September 10, 2020
With the arrival quarantine period nearly over, this first, critical phase of the semester is ending. Thank you for your cooperation and patience in following the quarantine guidelines. Keep in mind, though, that the hard work of keeping our low COVID-19 numbers is just beginning. You will now be moving more freely around campus, New Haven, and Connecticut, and interacting with other students and the general public. After spending two weeks under quarantine restrictions, you might be tempted to relax some of the good habits you have started to form and that have kept those numbers so low. Please instead keep up the excellent work you are already doing: cover your face when you are in public, stay six feet apart, keep your hands clean, stick to your testing schedule, and avoid gatherings with over ten people.
The actions you take in the weeks ahead are going to make all the difference in what the semester looks like. Start by reminding yourself of the terms of the community compact that you agreed to uphold as a condition for returning to campus -- really reading it so that you understand it in both letter and spirit, and taking to heart your obligation to keep yourself informed of evolving public health guidelines. Be conscientious in your daily habits, not letting down your guard -- or your mask. Don't be afraid to speak up if you see others who are not doing their part. While mutual support and shared expectations will get us a long way, educational and even disciplinary mechanisms are also available when necessary in order to protect everyone's health. And if someone approaches you about your own actions, listen to them: use that feedback to avoid putting others at risk.
Spaces outside your residential colleges will be opening in the next few days. This is an exciting time to explore, have fun, and engage with each other and the community -- while practicing those new good habits of yours. If you are new here, this is a great time to ask a first-year counselor, Peer Liaison, or PHC for suggestions. If you are returning to campus and are thinking about weekend options that don’t involve gatherings, this is a great time to rediscover campus and New Haven. To get you started, a goodie bag of coupons, available here, will get you free or discounted coffee, cupcakes, and cookies around town. And as you look ahead and plan your own activities for the semester, you will be able to use the libraries, classrooms in WLH (William L. Harkness Hall), Watson, Linsly-Chittenden, which you can reserve, and the Yale Science Building pavilion and Marsh Hall area. Other buildings with offices, laboratories, and department common areas are restricted for in-person classes and research only. The gym will open on Monday.
Finally, as you start this new phase of the semester, mindful of your actions and the community's health, know where you can find information: the university's COVID-19 site is the best place to start, and so is Yale College's FAQ page, where you can find links to the community compact, the PHCs, the Compact Review Committee, and the Community Concerns form for sharing information about situations or behaviors that you feel may be putting the community’s health and safety at risk. These resources are here for you. So are the heads, deans, FroCos, Peer Liaisons, and PHCs. I thank them for all the work they have done to support you, and I thank you for working with them in the weeks and months ahead. The goal of protecting everyone's health involves us all.
Marvin M. Chun
Dean of Yale College
Richard M. Colgate Professor of Psychology; Neuroscience; Cognitive Science