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Fall updates for first-year graduate students

August 10, 2020

Copied to: Chairs, DGSs, Registrars
In this message: Information about arrival to campus and orientation

Dear graduate students,

This message contains time-sensitive updates to information about coming to campus later this month, including details about Orientation which will be entirely online to ensure safety and access for all.

You’ll see that many of the check-in procedures for I-9s, student ids, and clearance of any holds due to health or transcript requirements will also occur online. For more information about check-in, please read here.

I look forward to seeing you on campus one day soon. In the meantime, please remember to take excellent care of yourselves and follow the COVID-19 health protocols as ever. As you know, the numbers in Connecticut are low and fairly stable but there has been a resurgence of cases around the world, so it’s not nearly over yet.

If you have questions, please write to me or the Graduate School staff using the ‘Ask the Dean’ button below.

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


Yale COVID-19 information for graduate students

The University’s COVID-19 web portal is updated frequently with guidance about all things related to the pandemic and coming to campus. This is the central hub for the University’s COVID-19 policies and procedures and should be your first stop for answers to your COVID-19- related questions.

For the Fall semester, the University will conduct classes using a hybrid model, combining remote learning with in-person activity when possible. This means that students residing in New Haven and in other locations will take classes online from their residences and may participate in research or other course-related activities on campus.

It is also recommended that you sign up for a MyChart account for online access to all of your medical information including lab and radiologic results. We also recommend downloading the MyChart app (App Store and Google Play).

For more information, please read this message from President Salovey and Provost Strobel about Fall 2020 at Yale.

You can also find FAQs for graduate students and important messages from the Dean and other University leaders on the GSAS website.

Quarantine and testing

Before/upon arrival to campus

Please schedule your on-arrival test between now and the start of the semester through the Yale COVID-19 Screening Program. Testing appointments are currently available now through August 21, Monday- Friday, 8am – 5pm. If you are already on campus or in the New Haven area, you are encouraged to schedule your appointment now. Additional times will be made available later. Individuals with positive test results will be contacted by Yale Health and required to self-isolate.

Arriving from another US state or country

If you are coming to New Haven from one of the US states included in the State of Connecticut Travel Advisory you must complete a Connecticut Travel Health Form online and quarantine for a total of 14-days upon arrival, even if arrival testing is negative. Not completing the form or not observing the quarantine restrictions may result in a $1,000 fine from the State of Connecticut.

Please see Governor Ned Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7III on the Connecticut State website regarding state-to-state travel restrictions.

Please see the CDC webpage listing the countries from which international travelers to the U.S. are currently prohibited.

How to Quarantine
If your state is listed in the CT Travel Advisory or you have had a positive COVID-19 test, you must self-quarantine. This means staying in place, either at home or elsewhere, for fourteen days. Please see this additional helpful guidance for how to quarantine effectively at home alone, with roommates, or family members.

For healthcare students only: per the State of CT Travel Advisory, health care students including medical, nursing or physician associate arriving from affected states, are NOT required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival. These students living in Harkness or Helen Hadley Hall should follow the guidance above to ensure appropriate screening: test on arrival, quarantine until negative, then proceed with twice weekly testing.

If you have questions, please contact the COVID Campus Resource Line, which is staffed by health care professionals, at 203-432-6604 (toll free at 866-924-9253). Available 8am – 5pm (Eastern time), 7 days a week.

Ongoing screening

Students in high-density dormitory housing (Helen Hadley Hall and Harkness Hall) are required to be tested twice per week throughout the semester.

Students who do not live in high-density dormitory housing may obtain subsequent testing on a voluntary basis through the Yale COVID-19 Screening Program, up to once a week, especially if there are concerns about exposure.

Students who have questions about the advisability and frequency of additional asymptomatic testing may call the COVID Campus Resource Line, which is staffed by health care professionals, at 203-432-6604 (toll free at 866-924-9253). Available 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Eastern time), 7 days a week.


Orientation Welcome Week, August 24-28, spans five days of required and optional welcome events, fairs, interactive info sessions, and socials. Events are live, online at Eastern Time US. Sign up on Yale Connect to get Zoom links and check-in information. This helpful page contains an overview about GSAS Orientation events, including when and how to participate.

The following events are required:

August 3-23: Peer Orientation Mentor (POM) small group meetings are a great way to get to know other new students and to ask advice from your Mentor.
August 10-21: Pre-registration or online course selection. Please visit the Academic Requirements page on the GSAS website for further information about registration and courses, or see the information in Yale Connect.
August 20-21: International Student Orientations. Live sessions will be held for Masters and PhD students, at 9am and 4pm EDT. Sign up for the session that fits your situation. The Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) requires attendance for all visa-holders.
August 25: 9am EDT | Live training session: Professional Ethics: Academic Integrity.
August 26: 9am EDT | Live Session: Creating and Maintaining a Welcoming and Inclusive Campus Community, in small groups led by your Peer Orientation Mentors (POM)
By Aug. 30: Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Training
By Aug. 31: COVID-19 Safety Training

The following events are recommended, but not required:

August 24: 10am EDT | Welcome Messages from the President and Dean. Introduction to GSAS Resources Webinar. This is your official Yale welcome.
August 25: 10am EDT | Survive and Thrive in Grad School. A panel of GSAS alumni and students offers advice and helpful tips.    
August 25: 3-5pm EDT | Graduate Information Virtual Fair 40+ departments and offices answer questions in virtual booths.
August 26: 3:30-5pm EDT | McDougal Grad Activity and Club Virtual Fair 50+ graduate clubs and community groups to introduce themselves and help you get involved.
Your department or degree program may also schedule a Zoom course advising session in mid-August and/or departmental orientation virtual events from August 27-28. Contact your adviser or department head for details.

Can’t make it to campus this fall?

Master’s and Ph.D. students who are not able to come to campus in time for the beginning of the semester due to health or travel restrictions may take classes remotely for the fall term. Read more about GSAS policies for Fall 2020.

Students not returning to campus are not required to undergo onsite viral testing.

Yale Connect is a great way for you to stay on top of your Orientation schedule, requirements, and groups. You can meet your classmates and find useful information about your cohort on the GSAS First Year & Orientation Website. Login with your net id on a laptop and/or download the app.

To bring other questions and issues to the Dean’s attention, please click on the button below.