Safe Campus Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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. Please also refer to Occupancy Requirements and Limits for campus spaces.

Continue to follow health precautions even if you have had COVID-19 or have been vaccinated. Public health experts have not yet determined if a previous COVID-19 infection or vaccination offers protection from transmitting the virus.

For additional information, please see the CDC guidance on personal and social activities.

Air Purifiers (Portable)

Portable air purifiers are not recommended unless used under specific EHS direction for a given purpose. These units are generally effective only at a short distance, and they can interfere with room ventilation and air circulation. If not maintained, dirty filters may introduce hazards to the space.

Cleaning Shared Surfaces

While Yale custodians conduct more frequent and thorough cleaning, all members of the Yale community need to help keep workplaces clean. Managers should make cleaning supplies (e.g., disinfecting wipes and sprays) readily available at multiple locations. Lead Administrators order wipes via the Yale Printing and Publishing Services website.

Follow EHS guidelines to routinely clean and disinfect workstations and other frequently touched surfaces. Wipe down commonly used surfaces, such as light switches, desks, tabletops, doorknobs, elevator buttons, touch screens, equipment, faucet handles, and handrails. If shared, desks, workstations, and offices should be cleaned and disinfected after use. Disposable wipes are convenient, but other cleaners described in EHS’ guidelines are effective too.

Coffee Makers

Local coffee makers (e.g., departmental) may be used on campus, but touched surfaces need to cleaned after use. Use disposable or personal beverage containers.

If people are not acting safely, use of the coffee maker should be prohibited.

Computer Workstations (Shared)

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


Individual condiment packets should be used instead of condiment containers. Where individual packets are not available, condiment containers should be provided only upon request and sanitized between uses by food service staff.

Cookie Trays

Serving cookies on open trays should avoided. Any to-go items such as cookies must be individually wrapped. Crowds should not be allowed to gather around such items. Use floor markers for distancing where appropriate.

Eating and Drinking

The following guidance is intended for personal use, not for academic and social events, meetings, gatherings, and activities.

Since eating and drinking requires mask removal and increases the probability of virus transmission, the most appropriate places to eat are spaces maintained by Hospitality for dining, private offices/cubicles, or designated eating areas. In designated eating areas, maintain occupancy limits and 6-foot distancing (or more).

If you can eat in a private office or cubicle, or other spaces indoor or out apart from others, you are encouraged to do so. In some workgroups, people with private offices make them available when not in use, so that others can eat alone there. (Reminder: eating and/or drinking in laboratories is not allowed.) Always ask permission from the office owner prior to eating in a private office and be sure to clean up after yourself and wipe down any shared surfaces when finished. Post a sign at the office door alerting others to knock prior to entering.

It is acceptable to briefly pull down your mask to take an occasional drink from a water bottle.

Eating and drinking outside is acceptable if proper distance of 6 feet or more is maintained.

While masks are removed, try to eat as quickly as possible and keep conversations to a minimum.

In other areas on campus, it is expected that all members on campus refrain from eating.

See below for guidance on Eating in Breakrooms, Lunchrooms and Classrooms.

Eating in Breakrooms, Lunchrooms and Classrooms

The following guidance is intended for personal use, not for academic and social events, meetings, gatherings, and activities.

Whenever possible, avoid gathering in groups to eat. When eating In departmental or public breakrooms, maintain posted occupancy limits and 6-foot distancing (or more). Wear masks at all times when not eating or drinking. Disinfection of surfaces, shared equipment and frequent touchpoints must be performed after each use. While masks are removed, try to eat as quickly as possible and keep conversations to a minimum. Please see the following sources for more information on eating and drinking and kitchen use.

When breakrooms are not being used for meals, feel free to use as meeting spaces IF all occupancy limits, mask use and distancing measures are followed. It is acceptable to pull down your mask to take an occasional bite of food or a drink.

If using an empty conference room or seminar room to eat in, you must: (1) obey all posted signage for occupancy, (2) maintain 6ft or more distance from other, and (3) disinfect all surfaces and frequent touch points after each use. Conference rooms and seminar rooms are not cleaned by custodial staff on the same frequency as designated eating areas, so it is important that proper disinfection takes place after each use.

Any use of classrooms or lecture halls for meals must be approved by the appropriate Health and Safety Leaders (HSLs).  When using these spaces for meals, this sign must be posted on all entrances and these rules must be followed: (1) Occupancy must be kept to 50% of the posted maximum occupancy for this space and cannot exceed 25 people, (2) 12 ft (or more) distance must be maintained, (3) occupants must keep their masks on at all times while not eating and when masks are removed, try to eat as quickly as possible and keep conversations to a minimum and (4) space must have all high touch surfaces cleaned after each use.

Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after using any of these spaces.

Note: If occupancy limits have not been posted, you may: (1) calculate yourself by measuring the room and following Yale’s’ occupancy guidance, (2) contact your facilities superintendent (VPN needed to access facilities superintendent map) or (3) contact EHS.

Breakrooms and lunchrooms should have mechanical ventilation. If you are unsure if your breakroom has mechanical ventilation, work with your facilities superintendent.

Order a break room maximum occupancy sign from YPPS or download and print a black & white version.

Events, Meetings, Gatherings and Activities

Avoid social gatherings of more than ten people. Note that 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 for Spring 2021. 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.

Food Preparation

Care must be taken to prevent contamination from the preparer/server to the recipient. Food should be prepared where there is good ventilation and those preparing are maintaining proper distancing.

Food Services

Outside of dining rooms, individually wrapped “grab and go” food may be distributed. Make sure that 6-foot distancing is maintained, and queuing is avoided.

Takeout is allowed as long as care was taken to prevent contamination from the preparer/server to the recipient, and the above precautions are taken.

Grills (or fire pits)

Grills or fire pits should not be used without supervision and thorough planning due to the high likelihood of failure to achieve social distancing.

Keyboard Covers

The use of keyboard covers that can easily be disinfected for shared computer equipment is not required, but is recommended. Disinfection information for shared equipment, such as computers, can be found at:

Kitchens (Departmental)

Non-Dining Services food preparation spaces (departmental kitchens) should be limited to a single use at one time and disinfected after each use by the person preparing food. Disinfection does not replace proper hand-washing, distancing and mask use. As much as possible, users of the food preparation area should be using utensils and other materials brought from their home and used only by them. Disinfection of any shared equipment should be performed after each use by the person using the equipment. Departments responsible for the space must provide disinfecting materials.

Laundry Rooms

Laundry rooms are open and available, but with occupancy limited to either one or two people at a time (as posted on occupancy signage) depending on size of the room. Mask use and physical distancing are required when using shared laundry spaces.

Office Hours/One-on-One Meetings

Virtual meetings are still strongly encouraged whenever possible. Per State of CT and CDC guidance, for in-person meetings, spaces used for the meetings should be disinfected after each use by the occupant of the space. In the case of office hours, disinfection of frequently touched surfaces should occur after each visitor to the office. Please remember that disinfection does not replace proper hand-washing, distancing and mask use. Masks are to be worn at all times by all occupants in any space that is reasonably expected to be shared. Additionally, a best practice is to limit continuous occupancy to no more than three hours. If meeting spaces are used for long periods of time, a break should be taken, and the office left for an hour (ex. lunch break) to allow aerosols to dissipate.

For guidance on disinfecting office spaces, please refer to

Outdoor Sports, Games and Other Activities

The following guidance is intended for personal use, not for academic and social events, meetings, gatherings, and activities.

Outdoor sports and games should be held in large, open spaces (no activities in tents) and must be limited to those that allow for proper physical distancing (at least six feet distance throughout). For those games that can be played without contact or close physical proximity, face coverings must be worn at all times and, as much as possible, the cross-touching of game equipment should be minimized. Hand sanitizer should be available for use and participants should avoid touching their faces until they have washed their hands or used hand sanitizer.

Since high intensity exercise can increase the risk of aerosol production, outdoor exercise classes must supervised and held in large enough areas to allow for required physical distancing (6 feet or greater, with distancing increased for activities with increased intensity). Participants, as much as the exercise allows, should stay in one place. Outdoor occupancy limits must be adhered to and masks worn at all times. Attendance must be kept. For attendance and occupancy purposes, use pre-registration or count ‘first come, first serve’ to the occupancy limit. Equipment, such as weights and bands, should be single user and properly cleaned after each use (cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer must be made available by the class organizer/supervisor). Frisbees, balls and other objects used in mild exercise can be shared as long as they are disinfected after each use. Participants should bring their own water bottles and other equipment (ex. mats, towels) if possible.

Contact tracing is important. Keep a record of everyone who participates in the activity. For example: Take a picture of your group.

Rest Times

This refers to the time a room should be remain unoccupied between uses, to let aerosols settle and/or an air exchange. Prior to use, shared spaces should be cleaned or disinfected. A “do not enter” sign should be posted during rest time.

Rest time guidance:

  • Music practice room - one hour
  • Mechanically ventilated spaces that typically were continuously occupied for more than nine hours a day pre-COVID - one hour some time during the day (e.g., lunch or dinner break)

Restaurants, Cafes and Shopping

To minimize indoor contact with others, get take-out or delivery from cafes and restaurants, and refrain from in-person restaurant dining. New Haven restaurants, cafes and retail stores must follow State of Connecticut rules for occupancy, disinfection, hand hygiene, and operations. Masks and six-foot distancing are required. At restaurants, groups of customers must be 6-plus feet apart. Every establishment has different COVID safety rules. Please follow them, as well as Yale’s rules for gatherings. Students must comply with the community compact.

Keep a record of everyone in your group.


Running Solo: Wear a mask and establish your route to remain at least six feet away from others. Download Yale’s LiveSafe App, which allows you to use your smart phone as a personal security device to provide the Yale Police Department with accurate information about yourself and your GPS location.

Running in Pairs: Limit your run to include only one running partner at a time. You and your running partner should both wear masks throughout your run and maintain a six-foot distance between yourselves as well as other people.

Running in Groups: You should not run in groups larger than two as it makes proper social distancing difficult. If you have a larger group that would like to participate in a run, stagger your start times to help maintain proper social distancing. There are also apps, such as Strava, available that let you connect virtually with a running group. All runners should wear a mask, even if start times are staggered.

Self-Service Beverage Stations

Self-service beverage stations are allowed, but must adhere to the following guidelines. Hand sanitizer must be made available next to beverage stations and operators must require customers to use before pouring beverages. Only cello or paper wrapped straws and stirrers are allowed. Cups and lids must be from single pull dispenser or other method to minimize contact. Sweeteners, sugars and creamers must be individual packets. Floor markers must be installed to achieve social distancing. Samplings and refills of personal mugs and cups are not allowed. Frequent disinfecting of the beverage station must take place, even during busy times.

Social Distancing

See Requirements for Physical Distancing and Minimizing Face-to-Face Contact.

TV Viewing Areas

The following guidance is intended for personal use, not for academic and social events, meetings, gatherings, and activities.

Feel free to use TV viewing areas as long as the people are masked, 6-foot distanced, and the space has good ventilation. Your Facilities Superintendent can evaluate the area’s ventilation.

Contact tracing is important. Keep a record of everyone who participates in the activity. For example: Take a picture of your group.

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

Most campus water fountains are button-activated. To prevent touching a shared surface, most water fountains are marked, “Do not use.”

Many campus water bottle filling stations are sensor-activated (no touch). Those can be used.