Update on plans for the spring semester

December 22, 2021

Dear Members of the Yale Community,

We write to update you on plans for the spring semester. A recent, worldwide surge in COVID-19 cases, driven by the highly infectious Omicron strain, has prompted us to raise alert levels on campus and adjust our plans to best protect our community. To slow the spread of the virus following winter recess, we will modify the academic calendar for Yale College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for the first few weeks of the spring semester. We are working with deans of professional schools, who will be communicating with students soon about any adjustments necessary to courses and schedules.

We thank each of you for your flexibility during this dynamic moment in the pandemic. We also are grateful to Yale’s medical, public health, and nursing experts and to faculty and staff leaders for helping us make these decisions.

As always, our priority is the health and well-being of everyone on campus and those in our surrounding community. We are monitoring public health conditions closely, and Yale’s COVID-19 website remains our hub of news and information. We provide more information below, and we expect the updates in this message will likely raise many questions. Faculty, students, and staff will hear further from relevant university leaders in the next few weeks.

Delaying the start of the spring semester, moving the first few weeks of classes online, and shortening spring break for Yale College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS)

For undergraduates and GSAS students, the spring semester will begin on Tuesday, January 25, 2022. January 18-21 will be used, instead, for make-up exams, which will be administered online. To accommodate this one-week delay, spring break will be shortened by one week, and it will begin on the evening of March 18 and end on the morning of March 28.

Yale College and GSAS courses will be taught online from January 25 through February 4. Undergraduates and graduate students may return to their on-campus housing starting on January 14 and no later than February 4. Students may delay their arrival to campus, especially during the make-up exam period, if their circumstances permit.

Resuming in-person teaching and staff returning to campus on February 7

Starting on February 7, faculty and students are expected to return to the classroom for in-person teaching and learning. Staff will continue to follow the work arrangements announced on December 3 by Senior Vice President for Operations Jack Callahan Jr. and Vice President for Human Resources John Whelan, but with one important change. Until February 7, we are giving deans and unit leaders the discretion to offer members of their staff greater ability to work remotely, temporarily removing the requirement of having everyone report to campus at least twice per week.

We know the current uncertainties surrounding the spread of the Omicron strain will introduce unique challenges, especially for those of you with dependent care responsibilities. Please review and utilize the campus life resources available for members of our community.

Maintaining research and other university operations

Research in laboratories, work in studio spaces and libraries, and other university operations will continue with appropriate safety precautions following the winter recess on January 3. Staff who support research facilities will be expected to continue these activities when the university reopens.

Building on effective health and safety measures

The fall term demonstrated how effective the health and safety measures we have established are at preventing the spread of COVID-19. Most of the transmissions resulted from off-campus social gatherings or within households. So, we implore you to continue adhering to these prevention strategies:

  • Wear a mask when indoors with others.
  • Get a booster shot: All students who are eligible must receive a booster to their vaccination by January 18. Students who are not eligible to receive a booster on January 18 must get a booster within seven days of becoming eligible. All other members of our community are expected to receive a booster when eligible.
  • Adhere to testing guidelines for COVID-19.
  • If you are ill, avoid contact with anyone else.
  • Wash your hands frequently.


Now, at the end of the semester and the calendar year, it is extraordinary to look back on all we have accomplished despite unprecedented challenges. We built and maintained an effective health and safety infrastructure that enabled us to continue to teach the next generation of leaders and to create and share knowledge that benefits the world. Of course, the past months have been difficult for many of us, but we also displayed unmatched strength, kindness, and ingenuity. We are grateful for your tremendous efforts. Together, we will continue to navigate through this extraordinary moment in history.

With best wishes for the winter recess and the new year,

Peter Salovey
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology

Scott Strobel
Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry