols and test results as the semester progresses to determine whether it is safe to further ease restrictions,” Kornbluth and Cavanaugh wrote.


Leah Boyd | Editor-in-Chief

Leah Boyd is a Pratt junior and editor-in-chief of The Chronicle's 117th volume.

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