Community Levels, Commencement, and looking ahead to summer

A Message from the COVID-19 Coordinator


  • A change in the CDC’s Community Levels in Connecticut
  • Health and safety guidance for Commencement
  • Summer work and study
    • Vaccinations and boosters still required
    • Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing optional for many
    • COVID-19 Testing Program to evolve

Dear Members of the Yale Community,

Over the course of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided regular updates on the rates of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations across the country. Earlier this year, the CDC introduced a new method for assessing COVID-19 risk, which assigns Community Levels of risk weekly (on Thursdays) to states and counties. Recognizing that developments such as COVID-19 vaccines and treatment have reduced the risk of serious disease, the CDC based its new methodology not only on numbers of infections but also on numbers of hospitalizations and hospital capacity.

Yesterday, due to continued increases in cases and hospitalizations, the CDC placed all counties in Connecticut at either the Medium or High CDC Community Level—with New Haven County at High. The shift to High comes with the CDC’s recommendations for individuals to test if they have symptoms and to wear masks indoors in public spaces. Individuals in counties with Medium or High Community Levels who are at high risk for severe disease are also advised to consult with their healthcare providers about appropriate precautions.  

Moving Forward

While COVID-19 infections continue to occur, we have entered a phase in the pandemic during which high levels of vaccination (and boosters) and the emergence of effective treatments have reduced the risks of serious illness. These developments, along with the knowledge and experience we have gained implementing our health and safety initiatives, will enable us to proceed with commencement celebrations and summer programs with updated health and safety measures in place. These measures are informed by advice from our public health experts and guidance from public health agencies—and, as always, they are subject to change when pandemic conditions change.

Celebrating the Graduates

Yale’s commencement ceremonies are truly memorable occasions. Soon we will celebrate the graduates of the classes of 2020 and 2022—graduates whose Yale experiences were shaped immeasurably by the pandemic and whose adherence to health and safety programs have made these celebrations possible. 

The Commencement Office has been working with our public health advisors to make sure that these events are as safe as possible while allowing graduates and their guests to enjoy traditional Yale festivities. Earlier this week, the Yale Commencement site was updated with the Commencement COVID-19 Policy, which includes vaccination and attestation requirements.

Opening Campus for Summer Work and Study

In less than a month, summer programs at Yale will begin. For the first time in two years, students from across the country and around the world will join Yale students to study, work, and, in some cases, live on our campus. Once again, planning for summer programs has been informed by public health guidance. Below is a summary of our current health and safety plans for summer:

  • Vaccinations and boosters are still required
    • There are no planned changes to the university’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, which requires faculty, staff, and students to be fully vaccinated and, when eligible, boosted, unless they have approved exemptions. 
    • All participants in summer programs will be required to follow the university’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy and, in most cases, to submit documentation of vaccination and boosters to the university.
    • Visitors to campus are required to be vaccinated and, when eligible, boosted. Short-term visitors will not be required to submit documentation in advance of their visits but should carry it with them and be prepared to provide it if asked.
  • COVID-19 Testing will be optional for many
    • Beginning June 1, asymptomatic COVID-19 testing will no longer be required for fully vaccinated members of the Yale community, with exceptions noted below: 
      • Some programs, such as those involving performances, may continue to require routine asymptomatic testing, even for vaccinated individuals, due to the nature of their activities.
      • Each participant in a Yale-sponsored residential summer program will be required to show proof of a negative pre-arrival COVID-19 test and to obtain another test on arrival to campus through Yale’s COVID-19 Screening Program (the Screening Program).
      • Members of the community who are asymptomatic but identified as close contacts of individuals with COVID-19 are expected to test in accordance with university guidance for close contacts.
    • Members of the Yale community who are active on campus and not fully vaccinated will be required to continue twice weekly asymptomatic testing through the Screening Program.  
    • Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing will continue to be available on a voluntary basis through the Screening Program. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to take advantage of asymptomatic testing, especially before and after travel or if they feel they have been exposed to COVID-19.
    • Members of the community who develop COVID-19 related symptoms are expected to test and stay home and consult their health care provider.
    • In the event of significant COVID-19 clusters or outbreaks, asymptomatic testing may be required.

Faculty, students, and staff who test positive for COVID-19 with home tests or at sites other than those of the Yale Screening Program should submit a copy of the test to the university by completing this online form. They are also strongly encouraged to contact their health care providers to determine if they are eligible for treatment. As always, individuals who have questions may call the Campus COVID Resource Line at 203-432-6604.

  • Yale’s COVID-19 Screening Program will evolve

In order to ensure that the university’s COVID-19 testing program is sustainable and flexible, the Screening Program plans to transition to a different model this summer, likely during July and early August. While a single on-site testing center will remain in operation to support the transition, the new model will enable faculty, staff, and students to pick up PCR test kits, collect specimens at home, and return them to one of several campus drop-off locations. The Broad Institute will continue to analyze specimens, and results will be reported within 24 to 36 hours after the specimen is received. Details about this transition will be communicated in the coming weeks.

  • Some things remain the same

Other health and safety policies—such as those pertaining to masking and visitors—remain in place for now.  Any future changes in policies will be reflected on Yale’s COVID-19 site and communicated in my messages. Please remember, there are also many health and safety measures you can choose to take—even if you are not required to—based upon your own circumstances and assessment of risk.

As we near the end of another extraordinary academic year and look forward to summer activities and events, I would like to extend my gratitude yet again for your attention to our health and safety measures and your partnership in keeping our campus and 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