Responding to student COVID cases

February 10, 2022

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

cc: FAS Dean’s Office; GSAS Dean’s Office; Yale College Dean’s Office; FAS Department Chairs’ Assistants, Operations Managers, and Lead Administrators; President’s Office; Provost’s Office; COVID-19 coordinator; Poorvu Center

[Summary: This message reminds instructors of what to do if they learn that a student has tested positive for COVID. Instructors should not alert other students; instead, the Yale Contact Tracing Team will manage the notification process. The class should continue to meet in person. Instructors are encouraged to provide accomodations that will allow students to continue learning if they must be absent from class.]

Dear FAS faculty and instructors and teaching fellows in Yale College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences,

We have recently received questions from instructors about how to proceed if you learn that a student in one of your classes has tested positive for COVID. We are writing to reiterate the university-wide guidance on this matter.

Notification and contact tracing

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
 

As we wrote this fall, student vaccination status and COVID test results are confidential, and you must refrain from requesting or sharing this information. 

In-person instruction

If a student in your class informs you of a positive COVID test result, your class should continue to meet in person. As Provost Scott Strobel indicated in his January 24 message, evidence suggests a minimal level of transmission occurs in classrooms. In addition, as the contact tracing guidance explains, fully vaccinated individuals who are notified of a potential exposure must observe testing and monitoring requirements but do not need to quarantine.

Accommodations for students who are absent

If a student in your class must be absent, please offer accommodations so that they can continue to learn. In September, we encouraged instructors to develop absence policies that are adaptive to the public health situation; this guidance still applies. The Poorvu Center has also developed resources on continuity of instruction in case of student absences. 

Thank you for all that you do to support our students and colleagues.

Best wishes,

Tamar, Marvin, and Lynn 

Tamar Szabó Gendler
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Marvin Chun
Dean, Yale College

Lynn Cooley
Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences