Teams across campus have made important changes to operations in order to meet the public health guidelines that will keep our community safe. Below are some of those changes:

Cleaning & Disinfecting Buildings

Duke Facilities disinfecting surfaces in buildings

Housekeeping teams clean campus facilities based on CDC guidelines for disinfection and Occupational and Environmental Safety Office (OESO) protocols. Facilities Management has installed hand sanitizer stations at major building entrances, elevator stops and high-traffic areas.

Building occupants should also spray or wipe down commonly used surfaces before and after use with products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19 and are appropriate for the surface. This includes any shared-space location or equipment (e.g. copiers, printers, computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, coffee makers, desks and tables, light switches, door knobs, etc.).

Service & Building Access

Door with sign that says, ”Enter Only’

Entry to buildings are regulated and monitored. Your Duke card/badge is required for entry to all buildings, and you may not hold or prop open exterior doors for any other person.

Building coordinators will identify usable building access points, and supervisors will coordinate arrival and departure times of staff to reduce congestion during typical “rush hours” of the business day.

Visitors, trainees, guests and pets are not allowed on campus until further notice.

Violation of these guidelines may result in the immediate revocation of building access privileges, as well as disciplinary action.

Expanded Staffing

Additional staff hired to clean and sterilize

Duke University has taken a measured approach to expanded operations and activities on campus. Only personnel who are required to be on campus to do their work may do so.

Approvals to expand staffing are being coordinated through the COVID Task Force and approved by senior leadership. No unit or department should increase staffing without the approval of your respective dean, vice president or vice provost.

Once approved to expand staffing, only employees who are needed on-site to support expanded operations should return. Those who can work remotely should continue to do so. Personal preferences, internet access, family circumstances, etc. are not among the criteria for determining who should return to work on-site.

Campus Expectations/changes


Since May, teams in Parking & Transportation Services have followed new protocols ranging from a three-step disinfecting process to requiring physical distancing on all 25 buses and the rest of Duke’s transit vehicles.

A worker sanitizing a bus at Duke
Students sitting spaced out on a bus

If you must take public transportation or use Duke Transit, wear a mask before entering the bus and avoid touching surfaces with your hands. Upon disembarking, wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% ethanol as soon as possible and before removing your mask.

Using Restrooms

Restroom occupancy sign

Maximum occupancy of restrooms should be limited based on the number of sinks (1:1 ratio) to ensure appropriate social distancing. Wash your hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. Use of masks or face coverings are recommended in restrooms occupied by more than one person.

Using Elevators

Elevator with “Face Mask Must Be Worn in Elevator” sign

Use of elevators should be limited where possible to avoid close proximity with others in a confined space. Those using elevators are required to wear a disposable face mask or face covering regardless of traveling alone or with others. You should also avoid touching the elevator buttons with your exposed hand/fingers, if possible. Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers with greater than 60% ethanol upon departing the elevator.


Students purchasing food in a dining hall

On-campus dining centers will provide expanded take-out options and limited in-person service using reservation systems. Individuals are encouraged to take food back to their room or office area or eat outside, if possible.

Before and after eating, you should wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

If dining on campus, you should wear your mask or face covering until you are ready to eat and then replace it afterward. Eating establishments must meet requirements to allow at least 6 feet of distance between each customer, including lines and seating arrangements. Individuals should not sit facing one another.

If you are eating in your common room (break room, conference room, etc.), maintain 6 feet distance between you and others. Individuals should not sit facing one another. Only remove your mask or face covering in order to eat, then put it back on. Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in employee break rooms to support social distancing practices between employees. Spray or wipe all surfaces, including table, refrigerator handle, coffee machine, etc. after using in common areas.

Residence Halls and Campus Center Spaces

A dorm door with signs promoting campus health

Undergraduate students living on campus will have revised housing and dining options to maximize residential safety. First-year students will be assigned to both East and West Campuses in dedicated first-year spaces while returning students in Duke housing will be assigned to West Campus, 300 Swift Avenue, and to nearby hotels and apartments. Modifications to campus center spaces, such as maximum occupancy limits and furniture arrangements to support social distancing, will likely also be put in place to ensure the safety of the campus community.


Chairs in a lecture hall have a checkmark on them to keep students distanced

All Duke classrooms will be reconfigured to meet the new requirements for physical distancing, cleaning and hygiene. Capacity will generally be limited to 25% of the normally available seating, protective equipment may be installed, and cleaning schedules will be enhanced.  Additionally, some in-person classes may be scheduled in campus buildings and facilities that are not typically used as classrooms, such as theaters, performance spaces, event spaces and temporary structures. 

Gatherings & Meetings

Students participate in in-person programs wearing masks and social distancing

While many co-curricular and extra-curricular activities (lectures, performances, club activities,  events) will be held virtually, there will be opportunities for in-person gatherings that meet university and public health guidelines.

Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or part using the extensive range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, telephone, etc.).

In-person meetings are limited to the restrictions of local, state and federal orders and should not exceed 50 percent of a room’s capacity, assuming individuals can still maintain 6 feet of separation for social distancing requirements. Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in meeting rooms to support social distancing practices between attendees. All attendees should wear a mask or face covering while sharing space in a common room.

Shared Workspaces

If you are in a shared workspace environment, be sure to maintain at least 6 feet distance from others. If possible have at least one workspace separating you from another person. You should wear a face mask or face covering at all times while in a shared workspace/room.

Masks/face coverings should be worn by any individual in a reception/receiving area. Masks/face coverings should be used when inside any Duke facility where others are present, including walking in narrow hallways where others travel and in classrooms, labs, break rooms, conference rooms and other meeting locations.

Individual Workspaces

If you are in an office or other contained room designed for individual use, no more than one person should be in the same room unless the required 6 feet of distancing can be consistently maintained. If more than one person is in a room, masks/face coverings should be worn at all times. A mask or face covering is not required if you are working alone in a confined space (does not include partitioned work areas in a large open environment).