May 28, 2020

Dear students,

Earlier today, Provost Strobel provided the community with information about the fall calendar, modified to enable the university to plan for three possible scenarios for instruction: online, residential, and a hybrid. In early July, President Salovey will announce the mode of instruction for the fall semester, following guidelines from state and medical authorities. Although many of the particulars still under review will be announced then, I can provide some today in order to keep you informed.

To make the best use of time for a residential scenario -- if President Salovey announces that the university will offer one -- the on-campus period will have no breaks for Labor Day or October recess, and it will end by November 20, the Friday before Thanksgiving week. Academic commitments after Thanksgiving will be online, and the campus will close to undergraduates. Depending on the global health situation, emergency accommodations may be considered for students who may not be able to travel home at that time, as in this past spring.

To ensure the community's safety in a residential scenario, everyone will need to observe social distancing and other health precautions, such as wearing a face mask. In a residential scenario, the University will provide testing, contact-tracing, and other support to help with distancing in spaces for learning, housing, dining, social life, recreation, and sports. It will also require you to limit your travel to and from New Haven.

Although the modified fall calendar makes the best use of time in a residential scenario, I realize that its absence of breaks brings new challenges. Whatever President Salovey announces in July, I will ask the faculty to be mindful of the calendar's constraints when they plan their assignments and assessments. I will also appoint a committee to consider wellness and mental health concerns.

Because of the need for viral screening tests, a residential scenario will also require a staged return to campus over several days, beginning August 24, a reopening date set by the governor of Connecticut. This schedule does not allow time to host pre-orientation programs on campus, and as a result they will be offered online before the term starts, with any in-person programming scheduled after school starts.

The particulars of any online or hybrid scenario are still under review, but their goals include accommodating students who are quarantined or immunosuppressed, international students who may be delayed in obtaining their visas, and anyone not able to be on campus and, where feasible, enabling students on campus to take a combination of courses in person and online.

Some of you may be considering taking a leave of absence, and you will have an opportunity to decide after the July announcement. Even so, I will provide as much information as possible before then, drawing on recommendations from groups that are developing contingency plans to ensure excellence in your academics and student life. (You can find more information about them here and here). These groups – many of which include Yale College Council representatives – are addressing questions of how social distancing requirements would affect classroom learning, residential living, and social activities. I look forward to receiving their recommendations.

In the meantime, the process to retrieve your belongings will begin in June. The Yale College Council has shared your questions and concerns about it, and after conferring with the move-out coordinating team, I will write to you in a separate message.


Marvin M. Chun
Dean of Yale College
Richard M. Colgate Professor of Psychology; Neuroscience; Cognitive Science