Requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 (4/19/21)
Dear Members of the Yale Community,
Last month, we wrote to you about our preliminary plans for the 2021-2022 academic year: a full residential program for undergraduates, on-campus studies for graduate and professional school students, and a return to on-campus activities for faculty and staff. Realization of these plans will depend on favorable public health conditions and the guidance of public health experts. Today we are writing to provide you with some additional information.
Although the course of the COVID-19 pandemic over the coming months remains uncertain, vaccination is the strongest tool for preventing transmission of the virus. There is abundant evidence of the vaccines’ effectiveness and growing confidence that vaccines will be widely available by early summer.
Therefore, we are requiring all undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students who plan to be on campus to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at the start of the fall 2021 semester. Additionally, we expect students who plan to study or work on campus this summer to be inoculated as soon as vaccinations are available to them.
Students on campus or in the New Haven area may make vaccination appointments by following the steps outlined in Dr. Christine Chen’s April 16 message or the appointment scheduling information on the Yale COVID-19 Vaccine Program website.
Students who are not currently in the New Haven area should consult their state and local authorities for information about vaccination availability and scheduling. We understand that a small number of students may not be able to obtain vaccination appointments before they return to campus, and we are making provisions to vaccinate them on arrival. We also will make reasonable accommodations for medical and religious exemptions from vaccination. More information, including how students should document their vaccination status or seek exemptions and the vaccines that will satisfy the requirement, will be provided in the coming weeks.
We are considering whether we also will require faculty and staff to be vaccinated in order to return to campus. To inform our deliberations, we have asked a working group, including faculty experts in public health, to make recommendations. We expect to receive the group’s report in the coming weeks and make a determination in June.
From the beginning of the pandemic, we have worked together as a community to develop and follow measures to promote the health and safety of our colleagues, families, and friends. Now we share the opportunity and the responsibility to take the next important step toward putting the pandemic behind us. We encourage everyone who is eligible to sign up for vaccination as soon as possible and join the millions of people who have already received a vaccine.
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology
Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry