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COVID-19 vaccination now condition of employment for Duke faculty and staff

COVID-19 vaccinations are now a condition of employment for Duke faculty and staff, according to a Sunday afternoon email from Provost Sally Kornbluth and Vice President for Administration Kyle Cavanaugh obtained by The Chronicle.

All faculty and staff members must receive and show documentation of their completed COVID-19 vaccination by 10 a.m. on Oct 1.

Faculty and staff members may still apply for a medical or religious exemption, but those who receive one will be subject to daily symptom monitoring, weekly surveillance testing, continued masking and other protocols.

Those who do not comply with the new policy will be subject to the following protocols:

  • Individuals will be issued a final written warning and placed on administrative leave. Leave will be unpaid unless the individual has accrued vacation or discretionary holiday time.
  • The individual will then have seven days to receive either the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the first dose of the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
  • If the individual does not receive the dose within seven days, they will be terminated at the end of the seven day period.
  • Those who do get their first dose of Moderna or Pfizer will have up to six weeks to provide documentation that they received the second dose. Individuals who do not provide proof of the second dose will be terminated at the end of the six week period.

Individuals terminated for non-compliance will not be eligible for rehire with Duke in the future, Kornbluth and Cavanaugh wrote.

Deans and vice presidents will be provided a list of unvaccinated faculty and staff within their departments in the coming week. Updates will be provided as the Oct. 1 deadline approaches, per the email.

The email noted that as of Sunday, more than 91% of University employees are vaccinated.

The requirement is “consistent with the policy already communicated” by the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing and Duke University Health System. Previously, all Duke faculty and staff were required to provide proof of vaccination by Sept. 1, but it was never explicitly stated as a condition of employment for all faculty and staff until Sunday.

Cavanaugh did not immediately respond to a request for comment about why Duke decided to make this policy change and what would have happened to faculty and staff who remained unvaccinated by Sept. 1 under the previous policy. 

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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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