Accommodations and flexibility during Fall 2022

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

September 6, 2022

[Summary: This message encourages care, compassion, and flexibility during the fall 2022 term. The message outlines the processes by which faculty may request workplace accommodations or make short-term remote arrangements, it encourages faculty to accommodate students who may need to be absent, and it links to Poorvu Center resources on flexibility in course design.]

To: FAS and SEAS faculty and instructors in Yale College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Cc: FAS Steering, FAS Dean’s Office, SEAS Dean’s Office, Yale College Dean’s Office, GSAS Dean’s Office, President’s Office, Provost’s Office, Office of Institutional Equity and Accessibility, Poorvu Center, University Registrar’s Office, FAS and SEAS Chair’s Assistants, FAS and SEAS Lead Administrators, FAS and SEAS Operations Managers

Dear colleagues:

We hope that you have had a restful summer. While the new academic year brings with it new energy and a continued commitment to in-person learning, COVID remains part of our reality. In light of this, we are writing to encourage all FAS and SEAS faculty to bring a spirit of compassion to your work. The public health situation continues to cause stress across our community, and we hope that you will approach your interactions with fellow faculty members, students, and staff with care and compassion.

We also wish to remind you of the resources and procedures that are in place to support you and your teaching.  As we wrote in June, instruction in Yale College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will, with rare exceptions, take place in person during fall 2022. Resources and support structures are in place to support your teaching should the need for absences arise. Below, you will find information on the following topics:

Faculty requests for long-term accommodations

Faculty are expected to teach in person. If a faculty member needs 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). OIEA will work with the FAS or SEAS Dean’s office to put in place reasonable accommodations.

Faculty members who received accommodation to teach remotely during the 2021-22 academic year can expect their accommodation to be extended, unless their circumstances have changed.

Short-term remote arrangements

If it is not possible for a faculty member to hold class in person for a single class or pair of classes, 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 into their schedules, we ask that you hold in-person classes if possible.

If, during the semester, it becomes impossible for you to teach in person for more than a one-week period, please reach out to the FAS or SEAS Deans for guidance:

  • Faculty in FAS Humanities departments should submit short-term arrangement proposals to John Mangan, FAS Senior Associate Dean and Dean of Faculty Affairs.
  • Faculty in FAS Social Science and Science departments should submit short-term arrangement proposals to Bob Burger, FAS Senior Associate Dean.
  • Faculty in SEAS departments should submit short-term arrangement proposals to Sarah Miller, Associate Dean in SEAS.  

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.

Expectations for Teaching Fellows (TFs)

There will be no remote TFs during the fall 2022 term. All TFs are expected to be in residence when classes begin, teaching in person. While one-on-one tutoring and informal supervised study sessions may take place remotely, all formal group instruction must take place in person. Instructors may not make ad hoc hybrid or remote arrangements with their Teaching Fellows. In the event that a TF requires remote teaching arrangements, please contact Pam Schirmeister for guidance.

Accommodating student absences

Absences resulting from the public health situation will inevitably arise this semester. If a student must be absent from your class for a period of one week or less, you may encourage them to take the initiative to catch up on material they have missed (for instance, by consulting with classmates and completing missed readings or assignments). If a student must be absent for more than one week, we ask you to assist them as much as is feasible. This assistance may take the form of alternative assessments or assignments, extended deadlines, or other mechanisms which you may adopt, at your discretion, to help your students stay on track.  

Flexibility for students: Resources and guidance

The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning has developed guidance and resources on how to facilitate academic continuity.  In addition, they have consulted with many faculty and the educational literature to develop a set of recommendations on introducing flexibility into course structures. As the Poorvu Center notes, for students who need to be absent for health, family, or any other reasons, flexible deadlines and multiple forms of engagement can be fundamental to their success in the course.

Thank you for all of the thoughtful preparation that has gone into your fall courses. We are looking ahead to the coming academic year with anticipation, and we hope that you have an engaging and enriching fall semester.


Tamar, Pericles, Lynn, Jeff