Updates & reminders on key info for fall.
Updates & reminders on key info for fall.
Duke Graduate School
Dear Graduate Students,
As the fall semester approaches, we have seen many operational changes and new policies. It can be challenging to keep up with all the moving pieces, so I am writing to highlight some key information you should be aware of as you prepare for fall.

Access to Campus

If you intend to come on to campus to take classes or to use Duke facilities at any point this year, you must complete the following three tasks, or you will not be able to access campus buildings with your DukeCard:
  • Agree to follow the Duke Compact
  • Agree to follow student policies
  • Agree to Duke’s COVID testing policies as they pertain to you
The next two sections provide details about each of these tasks.

The Duke Compact and Student Policies

Later this week, all enrolled students will receive two separate emails from the Duke Office of Audit, Risk and Compliance (the sender email address will be msgsystem@compliance360.com). The first, coming on Tuesday, will provide a link to the Duke Compact, an acknowledgement of the shared responsibility that all members of the Duke community have for our collective health and well-being. The other email, coming later in the week, will provide a link to a COVID policy plan specific to either Ph.D. or master’s students.
The emails will direct you to a portal, where you will be asked to review the Duke Compact and the policies, indicate whether you intend to come on campus to attend classes or use Duke facilities, and, if you answer yes, indicate your agreement to abide by the Duke Compact and the policies that amplify it.
Students must sign both the Duke Compact and the student policy plan by August 11.
We know that students are currently re-registering for classes and some new students are still in the process of matriculating. If you are not enrolled at the time the initial emails are sent, you will receive the emails after you become enrolled. Students who receive the emails after August 11 should sign the documents as soon as they can.
Please take time to carefully review the information in the portal. The policy plans lay out important guidance and expectations on a host of topics, from public-health measures like testing and face coverings, to aspects of student life such as dining, events, and travel.

COVID Testing

Graduate students are required to be tested by the university for COVID-19 before they can come on campus, with the important exception of Ph.D. students who have been regularly coming to campus this summer for approved research/other activities.
Under the current plan, which still depends on expansion of our testing capacity, Duke will conduct baseline testing of graduate students between August 17 and September 1. Because of this requirement, we will notify faculty that all graduate classes, including in-person and hybrid ones, should be held online at the start of the semester to accommodate students while they wait to get tested.

The testing schedule is still being developed, but this is what we know at the moment: 
  • All graduate students will be tested on a priority schedule that will begin on or shortly after August 17.
  • Incoming graduate students must be tested and cleared to come to campus before their DukeCards will be activated, and only at that time will they be granted access to buildings.
More details will be provided soon.

Mask Distribution

Duke is providing three reusable cloth masks for each student, faculty, and staff. The Graduate School is working with departments to distribute the masks to all Graduate School students. Departments will receive their graduate students’ masks on August 6-12. Your DGSA should have more information about when and how departments will distribute those masks to you.

Travel Restrictions

Non-essential Duke-supported travel remains suspended under the current university travel policy. Graduate School students can request exceptions for essential travel by completing this form and submitting it to gradacademics@duke.edu.

COVID-19 Ph.D. Funding Extensions

Ph.D. students who will be in their sixth or seventh year this fall and whose progress toward degree has been significantly delayed by the pandemic can apply for funding extensions—a stipend extension for sixth-year students and a tuition-and-fee scholarship for seventh-year students. The application period for fall 2020 funding will be August 3-24. Please see gradschool.duke.edu/covid19funding for application instructions and more information.

As the situation and our responses change, we will continue to update you via email and our webpage at https://gradschool.duke.edu/fall2020. You should also regularly check https://returnto.duke.edu for university updates, as well as information on public-health measures, community responsibility, and campus operations.
It has been a challenging year to say the least, and the fall will no doubt require us all to continue drawing on our resilience and adaptability as the pandemic situation changes. I appreciate your patience and understanding, and thank you for taking the necessary steps to help keep the Duke and Durham communities safe and healthy.
Paula D. McClain, Ph.D.
Dean of The Graduate School
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
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