Safer Yale Practices

Updated: May 17, 2022

Below is an alphabetical list of topics that are closely related to our academic and operational policies, procedures, and guidelines. Please see Yale’s COVID-19 website and Workplace Guidance Page for additional information. HSLs, managers, administrators, and unit leads can see additional planning guidance.

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

Admitted/Prospective Student Events

  • Only invited participants (prospective or admitted students) will be allowed.
  • Per Yale’s Visitors Policy, vaccination and booster required - must carry proof and provide it as requested. 
  • Registration should contain vaccination and booster requirement.
  • Picture ID and vaccination and booster credentials may be required to be shown at the door.
  • PCR negative test no more than 48 hours prior to arrival.
  • Negative Rapid Antigen Test (Yale-provided; CRT approval to Yale Health will procure supply to school) on day of first on-campus experience.
  • Indoor group eating should follow Events, Gatherings, and Meetings guidance below.
  • Adhere to Yale’s Mask Requirements and Guidance.
  • Aerosolizing activities (e.g., eating, singing, unmasked loud speech) should follow Events, Gatherings, and Meetings guidance below.
  • Attendees should have a personal contingency plan in case they test positive on arrival.

For multiple day visits, all of the above guidelines should be met along with the following guidelines:

  • The host is required to submit a longer-term visitor form (vaccination information).
  • A daily health check to monitor for COVID-related symptoms is required. If anyone started showing Covid-related symptoms, that person should stop joining activities.
  • A contingency plan, including a negative Rapid Antigen Test, should be in place for those who show symptoms, or test positive.

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.)


Alumni and Donor Events (Off Campus)

Please see Best Practices for Off-Campus Alumni and Donor Events.


Classrooms

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 physically 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 Yale’s Mask Requirements and 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.


Cleaning

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 if touched surfaces are cleaned after use by the user.


Cubicles

See Yale’s Mask Requirements and Guidance for masking requirements. Since cubicle arrangements vary greatly, EHS is available to perform an on-site evaluate of your workspace and building ventilation to help determine optimal distancing for people working in cubicles, study carrels, etc. Please contact your Safety Advisor.


Events, Gatherings, and Meetings (“gatherings”)

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):

  • Minimize size and density.
    • Encourage all attendees to wear a mask at dense gatherings.
    • Density is generally determined by available seating and/or typical occupancy.
  • Limit the duration of indoor gatherings to less than three hours. Indoor gatherings longer than three hours should include one or more 30-60 minute unoccupied (vacated space) intermission for air exchange.
  • Only use spaces with good ventilation. See Campus and New Haven Venues Available for Events and Gatherings for a list of on campus ventilation-verified venues.
  • Mechanical ventilation is especially important when gatherings involve aerosolizing or unmasked activities, such as eating, drinking, dancing, etc.
  • Only use venues with mechanical ventilation and supplied fresh air, if not on the Campus and New Haven Venues Available for Events and Gatherings list.
  • 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.
  • A private home’s ventilation is nearly always inadequate for a gathering.
  • 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.
  • Individuals with a university-sponsored exemption to vaccination should always remain masked and maintain 6-foot distancing. Masks are strongly encouraged for those who are fully vaccinated, but have not yet received a booster.

The permitted occupancy of a venue for events, meetings, and gatherings, depends upon activities involved in the event and whether it is indoors or outdoors.

To ascertain 100% occupancy of a venue with verified acceptable ventilation, use the following guidance:

  • If the capacity of the space you are using is known, determine the permitted occupancy based on this information and the Permitted Occupancy table below.
    • Classroom capacities are available from 25 Live.
    • Posted fire code capacity limits at venues should be used, as outlined above.
  • If the capacity of the space you are using is unknown, calculate the capacity by multiplying the length times the width of the space and dividing it by 15 to determine the capacity. Use the Permitted Occupancy table below to determine the maximum occupancy for the space.
  • In all situations, fire code capacity limits may not be exceeded.

To ascertain 100% occupancy of a venue with non-verified acceptable ventilation, use the following guidance:

  • If these spaces need to be used, you should reduce occupancy as described below.
  • If the capacity of the space you are using is unknown, calculate the permitted occupancy by multiplying the length times the width of the space and dividing it by 25 to determine the capacity. Use the table below to determine the maximum occupancy for the space.
  • If windows are available, please open them.
  • Tents with two or fewer sides are considered an outdoor gathering. Follow the outdoor occupancy guidance below.
  • Spacing on stages and performance areas should follow CRT-provided guidance.
  • In all situations, fire code capacity limits may not be exceeded.

Occupancy recommendations are shown in the chart below:

Permitted Occupancy


Food and Drink Service at Gatherings

  • When eating and drinking, step aside so that you are not face-to-face with another person.
  • Provide disinfecting wipes and encourage users to periodically clean frequently touched surfaces.
  • Prevent crowding and close contact by asking people to provide 2-plus feet of 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.
  • Self-service (using tongs) is always acceptable for individual food items, such as bagels, muffins, pastries, cookies, etc.
  • Self-service buffet tables (using tongs) is acceptable when Yale’s Alert Level is Green or Yellow.
  • When Yale’s Alert Level is Orange or Red, individual packaging or wrapping is recommended for other food items.
  • Provide additional space for people who want or need to distance 6 feet from others.
  • After the gatherings, eating and 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.

The following guidelines are for other campus and residential college gyms and recreation rooms.

Fitness center guidelines for all users:

  •  See Yale’s Mask Requirements and Guidance for requirements. When using gym equipment (e.g., treadmill, elliptical, weights, etc.) 6-foot distancing should be maintained. (To ensure distancing, we suggest marking some closely spaced equipment “do not use.”)
  • Wipe all shared objects and key equipment touch points with disinfectant wipes or other appropriate disinfecting cleaning product before and after use.

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

If you are unvaccinated, the CDC recommends maintaining a 6-foot distance from others, including while eating or drinking.

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

Observe these precautions:

  • 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—ideally one that allows 3-4 feet of distancing.
  • Minimize your time in communal dining areas.
  • If in groups, minimize the group size.
  • Outdoor eating is preferred. Additional tents, tables, and benches have been set up on campus to facilitate eating outdoors.

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 (Summer 2022)

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 you test positive upon arrival or during your visit.
  • Comply with Yale COVID policies in effect at the time.
  • Be fully vaccinated and up to date on their booster requirements.
  • Take a PCR test (no more than 72 hours before traveling) or a Rapid Antigen Test (no more than 24 hours before traveling). 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.
  • Upon arrival to New Haven, take a Rapid Antigen Test, carry a dated photo of your results, and be prepared to show it as proof of negative test result.
  • If any test is positive, mask, isolate, and make plans to leave campus immediately.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms, mask, isolate, and take a Rapid Antigen Test.
  • Not cause capacity limits in space to be exceeded.
  • Adhere to testing requirements, if applicable.

Please note: Should infection rates or public health indicators change, a pivot plan would be required as minors in laboratories and visiting undergraduates may be asked to move to virtual participation or possibly end their program early, depending on the situation.


Partitions and Barriers

Because plexiglass guards can limit the transmission of COVID-19 via droplets, they may make sense for locations where members of the Yale community interact with the general public or visitors and vaccination status is unknown.


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:

  • The test detected the virus and you have an infection.
  • 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.

Physical Distancing Recommendations

Distance minimizes the risk of both droplet and aerosol transmission. Even if vaccinated, avoid crowding in indoor spaces. Spread out to give everyone more space or move to a larger space.

Six-foot physical distancing is recommended in the following situations:

  • Six-foot physical distancing is recommended in gyms regardless of vaccination status.
  • If you are unvaccinated, maintain 6-foot physical distancing from others both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wearing a mask and maintaining 6-foot distancing is strongly recommended for faculty, instructors and lecturers, even if fully vaccinated and boosted.
Accommodating Physical Distancing

As noted above, unvaccinated individuals need to maintain six-foot distancing from others. Other individuals may prefer to physically distance as an additional safety measure.

While vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals do not need to sit separately at meetings, in classrooms, in breakrooms/lunchrooms, or other locations, individuals who need or want to distance should seek areas of a room that allow physical distancing. Arriving early or off-hour use will facilitate this. As others approach, ask them to respect your need to distance.

Individuals who do not need to physically distance should respect and accommodate those who prefer or need to physical distance.


Residential College Spaces

Please follow Yale’s Mask Requirements and Guidance.

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

During mealtimes, occupancy in dining halls will be governed by available seating, which may change over the course of the year. Dining hall occupancy limits for after hour activities will be specified and may be more restrictive.

Except as otherwise noted, spaces for congregating will be open with occupancy governed by available seating and the recommendation that unvaccinated people maintain 6-foot physical distancing from others while indoors. Avoid crowding and allow enough 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.

Eating and drinking in butteries and kitchens should follow the Meals, Eating, and Drinking guidance, above.

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 ycdo.healthandsafety@yale.edu.

Music Practice Rooms Recording Studios, and Dance Studios

Follow the recommendations in the Yale College COVID Policy for Performing Arts.


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.


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

Guidance below applies to performing visitors where there is not a previously approved health and safety plan proposed by the area HSL and approved by the CRT.

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

  • Be fully vaccinated and boosted.
  • Comply with all Yale’s health and safety policies (including Yale’s Visitors Policy).
  • Submit a PCR test* twice in the week prior to arrival, including no more than 48 hours before arriving on Yale’s campus.
  • Be asymptomatic for any rehearsal or performance.
  • Submit a twice weekly PCR test* if remaining on campus for multiple days.
  • Adhere to Yale’s Mask Requirements and Guidance.

*If a visiting performer has had a documented case of COVID in the prior 90 days, a same-day Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) could be used instead of PCR test.


Water Fountains/Bottle Filling Stations

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