(created May 13)
For the duration of this pandemic, Yale will employ a phased approach for reactivation of research on the campus that will adhere to the advice of the Public Health Committee and be in line with the guidance of the State’s Reopen Connecticut initiative. Currently, our campus activity is limited to critical operations, including research bearing directly on COVID-19.
The three phases for expanded research operations will be as follows:
Phase 1: Research limited to activities that can be performed only on campus, adhering to strict public health precautions.
Phase 2: Research activities of all types, adhering to strict public health precautions.
Phase 3: Research activities with continued health monitoring.
Although this phased approach is currently focused on research, we anticipate that it will be a useful framework for the reactivation of other functions on campus. More information about the phased approach can be found here.
In Phase 1, we will allow a limited return to campus by faculty, staff, and trainees to perform research that can be conducted only on campus, subject to explicit permission. Phase 1 will also include a limited reactivation of essential library services (described below). The transition to Phase 1 will begin in June. All aspects of research, data analysis, writing, reading, and communication that can be conducted outside of university facilities must continue to be performed off campus.
Any principal investigator who intends to resume research on campus must submit a proposal containing a description of the contemplated research activities and an explanation of why that work can be performed only on campus. Further guidance on the research reactivation application can be found here. This submission must also include a detailed safety plan for the proposed on-campus work. It must comply with social distancing guidelines, including the use of personal protective equipment, protocols for personal hygiene and symptom monitoring, and plans for cleaning surfaces and equipment.
These requests to resume on-campus activities will be vetted by department chairs/center directors, cognizant deans, and a representative of the provost’s office, as appropriate. Field work will be reviewed by a specialized committee. In-person research involving human subjects will not be approved as part of Phase 1 except possibly within limited clinical settings. A specialized committee for clinical research will review these applications.
Faculty whose on-campus research is approved during Phase 1 will be notified of a date no earlier than June 1 when they, and the approved staff and trainees included in their application, may return to campus. State guidelines provide that individuals in high-risk groups and those 65 years and older should continue to stay at home. Individuals in these groups should work with their supervisors to adjust their work so that it can be performed remotely.
Faculty, staff, and trainees will be required to complete additional on-line safety training before returning and will be expected to conform to strict safety measures. More information about safety requirements during Phase 1 are described here.
We ask that faculty take seriously the criterion of seeking permission only for research operations that must be performed on campus. We recognize that this may create ongoing inconvenience and that not all aspects of scholarship will be fully supported. However, continuing to work from home, whenever possible, is essential to protect our community’s health and safety. We enter Phase 1 as the state reopens only a limited number of businesses; schools remain closed; and public health provisions are improved, but still limited. The viral spread in our area has slowed, but the virus has not disappeared. This plan seeks to balance those considerations with the benefits of a limited return to campus. Patience now will help speed the activation of less-restrictive phases as health conditions improve further.
Expansion of Library Services
During Phase 1, we will also expand essential library services. The university library is preparing to resume scanning and digitization of collection materials, starting with the general collections located in Sterling Memorial Library, Bass Library, and the offsite Library Shelving Facility (LSF), three locations that collectively house about 10 million volumes. At the same time, a pick-up service for books from the Sterling and Bass collections will be available. Over time, these services, including the scanning of special collection materials to support teaching and research, will be gradually extended to other library locations and collections. Additional services, such as limited in-person use of special collection reading rooms, will be added later as public health regulations and building logistics allow. The library will communicate the timing and details of resuming library services as they are ready to be reactivated.
Future Reactivation of Campus Functions
Yale will enter the second phase of campus reactivation if the risk of COVID-19 transmission continues to decline in the coming months, and there is an expansion of testing capability within our area. Phase 2 would include a more general return to research, teaching, and other operations on campus, but it will still not be business as usual. Phase 2 will continue to require social distancing, use of personal protective equipment, regular handwashing, health monitoring, and other measures in accordance with prevailing public health guidance.
There are special considerations for Yale’s arts schools, because certain types of performance and practice may not be possible under conditions of social distancing. Creative and artistic practice is being thoughtfully considered in preparation for subsequent phases of reactivation by the Creative and Artistic Practice Continuity Committee. Use of studios, rehearsal spaces, fabrication spaces, and other arts-related venues will be reviewed in consultation with professionals in these fields and public health experts.
(Read Provost Scott Strobel’s full announcement.)
Undergraduate research during phase 1
During research reactivation phase 1 (Highly Restricted Access), undergraduates may not participate in in-person, on-campus activities. For example, undergraduates may not work in offices, laboratories, libraries, or museums on campus. Undergraduates may not conduct university-sponsored field research. They may work for faculty members and university departments, but must conduct this work remotely. No undergraduate classes or orientation activities will be held in person during phase 1.