September 17, 2020

Dear students,

We are ending the third week of classes with few COVID-19 cases. Thanks to your efforts to stay six feet apart, cover your face, keep your hands clean, and stick to your testing schedules, only six students in Yale College have had positive results since the beginning of the move-in period, August 21. They have followed all protocols for isolation and contact tracing. Although the ideal number of positive results is zero, this low number is the result of your daily actions. Please keep up the good work.

Now that you are moving more freely around campus and New Haven, this is a good time to be thinking about new ways to interact with each other and the broader community. You know already that all classes have an online-only option, whether you live on campus or off, the only exception being international students who have an in-person visa requirement. You are also now able, thanks to the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, to enroll in non-credit Coursera courses to earn a certificate for free, here. But you might also want to explore online options for participating in other activities as well. A good place to start is the student organizations booths from the activities bazaar, extended until September 27. You can find them here.

For in-person events, you can plan ahead, whether you are a host or a guest: start by reading the safe party tips available here, then make sure you know about COVID-19 requirements for events and gatherings, available here and on the Yale College FAQ page, particularly capacity limitations, including within suites. Because this is going to be a semester of online and small gatherings, this is also a time to be thinking creatively about what social life will look like. For good ideas, talk with your college councils, first-year counselors, the peer liaisons, and of course your own friends and classmates. And keep in mind that you are under no obligation to attend any events in person.

The PHEPs -- Public Health Education for Peers -- can also help. They are fellow undergraduates who are working to promote harm-reductive behaviors and educate around public health guidelines, and they are able to provide creative and safe socializing options. The PHEPs represent every residential college, come from a variety of backgrounds, and are involved in campus activities including dance, music groups, athletics, and debate. They are excited and motivated to help, so keep them in mind as you plan your semester. You can read more about the PHEPs here. And their “phep talks,” or office hours, start today. Here’s where you can find out more.

One final, simple step you can take to help: get a flu shot. Because COVID-19 and flu cause similar symptoms, reducing flu in the community preserves healthcare resources. On specific days in the coming two weeks, you will be able to get a flu shot at the site where you get your twice-weekly test. No appointment is needed. For the full schedule, and for more information, you can check Yale HEALTH's Flu Information for Yale Undergraduates, available here.

Thank you again for everything you are doing to protect the public’s health as well as your own. Your everyday actions are making a difference.


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