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This message is being sent to faculty who teach undergraduates.
Dear Colleagues,

It is hard to believe that we have spent a year living under pandemic conditions. This community has shown remarkable resilience in the face of COVID-19, and we commend the incredible efforts you have made to support our students and offer them high-quality and academically rigorous experiences — all while managing the myriad ways the pandemic has affected your own lives. In short, faculty have been instrumental as our students have navigated the varied and often challenging transitions of the COVID era. 

Yet, we also know that many — students and faculty alike — have struggled this year. 

In recognition of the significant demands we have all faced, Duke elected to insert a Wellness Day in the academic calendar on Monday, April 12. Distinct from the official break days in early March, observance of Wellness Day is optional and was created to prioritize activities that promote reflection and wellbeing for our community. The Wellness Day website offers suggested activities and resources, and in-person offerings continue to be approved and added to the site daily.  Faculty are welcome to participate in the offerings.
You can read a message that went to all undergraduates about activities and expectations for Wellness Day below. Please remember that the overwhelming majority of our students are committed to their academic coursework and are adhering to our behavioral expectations. 

Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our students and our community as we head into the final stretch of this most unusual academic year.

Be well,

Gary G. Bennett
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Mary Pat McMahon
Vice Provost/Vice President for Student Affairs

Kerry L. Haynie
Chair, Academic Council

This message was sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Dear students,

With only 3 weeks left until finals, we are officially in the homestretch of the 2020-2021 year. The end of any academic year is marked by a flurry of activities and deadlines, and many students typically seek out ways to reflect on what they’ve learned and where they might go next. This spring in particular, we know students are eager to attend to their emotional and physical well-being. We’ve heard many students also say they are seeking a chance to take stock of living in a pandemic for a full year: how has this experience changed you and what do you now know because of it?

On April 12, we invite all members of the undergraduate community to participate in Wellness Day.

Student leaders have helped to design a whole range of independent and in-person activities to promote reflection and well-being. The list below offers some options for how to spend Wellness Day, or you may simply want to take time to pause and recover a bit before you head into final exams, papers, and projects. Although some courses will be canceled on the 12th, others may still be in session, and students will be expected to attend. Students are also expected to stay in Durham and follow the Duke Compact. 

  • For suggested activities for how you might spend Wellness Day,  please visit the Wellness Day website.  

  • In-person activities continue to be approved and added to the site daily, so check back regularly. Follow DuWell and Student Affairs Insta Stories for more information leading up to the day as well.

  • Keep an eye on the Academic Guides' Instagram and the Academic Resource Center’s website for helpful study and time management strategies. Implementing these before Wellness Day will help you create space to participate in ways that will be meaningful to you.

  • To participate in in-person events, you must wear masks, stay socially distanced, and complete your required symptom monitoring. And seriously, no travel and no parties.
Students from all class years have shared that this year—hectic, overwhelming, and odd as it has been—has also brought great insight. We know you’re re-evaluating your goals, intellectual interests, friendships, and way in the world, and please know we continue to appreciate your resilience and support for one another. Before we turn the page to focus on finals, we hope you will also take time to reflect on all you have accomplished this year.  

Be well,  

Gary Bennett
Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education

Mary Pat McMahon
Vice Provost of Student Affairs 

Additional Resources to Support Mental Health and Wellness

For additional support, please remember the numerous mental health and wellness resources available to you. Help is always here.
  • NEW. Duke’s Mental Health Resource Guide – This comprehensive resource guide recently made its debut, providing national and campus resources specific to students’ identities and experiences.

  • Spring 2021 “Two-Click to Connect” – Support is only 2 clicks away.

  • Blue Devils Care – 24/7 telemental-health support to all students at no cost, through on-demand (immediate) and scheduled appointments. Use code: DUKE2020.

  • Counseling & Psychological Services – Call 919-660-1000 to speak with someone, or for assistance with referrals in your local community. 

  • DukeReach – DukeReach directs students, faculty, staff, parents, and others to the resources available to help a student in need. Students may submit reports on behalf of themselves or report concerns over a fellow student.

  • Moments of Mindfulness – Weekly activities designed to help reduce stress, recharge, and learn helpful self-care practices.

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