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Duke to Require Masks Indoors Again Because of Delta Surge

graphic for university message on mask policy

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Given the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in North Carolina related to a combination of the Delta variant and the number of people who remain unvaccinated, all individuals will be required to wear face masks in all Duke-owned and leased buildings effective Friday, July 30, until further notice.

This requirement applies to all students, faculty, staff and visitors regardless of vaccination status. Masks will not be required in on-campus residence halls where there is a significantly lower risk of exposure for high-risk individuals.

In the last month, the Delta variant – which is  markedly more transmissible than earlier strains of the virus – has become increasingly prevalent nationally, across North Carolina, and in our local community. During that time, we have seen a steady rise in the number of cases on campus among unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals. However, the greatest threat for severe disease is to those in our community who are not yet vaccinated. On Monday, about 1,000 people in the state were hospitalized due to COVID, more than twice the number just two weeks ago.

While we know this is a disappointing turn, we make this move now based on the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Duke’s own infectious disease experts in hopes of containing potential outbreaks that may limit our ability to continue other activities during the fall semester.

The key to ending this pandemic is getting everyone vaccinated. We implore anyone who has not yet been vaccinated to do so at your earliest opportunity to help protect yourself and your loved ones. Too many have suffered and continue to suffer the effects of this disease. Duke stands ready and available to help answer questions or concerns and to vaccinate every member of our community.

We are making plans and preparations to welcome all students back for the fall semester, and we are eager to see a more active and dynamic campus this year. But the pandemic is still with us, and we must take appropriate steps to promote the safety and well-being of our community in the midst of this resurgence. Thank you for your continued support, patience and resilience.


Sally Kornbluth,
Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration