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Welcome to Duke School Cares—an initiative that supports families as we continue to provide the education that will transform students to be the next generation of problem solvers for our complex world. Protecting the health and safety of all our students, faculty, and staff at Duke School remains our utmost priority. In order to keep our community well informed, we will be sharing our evolving plans for the 2020-21 academic school year. Please stay tuned as this is an unprecedented time in which information may change rapidly.

Last updated: Wednesday, April 28, 2021

DS Cares

Duke School is currently open 5-days a week—operating full concurrent On-Campus and Bridged Distance Learning Models.


Our task force, administration teams, and sub-committees meet multiple times weekly, developing models to provide an exceptional, continuous educational learning experience while keeping paramount the safety of our students and employees.

All Duke School students, faculty and staff are encouraged to continue to adhere to local orders, as applicable, follow CDC guidelines and recommendations, and practice social distancing. Please review Duke School's Return to School Policies 2020-21 if you have questions related to our procedures during this time. 


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On-Campus Learning Model

Students and employees return to campus, with modifications to integrate enhanced health and safety procedures that equal or exceed national, state, and local safety criteria. School will only fully reopen if the North Carolina Governor’s executive orders permit us to do so.

More details on page 5

Distance Learning Model

Students and employees work and learn remotely. We will pursue Distance Learning if the North Carolina Governor's executive orders mandate us to do so.

More details on page 8 

Bridged Distance Learning Model

We will offer a Bridged Distance Learning model to families who request or require this option, recognizing with this model that not all on-campus activities will be possible in a virtual setting.

More details on page 8


Staggered arrival and departure times

Maintain six feet

of physical

distancing at all times

PPE use and frequent

handwashing at sanitation

stations on campus

Temperature checks upon arrival to campus

Limited number of students in each classroom/space

Daily Screenings using the

Ascend app

Eliminate shared equipment

(e.g., computers, art supplies)

Altered field trips, athletics,

and third-party enrichment


Utilize outdoor space as much as possible


A new, isolated space for those

showing COVID symptoms to

wait for pick-up

Increased ventilation

throughout the building

Signage throughout campus

with safety reminders

Increased cleaning procedures

and frequency


Modular Classrooms and Outdoor Space

We have leased modular classrooms to create additional square footage. With this acquisition, all students can be on campus daily, adhering to physical distancing guidelines. We have identified adjacent outdoor space to classrooms and throughout our 47 acres to offer opportunities for rich learning and student-led inquiry projects.

Base Camp Health's Ascend App

We will use Base Camp Health’s Ascend application to track student and employee symptoms and temperature checks daily. Each morning, prior to arriving to campus, parents will log into Ascend, answer a few questions, and follow the recommended course of action based on CDC guidelines and Duke School policy.

Technology Equiptment and Enhancements

We have made a significant investment in 1:1 devices and enhanced classroom technology to bridge between physical and remote learning environments this year, promoting a continuous learning experience for all students, and allowing for individual use of devices when on campus. Enhanced technology will also allow us to provide a virtual experience for those students who cannot participate in On-Campus Learning.

Professional Development

Our teachers have participated in extensive professional development experiences regionally and nationally this summer. They have refined virtual learning techniques and methods to provide authentic, meaningful experiences through distance learning, while promoting wellness, socialemotional development, culturally affirming and responsive programming, and connection with students that are vital in the pandemic impacted environment.

Duke School Cares Fund

The Duke School Board of Trustees, with support from generous Duke School donors, has established the Duke School Cares Emergency Grant Fund. This Fund provides emergency funding for currently enrolled families experiencing financial hardships that threaten the academic progress of their children during their time at Duke School. For more information about the DS Cares grant or to contribute, please contact the Duke School Development Office.

Guiding Principles in the Development of the 2020-21: Return to School Plan

Protecting the health, safety, and well-being of every member of our community is our highest priority. Duke School created a COVID-19 Response Task Force (CRTF) to seek solutions to challenges presented by the pandemic and to plan for a rich, safe, and continuous learning experience for the coming school year. Duke School’s Leadership Team is grateful for the input of our faculty/staff committees. Our planning has been informed by results from our spring parent survey, and we are grateful to our Duke School community for your feedback and support. In developing our plan, Duke School is committed to these key guiding principles:

  • Prioritizing the health and safety of our students, employees, and families;


  • Ensuring the delivery of a robust, comprehensive, and mission-consistent educational program;


  • Aligning with local, state, and national health authorities;


  • Responding and adapting to a rapidly evolving environment;


  • Promoting equity and underscoring the dignity of every person in all our efforts; and


  • Demonstrating fiscal resilience and responsibility