Passing period between classes to shorten to 20 minutes in fall, students concerned about tardiness, bus schedules

Beginning next semester, Duke is changing its class schedule, decreasing the passing time between some class periods to 20 or 25 minutes from its current 30.

Twenty-minute passing periods were standard before the University closed in-person operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to DukeHub. Since reopening in the fall of 2020, Duke switched to 30-minute passing periods. 

“Duke reverted to pre-COVID class schedule periods now that we are ‘post-pandemic’,” wrote Frank Blalark, associate vice provost and university registrar, in an email to The Chronicle.

Some students, however, are concerned that the switch to shorter passing periods will leave them in a time crunch.

“The fact that there’s now only 20 minutes in between classes means that I won’t have time to take three classes in a row anymore because it means I don’t have time to go get lunch between those classes,” said junior Luke Lorentzatos.

Lorentzatos also said that the reduction in passing time would pose a challenge between getting to class on time, particularly when back-to-back classes are on opposite campuses.

“[The passing time reduction] means that when I’m taking a class on East [Campus] next semester, after one in the Physics Building, I’m going to be late to that second class every single time,” he said. “With 30 minutes, I can get from the Physics Building to the bus stop and then across to East Campus, but if it’s 20 minutes, that’s not enough time and I’m going to be late to classes.”

Lorentzatos also pointed out that the new class schedule will be new to nearly every undergraduate. The only class on campus currently to have experienced the previous system is the Class of 2023.

Sophomore Miles Eng agreed with Lorentzatos. He said that last semester, he took three classes back to back — two on West Campus with the third on East Campus sandwiched in between.

“I had 30 minutes in between and I was still almost late to both classes. Trying to get in between East and West Campus when the buses are already overloaded is near impossible,” Eng said. “... I think it’s going to make it a lot more difficult for [first-years] to get to classes on time.”

Blalark did not respond to The Chronicle’s request for information on whether there will be more frequent or additional bus services next semester. 

Editor's Note: This story was updated Wednesday afternoon to reflect that some passing periods will be shortened to either 20 or 25 minutes, not just 20. 

Adway S. Wadekar profile
Adway S. Wadekar | News Editor

Adway S. Wadekar is a Trinity junior and former news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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