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Yale Law School COVID-19 Information
Fall semester classes began on August 24, 2020 under a hybrid model of teaching and learning with a mix of classes in-person and online.
Below is a list of important quick links and detailed information about the fall semester. The Law School administration continues to work in close partnership with the University as the fall semester begins and will be closely monitoring public health conditions. It is critical that you regularly check back to this page and the Yale COVID-19 website for further updates.
A Note on COVID-19 Testing for the Law School Community
The University strongly encourages graduate and professional school students, faculty, and staff who are coming to campus to take advantage of the weekly testing program available. This program allows any student, faculty, or staff member who is on campus to receive a free test up to once a week. Please schedule a COVID test here. See below for more information on testing.
Information on the Fall Semester
The Yale Law School administration and faculty have worked nonstop over the summer to plan for a hybrid model of learning that carries forward the School’s teaching mission while looking out for the safety of the community. Both through in-person classes and a robust and innovative online learning curriculum, all classes will be high-quality, engaging, and accessible. It is critical that all members of the community adhere to the following policies in order to protect one another and the greater New Haven region.
While the following list is not exhaustive, planning is ongoing and will be informed by the latest health guidance. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.
Testing and Quarantine Protocols
- The University strongly encourages graduate and professional school students, faculty, and staff who are coming to campus to take advantage of the free weekly testing program the University has set up. Please schedule a COVID test here. Asumptomatic testing is important step to help protect our community.
- The University will continue to provide testing and care for symptomatic individuals through Yale Health.
- Every student returning to campus was required to get tested for COVID-19 prior to the start of the fall term.
- There are important quarantine procedures to follow for students, faculty, and staff returning to campus.
- All students on campus must abide by the Yale Community Compact.
Sterling Law Building (SLB) & Baker Hall
- Students should be coming to SLB and Baker Hall for classes only and should expect to study and socialize elsewhere.
- New signage has been installed throughout the buildings, including directions for moving through stairwells, elevators, and hallways. Please pay attention to the signs, maintain six feet of distance whenever possible, and always wear a mask.
- Consistent with public health guidelines, the Law School has worked to de-densify the building to prioritize classes. As a result, most staff and faculty will work entirely from home.
Building Access & Use
- Effective immediately, everyone will use their Yale ID card to enter the buildings. All doors in SLB and Baker, including the main entrance on Wall Street, will be locked and require ID card access.
- It is essential that everyone swipe their IDs and enter the building one-by-one so that we can have records for contact tracing purposes and limit access to visitors for public health reasons.
- For returning students, faculty, and staff, your key fobs have been deactivated. Please return key fobs by placing them in the Dropbox found in the mailroom. If you have lost/damaged your Yale ID, you can get a replacement at the Yale ID Center.
- SLB will be accessible for classes and limited library access only. SLB will be open to students from 7:30 a.m. through 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. There will be no access on weekends. Please be sure to wear your mask and have your Yale ID with you at all times.
- Between classes, students may go to the library if they have reserved a place (see below for more information) or find a place in the Courtyard. Otherwise, students should plan on leaving the building between classes.
- Baker Hall will be open to all law students from 8:00 a.m. through 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Non-resident law students will only be allowed access to the first floor. Common areas like the student lounge will not be open for gathering. As with SLB, guests will not be allowed in Baker Hall. After hours and on weekends, Baker Hall will be accessible only to residents.
- To assist members of the community in navigating the building, these maps show specific areas open to students. There is also a video guide for students accessible by CAS login.
- The Law School worked with an outside consultant and Yale Facilities to analyze ventilation in high-use areas such as classrooms to increase ventilation with an eye to increasing air changes per hour, increasing the amount of fresh air in the spaces, and adding MERV-13 filters where possible.
- The Law School worked with an architect to reconfigure spaces to ensure social distancing by removing extra seating in existing classrooms and blocking off seating in the auditorium. For example, Room 127, which normally holds 150 people will now only have 33 people.
- Windows in classrooms will be vented to allow for increased airflow.
- Plexiglass has been installed at all lecterns in classrooms.
- Students should plan to arrive five minutes early for class to allow everyone to enter according to new protocols.
- The classrooms will be cleaned daily. The Law School will also provide disinfectant wipes for students to self-clean their desks and chairs.
- Yale Facilities implemented new cleaning protocols, which can be found here.
- Students must wear masks in class, and food will not be allowed in the classroom. If students need a drink, please bring a drink with a lid and a straw so you can drink with your mask on.
- The Library has created a seat reservation system for the main reading room. Students will be able to reserve a seat to study or participate in Zoom classes. Students will also be able to reserve limited, individual study spaces throughout SLB and Baker Hall.
- Students will also be able to reserve space at the Connecticut Financial Center building at 157 Church Street for individual study and Zoom classes.
- Outside of reserving space in the main reading room, only library staff will be allowed inside the library, and students will not be assigned carrels this semester.
- The library staff will be at-the-ready to deliver e-books, chapters, and articles that can be obtained electronically. The library has also developed a number of approaches for scanning and obtaining physical material.
- If students or faculty need help with anything library or research related, librarians are available 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday in our virtual reference room, by appointment, or by email.
Other Spaces within SLB and Baker Hall
Consistent with COVID-19 protocols, the Law School will use spaces and facilities in the building differently than a typical semester
- Student Lounges — both Student Lounges will be used as classrooms only. Students may not congregate here.
- Restrooms — multi-stall restrooms may be used at 50 percent capacity. Stalls and sinks will be marked accordingly. Please wait outside the restroom at least six feet apart for an available stall/sink.
- Water stations — while water fountains are off limits, touchless bottle filling stations will be accessible. Again, please maintain six feet of separation while waiting for the filling stations.
- Kitchens will be closed and the Dining Hall will be used as a classroom only.
- Lockers — lockers will be available, but students must keep a six-foot separation at all times. Returning students can keep the locker they were assigned last year (if you do not remember your locker number or no longer need a locker, please email Building Services). For new students, your locker number will be listed on the envelope containing your mailbox key that will be distributed with your ID Cards. The Registrar’s Office will send out more information about that process.
There will be designated socially distant spaces for general student use in the SLB and Baker Courtyards.
- Outdoor space at Yale — registered student organizations can request outdoor space at the University through this site.
- Outdoor space in New Haven — the New Haven Parks and Recreation Department has information about parks throughout the city.
Please visit the University site for all information about Yale-sponsored Events for the Fall 2020 semester.
- To keep the building de-densified, most members of the staff will continue to work from home in the fall and can only interact with students via Zoom.
- Staff members will be available via Zoom during drop-in hours and by appointment. Information on accessing offices and staff members will be sent closer to the start of the semester.
- Consistent with COVID-19 protocols, YLS faculty are not conducting office hours from their offices but will speak to students through Zoom, by phone, or in designated spaces.
You may report a concern about compliance with COVID-19 health and safety policies or regulations to me as the Health and Safety Leader. You may also make an anonymous or identified report through Yale’s hotline at 877-360-9253, or online at Yale University Hotline. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Staff can also report to their staff supervisor or HR.
Maintaining an Inclusive Environment
Yale University is committed to maintaining an environment of respect and freedom from discrimination and to supporting all members of our community affected by this global health threat. Bias, discrimination, and harassment are inimical to our values and violate Yale policies.