Provost Announcement - Access to Faculty Offices and Academic and Research Continuity

March 20, 2020

Dear Colleagues,
Dear Faculty, Postdocs and Graduate Students:

I write with guidance bearing on research across the university, whether that happens in bench
laboratories or individual faculty offices.

All faculty, including those of you who conduct research outside of a laboratory setting, should
expect that there may be increasing disruptions to your work.  You should plan now for how you will
continue your research and teaching at home if state and local governments escalate the
requirements for social distancing, including the possibility of shelter-in-place protocols.

Faculty Offices: At the moment, most faculty members still have access to their offices (with the
exception that offices in closed buildings, such as Sterling Memorial Library, the Adams Center,
and the School of Nursing, are not accessible). Open buildings continue to receive enhanced
cleaning. We hope that your offices will continue to be available next week as you begin teaching
online.  However, we cannot guarantee how long access will continue, given the logistical demands
of appropriately staffing and cleaning open buildings and the possible imposition of local, state,
or federal restrictions.  I urge you in the strongest possible terms to plan for the possibility
that your office may not be accessible. Please consider what items, including research materials
and computers, you will need to continue your research and teaching and take those items home.  
Please note that because of social distancing requirements and the fact that most staff are now
working remotely, staff and administrators will not be available to help pack or transport your
materials.

Laboratory Research: If you are doing laboratory-based research, you heard from me on March 18,
when I informed you that all non-critical laboratory research across the University must be
suspended by today, Friday, March 20th. Specific guidance is available for the Medical School and
for FAS.

Human Subject Research (Non-clinical): In addition, all in-person non-clinical human- subjects
research should be paused, whether on or off campus, including research taking place
internationally. If you believe that your research merits an exception, you
may request one from the provost’s office or from the school of medicine (for YSM faculty), but
please understand that exceptions will be rare since the outbreak is affecting communities in all
parts of the world.

We understand that these and other related actions create significant disruption to important work.
We are basing the determination on closures on the advice we are receiving from public health
experts and guidance issued by federal, state, and local health authorities. Our priority is the
well-being of Yale students, faculty, staff and the broader community.

On a more personal note, I know how deeply disappointing the disruption of our work is to all of
us. I had to shut down my own lab this week, and as a researcher, it was extremely painful. While I
do not want to pretend that you will be able to continue your work as you normally would, I do hope
that your remote research activities can be productive during this time. I encourage you to spend
this period in activities that will expand your imagination and advance your thinking: reading the
literature in your own and adjacent fields, writing and reviewing materials, planning future
projects. The library has considerable digital resources, and you should contact your department  
liaison librarian
for help in identifying other digital content. Finally, I hope that you will find
ways to remain intellectually and virtually close to your colleagues and
students. The academic community is what drew many of us to Yale, and it will help sustain us
through this difficult time.

Thank you for the work that you do now, and in the future, for the benefit of Yale and the world.
Sincerely,

Scott Strobel Provost
Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry