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Campus return requirements for graduate students

January 6, 2021

Copied to: Chairs, DGSs, registrars
In this message: GSAS COVID-19 update + return to campus requirements

Dear graduate students,

I hope the holiday season brought you some well-deserved rest and relaxation, and that you are looking forward to the spring semester with renewed energy. In addition to your Fall 2020 academic progress, your efforts toward mitigating the spread of COVID-19 on campus have been met with substantial success. Results from the fall semester indicate very low rates of infection among graduate students with no spread of the virus on campus, including in labs. Here are some statistics to help put it in perspective:

  • 16 students were required by Yale Health to isolate (positive cases) – 0.63% (16 of 2,549)
  • 39 students required by Yale Health to quarantine (exposed to positive case) – 1.5% (39 of 2549)
  • No positive cases among graduate students living in Harkness Hall or Helen Hadley Hall
  • Participation in voluntary testing was high (over 10,000 tests, with 30% of our students taking more than five tests).

While this represents a great collective effort in keeping our community safe, we are starting a new year with elevated pandemic numbers locally and globally, making it crucial that we persist. I urge you to read the message you received today from Dr. Stephanie Spangler detailing requirements for returning to campus. For many of you, these measures will be very familiar. Whether you are returning to campus or arriving for the first time, please read carefully. The actions you’ll need to take are summarized here:

Returning to campus for Spring 2021

Required testing

  • If you currently reside in Connecticut and will remain here until Feb 1: A test is required within one week of the Feb 1 start date. You must quarantine until receiving a negative result before you can participate in classes or activities.
  • If you will come to Connecticut from out of state:
    Please see Yale’s travel guidelines on the COVID-19 information site.
    • Strongly recommended: Test before coming to New Haven leaving enough time to receive results before you depart. If you get a positive result, do not travel and please isolate for ten days before you leave.
    • Required: Take an on-arrival test immediately and a second test no sooner than four days after the first. Quarantine in your residence until you have received results from two negative tests.

During Spring 2021

  • Required: A daily health check online each day you access campus or reside in graduate housing.
  • Required: Testing twice weekly if you live in Harkness or Helen Hadley Hall.
  • Required: Testing once weekly if you live in Baker Hall, 172 Elm Street, 254 Prospect Street or 276 Prospect Street.

Other testing will not be required unless you are unwell, but I encourage you to continue taking advantage of free access to voluntary asymptomatic testing as often as you wish.

Contact GSAS Health & Safety Leaders and GSAS Safety Team with any questions at and see GSAS safety resources online in Yale Connect.

International Students

First-year students (including those who were on campus during the Fall, 2020 semester) must have an in-person course/component to their studies in Spring, 2021 if they will be physically present in the U.S.

The Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) has posted updated FAQs to their website for students arriving or continuing in Spring 2021.

The message from Dr. Spangler provides links to resources and forms you will need for what we hope will be the last semester of nasal swabbing and six feet of distance between us. You’ve persevered for so long. Let’s stay positive, determined and well.

With every wish for your health and success,
Lynn Cooley

Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
C.N.H. Long Professor of Genetics
Professor of Cell Biology and of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology