Why Testing Remains So Important

A Message from the COVID-19 Coordinator


  • COVID-19 testing: What, who, how, and why
  • An update on events, gatherings, and meetings

Dear Members of the Yale Community,

In recent messages, Provost Scott Strobel, Senior Vice President Jack Callahan, and Yale College Dean of Student Affairs Melanie Boyd stressed the importance of COVID-19 testing. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Yale’s Testing and Tracing Program has been a critical element of our public health strategy. While vaccination is our most effective preventive measure, testing—by allowing us to identify and quickly isolate individuals with COVID-19—reduces the likelihood of further viral transmission. Additionally, testing statistics provide important information about the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community and inform key university decisions, such as whether and when to increase or relax restrictions on certain aspects of campus life.

In this message I will answer some frequently asked questions about testing and provide a brief update on our policy related to events, gatherings, and meetings.

What should I know about COVID-19 testing?

Testing is easier than ever at Yale. Testing centers are located at multiple sites on campus, and you can schedule an appointment online or by calling the Campus COVID Resource Line at 203-432-6604. The testing process itself takes less than five minutes and involves a self-administered swab in the front of the nose (not a deep nasal swab).

Who must test regularly?

Certain members of the Yale community have routine asymptomatic testing requirements:

·         Anyone who is not fully vaccinated—those who have approved exemptions or those in the process of being vaccinated—must test twice weekly.

·         Fully vaccinated undergraduate students and fully vaccinated graduate and professional students in certain academic programs or living in some on-campus residences must test weekly.

Who else must be tested?

·         Anyone—whether vaccinated or unvaccinated—who experiences symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home, seek medical advice, and schedule a symptomatic test. Symptomatic testing is available only at the 109 Grove Street location during certain times of the day (see below) so that those who are experiencing symptoms do not expose others to infection while at the testing site.

·         Unvaccinated individuals returning from out-of-state travel and all individuals returning from international travel must test in accordance with the university’s travel policy.

·         Individuals identified as close contacts of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 must test as directed by the Yale Contact Tracing Team.

Who else should be tested?

All fully vaccinated members of the community, especially students, who plan to leave campus for the upcoming October and Thanksgiving breaks are strongly encouraged to test for COVID-19 within 24 hours and no later than 48 hours after their return to campus. All unvaccinated individuals who return from out-of-state travel will be required to have additional testing and to quarantine for 7 days following their return.

All fully vaccinated staff returning to campus for the first time this year are strongly encouraged to be tested as soon as possible upon their return. Staff who have vaccination exemptions must test in accordance with their required testing schedules.

Who may get a test?

Any student, faculty, staff, or postdoctoral/postgraduate trainee regardless of vaccination status may schedule a test at any time, whether or not they have routine testing requirements. Some individuals may test in order to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before traveling to certain destinations or attending public events. Others may choose to be tested after they have been in crowds or in settings where the vaccination status of others is unknown. Still others, even if vaccinated, may find it reassuring to test if they have unvaccinated or immunocompromised family members.

Why do I need to test if I am fully vaccinated and have no symptoms?

Although infrequent, “breakthrough” COVID-19 infections do occur in individuals who have been fully vaccinated. Fortunately, symptoms are often mild or even absent. However, recent studies show that even fully vaccinated individuals, if infected, can transmit the virus to others, including unvaccinated individuals and those with underlying medical conditions who are at higher risk for serious disease. Regular testing is therefore extremely important to help us identify asymptomatic infections as early as possible to prevent further spread.

Where can I get tested and what if I need accommodations to complete a test?

The Yale COVID-19 Testing Program provides testing services at multiple locations and during convenient hours.

Testing Locations & Hours (subject to change):

·         109 Grove Street
Monday-Saturday: 8:00 a.m.-noon
Sunday: Noon-4:00 p.m.

·         109 Grove Street (SYMPTOMATIC ONLY)
Monday-Saturday: 12:15-3:45 p.m.
Sunday: 8:00-11:00 a.m.

·         150 York Street
Monday-Saturday: 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

·         60 Sachem Street
Monday-Saturday: 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

·         Schwarzman Center (168 Grove Street, lower level)
Monday-Saturday: 8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.

·         West Campus (800 West Campus Drive)
Monday-Friday: 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

·         (limited access) Harkness Memorial Hall (367 Cedar Street)
Monday-Friday: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

The testing program is committed to being accessible to every member of the Yale community. All sites allow service animals and are wheelchair accessible. If you need additional resources or reasonable accommodations to complete your COVID-19 test, you may contact Student Accessibility Services at sas@yale.edu or 203-432-2324 or the Office of Institutional Equity and Accessibility at equity@yale.edu or 203-432-0849 at least 48 hours prior to your desired test date.

It’s getting cold out there—can we gather safely indoors? What about food?

Meeting outdoors continues to be a safer way to gather with others. However, as colder weather approaches, outdoor gatherings may not always be possible. We have recently updated our events, gatherings, and meetings policy to reflect current public health recommendations and to clarify how you can plan and, where required, get approval for indoor, as well as outdoor, gatherings. We have also updated our guidance for serving food at indoor and outdoor gatherings.

I hope this message provides you with the information you need to participate in our COVID-19 testing program and to plan your fall gatherings. I hope you will continue to share your suggestions about these messages and our health and safety programs with me. And, as always, I want to thank you for your many efforts to keep our campus 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