Winter Break Notice to the Community

Dear Duke School Community,

What an incredible community this is. Over the past months, you have cared for one another, adhering with diligence to our Return to School protocols so that we could safely achieve a significant milestone of 70 days of continuous schooling during a pandemic (thanks for the stat, kindergarten friends!). Each action you have taken to ensure a low-risk environment for our faculty, staff, and students in this extraordinary year reflects the spirit of community that is the heart of Duke School.

I write today as we approach the Winter Break so that we may sustain our learning community safely in the new year. The same resolve that has positioned us to celebrate a semester of remarkable, creative teaching and learning will once again be required over the next few weeks. As you head to Winter Break, I encourage you to exercise caution around the decisions you make, consistent with Duke School’s Community Commitment, as your decisions will impact the safety of our faculty, staff, and students and our ability to continue on-campus learning when we return to campus.

For those learning on campus, I also ask that, beginning on Sunday, December 27, your family “reconstitutes your bubble,” by safely limiting activities with only those who are consistent and close contacts. This action will effectively allow your child to self-quarantine for at least 10 days prior to the start of school on Tuesday, January 5. We are also asking that beginning on December 27, you resume daily completion of the Basecamp Ascend Application for every on-campus student. These two actions will help the school and community re-establish a low-risk environment to start the second half of the school year.

If you are unable to comply with these requests, please do not return to campus or interact with other students/families the week of January 5. I also remind you that Duke School cannot support self-quarantining during the first week back as a result of extended vacations or lack of adherence to the Community Commitment, as this places an undue burden on faculty and creates disruptions to both learning models, with students moving in and out for the week. If your child(ren) must remain home the week of January 5, please contact your division director, who will organize asynchronous work for this time period.

Our situation remains fluid, and I will remain in contact with our Board of Trustees, COVID Task Force and Clinical Advisory Group during the break. If at any point we receive statutory or public health recommendations, we will revisit our course for on-campus learning to start the year to protect the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students, and families. I will send an email the week of December 28, providing any updates.

I remain grateful to and astounded by the Duke School faculty and staff for the ways in which they continue to create outstanding learning experiences daily for your children through both learning models. I ask for your help, especially during the weeks ahead, as our entire Duke School community rallies together to bring our mission to life in the most meaningful ways, even in these extraordinary times.

Wishing your family a peaceful and safe holiday season,


Lisa Nagel

Head of School

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