November 6, 2020
Dear students in Davenport, Grace Hopper, and Saybrook Colleges,
Over the past few days, Yale’s public health team has been closely monitoring an emerging cluster of cases involving students in your three colleges. That cluster now includes 20 cases that appear to be linked. Of particular concern are students who may not previously have been identified as close contacts, and who have therefore not been in quarantine. The students in your colleges who have tested positive are in separate isolation housing. To limit the possibility of further spread, it is necessary to take the following additional precautions while we await the next cycles of viral testing results.
- If you are living in your college, you will need to quarantine in your suites from now until Thursday morning, leaving them only to attend your twice-weekly viral testing, use the bathroom, pick up grab-and-go meals from the dining halls, or go to medical appointments. You may also leave your suites to pick up take-out meal delivery at the college gates, and you may be outside for 15-minute intervals as long as you wear face coverings and maintain social distancing guidelines. You should not exit your college gates until the quarantine is lifted, nor should you have any guests in your suite, even from within your own college.
- If you are in contact quarantine (which is to say, you have been called by the contact tracers and told you are a close contact), follow the instructions you have been given, which are more restrictive.
- If you are a junior or sophomore living on Old Campus, you remain free to move around campus, but leaving campus is discouraged. You may still use your dining hall for grab-and-go meals. Dining in restaurants is also discouraged, although ordering take-out for delivery is permitted. You are advised to avoid having visitors in your suite or off-campus housing; if you do, remember all people present must remain masked and socially distant.
- If you are living off campus, you may only enter your college if necessary for your twice-weekly viral testing.
Some of you may be wondering about going home to quarantine. The best public health advice is that you should not -- traveling now would risk exposing other people, including anyone in your household. It is better to remain on campus, where you can be supported by the dining and testing programs. If you are on contact quarantine and feel you must go home, consult with your dean for instructions. In all cases, you will need to take careful precautions: do not leave unless you have had a negative test within the last 72 hours; ideally, you should take your regular test on Monday or Tuesday and wait for that result. Once you leave, remain masked and socially distant as you travel, and quarantine from your family for fourteen days or until you have had two negative tests at least five days apart. Students living on campus will also need to prepare their rooms for departure, following the instructions on the Yale College FAQs, which will be updated regularly.
I regret that the campus is reverting to this more restrictive phase after so many weeks of low viral test results. Even so, my hope is that this rapid response will limit the risk of viral spread. Now more than ever it is vital that you adhere to your testing schedules, perform your daily health checks, and, just as important, that you cooperate with contact tracers if one of them calls you. The data that emerge from testing and contact tracing provide the most accurate picture of any viral transmission in our community and the path to preventing an outbreak.
I am grateful to you for cooperating with these efforts and following these temporary quarantine restrictions. Thank you for your cooperation, patience, and understanding.
Marvin M. Chun
Dean of Yale College
Richard M. Colgate Professor of Psychology; Neuroscience; Cognitive Science