Supporting Students During the Omicron Wave

Friday, February 18, 2022

Dear colleagues,
Thank you for your continued efforts over the past two years to ensure an excellent education for all students at Yale during the COVID-19 pandemic. As you have likely noticed, despite the continued improvement in national and local conditions, we have recently experienced a substantial increase in the number of students, particularly undergraduates, infected with the Omicron variant. Approximately 350 students were in isolation as of the latest update. To date, there has been no evidence of classroom transmission. Fortunately, most students will need to isolate for only 5-7 days and then, after testing negative, return to the classroom. Of course this means missing a week of classes, which is particularly challenging at this time of year as we enter the midterm season.

I am writing to ask that you exercise compassion in considering how students can make up for lost time. To the extent possible, please consider recording your class so that students can have access to missed sessions (see the links below for details and assistance if needed). In addition, please use your Canvas course page or other websites to post information on how students can make up missed work. 

The staff at the Poorvu Center are available to assist and have compiled a set of resources for academic continuity in the event of student absences due to illness, isolation, or quarantine. We are aware that rescheduling midterms may be difficult with so many absent students, but we hope you could consider an alternative to a standard in-class assessment if necessary. 

Operating Lecture Capture Equipment or Recording Classes With a Laptop

If you need assistance operating lecture capture equipment or recording your classes with your laptop, please contact the Poorvu Center. You can also follow this guidance on recording directly from your computer in any location.

For faculty in the professional schools, please contact your school’s local support team for specific instructions as needed. If you are not comfortable using your own equipment to record your lecture and would like more advice about alternatives, please contact Poorvu Center staff for a consultation

We recognize that this situation puts extra burden on faculty who are already juggling numerous obligations both at work and at home, and we are grateful for what we hope will be short-term efforts to allow students to continue learning despite high COVID rates. We all hope that as infection rates trend downward again in the State and in New Haven County, we will soon see a decline in the number of students who need to isolate. We anticipate a return to a more typical classroom situation in the coming weeks. 
Thank you again for your efforts on behalf of our students and for your consideration of these requests.

Pericles Lewis

Vice President for Global Strategy
Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives
Douglas Tracy Smith Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of English