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Duke GEO Article
by the Duke Global Education Office

COVID-19 & Study Away

Duke’s Global Education Office re-started its global education programs in Fall 2021. After carefully studying the public health recommendations and incorporating risk-mitigating steps, GEO returned students to the field. We continue to monitor COVID-19 public health responses around the world through our partnership with experts from Duke’s Undergraduate Health and Safety Support team and consulting with officials at peer institutions, the U.S. State Department, private-sector international security experts, and other relevant Duke University offices. 

Students enrolled in study away programs through Duke’s Global Education Office are required to comply with all applicable national, federal, state, and local health and safety laws, as well as the health and safety guidance adopted by Duke or GEO. Compliance with public health procedures and regulations is required for participation in a GEO study away program and students and their parents agree to comply with all regulations in the Participation Agreement. The violation of or failure to comply with any of these regulations may result in removal from the program and/or other appropriate disciplinary action. 

The following sections detail the COVID-19 public health regulations and guidance that Duke study away students have the responsibility to understand and comply with. This is subject to change and any developing or site-specific guidance will be communicated directly to the student through their program managers. 

COVID-19 Testing and Positive Cases

Depending on your program and destination, testing may be required prior to departure, upon arrival, and during your time abroad. Your program may also require COVID-19 surveillance and/or symptomatic testing. Details regarding any testing requirements and procedures will be communicated in your pre-departure materials. Students are required to share their test results with program administrators.

If a student tests positive:

  • Local health authorities may conduct contact tracing to identify individuals who could have come in contact with them during the infectious period. Students must cooperate with contact tracers, and failure to do so could result in dismissal from the program.
  • Isolation and quarantine periods are determined by the local health authority. Students are not able to attend classes in person or engage in personal travel during the quarantine or isolation period. Duke will work with the student who tests positive to arrange, where feasible, accommodations and provide support services.

Health Mitigations  for the Prevention of COVID-19

Vaccinations: Students must be in compliance with Duke’s vaccination policies. This includes being fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 prior to departure for their program.

Symptom Monitoring: Students are required to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms on a daily basis. If a student is feeling ill, suspects they might be ill, or has any COVID-19 symptoms (see:, they should contact their program administrators on-site to inquire about getting tested for COVID-19 and/or getting treatment for their illness.

Masking: Masking is one of the most effective ways to control the spread of COVID-19. Where it’s required by local law, students are required to wear masks while studying away.

Physical Distancing: Students must adhere to all physical and social distancing requirements imposed by local health authorities, including any mandates concerning the size of group gatherings.

Handwashing: Students should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching their face.

Personal Travel During COVID-19

It is a student’s responsibility to thoroughly research all personal, especially international, travel. Students choosing to engage in personal travel between countries do so at their own risk, assuming the financial, academic, and legal consequences of testing, quarantine/isolation, and barred entry. Duke-In program participants will not be excused from classes if they are absent due to personal travel and/or quarantine or isolation which may come about as a result of personal travel. Duke-Administered program participants should check with their program provider and/or program director(s) about relevant personal travel policies.