Duke School On-Campus Return Update, Dec.30

Dear Duke School Community,

I hope you are enjoying a peaceful and happy holiday season. As mentioned in my last letter to you, I met with members of the Clinical Advisory Group (CAG), the COVID Task Force, and the Leadership Team this week to evaluate our plan to return to campus next week. Based on the review of several factors, we have determined that we are ready to return to campus as scheduled on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

In assessing the situation, the group considered the following:

  • We anticipate our faculty, staff, and families will continue to adhere to protocols, which in the fall resulted in no transmission among faculty or students and, therefore, no pod or cohort closure.

  • We will continue to trust that all members of the community will adhere to Duke School’s Community Commitment and, specifically, that beginning on Sunday, December 27, families with students on-campus will have “reconstituted” their bubbles by safely limiting activities to those who are close contacts. This action allows for a 10-day self-quarantine period before school starts on Tuesday, January 5, and helps reestablish a low-risk environment.

  • We asked families to resume Basecamp Ascend application daily completions on Sunday, December 27, supporting the reestablishment of a low-risk environment upon our return.

  • We are maintaining our campus protocols and environmental routines that support a low-risk environment. Among these are our HVAC improvements, thoughtful use of space for physical separation, maintaining vigilance with on-campus protocols, and planning for indoor dining during inclement weather.

  • To date, we have not received statutory or public health recommendations not to offer on-campus schooling.

We return with great caution and great hope, committed to the health and safety of our employees, students, and families. If you cannot comply with the requests made prior to the break and outlined above, please do not return to campus the week of January 5.

Finally, we have made some revisions to our Return to School Policy Guide, consistent with CDC recommendations. Please note that quarantine days following exposure have been reduced from 14 to 10 days. Please also note that the Ascend application will undergo a maintenance check on Thursday, December 31, and will not be available for completion that day.

Thank you for supporting and caring for all members of our community. We are stronger together, bringing our mission to life for each Duke School student in 2021.

With gratitude,


Lisa Nagel

Head of School

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