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FAQs for Yale Graduate Students: Academic Year 2020-2021

Guidance for all students/faculty/staff returning to campus is updated frequently and can be found on Yale's COVID-19 Actions and Response website.

Updated November 18, 2020.

Academic calendar

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

Orientation for new students started on August 24, 2020 and classes will begin on Monday, August 31, 2020.

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

Before arriving on campus

Arrival date

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

I am coming to New Haven from another state/country. Will I have to self-quarantine when I arrive?

At present, Connecticut State law requires students coming from select American states to observe a 14-day quarantine in their apartments or dorm rooms.

Graduate students coming from other (non-restricted) U.S. states or from international locations must quarantine in their apartments or dorms until receiving a negative result on a COVID-19 virus test.

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

COVID-19 safety training

Faculty, staff, students, and trainees are all required to complete online safety training before returning to study or live on campus.

Now that you’re here: on-campus requirements

Gateway testing

To keep the Yale and New Haven community safe, we 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.

If you live in Harkness Hall or Helen Hadley Hall you will be required to have testing twice weekly. Please read this important guidance specific to graduate students living on campus.

All students have the option to be tested once a week.

Adherence to COVID-19 prevention protocols

All students must sign a Community Compact as a commitment to promote a safe and healthy campus.

Quarantine

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

As all classes are being offered remotely, you will be able to pursue coursework and remote research if your health permits.

I live in in Harkness Hall/Helen Hadley Hall. How will this work?

For the Fall term, we have lower occupancy levels than normal, with twice-weekly testing of dormitory residents. Students arriving into Graduate Housing from outside the U.S. or from select U.S. states are expected to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, per the State of Connecticut Travel advisory. All other students must quarantine in their rooms until receiving a negative result on a COVID-19 virus test.

Residents should watch their Yale email for messages from Housing, and contact Yale Graduate Housing with any questions about services, occupancy, late arrival or cancellation.

For more information about how to quarantine, please see the CDC’s website for tips on self-isolating and quarantining in shared housing.

Not coming/returning to campus

What if I can’t make it back in time for the beginning of the semester? What happens to my registration status?

Continuing students unable to return from international locations may register and take classes remotely.

PhD students may study remotely for the year as needed.

Ph.D. students who have advanced to candidacy and who will be conducting research or field work outside of the New Haven area may register in absentia.  Only students whose research requires them to be outside of New Haven should choose this option. Students who choose to work from an alternative location should register normally but declare a remote learning location.

Master’s students may take classes remotely for one semester. If our residential/remote learning model continues into the spring and you still cannot come to New Haven, you may need to take a leave of absence.

All students should register and indicate their learning location in the Student Information System (SIS) This information will help determine your access to campus and other resources. Please note that your learning location affects your access to campus facilities.

If I can’t get back to campus, what happens to my health coverage?

For all PhD students, and for any master’s degree students with Yale Health Hospitalization/Specialty care, the plan provides 24/7 emergency coverage worldwide for true medical emergencies. Yale also provide students with International SOS, which offers substantial coverage for medical expenses for treatment for accidents or sicknesses that occur while traveling outside the United State. Please visit the International SOS Global Travel Assistance website.

What if I don’t want to return to campus for this semester due to health concerns or travel issues?

Students may elect to study from home if they are able to work remotely on coursework, research, teaching, or dissertation writing. The decision to return or not should be made in discussion with faculty advisers.

May I continue my graduate studies from elsewhere?

Yes, if your program allows this. Students should register and indicate their learning location in the Student Information System (SIS) This information will help determine your access to campus and other resources.

Ph.D. students who have advanced to candidacy and who will be conducting research or field work outside of the New Haven area may register in absentia. Only students whose research requires them to be outside of New Haven should choose the in absentia option.

Students who choose to work from an alternative location should register normally but declare a remote learning location

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.

Deferring admission

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

The first day of classes, August 31, 2020 is the deadline for deferring admission for 2020-21.

New students may defer admission for a term or a year with permission from their degree program and the GSAS dean’s office. 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 a mask?

Yes. Everyone on campus must wear face coverings except when in their own dorm room, or 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/masks be provided? What kind? How many? For how long?

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

If you have a question regarding the right PPE, you can contact Yale Environmental Health and Safety  (EHS) for PPE hazard evaluation, and EHS will provide you with what you need.

EHS has two detailed fact sheets about masks and face coverings:

Face coverings
Researchers’ face coverings/masks/respirators

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.

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/spouse/children) continue as usual in Fall 2020?

Primary health coverage through Yale Health (YH) is provided to all registered students at no charge. PhD students also are provided Hospitalization, Specialty and Prescription YH Coverage for themselves. Students have the option to enroll their spouses and/or children as well.

Master’s students may elect Yale Health H/S/P coverage or waive it if they have alternate comparable coverage. Review the Health Coverage information on the GSAS Health and Wellness page or contact YH member services.

If I register in absentia am I eligible for the academic travel rider?

The deadline for applying for the fall 2020 travel rider has passed.
A student must be approved to register in absentia in order to apply for the academic travel rider.  Information about the travel rider can be found here. Yale Health has not announced dates for the opening of the spring 2021 travel rider application.

I work remotely and am not eligible for the academic travel rider. What are my non-emergency healthcare options?

According to the Yale Health website  if you are away from New Haven, you can communicate with your provider through MyChart and obtain medical care with the MyChart app. For licensing reasons, in some states a consultation may take the form of a telephone call rather than video appointment.

What are my healthcare options if I reside overseas?

Yale offers International SOS (ISOS) to travelers for emergency and medical assistance when acute and urgent medical issues arise.

What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19 or have some other medical emergency?

If you test positive for COVID-19, call Yale Health or a healthcare facility near your home. Stay calm, self-isolate, and follow the instructions given to you by your provider.

The Yale Health COVID-19 Hotline is 203-432-6604.

For any questions about COVID-19 symptoms or testing, please see Yale Health’s comprehensive webpage for students.

For other medical emergencies you must call 911 as always.

If I don’t return to campus, will I still have Yale Health coverage?

For all PhD students, and for any master’s student with Yale Health Hospitalization/Specialty care, the plan provides 24/7 emergency coverage worldwide for true medical emergencies.

Yale provides students with International SOS (ISOS) offering substantial coverage for accidents or other urgent medical issues that occur while traveling outside the United States.

International students

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

Visit the OISS website for more information for international graduate students, and to make an appointment with an adviser.

When do I need to get to New Haven?

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

I’m outside the U.S. right now. 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.

Will I have to quarantine?

At present, students coming to New Haven from international locations must quarantine in their apartments or dorm rooms until receiving a negative result on a COVID-19 virus test.

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 see the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) web page  for the latest updates about visas and travel restrictions. OISS will do everything possible 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.

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.

If I can’t get back to campus, what happens to my health coverage?

Yale provides students with International SOS, which offers substantial coverage for medical expenses for treatment for accidents or sicknesses that occur while traveling outside the United State. Please visit the International SOS Global Travel Assistance website.

I am a new international student.  If I am enrolled remotely during the fall term and come to campus in the spring term, will I be eligible for summer CPT to complete a summer internship?

For most students the answer is no. The regulations require at least one academic year of study in the U.S. as an F-1 student to be eligible for CPT. The exception is for internships that are required of all students in academic program and represent a degree requirement. Only the M.S. degree program in Biostatistics currently meets this requirement.

Laboratories

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

PIs must develop a plan that meets guidelines for physical distancing, PPE use and de-densification of labs, ideally in consultation with lab members, that is approved through EHS Integrator.

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?

Since the start of Phase 2 of research reactivation on July 20, all graduate students could return to labs with approved safety plans. Students funded on research grants can continue to work remotely and be paid from the grants only if they can make progress on the funded project.

How is the University ensuring laboratory safety?

You can read about safety requirements and reporting on the University’s Research at Yale website. PI’s are expected to give approved safety plans to their lab members.

Please see this guidance about how to access your laboratory’s safety plans.

Phases of research reactivation on campus

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

Yale started Phase 3 of Research Reactivation on August 24. For those of us on campus, guidance for Phase 3 largely resembles that of Phase 2 . Physical distancing, daily health checks, and the use of face coverings and PPE remain the same.

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

Decisions about enacting phases are made with the guidance of Yale’s public health experts in concert with the State of Connecticut and Federal guidelines

Read the August 17 announcement re Phase 3 by the Vice Provost for Research.
See detailed information about Phases 2 and 3.
See detailed guidance about returning to campus including safety requirements and reporting
Learn how to access lab safety plans

Shuttle buses

Will Yale shuttle buses be running?

Although we generally encourage public transportation, for the next few months you may want to walk, bike, or drive to reduce use of public transportation and the Yale shuttle buses 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.

Changes to existing shuttle routes may occur. You can access the latest schedules and information here or by using the Double Map app for Yale Shuttles.

Stipends

If I can’t get back to campus will I still receive my stipend?

Continuing students enrolled in direct deposit will receive stipends directly as usual. 

New students in the U.S. may sign up for direct deposit using Workday and following the instructions on the GradFinaid webpage.

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 remote classes, social distancing and other measures are in place?

Currently, payment options for the fall term include:

Direct deposit: Students must have a U.S. bank account and have updated their financial records by August13th in order to have their first paycheck issued via direct deposit. We strongly encourage all students to set up direct deposit as soon as possible.

Mailing of checks: If you do not have the ability to enter direct deposit information, we are able to mail paper checks domestically or internationally.

Wire transfers: This option is available only to new students who do not have a U.S. bank account or a U.S. address. We will be in touch soon to provide information about signing up for this option. We are working hard to minimize any out-of-pocket costs to students. Some international locations may not permit wire transfers.

Once you arrive in the U.S. you must update your mailing address and payment options. You can then select direct deposit or have paper checks sent to your US residence.

If you find you have any questions about your payment options please contact Sara Estrom, Director of Financial Aid.

Studying remotely vs. in absentia

Who may register in absentia?

Ph.D. students who have advanced to candidacy and who will be conducting research or field work outside of the New Haven area may register in absentia. Only students whose research requires them to be outside of New Haven should choose the in absentia option.

Please see this useful chart to see if registering in absentia fits your situation.

What is the deadline to register in absentia?

The deadline to register in absentia has been extended to September 30.

Students who choose to work from an alternative location should register normally but declare a remote learning location.

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.

Teaching Fellows

How should Teaching Fellows (TFs) be registered in order to teach remotely?

Students in any registration status may teach remotely.

Who determines if a course will be taught in person or remotely?

Faculty submit requests for in-person teaching of undergraduate courses to the College’s Course of Study Committee which makes the decision. Graduate courses are managed by the programs themselves. Teaching fellows who wish to teach sections and labs on campus may request classroom space through the form sent from the TFP on August 25.

If a course assigned to me is meant to be taught in person and I reside in New Haven, may I opt to teach it remotely?

Yes, but some courses may request a TF who is willing to teach in person if necessary. In such a case, the program will appoint a willing candidate. No TF will be required to teach on campus without consent.

If a TF begins teaching in person and subsequently feels unsafe, is it possible to convert to remote teaching?

Yes, and in fact all courses must offer a remote option even if some students learn in person.

What are the guidelines for social distancing and desk placement in classrooms?

All lab courses must go through a rigorous vetting process with EHS that includes a safety plan, and all courses must have a remote option. Please see the Yale Environmental Health and Safety website for detailed information about how our spaces are made as safe as possible for students, faculty, and the rest of our community.

What do I do if my teaching assignment does not accurately reflect the work I am doing?

Students experiencing difficulties with their teaching assignments should talk first with the faculty member for whom they are teaching. Alternatively, students may use the Teaching Fellow Program webform to report unresolved issues.

Travel

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

The University strongly discourages graduate and professional students to travel in Fall 2020. 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.

If you do plan to travel for research-related reasons, please consult with your DGS or adviser. Your request will be referred to a committee for consideration.

For more information, please see the University’s current travel guidelines and advisories page.

Visitors

When can visiting students start coming to Yale in the spring 2021?

Exchange Scholars and Visiting Students planning to enroll in classes in the spring term can do so remotely (outside the U.S.). Those students who arrive to the U.S. will need to have an in-person course component. All Visiting Assistants in Research (VARs) are expected to be in residence.

Non-degree 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 trainingDaily Health Checks, and other requirements may be instituted by the Provost’s office with the advice of EHS and the public health community.

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

If you have a question, Graduate School staff are available to help you via e-mail, telephone, and online meetings. New students may contact gsas.newstudents@yale.edu for answers and issue triage.