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Election week support and guidance

November 2, 2020

A Message from Dean Cooley

Copied to: Chairs, DGSs, registrars
In this message:  Election week guidance

Dear graduate students,

An election is an opportunity for change, and a chance to exercise your civic right to vote, hard-won for many of us over generations. Take the time to vote tomorrow. If you are eligible to vote in the state of Connecticut but missed the deadline for registration, Election Day Registration is possible, although you will be required to vote at a designated location.

If you are involved in political activism please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the university’s guidance regarding free expression and political assembly for students, and especially how to stay safe and healthy at any public demonstrations or marches that may occur.

You may be considering watch parties or other gatherings. As throughout the pandemic, keep your event online if you can, as the same requirements for social gatherings remain in place. Please remember that on- or off-campus gatherings are limited to 10 people. Gatherings greater than 10 require advance organization and permission. Speak with your school health and safety leader if a larger group meeting seems necessary. Any meeting will need to adhere to limits on participant numbers and ensure proper physical distancing, face covering, and other requirements.

Regardless of the events that unfold over the coming days, we are united as scholars dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, free expression and each other.

Teaching during election week
The Poorvu Center has been offering guidance to help instructors and Teaching Fellows manage difficult dialogues in the classroom and to create an inclusive environment where learning is prioritized.

You can still sign up for Teaching in Context: During Election Week on Wednesday, November 4 @ 12:30 p.m.

My staff and I are aware that many of you are struggling with additional burdens of stress and anxiety this time of year – perhaps for all of 2020. Your GSA representatives have communicated the importance of finding ways for students to share meals together or meet in small groups to alleviate some of the pressure. A number of staff in different parts of the University are looking for solutions for you. Please be patient, as eating in proximity raises real concerns regarding transmission that we hope to mitigate.

It’s not the same as an in-person lunchtime chat with a friend, but it’s worth having a look at Yale’s Good Life Center. While the meeting spaces are closed, they offer some great programs in person (outdoors) and online. Similarly, please take a moment to explore some of Being Well at Yale offerings – there are some good ideas for meditation programs, walking tours, and other activities that may help you thrive while living in interesting times.

Here are some of the things I do to reduce stress in my life:

  • Take little breaks from work and the internet. (Even a short ‘timeout’ helps).
  • Go for a walk in the woods. (There are walks on/from campus you can try at the bottom of this page).
  • Read a book. (I am enjoying Circe by Madeline Miller these days).
  • Call someone I miss or haven’t spoken with for a while.
  • Try to avoid the news or social media before bedtime. (Especially political news).
  • Make your own list and explore what works for you.

Flu vaccinations
If you haven’t already, please get a flu shot. It is one easy way to ensure you have a better, healthier winter.

As always, please take care of yourselves and those around you.


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