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Undergraduate Work in Laboratories and FIeld Sites

March 2, 2021

Dear Pratt faculty,

As you know, Duke University last year placed restrictions on undergraduates working in research laboratories as part of our steps to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

With continued assessment of the effectiveness of our safety precautions, the Provost’s Office has now approved an easing of these restrictions. Starting March 1, all undergraduates may once again be considered for work in labs and field sites (with travel approval). 

Undergraduates may join lab groups with the following understanding:

  • The student has been incorporated into the lab’s restart/space and density plan
  • The lab PI has oversight of and accepts responsibility for the student’s activities while in lab buildings
  • The student observes all guidelines for working onsite
  • The student participates in Duke’s surveillance testing program
  • The student remains away from the lab and lab buildings if/while in quarantine or isolation

Students must abide by all safety measures, including masking, physical distancing, frequent hand-washing, and symptom screening. They should also review the Policies and Principles for research labs.

Please note that this policy change applies only to Duke undergraduate students; students from other universities and/or volunteers not paid by or enrolled as a student at Duke will continue to require separate approval to come to campus.

We recognize the value for students’ educational experience in being able to perform hands-on lab work, and thank everyone in our research community for helping to make this policy change possible through continued vigilance in observing the critical guidelines for being onsite.  If local conditions change, the policy may be re-evaluated.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


Claudia Gunsch
Associate Dean for Research and Infrastructure