Return to Campus Update (5/19/21)
[Summary: This message provides an update regarding the return to campus plans.]
In late March, we communicated the preliminary plans for faculty and students for the 2021-22 academic year. Last week we announced the decision to require vaccinations for faculty and staff. Today, we write to share more information regarding our plans for the return of all faculty and staff to Yale’s campus.
Please keep in mind that our ability to make timely decisions about the University’s plans for the summer and fall is greatly influenced by rapidly evolving federal and state public health guidance. We will continue to remain flexible and craft policies that reflect such guidance. We will also continue to share regularly what we know, what is still under consideration, and what we must do to prepare for the return of our community to campus.
What we know
Currently, many faculty and staff are spending at least part of the week working on-campus. The number has been trending up as vaccines have become widely available. While this encouraging development supports the progression of our return to campus plans, all Yale community members are expected to continue to follow the university’s health and safety guidelines, including social distancing and mask wearing in shared indoor spaces.
All faculty, staff and students are required to be vaccinated by August 1, 2021. Additional information about the August 1 vaccination requirement and exemptions will be provided in the near future.
Beginning June 1, 2021, all faculty and staff are required to inform the university of their vaccination status. Those who have received their COVID-19 vaccination outside of the Yale COVID-19 Vaccine Program must submit their vaccination record to the university here.
Faculty Return to Campus
Faculty may continue to use their campus offices during June and July and are requested to be back on campus in August to support the start of the academic year for their respective schools.
Staff Return to Campus
University leaders—deans and officers—are developing return to campus plans that fit the needs of their individual schools or staff units. These plans may include the return to campus of designated individuals beginning June 1. The time from June 1 to August 1 will be used to finalize the phased return of staff currently working remotely and the ramp-up of operations leading to fall.
Other staff who wish to return prior to August 1 should communicate with their supervisors, who can provide approvals if the requests are consistent with Yale’s return-to-campus guidance and current health and safety guidelines.
As of August 1, all staff and faculty who are coming to campus must either be fully vaccinated or have an approved vaccination exemption, and should be prepared to return to campus as follows:
- Student-serving and faculty-supporting staff, as designated by their dean or officer, should be prepared to return to campus beginning on August 1. This return is necessary to support in-classroom teaching and the record number of students returning to campus.
- Other staff will return on a staggered basis, in accordance with a specific school or staff unit plan.
- Our expectation is that by Labor Day and continuing until the winter term’s conclusion in December 2021, most staff should be working on campus at least three days per week.
- Largely or fully remote work will be limited in scope and duration. Exception requests will require senior leadership review and approval.
Leaders should communicate their specific return-to-campus expectations to employees at least two weeks in advance of their expected return to campus. We also request leaders to be flexible in developing transitional work arrangements for staff who will be providing care for children or other dependents during the summer and at the start of the academic year.
On October 1, parking fees will resume at fifty percent of the March 2020 rate. This reduced rate will remain in effect through December 31, 2021.
Child and Eldercare Support
Effective June 1, the current Bright Horizons Back-up Care program offering will be extended by 10 days for a total of 30 days between January 1 – December 31, 2021. Crisis Care Assist, which reimburses faculty, staff, post-doctoral fellows, and post-doctoral associates for child and eldercare provided by those in their personal networks, will continue through September 3, 2021. The extension of the two remaining programs, in-home and center-based care, will continue through December 31, 2021.
What is still under consideration
Health and Safety Guidelines
Yale’s current health and safety guidelines will remain in place for staff and faculty who return to campus on June 1. We are currently evaluating Yale’s guidelines in light of the recent changes to federal and state guidance. Our public health experts and the Operating Policy Committee will continue to review federal and local public health directives closely and communicate information to you on a regular basis.
Some guidelines have been adjusted. For example, the university will now allow university-sponsored travel for fully vaccinated faculty, staff, and students subject to obtaining approvals required under existing university policies and processes. In addition, recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reflects evidence that there is a very low risk of COVID-19 infection from surfaces; accordingly, Yale’s Facilities team has returned to pre-COVID cleaning protocols.
We anticipate public health guidance will continue to evolve over the summer. If we achieve a high rate of vaccination in our campus population and if infection rates in the area remain low, we are hopeful that revised regulations and public guidance will allow the modification of mask wearing, distancing, and gathering rules.
Longer-Term Changes to the Way We Work
The pandemic has proved that we can work productively in a remote capacity and trained us on new online collaboration tools. We are evaluating the viability of a hybrid workforce and other lessons learned during the pandemic. A working group facilitated by Associate Vice President for Strategy and Academic Business Operations, Tim Pavlis and Associate Director for Strategic Analysis, Jennifer Tom is considering how we may adapt to new ways of working at Yale. Long-term changes resulting from this process are not expected to go into effect during this calendar year.
What you can do to prepare
Many members of our community have taken the initiative to get vaccinated. Those who have not received the vaccine are strongly encouraged to do so through the Yale COVID-19 Vaccine Program and Yale Health at the Lanman Center on campus. Everyone 12 and older is now eligible. Yale New Haven Health also offers both walk-in and scheduled vaccine appointments and additional options are available throughout the state.
Additional information related to the return to campus can be found on the Workplace Guidance webpage.
Thank you for your hard work during this unusual and challenging time. We look forward to when the Yale community can be reunited on campus.
Jack Callahan, Jr.
Senior Vice President for Operations