Yale University will reopen in the fall without sophomores living on campus and then will be open in the spring without freshmen living on campus in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus, Yale’s president and provost announced in a letter to the community Wednesday.
Juniors and seniors can choose to live in on-campus housing both semesters. The decision will allow the university to lower its student population living in the campus colleges to about 60% of normal, President Peter Salovey and Provost Scott Strobel said.
In addition, most undergraduate courses will be taught remotely so all students, whether living on or off campus, can attend. A small number of classes, such as labs or studio work, will take place in person in socially distanced settings, the university said.
Undergraduate students living on or off campus will be required to be tested weekly. As per rules in Connecticut, where Yale is located, all students arriving from abroad or from states with high Covid-19 transmission rates will be required to quarantine for 14 days. And overall, all students will be asked to wear face masks and social distance.
“These decisions are possible because of the continued decline in community transmission of COVID-19 in Connecticut, the creation of a university-wide COVID-19 screening program, and the implementation of other health and safety actions,” Salovey and Strobel wrote.
Yale’s decision comes as schools and colleges across the country are grappling with how to reopen safely while still mitigating the spread of a virus that thrives in places with close contact.
Some colleges have made plans to bring students back but with delayed starts to classes, shortened semesters and attempts to reduce travel.
For K-12 schools, the American Academy of Pediatrics is pushing for students to be physically present in classrooms rather than continue in remote learning for the sake of their well-being. The group, which represents and guides pediatricians across the country, updated its back-to-school recommendations to say evidence shows the academic, mental and physical benefits of in-person learning outweigh the risks from the coronavirus.
Connecticut was once one of the worst-hit states in the coronavirus pandemic, but its case totals have declined in the past several months. On Tuesday, the state reported 152 new positive Covid-19 cases, which equated to less than 1% of the total tests conducted.
In general, younger people are less likely to have severe outcomes from Covid-19 infection, but they can still get sick and spread the disease to others.
CNN’s Alicia Lee and Elizabeth Hartfield contributed to this report.