November 13, 2020
In a little over a week, campus residences will be closing, and many of you will be going home. The in-residence portion of the semester, even with its constraints, has been a success, thanks to your efforts, and to the efforts of the hundreds of people supporting you. Now, because so many of you are getting ready to leave campus, and because COVID-19 cases are rising across the country, including in New Haven, these eight days ahead call for additional precautions. I am therefore putting in place a restriction until Saturday, November 21, that calls for all on-campus Yale College students to remain on campus.
These final days of the in-residence period are especially important because so many of you will soon be traveling, and you will want to be sure to continue to test negative before you leave. That way, you reduce the risk of viral spread as you travel and when you arrive back home. Remember that if you are in isolation or in contact quarantine, you will need to delay your departure before you leave New Haven.
As you know, three colleges were under quarantine from last Friday until yesterday because of a cluster of related positive cases. However, you saw from Dr. Spangler's message earlier today that those colleges' quick response prevented a larger outbreak, and as a result their quarantine was relaxed yesterday. Students in those colleges who are not in isolation or contact quarantine are now able to move around campus, but they need to remain on it, without interacting with the New Haven community.
That same restriction for the three colleges I am putting into effect for all 14, starting today. For these next eight days, then, if you are living in campus housing, please remain on campus, minimizing your interactions with the City of New Haven and the surrounding community. This means avoiding restaurants, coffee shops, stores, or any other spaces that are not campus buildings. (Purchasing items for delivery is fine as long as the transaction is socially distant and contactless.) It also means avoiding walks or runs into the city or local green spaces. If you are performing community service, please do that virtually. Get your meals from your dining hall and, as much as you can, stay within campus buildings and campus spaces.
If you are living off campus, please come into the residential colleges only for your bi-weekly tests. Otherwise, your access to campus has not changed; you are especially welcome and encouraged to use the outdoor spaces other than the college courtyards. And although the restrictions for students living on campus are not required of you, please consider following them, especially if you will be traveling in the weeks ahead.
Whether you live on campus or off, you can plan for your return home by reviewing Yale’s COVID-19 travel page, as well as the message that Dr. Genecin sent yesterday to the community with guidelines for quarantining when you arrive at your destination. Following this advice will reduce the risk of viral spread and help protect your health as well as your family's. And of course continue to maintain social distancing, keep your hands clean, and wear a face covering. These measures are effective.
These final days of the in-residence period of the semester, now that they have finally arrived, seem in some ways to have come sooner than expected, in others just in time. I know how hard you have worked, not only on your studies but also in creating a community in such extraordinary circumstances. I hope that that work has brought as much satisfaction as it has required effort. And whether or not you will be returning to campus for the spring semester, I also hope that you will look back to this one with a shared sense of accomplishment.
I send you my thanks for all your efforts of these past twelve weeks, and my best wishes for the one ahead.
Marvin M. Chun
Dean of Yale College
Richard M. Colgate Professor of Psychology; Neuroscience; Cognitive Science