March 4, 2021
Dear students enrolled in residence,
With the arrival quarantine now ended, I hope that you have been able to move more freely around campus and town. Just as important, I hope that you have been able to return some of the familiar, even ordinary aspects of campus life to your daily routines, even as you have maintained social distancing, worn face coverings, and kept to your twice-weekly testing schedules. Recent news reports about vaccinations are encouraging, but it’s too soon to set aside those good habits. They are effective, so please keep them up.
The arrival quarantine has served its intended purpose of reducing the risk of infection on campus and within New Haven. It has also marked the passing of time: we are completing the fifth week of classes and are well past a third of the semester. With spring break replaced with the individual break days, I urge you as I have previously to use those days for their intended purpose. Dean Gendler, Dean Cooley, and I have urged your instructors to do the same thing.
I know that many of you would have preferred having a single break of continuous days, even as I know that you understand that it was not possible because it would have required a second campus-wide quarantine that could have extended weeks into the second half of the semester. And whether or not you were able to rest on the first of the five rest days, remember that you have four more ahead, with the next one scheduled for Tuesday. Please use that break day and the ones that follow to set your work aside and rest.
I also encourage you to think of these rest days as part of a broader effort to take care of yourselves throughout the semester. As you imagine ways to attend to your overall well-being, remember that you are now able to get outside and enjoy New Haven. My outdoor activity has been running -- with a safe distance between me and others -- and I have noticed that walking and running routes are becoming more inviting. I can also tell that spring is nearly here because I have spotted the first crocuses of the season, and it won’t be long before the cherry blossoms in Wooster Square will be blooming.
As you consider options for taking care of yourselves, remember to take care of the community as well and to protect the health of everyone in it. While the infection rate seems to be slowing, it is still much higher than it was when Yale reopened last fall, and the risks remain very real. This year, you have established new habits that have themselves become part of your daily routine; in addition to those, you can reduce the risk of infection by not eating at restaurants, opting instead for contactless delivery, and in general avoiding places where people are not covering their faces. Efforts like these go a long way toward protecting everyone’s health – yours as well as the community’s.
I send you my best wishes for the weekend and the week ahead.
Marvin M. Chun
Dean of Yale College
Richard M. Colgate Professor of Psychology; Neuroscience; Cognitive Science