Fitzpatrick Center interior

You are here

Return to Campus Updates

July 31, 2020

Dear Pratt faculty, staff, and graduate students,

I’m writing to update you on our progress since reopening the research labs in late May and plans for broader return to campus as the fall semester begins. Below, you’ll also find a link to the slides from Tuesday’s Pratt Faculty and Staff Town Hall with additional information on the return to campus.   

The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority. Thanks to a tremendous team effort, including careful planning and preparation and excellent adherence to our lab staffing plans and Duke guidelines, the process has gone very smoothly and paves the way for a successful start to the new school year. 

  • To date, we have had between 300 and 500 members of the Pratt community on campus on a given weekday, with around 150 on a weekend day. This is much less than the 900 who’ve been approved to return and represents about 1/6 to 1/4 of our community of staff, faculty, and graduate students.
  • We’ve had only a few reports of noncompliance with the requirements for wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. If you do observe someone not following these safety guidelines, please call the anonymous hotline at 800-826-8109.  I will receive the information and take appropriate action.
  • Compliance with the health screening requirement has also been very good, around 92%. A new health symptom monitoring app, “SymMon,” is now available from the Apple App Store or Google Play. This is more streamlined and can be used on your phone.  All Duke personnel are required to complete the health symptom monitoring screening and receive clearance each day before they access campus.  OIT is working to provide a visible daily pass for successful symptom monitoring.  
  • There have been no reports of COVID-19 positive cases in Pratt School of Engineering research labs.  
  • All deliveries have been to the Fitzpatrick loading dock or BME office and this seems to have gone well. We will continue this process through the fall semester.
  • The campus will be busier in August with the arrival of more students.  Everyone’s efforts have had a very positive impact thus far, and we’ll need to continue to be vigilant as the on-campus population increases. While those who can work remotely should continue to do so, everyone is encouraged to follow the key safety steps of wearing a face mask, maintaining social distancing, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community.  
  • Three reusable cloth masks will be mailed to each Pratt faculty member, staff member and postdoc at their home address as listed in payroll system beginning the week of August 10.  Please confirm or update your home address by 5 p.m. this Friday, July 31 via the Duke@Work portal (click the My Info tab and then My Profile).  Graduate students do not need to do this—information will be provided soon about how students can obtain masks.
  • Slides from the July 28 faculty and staff Town Hall on Returning to Campus (updated to incorporate information shared during the Q&A), are now posted: click here to view the slides. Please be sure to review this important information.

If you have additional questions that are not addressed in the resources in this email, please contact me at or Facilities Director Mitchell Vann at

Thank you for all of your efforts to create a safe environment, and your commitment to keeping our community healthy. 

Stay safe, 

George A. Truskey
Sr. Associate Dean