- Staff who are student-, faculty-, or patient-facing, or whose presence on campus is necessary to successfully carry out Yale’s residential and in-person educational, research, and clinical missions, should continue their in-person work on campus or proceed with their return as previously communicated.
- For the balance of staff, we are delaying the start of the return to campus until October 4. Deans, directors, and vice presidents (or their designees) have the flexibility to design a phased return starting October 4.
As we continue to prioritize in-person teaching and research, faculty members with teaching responsibilities are expected to return to the classroom and teach in person.
Dear Yale Faculty and Staff Colleagues,
Despite all the uncertainties of the past academic year, the Yale community has succeeded in protecting the health and wellbeing of its members while carrying out the university’s critical educational, research, and clinical missions. That success is the result of your hard work and flexibility as we have responded to shifts in the public health environment. Heading into this new academic year, we are grateful that most of our campus is already fully vaccinated; this is the best method to protect against COVID-19 and its variants. As of yesterday, 86% of faculty and staff and nearly 92% of students have been vaccinated and reported their vaccination status. These numbers will continue to rise in the days ahead.
Yale’s Current Health and Safety Infrastructure
As was the case last year, our pandemic-time policies are guided by public health experts and informed by science. These experts agree that the high rates of vaccination in our community will protect vaccinated individuals and greatly reduce the risk of viral transmission to others. “Breakthrough infections” are infrequent among the vaccinated, and vaccination dramatically reduces serious infections leading to hospitalization.
Because non-vaccine protective measures like masking and asymptomatic testing are also effective in keeping rates of infection low, we have reinstituted our masking mandate for everyone and are requiring all unvaccinated undergraduate and graduate and professional students, staff, and faculty to be tested twice weekly. Further, all undergraduate students plus graduate students living in colleges and other congregate housing, regardless of their vaccination status, will be required to test weekly at least through the month of September. All members of our community will continue to have access to free COVID-19 testing throughout this year. We have built and field-tested a health and safety infrastructure that will help us contain the spread of COVID-19 and will allow most of us to work and study together.
Modified Return-to-Campus Plan for Staff
We are modifying our return-to-campus plan by prioritizing the return of students, trainees, faculty, and certain staff at the start of the fall semester and delaying our all-staff return. Our goal is to optimize the public health infrastructure of testing and contact tracing to most directly support teaching, research, and clinical care at the outset of the semester. To achieve this goal, we will slow the increase in campus population density by reducing the number of staff who will work on campus at the start of the academic year as follows:
- Staff who are (1) student-, faculty-, or patient-facing, or (2) whose presence on campus is necessary to successfully carry out Yale’s residential and in-person educational, research, and clinical missions, should continue their in-person work on campus or proceed with their return as previously communicated to them by their unit leaders.
- For the balance of staff, we are delaying the start of the return to campus to October 4. Deans, directors, and vice presidents (or their designees) have flexibility to design a phased return starting October 4. For such staff, we suggest that unit leaders design a “hybrid” work schedule (i.e., a mix of remote and on-campus work) from October 4 until the end of calendar year 2021.
- As we continue to prioritize in-person teaching and research, faculty members with teaching responsibilities are expected to return to the classroom and teach in person.
We recognize this policy may prompt questions about individual work arrangements. We have included a brief FAQ at the end of this message that provides additional guidance. Thank you for your patience as unit leaders and managers formulate action plans in the coming days.
Vaccination Compliance Expectations
This guidance does not override the vaccination requirement for all members of our community, which remains essential for our collective health and safety. All faculty and staff, regardless of their work location, were required to register their vaccination status with the university by August 1. Anyone who has not yet done this must do so as soon as possible or have an approved exemption.
The testing compliance policies for unvaccinated individuals that were announced last week apply to all faculty and staff members who come to campus. Beginning the week of August 16, unvaccinated staff and faculty who have not received a vaccination exemption or who do not comply with asymptomatic testing requirements will face progressive disciplinary action. This also applies to students. Unvaccinated students must also be tested twice per week, and any students who have not received a vaccination exemption may be placed on a leave of absence or, in some instances, be withdrawn. While we hope none of our community members will face such a consequence, we are deeply committed to keeping our entire community safe.
This pandemic has taken a toll on all of us. It is difficult to work, teach, conduct research, treat patients, care for loved ones, and carry on with our lives amid a margin of uncertainty that most of us had never experienced prior to the onset of COVID-19. These are extraordinary times, and we are grateful for the remarkable ways in which our community continues to follow public health guidance and prioritize each other’s health and safety.
Scott Strobel, Provost
Jack Callahan, Jr., Senior Vice President for Operations
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is the university slowing the return of staff to campus?
We are slowing the number of staff returning to campus in the first fall semester month to optimize our health measures and, more specifically, to support the capacity of the testing and contact tracing teams. These teams, in turn, are supporting students, faculty, and staff carrying out Yale’s in-person educational, research, and clinical missions.
- It is not clear if I belong to a staff category that can work remotely. What should I do?
Your unit leader or manager should be in touch with staff-specific plans in the coming days. Thank you for your patience as they formulate action plans based on this new guidance.
- I am a manager or a unit leader overseeing staff who may work remotely based on this guidance. Should I design a phased return for my staff starting October 4?
You should coordinate with your cognizant dean, director, or vice president (or their designee) to design work plans that best align with leadership guidance and your unit’s work needs.
- Should staff who return to in-person work on campus–now or starting October 4–still return for a minimum of 3 days per week as previously announced?
Deans, directors, and vice presidents (or their designees) have the flexibility to adjust work schedules for the balance of the 2021 calendar year; however, as previously stated, we recommend that 100% remote work be limited.
- Has the university adjusted its health and safety measures to account for the prevalence of the Delta variant? Our public health experts continuously monitor the state of the pandemic, including the nature of COVID-19 variants. The reinstitution of indoor mask requirement and intensification of our required testing protocols resulted from their recommendations.
- I am a faculty member. Does this guidance apply to me?
The delayed return-to-campus guidance applies only to staff. However, the compliance requirements apply to both faculty and staff. We continue to prioritize the return of all faculty to campus this fall so that you may teach and carry out your research in person.
- I am a faculty member. May I teach remotely this semester?
Faculty members with teaching responsibilities are expected to return to the classroom and teach in person. If you have further questions, please reach out to the dean of your school.
- Where can I find the latest vaccinations rates of Yale staff, faculty, or students? Starting the week of August 16, you will see staff, faculty, and student vaccination rates on Yale’s COVID-19 data webpage.
- Where can I find further information about returning to work?
Please consult the university’s Workplace Guidance website.
- Where can I find the latest COVID-19 policy updates and messages sent by university leadership?
All policy updates, Yale’s current alert-level, testing data, as well as forthcoming vaccination rates can be found in Yale’s COVID-19 information site. This site also contains all COVID-related messages sent to the community by Yale leadership as well as COVID-19 Coordinator Dr. Stephanie Spangler’s weekly public health updates. Please refer to school sites for school-specific guidance.
- I am a postgraduate or postdoctoral trainee. Does this guidance apply to me?
Yes, most postgraduate and postdoctoral appointees are completing training in-person to carry out Yale’s educational, research, and clinical missions. The compliance requirements also apply to all training positions.
For additional questions not addressed above, please consult the university’s broader set of COVID-19 FAQs