COVID-19 Updates for MIDP Students
Learn more about surveillance testing, daily protocols, and latest updates.


As a student at Duke University you gain access to a wide network of support services. You also join an engaged student body on campus. Click through the links below to view on-campus assistance services and engagement opportunities for graduate students in the MIDP program. 

On-Campus Assistance

Visa Services for information and assistance related to the visa application process

Bursar’s Office for information regarding tuition, payment options and other student financial account issues

Duke IHouse for information regarding living essentials, events, and various resources for international students

DukeCard Office for information on how to obtain your Duke student ID card

Registrar’s Office for schedule of courses and course synopsis handbook, registration information and transcript order forms

Office of Information Technology for questions regarding the Duke NetID, Duke email and other Duke computing inquiries

Parking and Transportation for parking passes and bus schedules

Community Housing for information on housing in the local area

The Keep Learning for International Graduate and Professonal Students FAQs.

Duke United for information on reopening the campus and many other aspects of the 2020-21 academic year, including campus operations, public health measures and community responsibilities.

Duke Card Status Check for your access to campus facility. Your access may depend on attesting to the Duke Compact, and COVID-19 policies, performing daily system monitoring or other factors.

COVID-19 Protocol & Updates for MIDP Fellows

[As communicated to fellows via the 4/2 email from Student Affairs about the departure survey, please click here 


[As communicated to fellows via the 3/8 email from Linda Lytvinenko]

We know that you are well into the crunch time of the semester, juggling much in all parts of your lives, and we are here to support you.  We offer here some important Covid-related updates and reminders to help you do all you can to stay safe and healthy as you head toward the end of the semester.  Thank you in advance for continuing to protect yourself and others around you.

  • Surveillance testing is as scheduled this week. The Tuesday wellness day is a break from classes, but not a break from testing.  Please go as scheduled – it’s probably one of the best “wellness” activities you can do!
  • The Wellness Day is intended to be a day for you to have a break from classes – time to catch up and relax.  It is NOT intended for travel.
  • Duke’s discouragement of traveling remains strong and in effect.  Travel should be only if absolutely necessary/for emergencies.  Spread is still occurring and the new variants have increased the need to be careful.  Traveling opens the opportunity to bring the variants back into our community.
  • If you have an emergency/must travel, as communicated to you on February 5th:
    • Use the SymMon app daily while away.
    • Upon return, isolate for 7-10 days and report for your surveillance test when called – whichever comes first.  If you go for your surveillance test before the 7-10 days are up, complete the full isolation period other than going for your test.  If you are taking in-person classes, let your professors know you will be online during the isolation period.
    • Use your SymMon app every day upon return.
    • While away and upon return, follow protocols of wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hands frequently.
  • Please read the attached message sent to undergrad students earlier today.  It is a strong reminder of the importance of following the Covid protocols and participating in surveillance testing and contact tracing.  Many of the cases being identified involve students gathering in restaurants and other social venues – we ask you to adhere to the protocols as diligently as you have been and take care where you go.
  • Here is a link to a video from Jay Lusk, the president of the GPSC, answering questions you may have about vaccines for professional and graduate students



[As communicated to fellows via the 2/5 email from Linda Lytvinenko]

Thanks for all you have been doing to do the surveillance tests, follow protocols, etc.  As numbers on the Duke campus have increased this last week, it’s especially important for each of you – and us – to do our part.  So thank you.  Here are just a few reminders regarding Covid testing and protocols as you head into the weekend and next week. 

  1. Please wear your masks when you are not inside at home with just members of your household.  Many people are interested in wearing two masks.  Here is info from Duke about that; note that they will provide you with a second mask at the surveillance testing sites.  This is info from an email sent to you by Duke Administration on Feb. 3.

Double masking is optional at this time.

Duke students, faculty, staff, and visitors are still required to wear a mask in all outdoor public settings where social distancing measures cannot be maintained (even briefly), and at all times in shared spaces indoors. Should individuals choose to wear a second mask, they may place a Duke-issued medical mask over the top of their own mask. Wearing the Duke-issued medical mask as the outer layer provides a fluid-resistant barrier. Duke-issued medical masks will be available at any of the surveillance testing sites on campus.

In addition, the proper fit of a mask improves its effectiveness. Simple mask modifications can be made to help improve its fit, and thereby improve source control. There are many options to make your mask fit better if it is too loose.

  • This video demonstrates one way to make your mask tighter.
  • A second option is to simply twist the straps of your Duke-issued mask before you put it on so that the elastic is in a crisscross. 
  • Another option is to use a plastic clip to pull the straps tighter behind your head.
  1. Here is a great video made by one of your own – Jay Lusk, the president of the Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG).  It will answer your questions about surveillance testing and more.
  2. In light of the growing numbers of positive case on campus and the major sporting events this weekend, Duke administration sent you an email today that included these reminders:
  • Go to surveillance testing on the day you are assigned.
  • Use the SymMon app to accurately report any symptoms.
  • Avoid all unnecessary travel; if you must travel, please follow CDC guidelines for quarantining when you return  CDC Travel Guidelines
  • Avoid gathering for watch parties and other events; even small gatherings are evidencing significant virus spread.
  • Follow all guidelines regarding facial coverings, social distancing and hygiene.
  • Encourage your friends, classmates and neighbors to do all of the above. 



[As communicated to fellows via the 1/29 email from Linda Lytvinenko]

Now that baseline testing is complete, we are in a new phase: surveillance testing and contact tracing. Please carefully read the information below, and access the information on the Duke United website for additional information and updates:

Surveillance Test Scheduling:

  • Surveillance Testing for MIDP, MPP fellows/students – weekly – is on Tuesdays.
  • Surveillance Testing for CT Fellows – weekly – is on Wednesdays
  • You must go on the day you are scheduled. Here is the link to sites/hours: health-measures/covid-19-testing/#screening-sites. It will be updated weekly.
  • You may be called for multiple tests in a week depending on your particular situation in terms of those with whom you interacted. If you have interacted with someone identified through contact tracing, then you may be called more than once a week. Please comply. It’s for your own protection, and the protection of others. 

Surveillance Testing:

  • Q: Why surveillance testing?

A: Because many individuals who are infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, one of the best ways to identify potential cases is to conduct surveillance testing on a regular basis. This testing will help Duke medical experts identify and respond to positive cases in the Duke community. Taking these steps will help limit the spread of COVID-19 so that campus activities can continue.

  • Q: How often are tests?

A: The plan for the spring is to surveillance test graduate and professional students on average once per week. That frequency is always subject to change based on hotspots and populations of concern.

  • Q: How are people chosen for surveillance testing?

A: Testing will also depend on the results of test data over time. Broader testing of specific groups may be necessary if positive cases are found to cluster in specific geographic areas of campus.

  • Q: How are surveillance test results processed?

A: Duke’s surveillance testing uses “pooled testing”. Pooled testing of samples (click link for video) is conducted by the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. Results from tests typically take about 48 hours. You will only be contacted if the results are positive for COVID-19, at which point you will receive further medical guidance and support.

Contact Tracing:

Here is a Duke Today article that explains how contact tracing works: tracing-keeps-dukes-covid-response-nimble-and-effective. It can help you understand why you may have been contacted by Student Health after being exposed, and others who were also exposed were not contacted. This effort has been very effective for containing the spread at Duke.

If you think you have been exposed to Covid:

Chances are that sometime during the semester you will be in the presence of someone at Duke who has a positive Covid diagnosis. Here are the steps you should follow:

  • If you haven’t been contacted by a contact tracer, then you can assume your exposure did not meet the criteria for quarantine
  • If you have questions about this, call the COVID Hotline (919-681-9355, option 2) to speak to Student Health and/or submit the exposure via the SymMon app.
  • You will be asked questions about the exposure, and either be told the exposure doesn’t meet the criteria for quarantine, or it does meet the criteria and you should quarantine. The criteria include whether all parties werewearing masks, kept 6 ft social distance, or were not wearing masks/maintaining 6 ft social distancing for more than 15 minutes. Student Health will also discuss any symptoms you are having. Student Health will tell you to quarantine or even schedule you for a Covid test if they judge that is warranted.

Please note that Student Health considers the protocols/location of the possible exposure when setting the next steps for you. Being in a classroom at Duke is a totally different environment than an activity with a group of people, inside or outside, where there is eating, drinking, possible inconsistent mask use, sanitation, etc. For example, you do not need to mark yourself as exposed just because you were in the classroom with a classmate who tests positive. As long as COVID precautions are kept in the classroom, risk is mitigated. Duke has not had a single COVID transmission occur in the classroom setting. But if you are concerned, follow the steps above.

Daily Protocols for Everyone:

  • Continue to monitor yourself daily for symptoms using the SymMon app.
  • Always wear a mask and maintain 6ft; frequently wash hands. 
  • Report for any scheduled surveillance testing (see schedule above).

Social, Academic, and Cultural Groups

International House provides educational services and advocacy to the international population at Duke as well as outreach to the Durham community. It also provides assistance to international students in matters of documentation, housing and transportation, and offers extensive cross-cultural programming and information to enhance the global mission of Duke University.

The Sanford School hosts a wide variety of student groups and student-staff working groups that reflect the diversity of our community. 

Duke students can connect to Campus Life Centers and Departments (CLCD) through interest and/or identity. CLCD offers an array of international programs and services such as Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, Center for Multicultural Affairs, Jewish Life at Duke, Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, Muslim Life at Duke, UCAE, Women’s Center

The Duke Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS) organizes graduate student working groups on a variety of relevant global issues

Duke University is home to 400+ student organizations. For a full list and to get involved, click here

Student Wellbeing

Student Disability Access Office (SDAO) is responsible for exploring possible coverage and reasonable accommodations for qualified students with disabilities in compliance with Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. The SDAO’s goal is to coordinate and provide accommodations, support services and programs that enable students with disabilities to have equal access to all Duke University programs and activities. SDAO has a process in place for students who wish to be considered for reasonable accommodations. To learn more about requesting accommodations, documentation guidelines, and implementing accommodations, please visit the SDAO website. To ensure that accommodations are in place at the start of the semester, you may begin the registration process as soon as you receive your formal acceptance letter from Duke. For further questions or information, please contact the SDAO office at

Student Health Center for information about immunization requirements, health insurance, doctor appointments and other services and programs covered by the student health fee.

DuWell – Duke’s comprehensive student wellness center with activities like music, yoga, art, meditation, and more. 

DukeReach directs students, faculty, staff, parents, and others to the resources available to help a student in need. DukeReach is located in the Dean of Students Office and works with departments and groups across campus and in the community, including Housing, CAPS, Student Health, community health providers, the Academic Resource Center, and more.

DukeCAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) helps Duke Students enhance strengths and develop abilities to successfully live, grow and learn in their personal and academic lives. We offer many services to Duke undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, including brief individual and group counseling, couples counseling and more. CAPS staff also provide outreach to student groups, particularly programs supportive of at-risk populations, on a wide range of issues impacting them in various aspects of campus life.

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