Planning For a Return to Work

 April 21, 2020

TO:Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers
FROM:Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration, Co-chair Team 2021
Jennifer Francis, Executive Vice Provost, Administration, Co-chair Team 2021
RE:Planning For a Return to Work

President Price has charged Strategy Team 2021 with assessing options for a return of students, faculty and staff to campus. As co-chairs of that team, we want to share some considerations to help set appropriate expectations for the coming weeks and months.

The “stay-at-home” order for Durham and all of North Carolina remains in effect through at least April 30. Under that ordinance, only essential staff and faculty are reporting to campus to support critical on-site research, safety and security operations, facilities, student support services and patient care. We anticipate either the state or local orders will be extended beyond the original deadline, perhaps until May 15.

When the “stay-at-home” orders are lifted, Duke will likely phase in a return of the faculty and staff over time as we ensure appropriate social distancing and availability of PPE (personal protective equipment) and testing capabilities for COVID-19. We are working closely with local, state and federal authorities as well as public health officials, including our own Duke Health experts in infectious diseases, to determine the safest approach for all employees.

To be clear, no dates has been set for the resumption of activity on the Duke campus, regardless of when the “stay at home” orders are ended. Further, we ask that you not make any public announcements, statements or commitments regarding the return of students, faculty and staff and the resumption of events and programs on the Duke campus. More information will be communicated regarding the transition once plans have been finalized. Until then, only employees supporting critical operations should report to work on-site.

In the meanwhile, we are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of those required to be on campus. All employees on campus are provided masks to wear during their shifts, social distancing is being practiced to the extent possible and building access is being tightly controlled and monitored daily.

Any employee reporting to work should continue to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to work and contact the Duke COVID hotline* (919-385-0429 option 1 for employees) if presenting with any symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose/sinus congestion, sore throat, muscle aches, and headaches) before returning to work.

Please share updates with your staff to help set appropriate expectations regarding when and how Duke will manage a phased return to work and operations. Thank you for all you are doing to help lead your teams during this challenging time.