2021-2022 FAS COVID FAQ

The FAQ gathered here pertain to the 2021-2022 academic year. For information regarding the current academic year, please visit FAS COVID-19 Announcements.

Last updated: February 10, 2022

I am at high risk of COVID-19. How can I request workplace accommodations?

If an FAS faculty member believes that they need a workplace accommodation because they have a medical condition that places them at exceptionally high risk for severe illness with COVID-19, they should contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Accessibility (OIEA). If OIEA concludes that the medical condition qualifies as a disability, OIEA will consult with the FAS Dean’s Office to put in place reasonable accommodations.

I live with a family member who is at high risk of COVID-19. How can I request workplace accommodations?

Instructors cohabitating with severely immunocompromised family members who have been advised against travel outside the home by the family member’s medical providers may request work condition modifications. In the FAS, please direct any such requests to the following Dean’s designates, who will explain to the faculty member how to provide documentation from the family member’s medical advisor to the Yale Health Medical Review Committee, chaired by Dr. Jenna McCarthy:

  • Faculty in Humanities and Social Science departments should contact John Mangan, Senior Associate Dean and Dean of Faculty Affairs, at john.mangan@yale.edu

  • Faculty in Science and SEAS departments should contact Bob Burger, Senior Associate Dean, at robert.burger@yale.edu.

What should I do if I must teach remotely for a short period of time due to illness, quarantine, or other factors?

If it is not possible for a faculty member to hold class in person for a single class or pair of classes – due, for example, to religious observance, personal illness, or isolation or quarantine of the faculty member or of a dependent – faculty should make arrangements that allow maximal continuity to the student experience. Depending on the size and nature of the course, you might find a substitute, offer a makeup class, teach remotely, etc. During the first two weeks of the semester, as students are settling on their final schedules, we ask that you hold in-person classes if at all possible.

If, during the course of the semester, it becomes impossible for you to teach in person for more than a one-week period, please reach out to the FAS Dean’s office to discuss appropriate next steps:

  • Faculty in Humanities and Social Science departments should submit short-term arrangement requests to John Mangan, Senior Associate Dean and Dean of Faculty Affairs, at john.mangan@yale.edu.

  • Faculty in Science and SEAS departments should submit short-term arrangement requests to Bob Burger, Senior Associate Dean, at robert.burger@yale.edu.

If special arrangements are deemed appropriate, details of those teaching arrangements will be coordinated at the departmental level, so as to best meet the needs of the students in those courses. 

What should I do if a student in my class reports that they have tested positive for COVID? (Added February 10, 2022)

As explained in the memo sent on February 10, 2022, if you learn that a student in your class has tested positive for COVID, you should take no action; alerting contacts is not the responsibility of instructors and you must not notify students in your class. Instead, the Yale Contact Tracing Team will either notify contacts of the infected student or will advise the student on how to go about notifying their close contacts. The Contact Tracing Team’s process is designed to keep health information confidential in accordance with privacy rules. Those who are notified through the contact tracing process will be advised to follow the guidance outlined here. Further information on contact tracing procedures is available here.

What accommodations should I provide to students who are sick, in isolation, or in quarantine?

The FAS encourages instructors to be as understanding and accommodating as possible to students who are unable to attend class in person due to quarantine and isolation requirements or illness. As an instructor, you have license to adapt your courses and assignments in such circumstances. If students are unable to attend class, you might allow them to complete alternative assignments, encourage them to connect with other students in the class, or capture your lectures for them either through recording or lower-tech means.

The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning has developed recommendations for accommodating students who become ill or must quarantine or isolate.
Among the options available to instructors is lecture capture, which provides the ability to record lectures or presentations for viewing via Canvas or web browser. Some Yale classrooms are equipped for automated lecture capture while other classrooms can be easily set up to allow for lecture capture. Poorvu Center staff are happy to meet with you to demonstrate the recording process and how to make the most of lecture capture while emphasizing the value of in-person instruction. Please contact the Center to schedule a conversation.

May I request proof of vaccination or results of a COVID-19 test from students?

You may not request this information. A student’s vaccination status or COVID-19 test result is confidential medical information. You may not request this information from your students for any purpose, including for documenting absences or as a condition for attending class, nor may you restrict access to your class on the basis of a student’s apparent medical condition.  

Fully-vaccinated students are required to test weekly for COVID-19. Unvaccinated students must test twice weekly and complete a daily health check. Students who miss their mandatory tests may lose access to campus. The contact tracing team will alert close contacts of any student who tests positive. There is no need for instructors to track the COVID-19 test results of students. 

Where can I find information about the campus mask policy?

Information on the campus mask policy, is available on Yale Environmental Health and Safety’s Mask Guidance page.

As explained in the Provost’s message sent on August 25, all individuals are expected to wear masks in communal indoor spaces on campus. In particular, students in class are expected to wear masks at all times in the classroom, and any student who is not wearing a mask in compliance with campus policy may be asked to leave the classroom.

Fully vaccinated instructors (including graduate students who are serving as the instructor of record) may remove their masks while teaching as long as they maintain a 12-foot distance from all others in the classroom while unmasked. Unmasked instructors may not lecture for more than two hours, sing, or speak loudly. 

What should I do if a student in my class refuses to wear a mask?

Students are not permitted to remove their masks in the classroom. Masks should fully cover the mouth and nose; any student who is not wearing a mask in compliance with campus policy may be asked to leave the classroom and referred to Melanie Boyd, Yale College Dean of Student Affairs (if an undergraduate), or to Matthew Tanico, Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Life, GSAS (if a graduate student).

Where can I find resources on teaching while masked?  

The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning has developed guidance and resources on teaching while masked. These resources include recommendations related to audibility, accessibility, and classroom engagement.

How do I request transparent masks or face shields? 

Information about the availability of transparent masks can be found on the Yale Environmental Health and Safety’s Mask Guidance page. Transparent face shields are available may be used by fully vaccinated instructors with 12-foot distancing for up to two hours. Face shields may be ordered through the COVID Stockroom in SciQuest. If proximity or extended use of a face shield is needed, instructors should contact EHS at ehs@yale.edu for guidance.

Should I hold office hours virtually or in person? 

At the faculty member’s discretion based on pedagogical need, FAS office hours may be held in person or virtually. Indoor office hour gatherings are permitted up to classroom capacity. As with all such gatherings, all those in attendance at indoor office hours should be masked. 

Where can I find information about classroom capacity and occupancy limits? 

Information on classroom capacity and occupancy limits is available on Yale Environmental Health and Safety’s Occupancy Requirements and Limits page

Classroom capacity for classes, office hours, and other curricular activities is defined as the number of seats in a room, as approved by Environmental Health and Safety and the Fire Marshall. 

Throughout add/drop (shopping) period, faculty may limit in-person participation to registered students or up to room capacity. 

May FAS faculty dine in the residential college dining halls? 

While the university is at the Yellow Alert level, FAS faculty eligible for subsidized lunches through the FAS Dean’s Office may use their lunch privileges Monday through Friday in the Yale Commons Dining Hall at the Schwarzman Center and at Steep Café in the Yale Science Building. Information on dining options for the remainder of the Fall term is forthcoming.

While we are at the Yellow Alert level, meals in the residential college dining halls will continue to be restricted to undergraduate students and College residents. If the alert level changes to Green or Orange, the FAS Dean’s Office will provide updated guidance and information on what sorts of dining hall access will be available.

Faculty are encouraged to choose lower-traffic times to lunch at Commons and Steep. Yale Hospitality reports that the current peak service times in Commons are from 12:30 – 1:15 PM and 2:15- 2:45 PM, Monday through Thursday. Lines are shorter outside of those times and on Fridays.

Should departmental meetings be held remotely or in-person?

As outlined in the message sent on August 23, 2021, in recognition of the logistical challenges associated with the Covid situation, ordinary department meetings may be held remotely, in-person, or in hybrid form, depending on the preference of the unit. No additional clearance is required from your Health and Safety Leader to hold such a meeting in person, even if it involves more than 20 people.

Department meetings at which tenure and promotion decisions occur should be held in person, with the option of remote participation for those faculty who have formal accommodations through the university. Departments seeking local adjustments to this policy should consult with their cognizant dean (Kathryn Lofton, Steven Wilkinson, or Jeff Brock). Tenure Appointment Committee (TAC) meetings will take place in person.