COVID-19 Update Fall 2020

Information for students, faculty, and staff as we plan to return to campus

The below information is current as of July 29, 2020. Please visit this page regularly for updates as information is subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For questions or concerns, please contact us at

July 28, 2020: Yale updates fall COVID-19 testing protocols for students

our promise to you

As a graduate school of music for performers and composers, the school values private lesson instruction, chamber music, and large ensembles as well as theory, history, and other academic classes. In the decision to return to campus during the fall 2020 semester, the school aims to successfully provide students with the ability to matriculate and complete requirements towards graduation with the fall semester coursework.

Main objectives for the following return to YSM plans are:         

  1. to provide appropriate courses and activities commensurate with the degree requirements of YSM
  2. to ensure facilities are equipped with the proper risk mitigation plans against COVID-19 infection
  3. to provide technology with high quality sound as an effective alternative to in-person instruction

Student Resources

Online Orientation and Placement Exams


An online YSM Student Orientation will open on Canvas August 3. Online placement exams will take place on Canvas August 17-20. Details about accessing these materials with be communicated by email closer to the date.

Return to Campus for Academic and Performance Blocks

The school will employ dual delivery of courses with an online block of academic courses (September 8-October 13) followed by a residential block of performance courses (October 14-November 25). Private lessons and studio seminars will be taught throughout the semester both in-person and remotely, depending on the decision of each faculty member.


  1. Academic Block

Students returning to campus for the academic block should schedule their return date in adherence to any state restrictions put in place by the state of Connecticut or international travel restrictions and quarantines. Please provide your projected return to campus date to by August 15. We recommend you continue to monitor restrictions prior to the start of the semester as guidance may change. For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Connecticut, please visit

Students may choose to remain off campus during the academic block for lessons and studio classes if agreed upon by student and major teacher in advance.


  1. Performance Block

All students are expected to be present in person for the performance block. Students needing to discuss their options should contact Deputy Dean Melvin Chen by August 15.

All students must arrive on campus by September 30 prior to the performance block to abide by a 14-day quarantine due to any state restrictions put in place by the state of Connecticut or international travel restrictions, as well as completing COVID-19 testing.

The performance block is planned for in-person performance activities with risk mitigation protocols in place for all YSM facilities. If pandemic conditions cause a revision of this block, the faculty will work to provide online instruction for the required activities during this part of the semester.


  1. Continuation of Academic Block and Exams

Following the Thanksgiving holiday on November 26, the academic block resumes online, along with remote private lessons and studio seminars. Students will take remainder of academic classes online during this final block (November 26-December 9) and encouraged to do so from home. Some private lessons may take place on campus provided mutual consent between major teacher and student.

Final academic projects, lessons, seminars, and exams will conclude December 9-15. Please refer to the YSM 2020-2021 academic calendar for full dates and deadlines.

Fellowships will be disbursed to students’ banner accounts upon their arrival to campus.

The school will support undergraduate lessons for credit. These will be held online with no practice facilities available for use. For more information on this program, visit or contact, director of undergraduate lessons program.

International Students

OISS Virtual Orientation and Immigration Check-in

Friday, Sept. 4 | 2 p.m. EDT | for students currently in the U.S.

Friday, Sept. 11 | 9 a.m. EDT | for students currently outside of the U.S.

New international students are required to complete the immigration check-in with OISS to activate your visa status and attend one orientation session (choose the correct orientation session above based on where you will be located on each session date). Returning YSM students (starting a new Yale degree) must also complete the immigration check-in with OISS, but attendance at the orientation session is optional. The immigration check-in can be completed only after your arrival in the U.S. and must be completed by your I-20 program start date. To complete your immigration check-in, please log in to (Links to an external site.). Here you may upload your immigration documents in your Passport to Yale. Second, update your address on Yale SIS following these instructions (Links to an external site.)

If you intend to accept an off-campus job for performance and/or teaching in the U.S. as required by your degree program, your visa status must be activated and you must receive a Curricular Practical Training (Links to an external site.) authorization before your performance/teaching work starts.

As of now, returning international students with valid student visas are approved to reside in New Haven and enroll at YSM for the 2020-2021 academic year. New students, in order to receive a student visa, must primarily enroll in in-person instruction once they arrive at YSM. For those international students yet to secure a student visa, please make an appointment at the U.S. embassy and let us know where you are at in the process.

All OISS advising and programming will take place online. Please contact the School of Music OISS adviser’s Mihwa Lee or make an appointment online to discuss your needs.

Additionally, Yale's Health & Safety Guidelines are requiring all students and scholars arriving from outside of the United States or coming from states with high prevalence of COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days (see flowchart) in accordance with the CDC and prevailing public health guidance and as required by the State of Connecticut


FAQs for current students

FAQs for newly admitted students

Quarantine, Training, and COVID-19 Testing

At this time, all international students and students from affected U.S. states must quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival to Connecticut. We recommend you continue to monitor state restrictions prior to the start of the semester as guidance will continue to change. For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Connecticut, please visit


Mandatory training for returning to campus

As the University outlined, all faculty, staff, and students returning to campus will be required to complete online training.

  • Student training requirements will be communicated to students before the start of the fall semester.
  • Students must review, sign, and follow the Yale University Compact.
  • We also encourage everyone to review regularly the full list of health guidelines. Refer to Yale’s COVID-19 health precautions site for resources in preparation for return to campus.


The Yale COVID-19 Screening Program

The testing policies described here are based on information about the spread of COVID-19, emerging public health and scientific findings, and guidance from government officials. Testing includes both pre-arrival and at-arrival testing, as well as ongoing screening of asymptomatic individuals during the semester.

The frequency of required testing in this program reflects an analysis of testing protocols that would be most likely to limit the rapid spread of the infection. The program uses an observed, self-administered swab in the front of the nostrils to collect a specimen, which is sent for viral (PCR) testing, the current preferred method for detecting viral infection. The COVID-19 testing program described here is one of many important ways that we must work together to prevent a community outbreak.

Prior to arrival to campus (New Haven)

  • The university’s pre-arrival testing requirements, which follow, apply to all graduate and professional students.  Students who are traveling to the university from out-of-state may be subject to additional State of Connecticut requirements. These may impact pre-arrival testing and may also require students to quarantine upon arrival in Connecticut. Out-of-state students are strongly encouraged to consult for up-to-date information about these Connecticut restrictions. 
  • All students living in high-density dormitory housing (Helen Hadley Hall and Harkness Hall) are required to have a viral (PCR) test no more than 14 days before arriving on campus.
  • All students who do not plan to live in Helen Hadley Hall or Harkness Hall are strongly encouraged to have a viral (PCR) test no more than 14 days before arriving on campus.
  • The university will reimburse the cost of the pre-arrival viral (PCR) test up to $120.
  • If the pre-arrival test is positive, the student should seek medical advice and isolate in their “home” location for at least 10 days and at least 24 hours following resolution of a fever, if present.  Students with a positive test should not travel to New Haven but should begin their studies remotely. 

Upon arrival to campus (New Haven)

  • All students arriving on campus or in New Haven must have a viral (PCR) test. Students will receive an email from their academic programs with a timeline and instructions on how to schedule their tests.
  • Arriving students must quarantine in their residences until a negative test result is received (~24-36 hours).
  • If arriving from one of the states covered by the CT Travel Restrictions, students must be prepared for a 14-day quarantine in their residences or dormitory rooms should state policy require this.
  • All students already on campus are required to have a viral (PCR) test through the university testing program prior to the start of the fall semester. Those who were tested before July 13, 2020 in accordance with the university research reopening must have a repeat test within 14 days of the start of the fall semester.

Ongoing screening

  • Students in high-density dormitory housing (Helen Hadley Hall and Harkness Hall) are required to be tested twice per week.
  • Students will receive an email in August with a full description of the testing program and instructions on how to schedule testing.  
  • Students who do not live in high-density dormitory housing are not required to be retested but may obtain additional testing on a voluntary basis through the university testing program, up to one time per week, especially if they have concerns about exposure. Students who have questions about the advisability and frequency of additional asymptomatic testing may call the COVID Campus Resource Line, which is staffed by health care professionals, at 203-432-6604.

Students who test positive through the university testing program will be referred for contact tracing and will be required to isolate in their residences until released by Yale Health. Medical monitoring and advice will be provided by Yale Health during isolation.

This testing program is intended to detect infection in asymptomatic individuals and does not replace Yale’s testing and care protocols for individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19. The university will continue to provide testing and care for symptomatic individuals through Yale Health. Additionally, while the required testing in the screening program is designed to protect the community from an outbreak, voluntary testing will also be available to asymptomatic individuals who have concerns that they may have been exposed to the virus.

Compliance with testing, contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine is a component of the Community Compact, which reflects our strong and shared commitment to promote the health and safety of all community members. All members of our university community must also abide by other public health and safety measures designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 viral transmission on our campus and in the surrounding New Haven community. These include wearing a face covering, social distancing, and regular hand washing. Testing is not a substitute for these behavioral measures in containing the spread of the virus.

Mandatory Daily Health Check

All Yale affiliates must perform a Daily Health Check of their symptoms prior to coming to campus.

There are four options for performing your Daily Health Check:

  1. If you have web access click here
  2. If you do not have web access, please inform your dean, departmental designee, or supervisor directly
  3. If you prefer a mobile app, you may download the Daily Health Check app here
  4. Printable Daily Health Check form

Yale Health Coverage

If you are registered as a Yale degree candidate student, enrolled half-time or more and paying at least half tuition, whether living in New Haven or studying remotely, you have Yale Health Basic Coverage and are automatically enrolled in Yale Health Hospitalization/Specialty Care Coverage. Yale Health Basic includes services in Student Health, Mental Health and Counseling, Gynecology, Acute Care, the Inpatient Care Facility, and Blood Draw. Students who are attending Yale remotely can obtain basic services through MyChart and telemedicine visits with Yale Health providers.

Residential Information

Students who will be living in campus housing should contact the Graduate Housing Office regarding arrival dates and policies. International students are reminded to be in contact with OISS.

Risk Mitigation Principles

YSM is committed to providing facilities and personal protocols that mitigate risk of the spread of COVID-19. This does not mean that the buildings are 100% safe, however if the actions listed below are followed, the risk will remain manageable for in-person activities to take place. It will require mutual support and mutual sacrifice to keep the risk low.

These six mitigation techniques all taken together serve as the best effort we can make to ensure limited transmission of the virus. It is understood that some of these techniques won’t be possible in all circumstances, however it must be also understood that if one of them is absent, other techniques must be employed to bring risk mitigation to a manageable level.

  1. Masks must be worn at all times in all spaces throughout YSM facilities. It is understood that woodwind and brass players and singers will need to remove masks to perform. 
  2. Social distancing of a minimum of 6 feet is required in all rooms, corridors, rehearsal rooms, offices, and any other space. When masks cannot be worn (woodwind and brass playing and singing), social distancing should be at least 15 feet between individuals performing and teaching. Rooms have been reviewed to determine where activities can safely take place.
  3. The use of outside air either through HVAC systems or by the opening of windows.
  4. An hour gap between uses of each room (will be programmed into ArtsVision). Rooms will be locked after each use and all uses of rooms must be reserved in advance through ArtsVision. No exceptions.
  5. Frequent hand washing with soap or proper hand sanitizer for 20 seconds as often as feasible.
  6. Cleaning of surfaces after use of each room (will be the responsibility of the occupant with supplies provided by the school).

Masks, Social Distancing, and Other Preventative Measures

All courses with in-person instruction will be conducted with social distancing requirements in place that address both spatial and aerosolization considerations. Among these are private lessons, chamber music rehearsals, large ensembles, seminars, and classroom instruction.

Wearing a mask or face-covering and social distancing are among the most effective ways to prevent transmission of COVID-19. The university will supply masks and other necessary supplies to all students, trainees, faculty, and staff.

  • All individuals on campus must maintain at least 6 feet of space from others when in public spaces.
  • All individuals on campus must wear masks or face-coverings when in public spaces.
  • Masks or face-coverings and social distancing are not required when people are in their own residential college suite or apartment or alone in an office.
  • Masks or face-coverings are not necessary when people are eating or exercising outdoors while maintaining at least 6 feet of space from others.


The following health precautions must also be followed:

  • Avoid contact with people who are ill.
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. (See CDC handwashing video.) Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home if you are ill—do not go to work or classes.
  • If you need medical attention, stay home and call your provider before going to a health care facility.

Public Performances, Campus Visitors, and Travel

The School of Music will not present public performances during the fall semester. Some performances may be streamed online. Degree recitals will take place either remotely or on-campus and will be scheduled through the School’s Operations Manager.

No YSM student activities will be held in person on campus. Group gatherings should be hosted virtually when possible. All in-person gatherings must adhere to CDC and Connecticut safety regulations – wearing masks and ensuring physical distancing of not less than six feet.

No visitors will not be permitted on campus.

Travel outside of Connecticut through the fall semester is strongly discouraged. More information on travel guidance may be found here:

Protocols for Facilities Use

The school has removed 50% of furniture in all buildings and closed all shared kitchens and public spaces used as lounges for the foreseeable future. Occupancy limits will be posted in each room. Copy machines will be restricted to designated staff who will practice cleaning protocols after each use.


General use protocols for:

  • Ensemble and classrooms
    • 50% of all classroom chairs have been removed
    • Rooms will be set up based on social distancing maximums
    • Occupants may not move, remove, or add furniture to rooms. This includes music stands, chairs, benches, etc.
  • Practice rooms and pianos
    • Practice rooms will be available and must be reserved through ArtsVision in advance beginning with the first block of instruction.
  • Faculty studios and office spaces
    • Students may use faculty studios (by permission only) for practice when not in use for lessons. This practice will require room reservations through ArtsVision in advance.
  • Bathrooms, stairwells, and elevators
    • All bathrooms have been designated as single person use at a time
    • Elevators have been marked for social distance numbers
    • Stairwells will be marked for one-way traffic use only

Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols

University Facilities will be providing daily cleaning and disinfecting of common spaces including classrooms, breakrooms, bathrooms, lounges, and gathering areas. This also includes common touch points such as doorknobs/handles, railings, elevators, and tables/chairs. The areas will be wiped down twice daily. Disinfecting wipes will be provided in each classroom, breakroom, and common area for users to disinfect before/after use. 

Technology Recommendations and Improvement

The school has improved the quality of sound for music lessons online through new programming and other techniques. The school has equipped faculty studios with high quality microphones and computers with ethernet connection for improved remote instruction. At this time, the Technology Committee is recommending the use of Clean Feed (an audio on-line system) in conjunction with ZOOM for lessons. Yale ITS is working with ZOOM at this time to improve its sound options. Instructional videos on all aspects of online instruction can be found in the online Canvas orientation.


Technology recommendations for remote learning and instruction


  • A computer (Mac or Windows) less than 5 years old
    • 4 GB RAM
  • Mac: MacOS 10.9 or later 
    • Note: Yale’s AnyConnect VPN requires macOS 10.13 High Sierra or later. If you require the use of the VPN, you must first update your OS. We recommend upgrading to High Sierra instead of CatalinamacOS High Sierra Download - Apple WebsiteIf you are using any specialized software (music notation, video editing, DAW etc.), be sure to check your version’s compatibility with High Sierra.
  • Windows: Windows 7 or later
  • Many companies offer special pricing and payment plans for computer purchases around the start of the school year.


External USB-compatible microphone or interface



  • Either built-in (part of your computer) or external (connected by USB)


Ethernet internet connection 

  • A hard-wired internet connection using an ethernet cable
  • Minimum speed: 10Mbps Download, 10Mbps Upload (you can test your speed here)
  • Many internet providers offer student rates and special offers for beginning service


Headphones or earbuds

  • Wired is best, but Bluetooth is acceptable

Health and Wellness

If you experience fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, stay home and contact a healthcare provider for guidance—do not go to a health care facility before you have called your health care provider or a hospital emergency room for instructions. 

  • If you are a Yale student or Yale Health member, you should contact Internal Medicine (203-432-0038), Student Health (203-432-0312), or Pediatrics (203-432-0206). For nights and weekends, please call Yale Health Acute Care (203-432-0123).
  • If you are an Aetna member or have other healthcare coverage, please contact your physician.
  • All members of the Yale community may also contact the Campus COVID Resource Line (203-432-6604).
  • Avoid contact with others to limit spread. 
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue or sleeve, not your hands. Wash your hands with soap and water after coughing, sneezing, and blowing your nose. (See CDC handwashing video.) Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Wear a face mask or face covering to minimize the risk of spread of infection.
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 at any time, please call the Campus COVID Resource Line (203-432-6604), so we can initiate contact tracing and other infection control measures.

Faculty and Staff Resources

Faculty and staff should reference the student resources information above. Below is additional information pertinent to the return of faculty and staff to campus.

COVID-19 Testing for Faculty and Staff

All faculty and student-facing staff who will be on campus during the fall term will be required to have a test for COVID-19 at the start of the semester. View chart for faculty and staff viral testing for fall 2020.

Staff who do not interact with students are encouraged, but not required, to have a test for COVID-19 at the start of the semester through the program. Depending on their Yale duties, a limited number of faculty and staff may be required to be tested for COVID-19 weekly. Other asymptomatic individuals who feel they may be at risk for COVID-19 may seek additional testing through Yale’s COVID-19 Screening Program. Faculty and staff who test positive will be asked to self-isolate at home for at least 14 days and until a health care provider informs them it is safe to return to campus. 

Mandatory Training

Mandatory training for everyone returning to campus

As the University outlined, all faculty, staff, and students returning to campus will be required to complete online training.

Workplace Guidance

view FAQs

Yale University has developed protocols for the phased return to campus that are consistent with federal, state, and local public health guidance. Employees with specific questions should consult with their managers or the Employee Service Center at 203-432-5552. Managers are strongly encouraged to contact their HR Generalist to consult on their workforce planning, as there may be contractual and policy implications.

More information

Yale Health Resources

University Resources