Fall 2021 FAS teaching policies: Updates and resources (August 30, 2021)

 To: FAS Faculty 
Cc: FAS Steering; FAS Dean’s Office; Yale College Dean’s Office; GSAS Dean’s Office; FAS Chairs Assistants, Operations Managers, and Lead Administrators; President’s Office; Provost’s Office 

[Summary: This message offers clarification on the following topics pertaining to the fall 2021 term:

Dear colleagues, 

I am grateful to those of you who shared questions over email, at the University Town Hall on Thursday, and at the FAS faculty drop-in open house on Friday in response to last week’s FAS-wide message regarding teaching policies. I write today with further clarification on the following points:  


Office hours 

At the faculty member’s discretion and 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. 

Classroom capacity  

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.  

Further information on room capacity and occupancy requirements is available from Yale Environmental Health and Safety


Classroom capacity during the add/drop period

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


Mask guidance 

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 and reported to Melanie Boyd, Yale College Dean of Student Affairs.

Fully vaccinated instructors (including graduate students who are serving as the instructor of record) may lecture unmasked for periods of up to 2 hours only while a distance of 12 feet from the nearest student can be maintained.

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.


Transparent masks and face shields 

Information about the availability of transparent masks can be found on the Yale Environmental Health and Safety’s Mask Guidance page. At this time, EHS reports that cloth masks with a clear panel are out of stock; new supplies are expected in late September. To join the wait list, visit the YPPS site and click the “PPE Supply Replenishment” link.  

As of August 30, transparent face shields are available.  Departments may order face shields from SciQuest in Workday. Fully vaccinated instructors may use face shields for up to two hours while maintaining a 12-foot distance from others. If you have questions about other uses of face shields, please contact EHS at ehs@yale.edu for guidance.


Teaching students who are in quarantine or isolation 

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.  

Hybrid instruction is not recommended or expected, but may be necessary in rare cases, particularly in classes that meet daily. Should one of your students require such an arrangement, please contact the Poorvu Center for support. 

Short-term remote teaching by faculty in quarantine or isolation 

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 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.  


FAQs and further information 

An FAQ page detailing FAS policies and procedures for the Fall 2021 semester is available on the FAS Dean’s Office website. It will be updated throughout the term, as new information becomes available. In addition, text of FAS memos regarding the Fall 2021 term will be posted here.

Tuesday, September 2, 4:00-5:00pm: Drop-in “office hour” for FAS faculty  

As noted in the hold-the-date message set by the Yale College Dean’s Office earlier today, the Yale College Faculty Meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 2, is canceled, and the time will be repurposed as an optional drop-in office hour for faculty.  Colleagues from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office, Yale College Dean’s Office, the University Registrar’s Office, and the Poorvu Center will be available to discuss any questions you may have about the return to in-person teaching, early registration, and add/drop period.  

You may join the office hour using the following Zoom log in information:

Thank you again for your understanding and your dedication as we begin the fall term. 

With warmest wishes, 

Tamar Szabó Gendler
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Vincent J. Scully Professor of Philosophy
Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science