Laying the Groundwork for One more Safe and sound Semester

Lisa R. Parker

With pupils returning to campus for a next whole semester during the COVID-19 pandemic, a additional aggressive tests plan is a critical part of Duke’s approach to slow the unfold of the surging virus.

Duke’s formidable surveillance tests system, which on a regular basis tests students, college and personnel who regular campus, will see its quantity bounce from 15,000 tests for each week in the fall to close to 20,000 per 7 days this spring.

And unlike the drop, when pupils returned to campus just before the tests software was completely in location, the method will be functioning at comprehensive capacity as college students return for the start of lessons on Jan. 20.

“We had a pretty integrated technique, and we discovered a wonderful offer,” stated Kyle Cavanaugh, Duke vice president for Administration. “Remember this experienced never ever been performed just before, and so as we have been setting up very last spring by means of the summertime, we realized a wonderful deal about what labored, what did not perform and adjustments we wanted to make.”

Members of the Duke workforce take part in surveillance testing at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. Photo by Stephen Schramm.The spring semester commences at a time when North Carolina is seeing new one-day information for new COVID-19 cases.

To hold campus protected, Duke will use an enhanced version of the blueprint it made use of to comprehensive a fall semester that highlighted some in-man or woman understanding and no COVID-19 transmissions in classrooms. A important cause for the achievement was the Duke community’s embrace of bodily distancing, masking and hand cleanliness, which specialists stage to as the three best methods to sluggish the distribute of the virus.

But Duke also leaned on its sturdy technique of entry and surveillance testing and symptom monitoring to remain ahead of the virus. The testing program required collaboration from entities throughout campus, from the Duke Human Vaccine Institute that formulated a way to system batches of exams promptly, to redeployed employees members who oversee the function of Duke’s 15 on-campus screening web pages and one cellular device.

“We sense like we have been executing a little something significant,” explained Tracey Perry, a redeployed system coordinator with Duke Human Resource’s Office environment of Staff members & Spouse and children Packages who serves as a tests website coordinator. “I appear at my function as serving to to make this a superior encounter for the people coming to be examined and to assistance Duke keep open up.”

Air scrubbers such as these at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club are among the safety enhancements for Duke's 15 on-campus surveillance testing locations. Photo by Stephen Schramm.This semester, all campus exam internet sites aspect new protection enhancements in the sort of plexiglass dividers at screening stations and air purifiers that supply an extra layer of protection for on-site employees and check subjects.

“The danger was now very minimal, but the more basic safety measures will make it even safer,” said Matt Sears, who manages Duke’s surveillance screening functions.

While the testing programs are vital, COVID-19 vaccines and behavioral techniques these types of as actual physical distancing, hand hygiene and masking are essential for continued achievement. 

“We know these steps genuinely work,” mentioned Dr. Carol Epling, director of Duke’s Employee Occupational Health & Wellness (EOHW).

And with on-campus housing open to additional pupils – typically initially-yr pupils lived on campus in the fall – these protection procedures will come to be even a lot more significant.

“Masking and bodily distancing will carry on to be the expectation, and we’ll get the job done with everybody to make positive they’re adhering to the procedures,” mentioned Vice Dean of Students Amy Powell. “Hopefully we’ll do the spring semester as effectively as we did the slide.”

Justin Sharpe, associate director of the Student Wellness Center, loads boxes of face masks destined for the Fuqua School of Business. Photo by Stephen Schramm.Section of that effort took location on campus Thursday when personnel from all over Duke dropped in to choose up containers of confront masks to distribute to college and staff. In this 2nd round of mask distribution since the outbreak, about 60,000 masks will be dispersed to college departments, educational institutions and units.

As Karen Jackson picked up packing containers that contains 1,350 masks for her colleagues the Duke College School of Nursing, she praised Duke’s ongoing initiatives to sluggish the distribute of the virus.

“It’s seriously pleasant to be capable to get these,” claimed Jackson, an administrative assistant. “It tends to make you experience like your employer is contemplating about you and creating positive that you are being harmless.”

For far more on Duke’s reaction to COVID-19, such as strategies for the spring and vaccines, enjoy this video Q&A:

Enable share the proactive and comprehensive perform remaining accomplished by all Duke community customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Send ideas, shout-outs and images through our story thought form or write [email protected].

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