Safer Yale Practices

Updated: December 6, 2022

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. HSLs, managers, administrators, and unit leads can see additional planning guidance.

Admitted/Prospective Student Events

For visits spanning more than four days, or visitors staying in residential colleges overnight, all of the above guidelines should be met along with the submission (by the visitor) of a COVID Attestation for Visitors.


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.)


Classrooms

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.


Cleaning

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. PCR testing through Color is available without charge to all faculty, students, and staff. Tests submitted to a testing kiosk prior to 1:30 pm Monday-Saturday typically result before the start of the following business day. Yale Health members can get free rapid antigen test kits through the Yale Health Pharmacy.
  • 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. See Rest Period guidance for more information.
  • 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 ehs@yale.edu 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.

Food and Drink Service at Gatherings

The following practices are advisable for preventing transmission of COVID-19, the common cold, the flu, and other infectious diseases:

  • Provide disinfecting wipes and encourage periodic cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.
  • Prevent crowding and close contact by asking people to provide distance from others while queueing for food or drink.
  • If possible, spread out the placement of provided food platters, trays, drink dispensers, etc. to facilitate distancing while people get their food and drink.
  • A best practice is to offer food items that are individually packaged or wrapped.
  • Self-service (using tongs) is always acceptable for individual food items, such as bagels, muffins, pastries, cookies, etc.
  • Alternatively, self-service buffet tables (using tongs) is acceptable.
  • When eating and drinking, step aside so that you are not face-to-face with another person.
  • After the gathering, contact surfaces should be cleaned with disinfecting wipes.

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. For alumni and development meetings, please refer to Best Practices for Off-Campus Alumni and Donor Events for guidance.

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 up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines (as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
  • 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 (using a form to be developed) that they have completed the COVID-19 vaccines available to them in their home country. If the event is less than four days, the requirement in #2 applies, but no attestation is required; and
    • Visitor must carry documentation and make it available on request.
  • 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.


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. These steps are advisable for preventing transmission of COVID-19, the common cold, the flu, and other infectious diseases.

Additional guidelines apply to food and eating at academic and social events, gatherings, and meetings.

Observe these precautions:

  • Outdoor eating is preferred.
  • Uncrowded spaces that are mechanically or naturally ventilated are the next safest places to eat.
  • When others are present, distance as much as possible.
  • Minimize your time in communal dining areas.
  • If in groups, minimize the group size.
  • Before and after eating meals or drinking wash your hands or use hand sanitizer and disinfect shared surfaces.

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.
  • Be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines (as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
  • Take a PCR test (no more than 48 hours before traveling to campus) or a rapid antigen test (on the day of travel, prior to departure). Do not travel until you receive your results. If your test is positive do not travel to New Haven. If you test is negative, carry your test results with you and be prepared to share them if asked.
  • 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 either complete a PCR test on the same or following day, or 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.

Personal Contingency Plan for Visitors

Visitors to the Yale campus should have 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.


Student Organizations

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


UV Lights

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


Visiting Performers

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

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 at all 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 within the U.S., participants, including those who are not part of the Yale community, should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines (as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
  • 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, 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 Yale’s Mask Requirements and Guidance.
  • 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.

See above for additional guidance for Events with Aerosolizing Activities.