October 26, 2020

Dear students,

I am writing with an update to our plan for the remainder of the fall.

Last week, in partnership with the university’s leadership, we revisited our plan for students to resume in-person classes for the few weeks between Thanksgiving and winter breaks. Given the concerns about COVID-19 spikes across the country and predictions for rapidly deteriorating conditions for November, our medical experts have advised that returning to campus after a period of travel around the country poses an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of students and the community. 

In addition, we have been listening to you in regards to the Thanksgiving break and have heard from both those who are planning to travel and those who are planning to gather with friends and family in the Durham area. The last months have been confining for all of us and we heard how important it is to have a break and recharge with loved ones. This is something we find hard to deny or discourage. It is apparent that you want to spend extended time with friends and family but are also concerned about the potential spread of COVID-19 as people likely congregate indoors over the holiday.

Thus, we will not hold any in-person classes or activities at Fuqua after Fall Term 1 exams end on November 21st.  Classes from November 30-December 18th will be entirely online.  

We look forward to resuming in-person activity in January. As with all plans in this most unusual year, this is subject to last-minute changes based on local and national conditions.  In any case, all students will have to take a COVID-19 test before you will be permitted to attend classes and access campus to resume the Fall 2 term in January.  We are currently working through when this testing will be available before we resume classes on January 11th, as we know some of you may have recruiting commitments and may wish to enter the building to use the high-speed internet or a team room for your interview before that date. We will let you know when we have confirmed dates for this process. In addition, you will still be required to participate in the weekly surveillance testing when we resume in-person activity.

We wanted to share this decision immediately with you as we hope this will allow you to adjust your plans as you like through the next few months. For example, it’s not lost on us that given rising cases in North Carolina that many Thanksgiving/winter break destinations for our student community are requiring 14 day quarantines upon arrival. To allow you to make the most of your much-deserved break time, we believe it’s better to be proactive, rather than reactive.  Still, we know some of you will be disappointed. However, we also believe, based on conversations we’ve had with many of you, that this decision may come as a relief.

Students who remain in Durham during this period will still have access to testing for COVID-19 if you report symptoms as before. However, surveillance testing for Fuqua students will not be conducted during this period. For that reason, students will not be able to access the Fuqua building from November 22nd until baseline testing resumes around the first of the year.

Thank you for your continued patience as we have worked through extremely challenging circumstances together. I continue to be grateful for the vigilance and dedication many of you have shown in abiding by the Duke Compact and protecting each other.  We urge you to continue this vigilance during the break, and to follow public health guidelines like using face coverings, avoiding large groups, particularly indoors, and practicing good hygiene. 

It has been a point of pride for me to see how you have been dedicated to each other and to keeping our campus open.  While we will miss seeing you in person for a few weeks, we also know you share our commitment to protecting the health and safety of your families, your fellow students and the Fuqua community.

With very best wishes,