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GSAS Fall Term Reminders and Spring Term Schedule

October 7, 2020

A Message from Dean Cooley

Copied to: DGSs, Department Chairs, Registrars
In this message: Follow-up to President Salovey and Provost Strobel's message, with information especially for graduate students

Dear graduate students,

Last night, President Salovey and Provost Strobel announced the spring term calendar for Yale College. The Graduate School will follow the same calendar with classes beginning on February 1, 2021. This allows students to take classes in which both undergraduate and graduate students may enroll. The traditional spring break will not occur – this reduces travel to and from campus and is important for keeping our community healthy during the pandemic.

It was heartening to see that graduate and professional students were called out in last night’s message about spring semester plans. As one of the first groups to return to campus, you led the way in getting back to work in a new reality with carefully planned conditions to ensure safety: physical distancing, mask wearing and increased attention to hygiene. Thank you very much for helping to keep yourselves and the rest of our community as healthy as possible.

As we approach mid-term, you may be making plans through the end of the calendar year. While undergraduate students will be expected to leave campus between Thanksgiving and the start of the spring term, graduate students can continue their usual schedule with the exception that graduate school classes after Thanksgiving will be fully remote. Graduate student dorms and housing will remain open, as always.

The GSAS academic calendar through the end of 2020 can be found on the GSAS website. Upcoming key dates:

October 23 Mid-term
November 21 November recess begins
November 30 Classes resume remotely
December 10 Classes end
December 11 Final exam period begins
February 1 Classes begin
May 7 Classes end

A few important reminders:

  • You can read updated pandemic-related information and see campus statistics on the University COVID-19 site. If you have questions, reach out to Dean Brandes on the GSAS Safety Team at  If you have compliance concerns, please call the University’s COVID-19 hotline at 877-360-YALE.
  • Asymptomatic testing is freely available to all students, staff and faculty.
  • Travel is still strongly discouraged and visitors to Yale are not allowed. If you do need to travel, upon return you will need to quarantine until you have had two negative tests. Please see travel guidance on the University’s website.
  • Childcare resources have been enhanced to provide back-up care and support to students with families.
  • VOTE: If you’re eligible to vote in the U.S. and haven’t registered yet, please go to the Yale Votes website. You can get registered, obtain an absentee ballot, and read clear information about everything related to voting. It’s non-partisan, and very helpful.

Even while I am grateful that Yale, New Haven, and the State of Connecticut are doing very well right now in keeping the virus at bay, just a glance at the news tells us it could be very different. At Yale we are now officially at a green alert level, but many, many people are struggling with the ongoing impact of the pandemic through the physical illness itself, and the loss of loved ones, jobs and a stable economy. This is not the time to let our guard down. Rather, it is a time to stay with the protocols and be especially attentive to those around you. Please check in on those whom you think might need it. And most of all, please continue to follow the guidelines of wearing masks, physical distancing, and avoiding large groups of people.

Wishing you health, success, and happiness as ever,
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