On May 13, 2020, Duke University began a measured process of restarting laboratory research activities in our campus and leased facilities. While many are eager to get back to the bench, ensuring the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty is our first priority and responsibility. During these early phases, our goal is to keep the density of our workforce low at any given time; to accomplish this, we must create a balanced daily plan that maintains public health requirements while still permitting research projects to progress.

Recommendations from the CDC and local public health departments, and direction from Duke infectious disease and safety experts, were used to create a set of overarching principles the schools will use to guide the return to the labs. Our overarching goal is to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the workplace. The only research activities that will be permitted to return to work at this time are those that must be conducted on-site in research facilities, which includes Duke’s physical campuses (in Durham and Beaufort), field operations, and leased facilities.

The approval process for laboratories to resume on-site research activities is managed by the individual schools. Contact your school’s research leadership for details concerning the restart approval process. Some schools have established their own web resources to share information, while others have designated single points of contact:

You must gain approval from your school before returning to campus or risk the revocation of privileges

Duke continues to closely monitor the coronavirus pandemic and is actively engaged in daily planning in an effort to inform and reduce risk to faculty, staff, students, and visitors. For more information and guidance on other aspects of Duke’s COVID-19 and return to work planning, please visit Duke’s Coronavirus Response page.