Since the emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Yale has convened experts from around the university to establish an array of safety protocols and public health measures for ensuring the wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease first identified in December in China. On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The virus has since been spreading around the world. As of March 6, there were confirmed cases of COVID-19 in at least 85 countries and 20 U.S. states, including one case in Connecticut. To date there are no reported cases at Yale.
“Keeping the people in our community safe is our highest priority,” said Dr. Paul Genecin, director of Yale Health, which provides health care for the majority of Yale’s population. “With that in mind, we have been planning for a range of contingencies and bringing all of our expertise to bear in our preparations.”
In January, Yale began issuing regular, direct updates to the university community about COVID-19 preparedness, and it continues to ready the campus in the event of local cases.
All updates may be found at the university’s COVID-19 information page.
Past updates have included guidelines for registering travel plans, travel notice warnings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommendations for health precautions that Yale community members should take to help prevent or restrict the spread of the disease, and links to local and national sources for additional information.
Leaders and staff from across the university, including Yale Health, worked in teams to update Yale’s existing pandemic response plans — with specific attention to what is known about the nature of the COVID-19 virus and its spread. Faculty experts from the Yale School of Medicine, the Yale School of Public Health, the Yale School of Nursing, and other schools on campus have provided guidance, in coordination with local, state, and federal agencies and with Yale New Haven Hospital.
Yale has prepared for a range of possible scenarios, in the near term and for longer-term impacts on core university programs and functions.
Ensuring the health and safety of Yale students, faculty, and staff is the university’s top priority, followed by the maintenance of the university’s core functions of education and research. This work is being done in coordination with campus leaders in IT, research, facilities support, dining, police, safety, and other essential services.
Yale’s response and planning include:
- Support for spring and summer recess travel
- Plans for the continuation of classes during disruptions caused by contingencies such as self-isolation, quarantine, and travel disruption
- Surge plans to accommodate demand for health care at Yale Health and health care facilities in the region
- Plans for possible alternative work arrangements for staff in order to reduce contact.
Yale’s COVID-19 information site recommends that anyone experiencing fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should stay home and contact a health care provider for guidance. Individuals should not go to a health care facility before calling their doctor or a hospital emergency room for instructions.
“This situation is likely to evolve rapidly,” Genecin said. “We want to reassure the Yale community that we will be vigilant both in monitoring events and in keeping the community informed about how those events may have an impact on campus activities.”