To students and parents eager for news about the fall semester, President Vincent Price Thursday said Duke University will open in the fall, but specific details continue to be developed as public health and safety guidelines evolve.
In an email and video sent to students and parents, Price said plans for attendance and schedules will be determined by the end of June because “making choices now in the absence of this vital information would jeopardize safety of our students, faculty, staff and the wider community, even if seemed to provide the certainty many of us desire.”
“We know enough to say that next academic year will not look anything like the past,” Price wrote. “As we work toward coming back to school safely in the fall, we are innovating every part of the Duke experience—from the academic calendar to residential living—to provide students the best and safest possible configuration of on-campus and high-quality remote teaching. We are dedicated to adapting the life-changing experiences that make the Duke experience so special, and to creating new ones.”
The message was sent during a week in which the university began the next phase of restarting campus-based activities. A small number of medical students returned to campus for rotations, Duke Health clinics reopened and scientists and researchers started to return to their labs with a comprehensive range of new safety protocols. In addition, the first online Summer Session began, enrolling more than five times the number of students as last year. But the entire process is being done with restrictions and concern for safety, Price said.
When students do return, Price said there will be changes in space configuration, classroom delivery and student activities. But the core of what makes a Duke education special and valuable will remain unchanged.
“Like every other part of society, we will be resilient and creative and adapt to the new reality,” he added.