The Duke Kunshan University leadership sent the following message on email to all undergraduate students on June 15.
We hope that this update finds you and your families well during what continues to be a difficult time. We know that you are anxious for updates on DKU’s plans for the fall semester. We can assure you that, with faculty and staff located all over the world, we are working literally around the clock to prepare for fall. While much uncertainty remains, here is what we can tell you:
- DKU is preparing to have in-person instruction on our campus in Kunshan in fall 2020.
- We have made slight adjustments to our academic calendar to accommodate the delayed Gaokao (China’s national college entrance exam). The first day of class is Friday, Aug. 28. The full 2020-21 academic calendar is available online at https://dukekunshan.edu.cn/sites/default/files/images/dku_academic_calendar_-_2020-2021.pdf.
- The International Student Services (ISS) office is preparing visa paperwork for all of our new international students, with the hope that travel restrictions will be lifted in time for them to arrive in China for the start of new student orientation on Thursday, Aug. 20.
- We recognize that there is a possibility that our currently enrolled and newly admitted international students and some of our international faculty may have a delayed arrival in China due to visa processing times, travel restrictions, and flight availability. Currently, we don’t have a date when foreigners will be cleared to return. Rest assured, we are doing everything within our power to get all of our students and faculty to DKU.
- The most realistic scenario is that some of our international students and faculty will have to start classes remotely until they are cleared to travel. In preparation, we are investing in a number of technology upgrades to our classrooms this summer. In addition, our faculty are working closely with the DKU Center for Teaching and Learning and Duke Learning Innovation to prepare for delivering a high-quality DKU education to all students, regardless of location. We anticipate that the majority of courses will be taught in a hybrid manner that involves some combination of in-person and online instruction to accommodate both students who are able to be in Kunshan and those who are not.
- We are anticipating that we will be joined at DKU by up to 80 visiting Duke undergraduate students who cannot get to the U.S., as well as a small number of other visiting students. We are excited to welcome them to the DKU community.
We also would like to provide a brief update on Duke University’s plans, as those might impact our international students, as well as those in the Class of 2022 who are scheduled to study there in 2020-21.
- Duke’s goal is to enable as many of their students who are able and who choose to participate in an on-campus experience for the fall semester to do so, but only if it can be done safely. They will be making significant changes to the way they live, study, and work on campus. In addition to changes to their academic calendar, they will be offering courses in three formats: in-person, fully online, and hybrid. More details can be found at https://coronavirus.duke.edu/2020/05/update-for-students-and-families-from-president-price-on-fall-2020/.
- In addition to ongoing visa and travel restrictions, we also do not know yet whether Duke will be able to accommodate DKU students for on-campus instruction in fall 2020. Please be assured that we are in constant communication with them, and additional information will be shared with you as soon as it becomes available.
- Duke has announced that the combination of changes to their academic calendar, the need for social distancing, and revised class scheduling to allow for different modes of delivery will require them to remove all fall term class data and student enrollments. This includes removing the fall term course registration for DKU students in the Class of 2022 who already registered at Duke. Duke’s recent announcement of the details of the re-registration process is available at https://mailchi.mp/68236e37b865/additional-updates-for-fall-2020-registration. We will share more information as soon as it becomes available, including whether any DKU students will be able to register for Duke courses.
We are closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation within China, as well as all developments between China and the other countries around the world that our students come from. We are in constant contact with government officials in China and the U.S. about opportunities or barriers that impact our students. China has been very cautious about reopening their borders to foreigners to minimize a second wave of Covid-19, which is understandable. Rest assured that our No. 1 priority is to get all of our students on campus as quickly as possible and to ensure a healthy environment for all. While the fall may look different from what we all envisioned, we remain committed to providing an enriching DKU experience to each and every one of you.
The situation is constantly evolving, but everyone at DKU and at Duke is working hard to answer your remaining questions. We thank you for your continued patience. We will be in touch with additional updates soon.
We wish you and your families all the best.
The DKU Leadership