Changes to contact tracing and health and safety reminders

A Message from the COVID-19 Coordinator


  • Changes to Yale’s Contact Tracing Program
  • Reminders about testing, treatments, vaccines, and other preventive measures

Dear Members of the Yale Community,

I write this week with an update on the Yale COVID-19 Contact Tracing Program. I will also provide reminders of the health and safety resources available to keep you as safe as possible as the semester comes to a close and summer activities begin.

A new name and new protocols

Since the beginning of the pandemic, notifying individuals who are close contacts of a person with COVID-19 has been an important tool in slowing the spread of the virus. We have been fortunate to have a campus-based Yale Contact Tracing Team (YCTT) to perform this vital work, by contacting and advising those identified as close contacts.

Recently—in light of the rapidity with which new variants appear to spread and because individuals with COVID-19 infections are reporting much higher numbers of close contacts than they did previously—the YCTT has implemented an automated system of notifying close contacts by email. This system is intended to provide timely notification to—and share the most up-to-date public health guidance with—those who have been exposed as close contacts of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. So please pay attention to any emails with the subject line “Important Message Regarding COVID Exposure.”

The YCTT members will continue to call the Yale students, faculty, and staff who test positive for COVID-19. However, the YCTT has shifted its focus from contact tracing to investigating possible sources of COVID-19 infection and identifying linkages among cases that may help us limit transmission and prevent outbreaks. In recognition of this shift in focus, the YCTT will also change its name to the Yale COVID-19 Outreach Team (YCOT).

Yale’s response to COVID-19 has necessarily been characterized by a readiness to evolve when pandemic conditions and guidance change. The transition of the YCTT to the YCOT is just one example of our ability to evolve with the pandemic.

Reminders during a time of transitions

In the coming weeks, Yale will host a number of gatherings to celebrate our graduates and alumni, and, as summer begins, many of us will be traveling to and from campus. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Community Levels remain high for most of Connecticut.

Many resources remain available to help reduce your risk of COVID-19 during this time:

  • Testing
    • Asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 testing will continue to be available through the Yale Screening Program; self-scheduling is available on-line.
      • Special note: two test sites—60 Sachem St. (Watson Center) and Schwarzman Center—will permanently close at the end of the day today, May 13. All other sites will remain open.
    • Remember: if you test positive with an at-home test or at a test site outside of the Yale Screening Program, please report the result to the Yale Screening Program so that the YCOT can contact you to provide advice, and, if indicated, pause your testing requirement.
  • Treatments
    • As I have written previously, effective treatments for those at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 are now widely available. Be sure to call your health care provider as soon as possible after testing positive to see if you qualify for these treatments.
  • Vaccines
  • Other Preventive Measures
    • Safer Yale Practices outlines a number of steps you can take to minimize your risk of infection when engaging in activities that involve contact with others.
    • Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Community Levels remain high in New Haven County and many parts of the Northeast, you may wish to think carefully about whether to attend activities and gatherings that may present a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission, such as those that are held in poorly ventilated spaces with unmasked attendees.
    • Keep a high-quality mask with you and wear it when required, when you feel you are in a situation that poses a risk of exposure, or any time you choose to add another layer of protection against COVID-19 infection.


Your partnership, diligence, and understanding have been invaluable in helping the university navigate the pandemic’s many changes. As we celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates and look forward to the summer ahead, I must once again convey my deepest thanks for all you do to keep our campus community as safe as possible.

Stephanie S. Spangler, M.D.
Vice Provost for Health Affairs and Academic Integrity
Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
University COVID-19 Coordinator