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Message from Duke President Price About Fall 2020

Dear Duke Students and Families,

I hope this note finds you and your family well despite the complications to life caused by COVID-19. The past few months have brought us many new challenges, but also daily reminders of why we are all so proud to be members of the Duke University community. 

I write today because I know the question on everyone’s mind: what will happen with the fall semester?

There’s a lot we still don’t know.  Like every family, community and business, we are trying to make the best decisions with only partial information that changes by the day.  A month ago, we established several planning teams to prepare for the next academic year.  These teams have worked closely with our faculty, our physicians and public health experts to develop a range of options that start with protecting the health and safety of the Duke community and focus intensely on ensuring the continued excellence of our education, research, public service and patient-care missions.

That work continues, but here’s what we do know right now:  

First, Duke University will be open in the fall, with the specific details of attendance and schedule to be determined soon. Throughout the pandemic, our education and research programs continued, so in a sense we’ve never closed.  We completed the spring semester, awarding almost 6,000 degrees earlier this month to the extraordinary Class of 2020.  We started a virtual Duke Summer Session with five times as many students as last year.  Our hospitals and clinics continue to care for patients, and research on COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics has only expanded.  And we’ve now begun the very careful process of reopening our facilities in phases. This week, hundreds of additional Duke researchers and scientists are returning to campus to continue their vital research with new protocols for social distancing, daily monitoring, and testing, contact tracing and medical supervision.

Second, we expect to make decisions about the structure of the coming academic year by the end of June.  Why not decide now?  We are committed to getting this right, and responsible decision making must be based on a clearer understanding of public health and safety issues than is now available. Our decisions also have to be informed by our experience from these early campus restarts. Making choices now in the absence of this vital information would jeopardize safety of our students, faculty, staff and the wider community, even if it seems to provide the certainty so many of us desire. 

Consider for a moment where we were as a country just six weeks ago: you can see how quickly medical guidance has evolved, how rapidly legal and regulatory guidance developed, particularly around matters like testing and tracing, and how much local conditions have changed.   The next six weeks should give us far more reliable information upon which we will base our decisions.

And finally, we know enough to say that next academic year will not look anything like the past.  As we work toward coming back to school safely in the fall, we are innovating every part of the Duke experience—from the academic calendar to residential living—to provide students the best and safest possible configuration of on-campus and high-quality remote teaching.  We are dedicated to adapting the life-changing experiences that make the Duke experience so special, and to creating new ones in areas like career planning.

To be sure, there will be necessary changes in how our spaces are configured and classes are delivered, as well as in the many campus activities that make Duke so enriching and exhilarating; but, like every other part of society, we will be resilient and adapt to the new reality.

Looking beyond next academic year, we are building the Duke of the future. This too will take time, but will only be improved by the knowledge we all gain as we move through the months ahead.  Our present circumstances may be daunting; but they call upon us to determine, together, how we empower the finest scholars, redefine teaching and learning for the 21st century, deepen our commitments to community, strengthen our partnerships in the region, and engage as never before our global network of Duke alumni, families, and friends. 

So, while I may disappoint those of you who are looking for certainty now, this is where we stand today. We’ll be in touch with you directly as soon as we have more specific information about our programs, and the actions you can take to prepare for the fall semester. 

In the meantime, I can tell you that the Duke you know and love is alive and well.  The education you receive at Duke will prepare you for lives and careers of meaning and fulfilment.  Whether you are a first-year or a senior, your Duke experience will be memorable for life. And wherever you are, near or far, you can follow what is happening through The Duke Daily, our daily e-mail newsletter.  Our students receive it each weekday, and parents and families can sign up here

I offer my best wishes to you and your family, my deepest thanks for your commitment to Duke, and my appreciation of your confidence in the enduring value and promise of our great university. 

Sincerely,

Vincent E. Price
President

An Update on Securing our Financial Future

Dear Colleagues,

Over these past few months, the world has seen the best of Duke. Every member of our community has risen to meet extraordinary difficulties that none of us expected when the academic year began with such promise last August. For all that, and on behalf of your colleagues around the world, I thank you. I have never been prouder to be a Blue Devil.

Even as we rise to meet the public health challenges and navigate this new world of social distancing and working from home, we must also rise to meet the financial headwinds now confronting us, both individually and collectively. As I noted last month, the fallout from the pandemic has had a significant negative effect on almost every aspect of our operations. Indeed, as predicted, every one of our sources of revenue—tuition, research grants, clinical and patient care services, private philanthropy and income from our investments and endowment—has already suffered large reductions or is expected to be quite substantially diminished in the months ahead. 

At the same time, many of our costs continue to rise as we grapple with expanded needs precipitated by the pandemic. The full impact will not be known for several months, but we can estimate that the total decline in revenues will be somewhere in the range of $250 million to $350 million next fiscal year and could range as high as 15% of our annual operating budget. 

In anticipation of this downturn, we implemented last month a series of steps to mitigate our worsening financial circumstances, which—except for the Duke University Health System (DUHS)—apply to all of Duke University:

Reducing expenditures: All schools, units, departments and programs have suspended all new non-salary expenditures, with any ongoing expenditures greater than $2,500 requiring pre-approval by the Executive Vice President, Provost or Chancellor for Health Affairs or their designees.

Hiring freeze: All staff hiring has been paused until further notice, except for those positions deemed essential and approved by the Executive Vice President, Provost or Chancellor for Health Affairs, or their designees. 

Suspending salary increases: For the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, there will be no salary increase for university employees making more than $50,000 per year. Employees earning up to $50,000 who earn satisfactory performance evaluations will receive a one-time, $1,000 payment. The only exceptions to this policy will be certain academic promotions and positions governed by the terms of contracts with collective bargaining units.

Holding construction: All new university construction projects are on indefinite hold, except those related to safety, repairs, infrastructure, virus research and a small number of obligations to new faculty. 

These cost-saving measures are helping to meet part of our shortfall. However, since salaries and benefits for our employees represent about two-thirds of our overall operating budget, a deficit of the magnitude we are anticipating cannot be addressed without curtailing some of these costs. We continue to believe that our health insurance programs must remain intact, especially at this time. However, we have reluctantly determined we must also reduce our salary and benefit expenses in order to weather successfully the financial storm. 

Duke is only as great as our people, and as we adapt to this new reality, we must never lose sight of our commitments to our people and our purpose. Every university employee continues to be in a fully paid status regardless of their current location and duties, and we intend to keep that in place as long as it is financially feasible and responsible. But doing so will require some changes and sacrifices that, while uncomfortable and unpleasant, will help secure continued employment and retain vital economic resources in the Durham community. 

Consequently, the following will apply to all university employees. (DUHS employees will receive separate communications.)  Effective July 1, 2020, we will:

Temporarily suspend university-paid retirement contributions.  To avoid cutting direct compensation, we will instead temporarily suspend all employer contributions to the Duke Faculty and Staff Retirement 403(b) plan for a period of 12 months. This action does not affect any employee investments—that is, anyone enrolled in Duke’s retirement plan can continue to make contributions from their salary—only the university’s separate contributions to these plans will be temporarily suspended. Nor will this impact the Employees’ Retirement Plan for our nonexempt employees, which is administered separately. 

We take this step only after very careful study and deliberation. While painful, it appears our best way forward for two reasons. First, it affects only deferred income and only for one year, meaning that regular salaries will continue to be paid throughout this temporary period. Second, this will ensure that Duke can continue to support our employees, their families, and the Durham economy. 

This action, and the other cost-saving efforts noted earlier, will result in an estimated savings of approximately $150 million to $200 million next fiscal year and provide, we hope, the necessary resources to sustain and advance our academic programs for the near-term.  

We are also taking additional steps to that will affect the approximately 300 university employees earning above the retirement-contribution threshold: 

Temporary reduction of salary for highly compensated employees.University employees who earn more than the federally mandated 403(b) contribution threshold ($285,000) will also see a temporary reduction of 10% in the portion of their salary above that threshold, for a period of 12 months. Specific details will be communicated before June 30 directly to those who will be impacted. 

Additional voluntary contributions by senior leadership.  As President, my reduction above will be doubled to a total of 20%, and the Provost, Executive Vice President, and Chancellor will have a reduction of 15% for this period. The deans and vice presidents will also make additional contributions to support our highest priorities in addition to the mandated reductions.

We take these steps only after considerable study of all the options, and with confidence that this is the best and most equitable path for us at this difficult moment. We will continue to monitor our circumstances carefully, and have engaged a comprehensive Team 2030 Strategy process to determine what further actions may be needed.

Some may wonder why we don’t simply draw additional funds from Duke’s endowment to address these deficits. You are probably aware that the endowment, which in times of growth is a source of funding for priorities such as student financial aid and faculty chairs, is not a “rainy day” savings account. Rather, it is a permanent fund intended to provide ongoing support over the life of the university, and most of it is legally restricted for specific purposes. The steps we are taking to secure Duke’s financial future are already predicated on spending as much as we responsibly can from our endowment. Indeed, even with the actions outlined here, we expect in the coming year to spend from our endowment—which has suffered considerably by recent declines in the market—at rates that will not be made up for by investment growth, thus further reducing this vital source of long-term income.

Our circumstances today are daunting, but we will get through them. We are a strong and resourceful community guided, especially in challenging times, by our shared values of mutual respect, trust, inclusion, discovery and excellence in all we do. Our work is great and good, and it continues in the face of the pandemic. Last weekend, we conferred degrees on almost 6,000 new Duke graduates. And while we could not share their joy on campus, thousands of you, joined by alumni, friends and families around the world, came together to mark the moment of their transition from citizens of Duke to citizens of the world. It is for them, and their succeeding generations of scholars and doers, that we take these steps now to secure our future.

Thank you for all you do to make us the Duke we have always been, and the Duke we are destined to become.

Sincerely,

Vincent E. Price
President

Securing our Financial Future

Dear Colleagues,

What sets Duke apart are our people and our purpose, and both have been tested over these past few weeks.  We have all lived through what for many has been the most tumultuous and unsettling period of our lives.  The combination of understandable concern for our health and safety, and those of our loved ones, with massive disruptions to society, education, business and even our ability freely move around our communities, is deeply unsettling.

But we have as a Duke community met these unprecedented challenges with an extraordinary outpouring of creativity, commitment and courage from thousands of people spanning the globe.  Each of you has contributed in your own way, through actions that have saved lives, supported our students, faculty, staff and patients, and ensured that our important work continues despite the challenges we confront every day.  Many of you have done so while balancing health concerns, caring for family members, and navigating the mental and emotional challenges of an uncertain and isolating time. 

Your extraordinary effort brings home the truth that we can only do great works through great people, and that ensuring the well-being of our people is critical to our purpose of seeking knowledge in the service of society.

Even as we confront present challenges, we must be clear that the pandemic will also produce profound and lasting effects, including severe and negative effects on our operations and finances.  Duke is not alone in this, of course: every business, government, nonprofit organization and family is now making difficult choices. While it is too soon to determine with precision the magnitude of disruption to our finances, it is clear that the impacts will be both severe and prolonged.  All of our formerly reliable sources of revenue – tuition, research grants, clinical revenue, private philanthropy and income from our investments and endowment – will almost certainly be significantly and adversely affected, even as we face increased expenses in our education, research and patient-care services. 

The responsible institutional course is to engage in a thoughtful, comprehensive, and strategic review of our operations and finances, and we are initiating exactly that.  In the meantime, we must also act responsibly now by taking immediate steps to mitigate our deepening financial challenges.  As a result, we are today either confirming (in the case of actions that were announced earlier) or implementing the following Duke University policies, which do not apply to the Duke University Health System:

Expenditures:  All schools, units, departments and programs will need to pause new non-salary expenditures, including (but not limited to): contracts, service or consulting agreements; computer, office and laboratory equipment; renovations; furniture; travel and entertainment; meetings and conferences. Any ongoing expenditure of university funds (including grant, gift and endowment funds) greater than $2,500 will continue to require pre-approval by the Executive Vice President, Provost or Chancellor for Health Affairs or their designees.  There will be additional guidance forthcoming regarding information technology services, including software licenses.

Hiring:  All staff hiring is paused until further notice.  Requests for exceptions for positions that are essential to the operation of the university can be made through the vacancy management process, which requires the approval of the Executive Vice President, Provost or Chancellor for Health Affairs, depending on the unit.  Subject to the approval of the appropriate dean, ongoing faculty searches may continue provided that all salary and startup funds are identified.  Likewise, searches for staff positions that are fully funded by external research grants that have already been received by the university may continue, subject to review through the vacancy management process.  

Salaries: For the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, there will be no salary increase for University employees making more than $50,000 per year.  Employees earning up to $50,000 who earn satisfactory performance evaluations will receive a one-time, $1,000 payment.  The only exceptions to this policy will be certain academic promotions.   Positions covered under collective bargaining agreements will be governed by the terms of the contract.  This action also does not cover Duke University Health System (DUHS) employees.  DUHS administers compensation on a different calendar from the University, and guidance for the next year will be provided to DUHS employees at a later date.

Benefits: At this time, we do not anticipate making any changes in our insurance programs (health, dental, vision and disability).  We are reviewing our 403b program to determine whether adjustments are now appropriate.

Construction:  All new construction projects are on indefinite hold, except those related to safety, repairs, infrastructure, virus research and a small number of obligations to new faculty. 

As we adapt to this new reality, I pledge to you that Duke will never lose sight of our highest commitments, to our people and our purpose.  We remain firmly committed to meeting the financial aid needs of our students, which are likely to rise.  Our decisions will be guided by and aligned with Duke’s overarching strategic framework, Toward our Second Century.  We will be mindful of the needs of the most vulnerable among us and committed to the health, safety and security of our students, faculty and staff.  And we will be true to our shared values of respect, trust, inclusion, discovery and excellence.

We will get through this, together, by supporting one another and our shared mission as a university.  Thank you for all that you are doing for Duke. I am proud to call you colleagues.

Sincerely,

Vincent E. Price
President

The Importance of Inclusion

Dear Colleagues,

I have been deeply disturbed by recent reports of bias incidents targeting Chinese, Chinese-American, and Asian individuals throughout the United States.  Meeting the global challenge of COVID-19 calls perhaps as never before on our common humanity and regard for others; it cannot be allowed to become a cause for scapegoating, bias, or hatred.

Duke has benefitted from a vibrant relationship with China since well before we became a university. Our very first international student, Han Jiaozhun, or Charlie Soong, came to what was then Trinity College in 1880 from Hainan province.  And we take pride in Duke Kunshan University, our innovative joint venture in Jiangsu province. Over the decades, thousands of Chinese and Chinese-American students, faculty, staff, and visitors have come to our campus to study, work, conduct research, and treat patients. These colleagues, classmates, friends, and neighbors are a vitally important part of our university community.

The recent spate of bias incidents across America not only reflects the most misguided, distorted, and base biases about the coronavirus, it is also thwarting the public health response to the virus’s spread. I want to be quite clear: Duke resoundingly condemns any discrimination or bias against our Asian or Asian-American neighbors, and we pledge to continue advocating for our shared values of inclusion, mutual trust, and respect.

To that end, Duke is prepared to provide assistance to students, staff, and faculty who may need it. If you believe you have experienced discrimination or harassment based upon your race, national origin or other protected identity, please contact the Office for Institutional Equity for assistance at 919-684-8222 or oie-help@duke.edu. You may also consider other Reporting Resources to address additional concerns.

In these unsettling times, I encourage every person associated with Duke University to join me in supporting those among us who might need a kind word or some assistance—and to remember to take care of ourselves and one another as we meet the challenges ahead.

Sincerely,

Vincent E. Price

An Update about Commencement

Dear Members of the Class of 2020,

You have heard from me many times in the past few days, and I wish that today I were writing with better news. In light of the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the latest public health advisories on travel and large gatherings, we have made the very difficult but necessary decision to postpone commencement for the Class of 2020, including departmental ceremonies and other associated events.

I know firsthand that commencement is one of the highlights of the Duke experience—an uplifting and inspiring celebration of our graduates and their accomplishments, and a memorable occasion in the life of our great university. I also know how disappointing this turn of events will be for you and your families, at a time when we are all sadly engulfed in disappointing and disheartening news.

Over the next few months, we will face unprecedented disruptions—both as a university community and in our personal and professional lives. These circumstances will be particularly distressing for the Class of 2020, who have been robbed of your final few months with classmates and friends at Duke. I share your disappointment—and sadness—that our campus will remain quiet this spring, without the joyful celebration that marks the passage of another year.

For all of these reasons, I am resolutely committed to an in-person recognition of the Class of 2020.  Commencement will surely take place, and here on campus.  And while we are still in the early stages of exploring possible dates and details of this ceremony, rest assured that it will reflect the indelible mark that this class has left on Duke.

In the meantime, I am very pleased to report that Ken Jeong (T ’90), who was to deliver the commencement address on May 10, has generously agreed to work with us on an online celebration to mark that moment—albeit remotely—while we await the opportunity to assemble with him in person.

Also, in the meantime, I hope you will take care of yourselves and those around you, by heeding the advice we are all receiving about practicing social distancing and regular hand washing—while at the same time carving out time for a walk or a hike, or a good book, and plenty of rest.  We’ll get through this, together.

Thank you again for your understanding and support in these most unusual times. I am proud to be a member of the extraordinary Duke community, and particularly proud of our Class of 2020 as you rise to the challenge of completing your courses of study in the coming weeks. My very best wishes to you all.

Sincerely,

Vincent E. Price

Urgent Message Regarding Campus Activity

Dear Colleagues, 

As we confront the challenge of trying to contain the spread of COVID-19, we need your leadership and support to curtail the number of individuals on the Duke campus and in Duke facilities. 

These are unusual circumstances.  The most important thing we can do as a community is to follow the directives from local, state and federal public health officials to minimize to the extent possible the opportunity for community exposure.  This will serve to protect our health care providers, hospitals and clinics, and help us continue to fulfill our educational and research missions.  

For all university faculty and staff, we ask you to cease small-group and individual meetings effective immediately, transition to remote access for these activities, and follow the guidance for social distancing whenever on campus. We know this is challenging, and maybe even painful, but we have to do it.  And now. 

For our healthcare colleagues, we thank you for being on the front lines and continuing to work during these unprecedented circumstances. We encourage those who are able to be mindful of your friends and neighbors who are health care providers and frontline responders and to do what you can to support them. Helping with childcare, providing a meal, and other small gestures can make a big impact on those working long hours to care for our community. 

For managers, we call on you to be creative and resourceful in helping all of your colleagues who are able to transition as soon as possible to working remotely. You should use your discretion regarding who absolutely needs to be on-site and what work could be done remotely. Specific guidance on laboratory and research activity will be forthcoming. 

All Duke faculty and staff will continue to stay in a paid work status regardless of the work location or work schedule and should record their normal work hours. 

We are doing our best to respond to the numerous questions about operations, workplace issues, and health matters. You can find an updated list of Q&As on the official Duke Coronavirus website.  In addition, we have the following dedicated websites that provide key resources for working remotely, including access to virtual workshops on using communication tools, such as Zoom Meetings, and how to access Duke’s network using VPN (Virtual Private Network): 

  • Keep Working provides a central repository for all tools, resources and information for work-related issues during this time.
  • Keep Teaching is the source for all faculty and teaching resources as we transition to remote delivery of courses to students around the world.
  • Keep Learning provides information for students on academic, residential and support services. 

This is an extraordinary situation for everyone.  We expect that there will be further announcements regarding additional steps that Duke will have to take in order to adapt to this new reality, and to do our part in taking care of ourselves, our patients, our students, and our community.  I thank you in advance for your tireless dedication and boundless creativity. 

Sincerely,

Vincent E. Price

Urgent Message Regarding COVID-19

To the Duke Community,

For the last several weeks, the Duke-wide Task Force has been working diligently to prepare for and plan our university’s response to COVID-19. In the past few days, it has become clear that the spread of the virus continues across the country.  Even though this is due to circumstances beyond our control, we can take steps now to minimize health and safety risks to Duke students, faculty, staff and the larger community, especially as students and faculty prepare to return from Spring Break. 

To be sure, Duke University and Duke Health will remain open, and many of our operations and activities will continue, though with adjustments to working conditions.

Based on the latest data and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, input from our own faculty experts, and in consultation with the Academic Council and the Board of Trustees, we have adopted the following policies on classes, residential life, travel, events and visitors to campus, effective immediately.  These policies apply to Duke University and Duke Health.

ACADEMIC AND RESIDENTIAL LIFE

Duke is committed to maintaining our daily operations, completing the semester, and ensuring that all students can fulfill their academic requirements as planned.  We will, however, institute a series of social distancing practices to protect the health and continuity of our community.  

First, all on-campus classes will be suspended until further notice, and we will transition to remote instruction (video and other forms of delivery) for all undergraduate, graduate and professional schools.  In order to provide time for students and faculty make this transition, Undergraduate Spring Break will be extended to Sunday, March 22 and classes will resume on Monday, March 23. Graduate and professional schools will notify their students about their specific schedules.

Second, all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who are currently out of town for Spring Break should NOT return to the Duke campus if at all possible.  We know there are undergraduate students who are on campus at the moment or who will need access to campus housing this week because of a variety of circumstances.  Those students who need to return to campus, even briefly, must register with Student Affairs in advance so we can support a limited on-campus population.  Students who do remain in campus housing or in the Durham area should be aware that access to many facilities and services – including dining, recreation and libraries – will be limited.  In addition, student activities and gatherings will be curtailed. 

This was not an easy decision to make and came only after reviewing the range of options available in light of the rapidly changing situation in North Carolina, and nationally.  The goal is to minimize situations in which members of our community might be exposed to those who have COVID-19, and to protect our students, faculty and staff who might be at elevated risk.  This approach is consistent with recommendations from public health officials, and also mirrors the actions taken by many universities across the country.  

We know this presents a significant disruption to everyone’s studies, research and work, and also prompts many questions and concerns.  By tomorrow (Wednesday), undergraduate, graduate and professional students, as well as faculty, will begin receiving specific information from the university, their schools and Student Affairs about plans for courses, information technology and support services.  In addition, we are developing plans to provide residential students with a prorated reimbursement of any previously paid and unused housing and dining fees.  Further information on those plans will be forthcoming.

TRAVEL

At this time, we are also suspending all non-essential university-funded travel, both domestic and international.  Requests for exceptions should be made to your supervisor or dean.  This of course does not include personal activity, but we urge you to seriously reconsider any plans for long-distance travel and visits to areas that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

If your recent travel has included an area with active communal spread of coronavirus, and if upon your return to Durham you exhibit signs of illness such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, you should contact Student Health (919-681-9355) or Employee Occupational Health and Wellness (919-684-3136) for further direction before coming back to campus. If you do choose to travel for personal reasons, we strongly encourage you to use the Duke Travel Registry so you can be reached in the event of changing circumstances.

EVENTS

We recognize that there is considerable concern and uncertainty about events that are scheduled to take place on-campus for the rest of the semester, including many of our prospective student visit programs.  We are closely monitoring the guidance from public health officials and our own experts, with the goal of reducing the risk of exposure to and transmission of the virus without curtailing all activity on-campus.  

Effective immediately, we are postponing, cancelling or virtualizing any Duke-sponsored in-person event with expected attendance of more than 50 people taking place on-campus or off-campus between now and April 20.  This includes recruitment events, tours, student programs, reunions, performances, conferences and social events.  

If you are planning an event with fewer than 50 people, we ask you to consider the following questions to determine whether your programs should also be cancelled or rescheduled:

–Will the program be in close quarters or require considerable personal interaction?
–Are any attendees scheduled to stay in personal homes?
–Are participants coming from locations with high infection rates?
–Will a significant number of attendees be in high-risk categories, including individuals over the age of 60?
–Is there elevated risk to staff who will help prepare for your event, serve your guests and clean up afterward?

If the answer to any of those questions is “yes,” then we strongly urge you to cancel, postpone or virtualize the program.  

For all events and meetings, we urge faculty, staff and students to remind each other of good hygiene practices; to voluntarily remove yourself from the event if you are not feeling well; and to make accommodations for ill or self-quarantined individuals.  Further guidance on athletic events will be forthcoming.  We will continue to assess our policies to address changing circumstances, including a potential extension of the April 20deadline.  

For all events, regardless of the size, please follow these precautions:

–Encourage handwashing and hand sanitizing.
–Minimize communal food (open buffets and salad bars).
–Advise your attendees about these precautions.
–Urge anyone who feels ill to stay home and to participate online if possible.

VISITORS TO CAMPUS

The Duke campus also welcomes thousands of visitors a day to our campus, gardens, museums and tourist destinations.  It is our intention to keep these destinations open to the extent possible, but managers of those facilities must observe the following precautions:

–Group visits and tours of more than 50 people are not permitted.
–Signage about hygiene, handwashing and hand sanitization should be located in prominent locations.
–Facilities managers should review plans for additional cleaning on a frequent basis.

We encourage you to bookmark and review the official university website https://coronavirus.duke.edu for the latest news and information about Duke’s policies and actions.

This is an unprecedented challenge for our university community, but we are very well prepared to meet it. The same innovative spirit that has driven a century of Duke discoveries will allow our faculty, staff and students to adapt to new teaching and learning experiences; the same commitment to service and courage demonstrated by Duke Health providers and staff every day will likewise carry us through these trying circumstances. 

For while Duke may bring to mind the gothic spires and greening quads of our beautiful campus, we are ultimately a community of extraordinary people, people who—no matter where we are in the world—can count on each other for inspiration, inclusion, mutual respect and steady support. From your home here on campus to wherever this message finds you, very best wishes to the entire Duke community.

Vincent E. Price
President

An Update on Coronavirus

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to provide an update about Duke’s efforts to monitor and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that originated in China.

A Duke-wide task force under the direction of Vice President for Administration and Emergency Coordinator Kyle Cavanaugh has been meeting since early January to monitor COVID-19 at Duke.  This task force includes senior clinicians and representatives from a number of academic, health care and operational areas.  This task force is responsible for reviewing such issues as: outbound and inbound travel guidance; study abroad; on-campus summer programs; contingency and continuity plans in the event of an escalation in cases; and ensuring that all members of the Duke community have access to the information and support they need to protect their health and safety.

It is important to note that no cases of COVID-19 have been reported to date in North Carolina, at Duke University or with anyone directly connected to Duke (students, faculty or staff).  Our physicians are in regular contact with federal, state and local public health officials and are deeply engaged in planning for a potential clinical response should there be an outbreak in this region.

In January, Duke created a central source for all news and announcements related to COVID-19: https://sites.duke.edu/coronavirus/.  This site includes all the university’s statements, announcements and policies with regard to COVID-19.  This website will be updated regularly to keep the Duke community informed.  I encourage you to bookmark the site, share it with your colleagues, and check it often for reports on the coronavirus’s impact on Duke.  We know this is a rapidly evolving situation, and it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Duke is committed to being open and transparent in our communication.

While COVID-19 presents Duke, and indeed the world, with a great challenge, we can also take pride in the selfless work of a great many members of the Duke community, from the faculty and learning technology specialists who transformed Duke Kunshan University into an online campus in just a few weeks, to the scientists at Duke-NUS Medical School who developed the first rapid test to detect COVID-19, to our dedicated physicians and nurses who are prepared to treat the ill, to the many students, faculty and staff who have quickly and creatively transformed their teaching, research and service projects to adapt to a changing world. I hope you share my gratitude to them for their dedication to Duke’s highest ideals.

Sincerely,

Vincent E. Price

President Price Interviewed by Athletic Director Kevin White

President Price joined Athletic Director Kevin White for a wide-ranging interview about the university’s future on Inside Duke Sports with Kevin White.

Message to the Community on Veterans Day

Dear Colleagues,

I am honored to join the entire Duke community in recognizing Veterans Day. We are grateful for the service of the many veterans among our students, staff, faculty, and alumni, and we are very proud to call them members of the Duke family.

Duke University has a long history of active engagement with the armed forces. From the famed 65th General Hospital, which was based at Duke and saved the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers in World War II, to our physician assistant program, which began with veteran students in the 1960’s, to the thousands of undergraduate and graduate students who have left our campus to serve in every conflict dating back to World War I, we have been committed to supporting our servicemembers since the earliest days of this institution.

That commitment continues today. We are making new investments in the programs and initiatives that we offer to veteran students and employees and thinking creatively about how we can be the best institution in the nation when it comes to serving this vital campus community. To that end, the Office of Student Veterans and the Duke Military Association offer a wide range of resources for support, social engagement, and advocacy—both here at Duke and throughout the region.

Veterans Day is an important reminder of the service and sacrifice of so many members of the Duke community. We are proud to stand alongside our veterans and look forward to engaging with them throughout their time on our campus.

Sincerely,

Vince

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