Additional Guidance for October 4 Return to Campus
September 22, 2021
The new academic year is well under way, and we are grateful to the many faculty and staff who readied the campus for the fall semester. The measures we have put in place to guard against COVID-19—and your careful and ongoing adherence to these measures—are working. Our levels of immunization are high: as of yesterday, 98% of students, 95% of faculty, and 92% of staff have been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, infections on campus have been low. By continuing to create and adjust policies guided by public health expertise and to prioritize the safety of our community, we will help ensure these encouraging trends continue.
As a residential educational institution, most roles at Yale are predicated on in-person collaboration with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the many other groups who comprise our community. To do our best work and to fulfill our mission to the fullest extent possible, we must take the next step in our transition of staff back to campus. This transition is important to support our collective work and to fully support each other. Approximately half of all staff are currently on campus during the week; we are now asking the remaining staff to return to campus and reconnect after one and half years apart.
Clarification on Return-to-Campus Work
Last month, we communicated that staff currently engaged in remote or hybrid work arrangements will begin a phased return to campus on October 4. Today, we write to provide further clarification about return-to-campus expectations.
- Faculty and staff currently coming to campus should continue their on-campus work arrangements. Thank you for your continued service to the university in this capacity.
- Staff currently working remotely will begin a phased return to campus beginning on October 4 and continuing through the end of the calendar year.
- These work arrangements will require staff working remotely to return to campus at least two days per week.
- Vice presidents, deans, directors, or their designees will determine their unit’s organizational needs and communicate work arrangements to their staff, ideally by September 27.
- A committee on the “Future of Work at Yale,” led by Vice President for Human Resources John Whelan, will review requests for ongoing 100% remote work based on specific criteria such as the nature of the work, unique skills required, technology considerations, and competitive market dynamics. The number of teams and roles approved for 100% remote work will be very limited and will be based on a unit’s needs, not individual employee preferences. Vice presidents and deans or their designees who have specific teams or roles for whom they would like 100% remote work to continue should contact the Future of Work at Yale committee for review and approval.
Implications for Future Ways of Working
Many of you have important questions about what the longer-term future holds for work at Yale. During this pandemic, we have learned a lot about how we can be effective in different modes. Our longer-term goal is to promote excellence with flexibility.
Most of our roles require or benefit from time together on campus, with needs that vary by unit and type of work. While many of us have experience working with a whole team on Zoom, we need to learn how we can manage in a mixed mode. The remainder of this year will be a time to experiment with the many aspects of flexibility available to us, including how we can incorporate hybrid on-campus/work-from-home schedules into an excellent team dynamic.
To date, Yale faculty and staff members have been able to submit requests for vaccination exemptions in three categories: medical, religious, and strongly held personal beliefs. Effective September 25, the university will accept new exemption applications only for medical or religious reasons.
COVID-19 testing remains an essential part of Yale’s strategy to prevent outbreaks on campus. As such, we are extending the current testing requirements for students through the end of the semester. This includes continued weekly testing for fully vaccinated undergraduate students and students in some professional schools, and twice weekly testing for members of the community (faculty, staff, or student) who have received exemptions or are in the process of completing vaccination (with tests no more than three days apart). All required testing must be performed at Yale University test sites.
Voluntary testing, both asymptomatic and symptomatic, continues to be available to all community members for free at any time through the Yale COVID-19 Screening Program.
Recognizing that our work schedules are still in flux, the university will continue to forgo parking charges through the end of the 2021 calendar year.
As ever, we thank you for the unique blend of dedication and flexibility you bring every day to Yale. It has enabled our success time and again amid challenging circumstances, and it remains essential in our mission to improve the world now and for the future.
We look forward to seeing you back on campus.
Sr. Vice President for Operations