Dear Duke School Families,
Urgent: Review and Continued Adherence to Duke School’s Community Commitment
With warmer weather, fatigue from an entire year of collectively addressing the pandemic, and the growing availability of vaccines, it might be tempting for some to relax protocols. However, now, more than ever, it is critical for all of us at Duke School to redouble our efforts as we make the “March to June” and bring this challenging year to a safe and successful conclusion. Please remember that even with risk mitigation strategies in place on campus, the choices you make may affect our ability to complete the year offering on-campus learning and, most important, may impact the health and well-being of our students, teachers, staff and families at Duke School.
Now and as you prepare for spring break the week of April 5-11, we ask that you closely examine the decisions that you will make, continue to adhere to the guidelines that resulted in our ability to offer on-campus learning without interruption for multiple months and carefully reread the Duke School Community Commitment that you signed. As a reminder, you agreed to abide by the precautionary measures outlined in the commitment and by state and federal health agencies and to comply with best practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, both at school and at home.
Spring Break Guidance
Duke School will resume school on Monday, April 12, after our Spring Break. Please plan for your time away from school accordingly, working within the spirit of our commitment and making choices that will serve our entire community.
Still Safer-at-Home—The CDC continues to support safer-at-home strategies. Please follow CDC recommendations regarding travel as stated here.
Guidance for Socializing and Activities—The CDC has advised to keep plans small, outdoors, distanced, and masked. Click here for details.
Following up— If anyone in your family comes into contact with someone exhibiting COVID symptoms or who may be positive for the virus, do not return to campus or interact with other students/families. Instead, contact both your medical provider and Duke School.
Complete BaseCamp Ascend app—Through spring break from April 5-11, please complete the BaseCamp Ascend App for your child(ren). You will be sent a daily reminder from Duke School to do this.
Bridged Distance Learning and Self-Quarantining
Duke School does not support Bridged Distance Learning for students self-quarantining as a result of extended vacations or relaxation of protocols on the part of families. Having students drop in and out of distance learning is disruptive for the class and places an undue burden on the faculty. For these reasons, students who self-quarantine due to extended travel or relaxation of protocols will not be moved to the Bridged Distance Learning program. In this instance, you will need to contact your Division Director about next steps.
Vaccinations and Duke School Faculty and Staff
Duke School is grateful for the vaccine priority status the State of North Carolina extended to school personnel, and we share in the excitement as many of our faculty and staff receive vaccinations. Duke School believes in the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and supports faculty and staff in the pursuit of vaccinations. As of this writing, every faculty or staff member who wishes to be vaccinated has been able to schedule an appointment. We recognize and respect that this is a confidential medical decision involving many factors and also support employees in making the decision they believe is in their best interest.
We ask that all members of the Duke School community respect the privacy of one another and refrain from inquiring about whether someone has or has not been vaccinated or will or will not be vaccinated. Duke School will not disclose any information about vaccination status of its employees.
In keeping with best practices and current recommendations from NCDHHS, the CDC, our Clinical Analyst Group (CAG), and our COVID Task Force, Duke School Return to School Policies 2020-21, procedures and mitigation strategies will remain in place until further notice for all members of the Duke School community, regardless of their vaccination status. I remain in contact with the Durham County Public Health Department for ongoing direction on any matter that I believe may affect our school.
I appreciate all of you who are doing so much to keep Duke School at the forefront of responsiveness to COVID-19 and who are focused on taking care of our community. Your support and partnership have paved the way for a successful in-person learning experience at Duke School to date, and we are grateful for this. As our faculty and staff continue to bring our mission to life daily, creating outstanding learning experiences for your children, we continue to ask for your help, especially during the weeks ahead. We will get through this together.
Head of School
Updated information from this morning’s letter:
Earlier today, I shared a community public health update with you in which I provided a summary of the school’s status to date since March 1. Please see the following corrections to the previous summary—
7 children have tested positive: 6 in Lower School and 1 in Middle School.
No teacher has tested positive.
Of the 7 positive student tests:
One group of 3 siblings
Two separate groups of 2 siblings (note: only 1 sibling in one of these sibling groups has tested positive as of this writing)
Single child (no siblings)
4 of the children had mild symptoms.
3 of the children remain asymptomatic.
There are 4 pods quarantining for 10 days as a precautionary measure to prevent transmission.
Special thanks for your patience as we do our best to provide you with the most accurate information available. -LN