To the Duke Community, 

We are now halfway through the fall semester. This may seem surprising, both because we started earlier than usual this year and because it feels like the first day of classes was a decade ago. 

There are still challenges ahead, but we have much to be proud of at Duke. Thanks to the cooperation of the Duke community, our comprehensive testing program, and generally good adherence to our health and safety protocols, we have so far kept the rate of coronavirus infections relatively low.  This has enabled us to continue our semester as planned.

A tremendous amount of planning, flexibility, and frankly, luck, has gone into this initial success. But the real reason we are where we are is that Duke has come together, person by person, to keep our community safe. That includes all of you— students, faculty and staff.  So, let me take this opportunity to say thank you

We must continue to be vigilant, however, and recognize that COVID-19 is extremely contagious.  This pandemic remains a serious threat to the health and safety of our community and will be for a considerable time to come.  Experience has shown that changes can be rapid, and singular lapses in behavior can have far-reaching negative effects and quickly lead to outbreaks that jeopardize every member of our community.  We cannot lose focus now. 

As we enter the second half of the semester and look ahead to the spring, we must redouble our commitment to the protocols and community guidelines that are keeping us all safe. I encourage you to visit the Duke United site to take a fresh look at our guidance. Please pay particular attention to limits on social gatherings and the ongoing need for surveillance testing.  And as always, remember our four core expectations: wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands, and monitor any symptoms. 

The cooperation of the Duke community these past few weeks has demonstrated that ours is a campus of people first and foremost, people who are making extraordinary contributions today and helping to define the boldest aspirations for our future. Again, thank you for all that you are doing to stay a Duke united in this unprecedented moment.