March 18, 2021
Dear students enrolled in residence,
Things are developing quickly with COVID-19, and some of those developments are encouraging: vaccine eligibility is expanding, infection rates in some areas of the country are starting to move in the right direction, and governors have been easing restrictions. Even so, we still need to recognize that vaccine demand still far outpaces supply, infection rates in New Haven have remained high, and the university is still at its orange alert level.
I know how much effort it has taken to practice good habits of maintaining social distancing, covering your face, and avoiding large gatherings. It is crucial that you keep up those good habits, even with the temptations of spring and the fatigue that has come with so much consistency. There is every reason to be optimistic, but we are still in a time of high risk.
Significantly more undergraduates have tested positive in the past week than at any time since move-in, the more infectious B.1.1.7 variant has been identified in our community, and cases continue to appear stochastically, with limited and sometimes no predictability. In addition to maintaining your good habits, then, it is important that you also keep the number of your close contacts small. Equally important, if you test positive, is to be forthcoming with contact tracers; thanks to those of you who have been, contact tracers have been able to respond quickly to clusters of potential infection.
I know this is hard as you manage your overall well-being and your obligations. By way of encouragement, let me remind you that tomorrow you will be halfway through classes, and starting Monday, the road ahead will be shorter than the one behind. The third break day is coming on Wednesday. And there's the much improved weather -- today's rain notwithstanding -- and more sunshine now that we have reset our clocks. I hope you can get outside, where transmission risks are lower, even as you follow all the usual precautions.
And one final word of encouragement on this rainy day: Handsome Dan XIX just made his official début. You can meet him here.
With best wishes,
Marvin M. Chun
Dean of Yale College
Richard M. Colgate Professor of Psychology; Neuroscience; Cognitive Science