Last updated January 28, 2021
These frequently asked questions address the Spring 2021 semester. We will update this page as new questions come in so please check back regularly. If you have questions that are not answered here, please contact us at email@example.com
Information about Summer 2021 is now available; click here to view the Summer Session 2021 FAQs.
General Questions Regarding Spring 2021
Wherever they are during the break, students are expected to adhere to the Duke Compact and student COVID-19 Policy Plan: https://keeplearning.duke.edu/student-expectations/
Additionally, the “Community Responsibility” section of the Duke United website outlines the expectations for all members of the Duke community: https://returnto.duke.edu/community-responsibility/
The Duke Compact is posted here: https://returnto.duke.edu/the-duke-compact/
(Retrieved from Duke Office of Durham & Community Affairs Winter Break FAQ)
COVID-19 Precautions & Policies
- If baseline tests show concerning positive rates, all students will be sequestered in on-campus rooms or off-campus apartments, and all classes will start remotely for the first three days of the semester.
- If the baseline tests are significantly worse than expected, again students will be sequestered and classes will start remotely for the first 10-14 days of the semester.
- If infection rates in North Carolina and elsewhere in the United States are so high that it’s impossible to allow students to return to Durham as planned, all classes will start remotely and students will be brought to campus only when health risks and travel restrictions permit.
Most graduate and professional programs will be online-only or hybrid with minimal in-person classes. Schools will continue to provide specific information to their students. Graduate and professional students will primarily have access to their designated academic spaces, including laboratories. Graduate and professional students will be able to access other important support services such as Student Health. (Retrieved July 2020 - from "Duke Reopening FAQ")
For more specific directions for graduate and professional students returning to Duke or the Durham area in Spring 2020, please see "Pre-Arrival Testing and Entry Information for Graduate & Professional Students" (Retrieved December 21). You can follow more updates at at the Graduate School website.
All students who will be living on campus or who plan to be on campus for any reason and any length of time this spring are required to participate in entry testing upon their arrival in Durham. Entry testing for undergraduate students will take place in Penn Pavilion from Thursday, January 14, to Wednesday, January 20, 2021, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST each day. Extended testing hours, until 6 p.m., will be offered on January 15 and January 20. There will be no testing on Monday, January 18.
Students must register for a testing slot in advance of their arrival by Friday, January 8. Registration is now open.
After entry testing, all students are required to sequester in their residence hall or off-campus home until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result. Test results will be made available through Duke MyChart, likely 36–48 hours after testing.
Any students who test positive will receive isolation instructions, under the care of Duke clinicians, and will participate in contact tracing, which is used to identify any other potential positive cases.
For more specific information about these protocols, please see the December 21 email communication to undergraduate students from which this information was retrieved.
Graduate and professional students will be required to take an entry test to receive access to campus. Entry testing for graduate and professional students will take place in Penn Pavilion, and they must register for a testing slot in advance by Wednesday, December 30.
For more detailed information, see the December 21 email communication to Graduate and Professional Students from which this information was retrieved.
Duke has also provided a more in-depth FAQ for graduate students.
Duke is coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and local health department to develop a safe, efficient and equitable plan for vaccine distribution to students, faculty and staff based on a prioritization plan.
The initial phase of distribution will focus on vaccination of health care workers at high risk for COVID-19 exposure based on work duties or vital to the initial COVID vaccine response. Most members of the Duke community who do not have two or more of certain chronic conditions defined by the CDC, will likely not be eligible for vaccination until late spring or early summer.
For more information, see the website this information was retrieved from: https://covidvaccine.duke.edu/
- If you already have a Passcode or Waiting Room, there will be no change to how you schedule meetings;
- If you do not have Passcode or Waiting Room enabled, Zoom will automatically enable a Waiting Room;
- If you choose to add a Passcode to an already scheduled meeting, you will need to re-send the calendar invitation. Otherwise, Zoom will automatically enable a Waiting Room.
To assist with enabling the new Zoom security settings, OIT will be offering live support 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday, January 11 to Friday, January 22. You can join the Zoom support meeting at https://duke.zoom.us/my/oitzoom.
Instruction Mode: In-Person
The in-person class experience will be different for sure. All students and faculty will have to use face coverings, physical distancing will be enforced, classrooms will be used at a limited capacity, and students may be participating online as well as in person. (Retrieved July 2020 - from "Duke Reopening FAQ")
All Duke classrooms will be reconfigured to meet requirements for physical distancing, cleaning and hygiene, and capacity will be generally limited to 25% of the normal available seating.(Retrieved December 2020 - from returnto.duke.edu/campus-operations)
For examples of Duke instructor experiences in Fall 2020, please see "Six things I learned about face-to-face teaching in the time of Covid-19" and "In an Immigrant Health Class, a New, Real-World Opportunity Emerges." For specific experiences with Zoom Carts, see Duke Today's "Zoom Carts Help Keep Semester Rolling."
- Duke Divinity School Information Technology
- Duke Law School Academic Technologies
- Duke School of Nursing
- Duke School of Medicine: Duke AHEAD’s resources for online learning
- Fuqua School Of Business IT; Fuqua’s COVID-19 Response page
- Medical Education Information Technology (Duke School of Medicine)
- Nicholas School of the Environment Information Technology
- Pratt IT Services (Pratt School of Engineering); COVID-19 Information for the Pratt Community
- Sanford IT (Sanford School of Public Policy)
- Trinity College of Arts & Sciences Office of Technology Services
- Duke Graduate School Coronavirus Response info
Gently Enforce Compliance with the Health and Safety Guidelines. If you notice that a student is not complying with health and safety measures, and circumstances allow for a constructive conversation, remind that individual of the guidelines and the reasons behind them. If a student is not wearing a face covering, for instance, provide them with one if you have spare masks or let them know where they can get one (masks should be available in designated rooms in each classroom building).
Use Available Resources to Deal with Non-Compliance. If a situation around non-compliance arises (students gathering in close proximity, for example) that jeopardizes health and safety, and you do not feel comfortable addressing the situation directly, please contact your DUS, DGS, program director, or chair/dean. You can also contact Duke’s anonymous Speak Up Program at (800) 826-8109 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), complete the Speak Up online form, or contact the Duke Office of Audit, Risk and Compliance.
See the Duke Registrar’s website for more information on the different instruction modes.
Instruction Mode: Hybrid or Online
Step 1: Send an email letting your students know that the planned activity (class, office hours, etc.) will not be happening as scheduled. If you cannot access email but use Sakai, post an Announcement for students to see when they next access Sakai.
Step 2: Explain how the missed content will be made up. Some options include: record a lecture video and post it online, create an activity students can do on their own or in groups, move the content to another scheduled class session, or post a Sakai discussion forum topic on the topic of the class.
Step 3: Adjust deadlines and due dates. If a technology failure impacts a due date or exam, share the new date. Give students flexibility to make up missed work if the new due date or exam date conflicts with their schedule.
Make and share your backup plan before anything happens. For instance, tell students that if a synchronous discussion is ever canceled, they should anticipate a text from you or a discussion forum activity posted at a later time.
Review the Guide to Course Delivery to see your options for delivering course content.
To receive updates when a Duke-supported service is experiencing issues and when issues are resolved, subscribe to Duke IT Status alerts. For immediate technical assistance contact the OIT Service Desk through the web, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone: (919) 684-2200.
To receive updates when Zoom is experiencing issues, subscribe to Zoom Status alerts.
Keep in mind that when you use tools that have not been reviewed and supported by Duke you are (1) responsible for making sure your students’ data is protected and not shared; (2) responsible for informing your students that they’re using a tool that Duke does not support and has not reviewed for privacy and security (this is especially necessary when a tool produces something public – like a public blog or website, for example); and (3) responsible for providing technical support for the tool yourself (if the tool or platform doesn’t already provide sufficient support).
For Duke students in China some commonly used tools (e.g., Google Docs, Google Sites, WhatsApp) may not be accessible. Students may be able to work around this problem by using a VPN (or virtual private network); however, this solution may not be straightforward for students.
Intellectual Property Concerns
- Make sure recording is turned on before you begin each session.
- Remind your students that the session will be recorded and that their classmates will be able to review it. (Zoom will also ask for consent to be recorded.) For more information on protecting student privacy visit the Privacy page on ScholarWorks.
- Remind students they may not share recordings outside the class, nor should they record sessions without your permission. To do so violates Duke policies. Set guidelines and expectations clearly.
- If you schedule a Zoom session in Zoom and record to the cloud the link for the recording is only sent to you as the host. If you schedule the session through Sakai the recording is visible to those with access to the Sakai site.
- Breakout rooms in Zoom are not recorded without permission of the instructor.
- Direct your students to review this section on the Keep Learning website for further information.
Academic Accommodations and Accessibility
Additional resources for students: Latest Information: Duke United – University information on campus reopening Keep Learning – Hub for student-focused information and FAQs Mental Health Support: Blue Devils Care: 24/7 mental telehealth support to all students at no cost. To get started, visit BlueDevilsCare.duke.edu. Register once using your @duke.edu email address and Service Key DUKE2020, then you’ll be ready to use the service whenever you need it. Counseling & Psychological Services: CAPS remains open and counselors are continuing to provide care remotely through telemental-health appointments. DukeReach: Submit a report to DukeReach if you’re concerned about the physical or mental well-being of yourself or another student.
Grading and Assessment
The normal letter grading system was in place for the Fall semester, and there has been no change announced for the Spring. (Retrieved July 2020 - from "Duke Reopening FAQ") However:
For Spring 2021 Only: The S/U Grading Option adopted by the Arts and Sciences Council for Fall 2020 will continue on for Spring 2021. Any department may convert any or all of its 199 and below level courses to a S/U grading basis while retaining existing curriculum codes for those courses, but no department is obligated to do so. (From Trinity's update on Courses: Satisfactory / Unsatisfactory Grading Option)