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COVID-19 Update

March 11, 2020
by Nancy J. Brown

To YSM Faculty, Staff, and Students:

In follow-up to President Salovey’s update on Yale’s response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), I write to provide detailed updates specific to Yale School of Medicine. We continue to take proactive measures to protect the safety of our faculty, staff, and students while continuing to maintain our core missions as best as possible. We are benefitting from the expert advice and diligent work of our faculty in Yale School of Medicine as well as Yale School of Public Health.

Guidance for Medical Students

We ask that students who are away on spring break remain at home until further advised. First-year students will resume classes online on Monday, March 16. The Office of Education will email instructions regarding how to access podcasts and videos and how to join small group activities via Zoom video conferencing. Our faculty are also collecting and making videos related to history taking and physical examination so that students will be able to develop their skills prior to returning to campus. For our graduating students, the Capstone course will be offered online and instructions will be forthcoming. Information about the Match will be sent out soon by the Office of Student Affairs.

As noted in an earlier message, students on clinical rotations (including clerkships, electives, and subinternships) are an important part of the care team and contribute significantly, even when they are not directly involved in the care of infected patients. Proper training in the use of personal protective equipment is required for anyone caring for potentially infected patients. Students (and faculty and staff) who are at increased risk for infection or severe infection will be assigned to roles that avoid exposure. We will be holding a town hall at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17 (location to be announced) for students on clinical rotations to discuss how physicians balance the competing responsibilities of caring for ourselves and our families with a duty to caring for patients.

Guidance for Graduate Students

Graduate courses will be offered online. Graduate students may continue their research and should follow university and YSM guidelines to avoid international and some forms of domestic travel, meeting in large groups, or coming to work or interacting with others while manifesting any symptoms.

Guidance for Faculty and Staff

Clinical faculty and staff are essential and will continue their patient care and related support activities. Yale Medicine will continue to send updated guidance.

Research groups have been asked to make contingency plans to maintain research continuity appropriate to the nature of their activities. YSM and university functions to support research will continue. Researchers should refer to university guidance about research continuity and communicate frequently to plan how to continue research and scholarship as the situation unfolds.

Business Operations and administrative support for the research and clinical missions will continue. YSM Lead Administrators are updating department business continuity plans to address communications, back-up personnel, ensuring how operations will continue, identifying work that might be done remotely, assessing technology needs, etc.

Specific guidance for staff regarding plans to maintain operations while ensuring everyone’s safety will be coming shortly from University Human Resources.

Travel and Avoiding Unnecessary Exposure

Work-related international travel and domestic travel to large gatherings are prohibited at this time. Personal international travel is discouraged due to potential difficulties in returning. This is consistent with earlier Yale Medicine guidance to clinical faculty and staff but now extends these policies to apply to all faculty, staff, and graduate and medical students.

Anyone with symptoms, including but not limited to fever, sneezing, coughing, and shortness of breath, should refrain from coming to work or gatherings.


We will continue to limit the size of events other than classes to 100 or fewer participants. I encourage all to be creative in thinking about how we maintain connection and our learning community, if at a distance.

As you are all aware, this is a rapidly changing situation requiring us all to be flexible and fluid in our response. Detailed and updated information will continue to be available at Yale’s COVID-19 website.

Lastly, I could not be prouder of our community for your thoughtfulness and commitment to our core values as we plan for the unknown. Whether in caring for patients, modeling the epidemiology of the virus, approaching possible treatments, or exploring the genetics of COVID-19, you are responding with expertise and innovation.

With gratitude,

Nancy J. Brown, MD
Jean and David W. Wallace Dean of Medicine
C.N.H. Long Professor of Internal Medicine

Submitted by Liz Pantani on March 20, 2020