Safer Yale Practices

Updated: May 19, 2023

Below is an alphabetical list of topics and recommendations to minimize COVID risks. While this page contains recommendations, Yale continues to implement required safety policies and procedures as detailed on Yale’s COVID-19 website (with vaccination and testing requirements), the Workplace Guidance Page, and in the Travel and Visitor policies.

Admitted/Prospective Student Events

Air Purifiers

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 Filtration Ventilation Units (AFVUs) and/or portable air purifiers. AFVUs are being maintained by Facilities for year-round or seasonal use, and users should not disconnect them by themselves without contacting the facilities.

If you desire a portable air purifier, it may be purchased separately with 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.)


See Yale’s Mask Requirements and Guidance for masking requirements for students and instructors.

For classrooms, there is no distancing requirement. 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. Hand sanitizer is provided in classrooms, conference rooms, breakrooms, and other common areas.

Events, Gatherings, and Meetings (“gatherings”)

No Gathering may exceed a venue’s occupancy limit (as designated by posted capacity or fire code limit).   

As stated in the university policy, gatherings should follow these Safer Yale Practices to maximize the safety of any gathering, including on and off-campus, Yale-sponsored or not. (See below for specific guidance for Yale-Sponsored Off-Campus Events and Gatherings.)

  • Event organizers may (at their discretion) require pre-event COVID testing for attendees. Testing prior to a large gathering can prevent spread of the virus. This is a best practice for holiday parties.
    • Pre-event testing can be either a PCR test 24-48 hours prior to the event or a rapid antigen test the day of the event.
  • Remind invitees and participants to not attend if symptomatic.
  • While 100% occupancy of spaces is permitted, it is a safer practice to have a lower occupancy percentage to reduce crowding.
  • Limit the duration of indoor gatherings to less than three hours. Indoor gatherings longer than three hours should include one or more 15-60 minute unoccupied (vacated space) intermission for air exchange.
  • Spaces with good ventilation are preferred. See Campus and New Haven Venues Available for Events and Gatherings for a list of on campus ventilation-verified venues. If not on the list, venues with mechanical ventilation and supplied fresh air may still be used.
  • Mechanical ventilation is especially important when gatherings involve aerosolizing or unmasked activities, such as eating, drinking, dancing, etc.
  • Open operable windows, where available.
  • (Beware that the ventilation systems of many off-campus venues are designed for energy conservation and not COVID safety. Hosts and sponsors of gatherings should check with the venue regarding ventilation, and if needed, ask the venue manager to increase the room’s filtration, circulation, and supplied fresh air.)
  • To ensure that your on-campus after-hours meeting or activity room is properly ventilated, be sure to submit a Facilities Work Request prior to your event.
  • Contact Facilities at 203-432-6888 or EHS at if you have questions about a venue’s ventilation.

It is best to hold gatherings outdoors to maximize ventilation and allow distancing.

Events with Aerosolizing Activities

Special care should be taken when organizing events that include high-aerosolizing activities, such as singing and dancing.

  • Ensure that the facility has good ventilation as described above.
  • For longer duration aerosolizing activities, a best practice is to minimize occupancy, below the posted limit. Consider layout configurations that allow for greater distancing.
  • If the performers are singers or wind instrumentalists, provide a 6-foot moat between them and the audience.

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.

Please wipe all shared objects and key equipment touch points with disinfectant wipes or other appropriate disinfecting cleaning product before and after use.

Hosting Meetings and Events

Additional precautions may be prudent for longer meetings/events, activities involving large crowds, and aerosolization, music and practices.

The following are best practices for events/meetings:

  • Get a private room if at all possible. Use of a private residence is not recommended.
  • Meeting participants who are members of Yale community should follow Yale’s Vaccination Policy as well as other applicable Yale requirements (e.g., the Travel Policy) in place at the time).
  • If individuals who are not part of the Yale community are invited, they should be follow Yale’s Visitors Policy.
  • For events/meetings not held in the U.S. (recognizing that the bivalent vaccine may not be readily available everywhere in the world), our minimum standard for Yale-sponsored events is:
    • Host country’s vaccination requirement must be met (e.g., Panama has no requirements; Philippines requires fully vaccinated); and
    • For an event of four days duration or longer, the visitor must attest that they have completed the COVID-19 vaccines available to them in their home country; and
    • The visitor must be prepared to show vaccination documentation if asked.
  • Tell invitees to not attend if symptomatic.
  • Consider an outdoor event, if possible. Tents should have no more than two sides.
  • For indoor events, only use venues with mechanical ventilation and supplied fresh air. If windows are available, please open them. Spaces with high ceilings and large, spacious rooms are likely to have better ventilation. The room should not feel stuffy.
  • For events over three hours, a best practice is to add a 15-30 minute break, to empty the room and allow an exchange of fresh air.
  • Seek other ways to improve the ventilation. Periodically open nearby doors to the outside. Ask venue managers to increase air circulation.
  • Follow CDC’s guidance for indoor masking, based on COVID-19 community levels in the area. Provide hand sanitizer and masks for people who arrive without one.
  • If food or drink is served, follow the Safer Yale Practices guidelines.
  • Designate people to manage the event: control entry, prevent crowding, and remind people to wear masks.

Mask Requirements and Guidance

Please follow Yale’s Mask Requirements and Guidance.

Minors in Laboratories and Visiting Undergraduate Students on Campus

Applications for minors in laboratories and visiting undergraduate students participating in educational research and/or clinical activities should be submitted online via EHS Integrator.

All minors in laboratories and visiting undergraduates must:

  • Have a personal contingency plan in the event that they  test positive upon arrival or during their visit.
  • Comply with Yale COVID policies in effect at the time.
  • Take a rapid antigen test (on the day of travel, prior to departure). If your test is positive do not come to campus.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms, mask, isolate, and take a rapid antigen test.  If the rapid antigen test result is negative, continue to mask and isolate and repeat the rapid antigen test 24 to 48 hours after the first test.
  • If any test is positive, mask, isolate, and make plans to leave campus immediately.

Occupancy Recommendations

It is important to not exceed an indoor venue’s occupancy to reduce COVID risk and to ensure safe evacuation in an emergency. Occupancy of indoor spaces for congregating on campus is governed by available seating, fire code capacity, and/or typical occupancy. General occupancy principles are:

  • Fire code capacity limits may not be exceeded. This limit is usually posted at the room’s entryway. Contact the Yale Fire Marshal’s Office if you have questions. Classroom capacities are available from 25 Live.
  • Reduced occupancy limits may be implemented for some spaces and events where aerosolizing activities take place (e.g., music practice and performance spaces, theaters, stages, and gyms).
  • The Office of Facilities may recommend other occupancy limits based on the room’s typical occupancy and/or ventilation capacity.

See Yale’s Events, Gatherings, and Meetings Guidance for more information.

Personal Contingency Plan for Visitors

Visitors to the Yale campus should develop a personal plan in case they test positive upon arrival or during their visit. Be sure to make these plans prior to traveling. Unless you have been informed otherwise, Yale does not have isolation housing for visitors who test positive. Bring a well-fitting, high-quality mask. Identify an emergency contact who can help you arrange return travel, including private transportation if you need to travel during the five-day isolation period. Refundable travel arrangements are strongly recommended.

If you test positive upon arrival or during your visit:

  • Do not come to campus.
  • If on campus, leave as soon as possible.
  • Isolate from others for at least five days. During that time, do not take public transportation (e.g., airplane, bus or train) that could expose others.
  • Get a hotel room that offers contact-free check-in or return home if possible.
  • Tell your close contacts.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask when around others. If available, a N95 or KN95 respirator is recommended.
  • Watch for symptoms. If you have any emergency warning signs, seek emergency care immediately.
  • Tell your healthcare provider. Contact them as soon as possible if:
    • Your symptoms get worse.
    • You are more likely to get very sick because you are an older adult or have an underlying medical condition. Possible treatment may be available for you.
    • You have questions about your isolation.

Shared Surfaces and Objects

Many infectious diseases can be transmitted via shared surfaces and objects. Hand washing and cleaning can prevent transmission. While Yale custodians conduct routine cleaning, all members of the Yale community need to help keep workplaces clean. 

Yale custodians regularly clean 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.

Service Providers and Sales Vendors

Vendors who are providing services on-site at Yale, or other groups coming to campus such as site inspectors or safety monitors, should comply with Yale’s Visitor Policy.

Note: If any on-site duties are subcontracted, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure subcontractors have appropriate training.

Student Organizations

Please see the COVID Policy for Registered Undergraduate Yale Student Organizations.

Tent Use

  • Avoid tents with more than two sides.
  • All tents and heating must meet building and fire codes. 
  • Please complete a Facilities Service Request to request a tent and provide a COA.   
  • Tents are not designed to withstand high winds and winter weather. Prior to installation, all tents must have a management plan based on the design (known wind rating and snow loading) which, at a minimum, identifies who is responsible for continuously monitoring the weather and who will remove the tent when required. This management plan must be provided to Facilities prior to installation.
  • See Yale’s Events, Gatherings, and Meetings Guidance for more.

Travel Information-COVID-19

All domestic or international travel must comply with Yale’s COVID Travel Policy and the International Travel Policy for Yale College Students.  Carefully review the above policies for permissions and requirements for university-sponsored travel.

International travel by members of the Yale community is supported by International SOS, which provides medical, security, and travel assistance services.

Undergraduate Performance and Performing Arts

COVID safety guidelines have been established for undergraduate performing arts. Additionally, please see the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media’s COVID-19 Filmmaking Policies.


Yale Facilities Operations and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) staff have evaluated the ventilation systems in all occupied buildings, including all classroom spaces. Based on CDC and ASHRAE guidelines, modifications have been made to HVAC systems, which include upgraded filtration, extended run times of air systems, and modifications to air delivery systems to allow high levels of outdoor air supply to serve spaces and optimize work environments. Facilities and EHS have also evaluated environmental conditions in work locations that are naturally ventilated or that have limited mechanical ventilation. For spaces that lack mechanical ventilation and have no windows, ventilation has been enhanced or EHS has suggested limited occupancy. If you have questions about a space, contact your Facilities Superintendent or EHS Safety Advisor for an evaluation.

Room Ventilation After Hours

To ensure that your after-hours meeting or activity room is properly ventilated, be sure to submit a Facilities Work Request prior to your event. “After-hours” refers to indoor events and meetings on weekends and after 8:00 pm on weekdays in Yale buildings.*

A Facilities Work Request can be submitted online (VPN required). If possible, please submit 24 hours ahead of the event. Include the following information:

  • Building name
  • Room number
  • Event start and end times

A Facilities Work Request can also be submitted by your Building/Department Administrator, operations manager, or Facility Superintendent. Facilities will ensure that room is properly conditioned for the event/meeting and provide a flush period before and after the event.

*This does not apply to laboratories, residential college/grad housing living areas, athletic facilities, and healthcare areas, which are on a continuous ventilation schedule.

Seasonal Ventilation

Some buildings are naturally ventilated in the summer (by opening windows), but mechanical ventilation is provided for winter heating. In other spaces without mechanical ventilation, opening a window just a small amount provides significant ventilation without affecting room temperature. This is recommended.

Visiting Performers

Individual guest performers/existing ensemble performers/guest performers co-presenting with Yale faculty, students, staff/visiting independent artists performing together at Yale should:

  • Comply with all Yale’s health and safety policies (including Yale’s Visitors Policy).
  • Be asymptomatic for any rehearsal or performance.
  • Follow additional guidelines provided by the host unit.

Adhere to Yale’s Mask Requirements and Guidance.

Yale-Sponsored Off-Campus Events and Gatherings

The following are best practices for Yale-sponsored off-campus events and gatherings:

  • Get a private room, if possible.
  • Because of ventilation limitations, the use of a private residence is not recommended. If a private residence is used, limit attendance to reduce crowding and follow CDC recommendations to improve the home’s ventilation.
  • For Yale-sponsored gatherings outside of the U.S., Yale attendees have to meet the Yale Travel Policy and be vaccination-policy compliant. Local attendees must meet local vaccination requirements.
  • Tell invitees to not attend if symptomatic.
  • Consider an outdoor event, if possible. Tents should have no more than two sides.
  • For indoor events, choose venues with mechanical ventilation and supplied fresh air. If windows are available, please open them. Spaces with high ceilings and large, spacious rooms are likely to have better ventilation. The room should not feel stuffy.
  • Follow Yale’s Mask Requirements and Guidance.
  • Provide hand sanitizer and masks for people who arrive without one.

See additional guidance for Events with Aerosolizing Activities.