Protocols for Yale-sponsored and Student-sponsored Gatherings


Last week Yale changed its COVID-19 alert level to Green, and thanks to your continued vigilance, our campus has maintained a low rate of viral infection. The virus, however, does not respect boundaries, and we must remain aware of the state of the pandemic beyond Yale’s campus. We are observing increases in the number of new cases in many states around the country. Even in Connecticut, we are now seeing a rise in hospitalizations for COVID-19 and reports of local outbreaks. Many of the positive cases we have reported in our own Yale statistics appear to originate from exposures outside of our campus bounds. These statistics and reports underscore the fact that the virus is ever-present and we must continue to take all precautions—whether we are on or off campus–to prevent outbreaks at Yale and in our larger New Haven community.

Yale-sponsored gatherings
Our academic community is built on our connections with each other, yet we know that gatherings of people increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission and have frequently been the source of outbreaks. We have therefore designed guidelines for Yale-sponsored academic and social events and gatherings with the intention of supporting connection while reducing the risk of virus transmission. Students, faculty, staff and all Yale affiliates are expected to follow these guidelines and, more specifically, should consider the following key points when planning any events, including business meetings or social gatherings.

  • Only members of the Yale community authorized to be on campus may attend Yale sponsored events. 
  • Gatherings of ten (10) or fewer individuals without the advance approval of the relevant Dean, Head of College or Vice President, are permitted as long as the guidelines for events are observed. 
  • For events larger than ten (10) individuals, the event sponsor must apply to the school or department Health and Safety Leader using the application for approval form.
  • University limits for gatherings remain in place at 25 participants indoors and 100 participants outdoors and events and gatherings must meet all university occupancy limits for spaces.
  • Event sponsors should keep a record of participants to simplify contact tracing should the need arise.

Informal gatherings
Evidence indicates that there is a lower risk for transmission of COVID-19 outdoors than inside. The pleasant temperatures and mild conditions of fall offer wonderful opportunities to meet up with classmates and colleagues to enjoy outside activities. Outdoor games, like tossing a Frisbee, can be played if physical distance is maintained and objects are disinfected after each use. Walks to East Rock or town with a few friends are fine if established preventive measures are followed.

Please refer to Safe Campus Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic for additional details.

A note about free expression and peaceable assembly
As we enter the election season amidst a global pandemic, it is important to remember that the university is committed to and supportive of the free expression of ideas, civic debate, and peaceable assembly. All members of our community should be mindful of health and safety practices as they engage in these activities. Students must comply with the Yale Community Compact and all measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission not only while on campus but also when engaging in off-campus activities in our neighboring community. Please refer to Guidance Regarding Free Expression and Peaceable Assembly for Students at Yale for further information.

I extend my deepest thanks to all who continue to gather and interact responsibly. Our collective attention to the wellbeing of our community is making an on-campus experience possible this semester. Let’s continue to meet this challenge.

– 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