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: Friday, August 14, 2020

DS Cares

Throughout the spring and early summer, the school teams and sub-committees met multiple times weekly, developing models to provide an exceptional, continuous educational learning experience while keeping paramount the safety of our students and employees. The academic leadership subgroups of the COVID-19 Response Task Force have developed three models for teaching and learning next year and strategies for enacting these models: On-Campus Learning, Distance Learning, and Modified Distance Learning.


As we have developed our plan, we have taken into consideration significant strides in professional development; expanding square footage through the addition of modular classrooms; procuring PPE, cleaning supplies and furnishings; HVAC modifications; enhancements for outdoor learning; 1:1 technology devices for students; and general technology upgrades;. offer the safest, most robust, and continuous educational program to our students throughout the year, toggling as necessary between these modes of instruction as circumstances dictate. We are currently working on comprehensive and detailed policies and procedures to translate models into action.


We plan to enact a Gradual Opening Plan, with school starting for all students on August 27, 2020, using On-Campus and Bridged Distance Learning models, as the Governor’s executive orders permit us to so. We will remain nimble and responsive to recommendations of our guiding organizations. We are prepared to adjust course based on directives of the state of North Carolina.


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

Intention for Bridged Distance Learning


Temperature checks upon arrival to campus

Staggered arrival and departure times

Eliminate shared equipment

(e.g., computers, art supplies)

Limited number of students in each classroom/space

Maintain six feet

of physical

distancing at all times

Altered field trips, athletics,

and third-party enrichment


Daily Screenings using the

Ascend app

PPE use and frequent

handwashing at sanitation

stations on campus

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

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