Safe Campus Practices

Updated: September 8, 2021

Below is an alphabetical list of miscellaneous topics that are peripheral to our academic and operational policies, procedures, and guidelines. Please see Yale’s COVID-19 website and Workplace Guidance Page for important information on returning to work, daily health checks, physical distancing, occupancy guidance, and more. HSLs, managers, administrators, and unit leads can see additional planning guidance. Please also refer to Occupancy Requirements and Limits for campus spaces.

For additional information, please see the CDC guidance on personal and social activities for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Air Purifiers (Portable)

Buildings on campus have been evaluated by Facilities to ensure conformance to the latest CDC guidance and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards.

These evaluations have resulted in the addition of higher levels of filtration installed on mechanical equipment as necessary, and may also include deployment of additional filtration within interior locations, including local air purifiers. Only those areas where additional filtration is recommended by Facilities or EHS will be provided these portable air purifiers.

If you desire an air purifier, it may be purchased separately with approval and consultation from EHS or Facilities. There are many types of air purifiers; EHS and/or Facilities can advise on the appropriate style and size. (Yale University’s Purchase of Restricted Items Policy requires approval from EHS or Facilities for the purchase of an air purifier.)


Students are not permitted to remove their masks in the classroom.

For classrooms, there is no distancing requirement for vaccinated students. Vaccinated students who do not need to physically distance should respect and accommodate those who prefer or need to physical distance.

While vaccinated and unvaccinated students do not need to sit separately in classrooms, students who need or want to distance should seek areas of a room that allow physical distancing. Arriving early will facilitate this. As others approach, ask them to respect your need to distance.

See Mask Guidance for masking and distancing requirements for instructors.

Yale Facilities Operations and EHS have evaluated, enhanced, and verified the ventilation systems in all classrooms. If you have questions about a space, contact your Facilities Superintendent or EHS Safety Advisor for an evaluation.


Facilities and Hospitality are cleaning and disinfecting all university spaces in accordance with current CDC guidance and in alignment with Yale’s EHS and Public Health Committee approvals. Disinfecting wipes are provided at all classrooms, conference rooms, breakrooms, and other common areas for further cleaning and disinfection. See below for cleaning Shared Surfaces and Objects.

When someone tests positive for COVID-19, EHS is notified to determine which spaces need additional attention. Facilities mobilizes when EHS directs specific spaces to be additionally disinfected.

Coffee Makers and Refrigerators

Local coffee makers and refrigerators (e.g., departmental) may be used on campus, but frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned often. Disinfecting wipes work well. Use disposable or personal beverage containers.

Computer Workstations (Shared)

Computer workstations may be shared as long as touched surfaces are cleaned after use by the user.

Events, Meetings, Gatherings, and Activities

All academic and social events, meetings, gatherings, and activities for students, faculty and staff of any size (other than those occurring as a regular part of a course or class on the scheduled academic calendar) must comply with Requirements for Yale-sponsored Events. These requirements also apply to all business or social gatherings in administrative units. Contact your unit’s Health and Safety Leader if you have questions.

With high vaccination rates and verified indoor ventilation at Yale, the campus is the safest place to be. If you go off-campus or attend an event not sponsored by Yale, beware that many unvaccinated individuals may be present. Crowded, indoor events with few masks are the highest risk. Even if vaccinated, you risk infection and transmitting the disease to others. Don’t bring COVID-19 back to campus.

To maximize the safety of any gathering (including on and off-campus, Yale-sponsored or not):

  • Minimize the gathering size. Larger gatherings mean higher risk. Consider holding two smaller gatherings instead of a one large gathering.
  • It is best to hold the gathering outdoors to maximize ventilation and allow distancing.
  • Unvaccinated individuals should remain masked and maintain 6-foot distancing at all times.
  • Others should try to remain 3-4 feet distanced. Avoid/leave crowded venues that do not allow distancing.
  • When eating and drinking, step aside so that you are not face-to-face with another person.
  • At large gatherings, encourage everyone to wear a mask—even people who are vaccinated.
  • Limiting duration reduces the chances of transmission.
  • Avoid objects touched by others. Do not share pens, utensils, plates or cups. Use hand sanitizer after touching doorknobs, switches, handles, handrails or elevator buttons.

Singing, loud speech, dancing, or other high-exertion exercise increase the risk of transmission to individuals both indoors and outdoors.

Transmission risks often increase when alcohol is served, as people may forgo masking and distancing practices, and conversations typically become louder.

Field Trips

Off-campus, university sponsored trips (e.g., apple picking, student association events, etc.) must comply with Yale’s Events, Gatherings & Meetings requirements. Participants should be cautious of contact with people outside of the Yale community if their vaccination status is unknown. If the event includes proximity activities (e.g., being shoulder-to-shoulder in a crowd), masks should be worn even if outdoors. Otherwise, consider masking if closer than 6 feet to others. Avoid off-site indoor activities and commonly touched objects. Use hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes where necessary. Participants traveling to the event in shared transportation should consult EHS vehicle guidance for up-to-date recommendations.

Food and Drink Service

A fully vaccinated student leader or staff member may individually “plate” or wrap individual servings from a buffet.

Food trucks are allowable as long as the food is individually served, as described above.

Coffee and drink dispensers are permitted. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned often. Disinfecting wipes work well.

Avoid queuing and close contact as much as possible as participants wait for food and drink. 

Gyms, Fitness Centers, and Recreation Rooms

Yale Athletics has posted COVID safety rules for their fitness, recreation, and athletic facilities, including the Payne Whitney Gym.

The following rules are for other campus and residential college gyms and recreation rooms. Unvaccinated people may use these spaces.

Fitness center rules for all users:

  • A face mask must be worn if another person is in the gym.
  • When using gym equipment (e.g., treadmill, elliptical, weights, etc.) 6-foot distancing must always be maintained. (To ensure distancing, we suggest marking some closely-spaced equipment “do not use.”)
  • Users must wipe all shared objects and key equipment touch points with disinfectant wipes or other appropriate disinfecting cleaning product before and after use.

Masked vaccinated individuals may fully engage in basketball and squash. Masked unvaccinated individuals may shoot baskets (e.g., play HORSE) while maintaining 6-foot distancing from others. Unvaccinated individuals may not engage in contact activities.

These rules are to be posted in campus gyms, fitness centers, and recreation rooms.

Mask Guidance

Please see EHS’s Mask Guidance for the latest university requirements.

Meals, Eating, and Drinking

The following guidance is intended for personal use when eating on and off campus, and when eating in private or in groups. Additional requirements apply to food and eating at academic and social events, meetings, gatherings, and activities.

If you are unvaccinated, you must maintain a 6-foot distance from others at all times, including while eating or drinking. While masked, unvaccinated individuals may serve their own food.

Vaccinated individuals are not required to distance while eating or drinking.

Observe these precautions:

  • Minimize your time unmasked.
  • Indoor eating is OK. The safest indoor places to eat are in private spaces or uncrowded public spaces that are mechanically or naturally ventilated.
  • When others are present, distance as much as possible. Choose an uncrowded area to sit and eat—one that allows 3-4 feet of distancing.
  • Minimize your time in communal dining areas.
  • Minimize unmasked conversations.
  • If in groups, minimize the group size.
  • Outdoor eating is strongly preferred. Additional tents, tables, and benches have been set up on campus to facilitate eating outdoors.

After eating meals or drinking re-mask immediately and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.

Residential College Spaces

Please follow Yale’s current masking guidance. Masking is not required when roommates are in their suites. Everyone should be masked when non-roommates are present in the ensuite common room.

Unvaccinated individuals need to maintain 6-foot distancing from others. Accommodations should be made for those who prefer or need to physical distance. See Requirements for Physical Distancing.

Occupancy in dining halls will be governed by available seating, which may change over the course of the year. Since masks are removed for eating, it is a higher risk activity and eating outdoors is encouraged.

Except as otherwise noted, spaces for congregating will be open with occupancy governed by available seating and the need for unvaccinated people to maintain 6-foot physical distancing from others while indoors. Activities must be non-aerosolizing. Avoid crowding and allow sufficient space for those who need or want to distance, especially in ensuite common rooms. Do not add chairs or seating to a space to exceed normal capacity.

Events, gatherings, and meetings (e.g., a film screening in a college theater) must comply with Yale’s Events, Gatherings & Meetings policy. Direct exception requests to Melanie Boyd (Yale College Health and Safety Leader) and

The capacity of butteries and kitchens should be limited to twenty (20) or fewer individuals (no crowding), consistent with the Events, Gatherings & Meetings policy. Eating and drinking in butteries and kitchens should follow the Meals, Eating, and Drinking guidance, above. Food should be individually served by a server (not self-serve) or in individual plates/bowls.

Shared surfaces and objects should be cleaned as explained below. Keep disinfecting wipes handy.

For gyms, basketball courts, and squash courts, see guidelines for Gyms, Fitness Centers, and Recreation Rooms, above.

For questions, please contact Melanie Boyd with a copy to

Music Practice Rooms and Recording Studios

Contact the Head of College office to request use of these rooms.

Unvaccinated individuals may only use these spaces if no one else is in the space (solo use). After use, unvaccinated users should put a note on the door to allow a 15-minute vacant rest period to allow aerosols to disperse.

Vaccinated individuals may use these spaces if no one else is in the space (solo use) with no additional restrictions.

Use of these spaces by more than one individual requires everyone present to be vaccinated, asymptomatic, and masked at all times. Wind instruments must use slitted masks and bell covers. Follow the protocols posted at Fall 2021 COVID Policy for Performing Arts.

Dance Studios

Protocols for dance activities are posted at Fall 2021 COVID Policy for Performing Arts.

Physical Distancing

See Requirements for Physical Distancing.

Shared Surfaces and Objects

While Yale custodians conduct more frequent and thorough cleaning, all members of the Yale community need to help keep workplaces clean. 

Facilities will clean daily the common high-touch surfaces that are frequently touched by multiple people, such as:

  • Bathroom faucets and toilets
  • Office break areas/kitchens
  • Door handles, light switches, and handrails.
  • Drinking fountains

Students and staff are responsible for daily cleaning of:

  • Desks
  • Workstations
  • Printer/copiers
  • Other shared equipment

Some shared objects should be cleaned with disinfecting wipes before and after use. These include:

  • Gym and other sports equipment
  • Shared objects in studios and game rooms

Disinfecting wipes should be made available to staff for disinfection of office and other shared equipment. Lead Administrators may order wipes via the Yale Printing and Publishing Services website.

Undergraduate Performance and Performing Arts

COVID safety guidelines for fall 2021 have been established for undergraduate performing arts.

UV Lights

Due to multiple safety concerns, the use of UV lights for disinfection is not recommended. Please contact for information or proposed uses.

Water Fountains/Bottle Filling Stations

Campus water fountains and bottle filling stations may be used, unless otherwise noted.