Skip to main content

Thanksgiving break, travel clarifications and gratitude

November 16, 2020

A Message from Dean Cooley

Copied to: Chairs, DGSs, registrars
In this message: Thanksgiving break, travel clarifications and gratitude

November 16, 2020

Dear graduate students,

We are approaching a well-earned Thanksgiving break from November 21-29.  Remember: classes will be remote when we resume on November 30 through the end of the semester on December 18. This applies even if you reside on campus or elsewhere in New Haven.

There have been many messages from campus leaders, and you may have questions about how they apply directly to graduate students


Due to the current surge in COVID-19 cases, the University strongly discourages travel for everyone in the community. You may still be considering travel over the Thanksgiving break to see family and friends.  I understand how important it is to reconnect with your loved ones and I realize some of you may not have seen your families in quite a long time. For your health and for theirs, please think about choosing a quiet break here in New Haven.

If you do decide to leave the area, see the CDCs latest recommendations about how to travel and celebrate as safely as possible. You will find detailed information about case numbers in each state and recommendations about destinations worldwide.

If you do travel outside CT to 46 listed states or CDC level 3 countries, upon return you must follow Yale Travel guidelines before coming onto campus (labs, offices or libraries):  Either quarantine in residence for 14 days OR quarantine for 5-6 days, with negative tests on day 1 and day 5. Post-travel testing is offered at Yale Health and local free sites.

If you are in COVID-19 isolation or contact quarantine, unfortunately, you must remain in your room or residence until you are released by Yale Health.

COVID testing for graduate students

If you do decide to leave the area, before you go be sure to obtain a negative COVID test no more than 72 hours before departure. This is to protect your friends, loved ones, and anyone you may encounter en route or at your destination. If you will stay in New Haven over the Thanksgiving break, you may still get tested for free through Yale Health testing sites.

For the latest information and to schedule a test please visit this screening program page just updated this past Friday, November 13.

For any GSAS COVID questions or concerns, email or visit the GSAS Safety group on Yale Connect.

It’s not too late for flu shots…

If you haven’t done so already, we also strongly recommend you get your flu shot whether or not you choose to stay in town. This helpful flu shot finder will inform you as to your options. Again, it’s quick, easy, and could potentially keep you from at least one serious illness this winter. Documentation of a flu shot (or exception waiver) will be required for all students on the Yale campus in Spring 2021 term


Myself, I will be at home with a very small family gathering – only five of us total this year. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so it is tough to miss our usual big crowd. The promising news in the last few days about vaccine clinical trials gives me hope that 2021 will bring some relaxation of distancing guidelines, and this makes it a little bit easier to accept the need to maintain caution right now. I will be adding you to my list of things to be thankful for; I am grateful to you for everything you have been doing to keep yourselves and our community healthy. I am grateful every day you are safe, well and able to continue the work you came here to do. A vital part of being an active scholar is pacing yourself, so please use this break to rest and restore your energy.

With best wishes for your health and happiness,
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