COVID-19 Update: Travel, Yale Health Guidance, and University Planning & Response

March 2, 2020

Dear Members of the Yale Community,

We are continuing to monitor the spread of COVID-19, and we write to provide updates related to COVID-19 and travel. Please review Yale’s new COVID-19 website for additional information as well as a link to this and past announcements.

COVID-19 spread and response continue to change rapidly for travelers abroad as well as in this country. Keep in mind that any travel may be disrupted in the coming months. Other countries and regions may be added to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Level 3 Travel Warning (as Italy and Iran have been recently), and travelers who have been in those areas would be asked to self-isolate upon returning to campus. In addition, more foreign governments are imposing travel restrictions, such as closing borders, and as more restrictions are imposed, there is some risk of travelers being forced to remain in a country. We urge you to consider carefully your travel choices and whether it is necessary to travel at this time.

If you do travel, take these actions:

  • Register your travel, including for spring recess, even if you are traveling within the United States.
  • Download the International SOS (ISOS) app.
  • Stay alert to changes and developments that may affect your plans. Monitor travel advisories, including potential restrictions on border crossings, and be ready to change your plans if conditions change. View the list of CDC travel notices.
  • Follow Yale Health recommendations listed below (e.g., frequent hand washing). 
  • If you should feel ill while traveling, call ISOS 215-942-8478 for advice before going to a health care facility. ISOS medical staff can provide advice on how to get treatment but will not be able to get you out of a country if any government restrictions have been put in place.

We strongly encourage you to review the table below, which summarizes CDC travel notices as of March 2, 2020, and Yale Health guidance. COVID-19 spread and response are rapidly evolving, and this table will be regularly updated at Yale’s COVID-19 website

CDC Travel Notice Countries and Regions (as designated by CDC) Yale Health Guidance*
Warning – Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel
  • China (this does not include Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan)
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • South Korea
Alert – Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions
  • Japan
  • Travel may continue to these countries and regions, but you may wish to reconsider your plans because the situation is changing rapidly.
  • Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for severe disease and should consider postponing nonessential travel.
  • Upon return, please self-observe (remain alert for fever, cough, or difficulty breathing) and see guidelines* for contacting healthcare.
  • Follow precautions to avoid illness.
  • Register your travel and download the ISOS app
Watch – Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions
  • Hong Kong
*If you experience fever, cough, or difficulty breathing and you have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient and/or traveled from a location with a Level 3 or Level 2 travel notice within 14 days of the onset of illness, stay home and contact a healthcare provider for guidance— do not go to a healthcare facility prior to calling your doctor or a hospital emergency room for instructions. If you are a Yale student or Yale Health member, you should contact Internal Medicine (203-432-0038), Student Health (203-432-0312), or Pediatrics (203-432-0206) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For urgent attention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, please call Yale Health Acute Care (203-432-0123). If you are an Aetna member, please contact your primary care provider.

We also encourage you to take the following precautions for your well-being and safety:

  • If you have not done so already, get a flu shot. This will help reduce the burden on the health system and help others. Members of the Yale community can obtain the influenza vaccine free of charge at the Yale Health Center at 55 Lock Street daily from Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after coughing, sneezing, and blowing your nose. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Avoid contact with sick people. 
  • Stay home if you are ill—do not go to work or class.
  • If you need medical attention, call your provider before going to a healthcare facility.

Although there are no cases of COVID-19 infection at Yale or in Connecticut, the university is consulting with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and experts from the Yale School of Public Health and School of Medicine to update the university’s existing pandemic response plan in the event of widespread U.S. community transmission of COVID-19 or announcement of a COVID-19 pandemic. If any of these scenarios occur, you will be notified via email and through the Yale ALERT system, and the main Yale webpage will include a banner with a link to the university status and action plan. Please go to the Yale ALERT webpage to make sure your contact information is current, and regularly check Yale’s new COVID-19 website.


Dr. Paul Genecin
Director, Yale Health

Donald L. Filer
Associate Vice President for Global Strategy