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Fall 2020 for Graduate Students

July 1, 2020

Copied to: Chairs, DGSs and Registrars

In this message: Follow-up to the message from President Salovey and Provost Strobel regarding the 2020-21 academic year with specific guidance for graduate students.

Dear graduate students,

Whether you are continuing graduate school or looking forward to beginning, I know you have been waiting for more information so you can make plans for the coming months. With the message from President Salovey and Provost Strobel, we are all now able to look to the fall with optimism. I realize there is a lot of information to absorb and translate into action, but you will have help from your faculty and the Graduate School staff in finding answers to all your questions. I am looking forward to joining you on campus for the Fall 2020 semester.

Please know the plans announced by President Salovey and Provost Strobel are based on the counsel of Yale’s superb epidemiologists, doctors, and public health experts, as well as many experienced researchers and administrators. While not every solution may be ideal, each is certainly aimed at keeping our community healthy while continuing our mission of educating creative scholars.

To find general information for all members of the Yale community, please see the University’s COVID-19 website for updates to pandemic-related information.

For information specific to graduate students, please read these FAQs on the GSAS website.

Here are basic guidelines for coming to Yale in the fall:

Returning to campus or arriving for the first time

  • Orientation for new students will be the week of August 24. You will receive detailed information about orientation soon.

  • We recognize that some new international students may encounter delays in receiving visas or travel restrictions that make getting to New Haven difficult. Incoming international students may obtain a visa and arrive as late as September 30. If this is not possible, students must defer admission.

  • All continuing graduate students are welcome to return to the Yale campus. If you are unable to get to New Haven, you may continue your studies and any Teaching Fellow responsibilities from where you reside. Please contact Richard Sleight if you think this may be the case for you.

  • If you are coming from another country or any state with a high prevalence of COVID-19 you will have to self-quarantine for 14 days when you arrive. Please see the University's COVID-19 website for more information.

Safety and prevention

  • All graduate students will be required to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival before the start of the semester.  Should you test positive you must follow any self-isolation protocols as advised. Additional information about when, how and how often to get tested will be available soon.

  • The measures we have been taking in Connecticut with regard to the pandemic have been working! Handwashing, social-distancing, and mask-wearing are the most effective ways to keep our community safe, with testing available to monitor our progress toward stopping the spread of the virus. We all must continue following these procedures as a commitment to our individual health, and that of the entire community.

  • You will be required to complete an online COVID-19 training program, and agree to abide by the practices of a Community Compact including physical distancing, viral testing and wearing masks. The Community Compact will be enforced.

Taking classes

  • Classes will be offered in a residential/remote mode, which means all classes will be available online with opportunities for in-person participation where possible according to public health guidelines. This way of delivering classes will permit us to quickly adapt to changes in the public health situation and accommodate people in quarantine or isolation at any point during the semester.

  • Laboratory rotations will be available with certain restrictions. Check with your Director of Graduate Studies for program-specific plans.

For much more information related specifically to graduate students, please see this set of FAQs. If you find you have a question that has not been addressed, please contact April Swieconek and we will get answers for you. Another GSAS Town Hall is in the works for later this month – I will be in touch soon with the details.

This will be an unusual semester. The residential/remote plan is an entirely new model for how we pursue higher education, and its benefits and challenges will reveal themselves as the semester unfolds. However, I am confident that with everyone’s commitment and cooperation with Yale’s safety guidelines, we will have an interesting, stimulating, and highly productive year together.

With best wishes 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