August 20, 2020

To all students moving to campus,

If this were any other year, I would be writing to you now, before you arrived on campus, with a welcoming note to tell you about the exciting events, facilities, and initiatives waiting for you. I do still welcome you, and with great excitement about the year ahead. But this is not any other year, so I want instead to give you some straight talk about the semester's first few weeks because they are so important.

The global pandemic has changed everyday life on campus. As you prepare to arrive, it is vital that you understand what you need to do in order to keep yourself safe, as well as everyone in the Yale and New Haven communities. Making an in-residence semester possible will be a communal effort, and everyone has to know their roles and responsibilities, starting on day one.

You are about to enter arrival quarantine. By now, you have received information about it. Make sure you understand it and know how to follow it. You can find the most current updates about it here, along with information about moving in. Because the quarantine is so important in the effort to keep everyone safe, I want to stress some of its essential points so that you know what to expect in the days ahead.

Everyone moving in during the move-in period will quarantine for 14 days. It doesn't matter where you are arriving from. Whether you are coming from a restricted or a non-restricted state, as determined by the State of Connecticut, you will quarantine for 14 days if you move in during the move-in period. The end dates are rolling, with the earliest arrivals completing quarantine before later arrivals. If you arrive during the move-in period, you will quarantine for 14 days. It also does not matter if you have tested negative after taking a viral test, or if you continue to test negative after any of the viral tests that you will take twice a week. (If you have been approved to move in after the move-in period, keep reading.)

The quarantine will confine your movements. The first 24 to 36 hours, you will need to stay in your suite while you await the results of the viral test you will take when you first arrive. You will pick up your food from a designated area beforehand. If and when you receive a negative result, you will be able to leave your suite, but you must remain within your residential college or other on-campus residence and its corresponding courtyard until 14 days have passed. You won't be able to have visitors in your suite, large gatherings will be prohibited, even outdoors, and dining halls, until they open in early September, will offer a choice of grab-and-go meals.

The quarantine will be a challenge. For those 14 days, you will be able to leave only for medical reasons or emergencies. Going for a run, taking a look around, picking up a few things in town -- these will all have to wait. Even though the state makes some arrival quarantine allowances for the general public, those do not apply to Yale College's residential community because of the terms set by the city and the state that enable the university to open. You must fully grasp that you will need to remain in the same residence for 14 days.

Everyone moving in after the move-in period -- an option available to students traveling from non-restricted states -- will quarantine until receiving the results of the initial viral test that everyone takes upon arrival, 24 to 36 hours. If you are in this category, you cannot move in during the move-in period and expect to come and go. If you move in during the move-in period, then you will quarantine for 14 days with everyone else. Your shorter quarantine period can only occur if you move in after other students' 14-day quarantine period, not at any point during it. If you are eligible for this delayed arrival and would still like to request it, you can do that here.

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The arrival quarantine will end, and you will then have more freedom to move around campus. Still, the quarantine is just the beginning. All semester, you will need to continue to follow the basic but essential practices of washing your hands often and wearing a face covering. You will need to observe social distance guidelines, staying six feet apart and avoiding any but the smallest gatherings. You will need to be scrupulous in attending to your regular viral tests; if you or a close contact tests positive, you will need to isolate or quarantine again, with even stricter limitations. Large gatherings such as parties still will be prohibited. You will be expected to stay alert to public health guidelines and instructions throughout the semester, and follow them. You will be expected to understand and respond to a lot of information that the university will provide to you regularly.

You will not do any of this alone, and you will have plenty of support. Keep in mind, especially if you are newly arriving to Yale, that the college heads and deans, the directors of the cultural centers, the first-year counselors, advisers, coaches, chaplains, and of course your instructors are all here for you. You will be hearing from many of them, and from me, throughout the semester, and we will all be working to guide you along the way.

I am welcoming you this year with these sober expectations not to discourage you. On the contrary, I emphasize them to remind you why you have chosen and worked so hard to come here: to belong to this community and contribute to it. In any other year, you might do that in a million different ways, letting your curiosity and natural gifts guide you. This year, you will all do that by taking responsibility for your behavior and holding yourself accountable, keeping yourself safe and healthy, and recognizing how much the health and safety of others depend on the actions you take every day.

None of this takes away from the excitement that awaits you in the term that is about to start -- faculty who are eager to start classes with you, friends and colleagues waiting to meet you, and a campus rich with resources that are here for you to explore. Your curiosity and natural gifts will still guide you, leading you in different directions, even as you know that everyone around you is moving in the same one, through their choices and behavior. We are all in this together.


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