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2020-2021 Academic Year FAQs for Graduate Students

General Yale University guidance for students/faculty/staff can be found on the Returning to Yale website.

Academic calendar

Where can I find the academic calendar for the graduate school for 2020-2021?

Orientation for new students will start on August 24, 2020 and classes will start on August 31, 2020. Students needing to self-quarantine should arrive two weeks ahead of time.

The 2020-21 academic calendar for the graduate school can be found here.

Before returning to or arriving on campus

Return date

Our expectation is that students will make every effort to be in residence in New Haven. New students should arrive by August 24, 2020 for orientation. New international students experiencing visa or travel delays may arrive as late as September 30, 2020.

Gateway testing

One of the ways we will keep the community safe is to require a COVID-19 virus test of everyone coming to campus. All graduate students must have a virus test upon their return to New Haven or before the start of the semester. Further testing will follow public health guidance.

Adherence to COVID-19 prevention protocols

All students will be required to agree to a Community Compact in order to ensure their commitment to promoting a safe and healthy campus. The compact can be found here.

What if I can’t make it back in time for the beginning of the semester?

Continuing students unable to return from international locations may take classes remotely for up to one term. If our residential/remote learning mode continues into the spring and you still cannot come to New Haven, you will need to take a leave if you are still taking classes.

All international and domestic students who are studying remotely or conducting research outside of the New Haven area are encouraged to register in absentia. For health coverage in the United States, students should apply for the travel rider. The application for the travel rider will be available in early August. For coverage outside the United States, please see the International SOS Global Travel Assistance website.

The request for registering in absentia must be approved before you can apply for the travel rider. Requests to register in absentia should be submitted by July 31, 2020.

Online safety training

Your adviser/DGS will discuss the details of your return to campus with you. Faculty, staff, students, and trainees will all be required to complete online safety training before returning to campus.

I am in another state/country. Will I have to self-quarantine when I get to New Haven?

At present, any students coming to New Haven from an international location and from select locations in the U.S. must observe a 14-day quarantine, although it can be a self-quarantine in their apartments or dorm rooms.

J-1 and F-1 visa holders are permitted to enter the U.S. up to 30 days in advance of the program start date noted on their DS-2019 or I-20 immigration document.

As policies related to quarantine change frequently, please consult the Returning to Yale website for an up-to-date list of other groups of individuals who must observe the 14-day quarantine.

If I have to self-quarantine because of COVID-19 exposure or self-isolate because I have COVID-19 symptoms, how do I attend lectures/conduct research?

As all courses are being offered remotely, you will be able to continue attending if your health permits.

Deciding not to return to campus

What if I don’t want to return to campus?

Students may elect to study from home if they are able to work remotely on classwork, research, teaching, or dissertation writing. The decision whether to return should be made in discussion with faculty advisers.
If you feel pressured to return to campus or have any concerns, you can bring a complaint to a faculty member (DGS, Chair, Safety Officer), Dean’s Designee, or the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

For anonymous reporting, use the Yale hotline at 877-360-9253 available 24/7 or submit a complaint online. All complaints will be handled with the goal of protecting students from retaliation.

May I continue my graduate studies from elsewhere?

Yes. All continuing international and domestic students who are studying remotely or conducting research outside of the New Haven area are encouraged to register in absentia. For health coverage in the United States, students should apply for the travel rider. The application for the travel rider will be available in early August. For coverage outside the United States, please see the International SOS Global Travel Assistance website.

The request for registering in absentia must be approved before you can apply for the travel rider. Requests to register in absentia should be submitted by July 31, 2020. The link is here.

May I take a leave of absence?

Yes. If you want to take a leave of absence, talk to your DGS and contact Dean Richard Sleight here.

Students may elect to study from home if they are able to work remotely on classwork, research, teaching, or dissertation writing. The decision whether to return should be made in discussion with faculty advisers. 

If you feel pressured to return to campus or have any concerns, you can bring a complaint to a faculty member (DGS, Chair, Safety Officer), Dean’s Designee, or the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

For anonymous reporting, use the Yale hotline at 877-360-9253 available 24/7 or submit a complaint online [LINK] . All complaints will be handled with the goal of protecting students from retaliation.

Deferring admission

Can I defer my admission for a term or a year?          

New students may defer admission for a term or a year with permission from their program and the dean’s office. The deadline for deferring admission is August 31, 2020, which is the first day of classes. Contact your director of graduate studies (DGS) to discuss whether you should consider a deferral for either a term or a year.

Face Coverings

Do I have to wear one?

Yes. Everyone on campus must wear face coverings except when in their own dorm room, apartment, alone in an office, or exercising outdoors. Wearing a face covering is simply one of the most effective ways to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

Will face coverings be provided? What kind? How many? For how long?

Cloth face coverings or surgical masks are appropriate in non-laboratory settings.  3-ply, water-resistant (surgical) face masks are currently recommended for those working in laboratory settings. Yale will supply face coverings as long as they are required.

If you have a question regarding the right PPE, you can contact EHS for PPE hazard evaluation, and EHS will provide you with what you need.
 
EHS has two detailed fact sheets with more information:
Face coverings
Researcher face masks, etc.

Grading

Graduate Courses (numbered 500 and up)

Students enrolled in fall 2020 courses will be graded on the usual H, HP, P, F scale.

Undergraduate courses (numbered below 500)

Undergraduate courses that have been approved for graduate credit using the Graduate Credit Request Form will follow the same grading format as graduate courses.

Undergraduate courses which have not been approved for graduate credit will be graded using the A-F scale, as in the past. 

Healthcare

Will healthcare coverage (for me/partner/family) continue as usual in Fall 2020?

Health coverage through Yale Health is available to all registered Ph.D. students.

If I am not able to return, will I still have Yale Health coverage?

All international and domestic students who are studying remotely or conducting research outside of the New Haven area are encouraged to register in absentia. For health coverage in the United States, students should apply for the travel rider. The application for the travel rider will be available in early August. For coverage outside the United States, please see the International SOS Global Travel Assistance website.

The request for registering in absentia must be approved before you can apply for the travel rider. Requests to register in absentia should be submitted by July 31, 2020. The link is here.

Housing

Guidelines for filling the graduate dorms for fall 2020 under state density guidelines are still being finalized. We expect lower occupancy levels than in spring, with weekly testing of residents.

International students

Advice for international students changes constantly. Please check the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) website for the latest updates about visas and travel restrictions.

Please click here to make an appointment with an OISS adviser.

I reside in another country and plan to study on campus in New Haven this fall. What do I need to come to campus?

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you’ll need to secure a student visa and arrive on campus by September 30 at the latest.

If you are a new student and you cannot arrive by September 30, you will have to defer admission. Please consult your director of graduate studies (DGS) about whether a term or a year is preferable, based on your program’s curriculum. 

If you are a continuing student and are still taking classes, you should make every attempt to arrive on campus by August 31. If you are not able to do so, you may study remotely for the fall term. If we are still operating in residential/remote mode in the spring term, and you are not able to join us in New Haven, you will need to take a leave of absence in the spring.

At present, any student coming to New Haven from an international location and from select locations in the U.S. must observe a 14-day quarantine, although it can be a self-quarantine in their apartments or dorm rooms.

As policies related to quarantine change frequently, please consult the Returning to Yale website for an up-to-date list of who will be required to observe a 14-day quarantine.

What is the latest information regarding international student visas and travel?

Please check the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) web page for the latest updates about visas and travel restrictions. OISS will do whatever it can to help new international students obtain student visas allowing them to arrive in New Haven for the start of classes, or by September 30 at the latest.

What if I can’t make it back in time for the beginning of the semester?

If you are a continuing student unable to return from an international location, you may take classes remotely for up to one term. If our residential/remote learning mode continues into the spring and you are still unable to come to New Haven, you will need to take a leave of absence.

All international students who are studying remotely or conducting research outside of New Haven are encouraged to register in absentia and apply for the travel rider, which provides routine health services outside of New Haven. Their request for registering in absentia must be approved before they can apply for the travel rider.

Requests to register in absentia should be submitted by July 31, 2020. The link is here.

Please contact Dean Richard Sleight if you have concerns about getting back to campus.

Laboratories

How can the university make sure labs are accessible to all?

PIs are expected to develop a plan that meets guidelines for physical distancing, PPE use and de-densification of labs, ideally in consultation with lab members. Schedules should take the needs of individual trainees into consideration. For example, a trainee who relies on shuttle transportation will not be scheduled for time in the lab when shuttles are not running. For information on laboratory safety planning please see the research reactivation website

If I cannot return to the lab, will I continue to be paid?

The goal is to gradually make it possible for everyone to return to their lab. So far, our major funders have been flexible about the need to continue paying people from grants while working remotely on funded projects. The university will work with funders to continue this policy as long as access to labs is limited.

Phases of reactivating research on campus

What phase of reactivation are we in? What does that mean for graduate students?

As June 1, we are in Phase 1 of reactivating research on campus. Research that can only be performed on campus is allowed within safety guidelines approved by the university.

We will move to Phase 2 on July 20 as long as public health conditions continue to improve. During Phase 2, all types of research may resume as long as everyone adheres to Yale’s guidance on physical distancing, room density and other public safety measures.

What are the criteria used by public health experts at Yale to determine if we are ready to move forward or backward in phases?

The trend in hospital admissions for COVID-19 is currently the leading indicator of the state of transmission. Continuing reductions in hospital admissions will allow us to move to Phase 2 on July 20, 2020.

Shuttles

Will shuttles be running?

Although we generally encourage public transportation, for the next few months, you may want to walk, bike, or drive to avoid public transportation and the Yale shuttle if you can. If you do take public transportation or the Yale shuttle, please follow social distancing rules and wear a mask or face-covering.
Further, temporary changes to existing shuttle routes may occur. You can access the latest schedules and information here.

Stipends (continuing students and new students in the U.S.)

If I can’t get back to campus by September 30, will I still receive my stipend?

Students enrolled in direct deposit will receive stipends directly as usual.  If you receive a paper check, we strongly encourage you to enroll in direct deposit by calling Employee Services (203-432-5552).  If you choose not to enroll in direct deposit, please review your address in Banner through your SIS account to ensure that checks are mailed to the correct location.

Will Yale continue to pay my stipend while online classes, social distancing and other measures are in place?

Yes. You will receive your stipend in the same amount and on schedule. If you are enrolled in direct deposit you will receive your deposit as usual.  If you are receiving a paper check, we are strongly encouraging that you enroll in direct deposit.  You can do this by calling Employee Services 203-432-5552.  It is possible that if we go to critical employees only status, you will not be able to pick up your checks and they will be mailed.  If you choose not to enroll in direct deposit please review your address in Banner through your SIS account to ensure your check is mailed to the correct location.

Teaching Fellows

I am scheduled to be a Teaching Fellow (TF) in the fall. If I can’t make it back to New Haven, can I still teach my classes and advise students?
All returning students may teach from outside the New Haven area or the country if they are not able to return. Please make sure that your DGS and registrar are aware of your location for the fall term. Your tax liability may vary, depending on your current place of residence. Please note that all teaching will take place on New Haven time.

New students with teaching responsibilities cannot be paid unless they have registered as a student and have a U.S. bank account. If you cannot get to campus to register by September 30th, you must defer admission.

Travel

May I travel to do research or pursue field work? What about personal travel?

All university-sponsored international travel is prohibited through August 15th. This includes study abroad (whether the program is operated by Yale or another institution) internships, fellowships, exchanges, business travel, group travel, and any other activities that involve university-administered funds. 

The University strongly discourages graduate and professional students to travel. Any travel may be disrupted in the coming months, and we know from experience that travelers may be stranded when governments impose bans with little notice. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and many foreign governments have issued guidance to discourage travel or have implemented travel restrictions. It is unclear when any of these will be lifted or, once lifted, whether they may be reinstated.

Safety plans for shared spaces should be communicated and coordinated between the relevant departments or created by the school which administers th

Visitors

When can visiting students start coming to Yale?

All non-degree students planning to enroll in classes, with the exception of the IvyPlus Exchange Scholars, are expected to be in residence by August 31st, the first day of classes. If you are required to self-quarantine for fourteen days, you may arrive as early as August 17, 2020.  (J-1 and F-1 visa holders are permitted to enter the U.S. up to 30 days in advance of the program start date noted on their DS-2019 or I-20 immigration document.)

Short-term visits of less than a semester should, whenever possible, be postponed to 2021. Exceptions can be granted by a vice-provost on request from a dean’s office and will be granted only when a short-term visit in the fall of 2020 is essential to the university’s mission.
Non-degree students who are not taking classes (VARs) must be in residence for a period no shorter than three months. Visitors who have already been approved for a visit may be contacted if the duration of their stay falls outside of these guidelines.
Visiting students must follow all the same rules as regular students, including initial viral screening and quarantine as advised by State or Federal governments.  COVID-19 safety training , Daily Health Checks and other requirements may be instituted by the Provost’s office with the advice of EHS and the public health community.

Is the Ivy+ Exchange in operation?

The IvyPlus Exchange Scholar Program will be held remotely, subject to instructor permission. Students in locations outside the U.S. may participate for one term only. (The final decision by IvyPlus graduate school partners will be confirmed soon.)

How long can I stay?

Scheduled visits of a full semester are permitted under normal university rules governing such visits if the sponsoring party can provide adequate and safe space for the work without impinging on the work of regular students and faculty.


Will I have to self-quarantine?

Upon arrival in New Haven, students coming from international locations and from select locations in the U.S. must observe a 14-day quarantine, although it can be a self-quarantine in their rented apartments or dorm rooms. As policies related to quarantine change frequently, please consult the Returning to Yale website for an up-to-date list of other groups of individuals who must also observe the 14-day quarantine.

I don’t see my question here. How do I contact you for more information?

If you have a question not addressed on the site, Graduate School staff are available to help you via e-mail and virtual meetings.

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