COVID-19 Fall 2020 FAQs

Updated July 1, 2020

1.     What will be the mode of instruction?

YSN will offer dual delivery of education: in-person coursework and experiences, combined with remote content as needed for social distancing and other safety measures. All students who are able will have an opportunity to engage in in-person activities on YSN’s campus and in Connecticut. The one exception to this is our DNP program, which will be entirely online this fall to avoid the need for students to travel to Yale. 

Skills-based courses and simulation are being planned in-person with modifications for social distancing, while didactic courses will be in-person where possible. We are also planning for in-person options for test-taking and evaluations, for proctored exams, and students needing accommodations.

2.     What if I am uncomfortable participating in in-person education?

Students who believe that they fall into the high-risk category may seek accommodations related to returning to campus by contacting Student Accessibility Services for accommodation evaluation and services. 

Students who are feeling highly anxious should consult with their advisor or Specialty Director.

Students with unique health considerations may be provided with the option of delaying clinical training/taking leave, but they should be aware this may affect their ability to graduate on time.

3.     When and how will Orientation be held?

Orientation will be held remotely throughout the month of August. Plans are being put into place to have informational videos, introductions, and other videos featuring important resources, offices, and people available asynchronously. Scheduled/synchronous Zoom meetings will be held the week of August 24 for incoming GEPN and MSN students with the Office of Student Affairs staff, faculty, and program leaders for meet-and-greets, information sharing, and cohort building. There will be optional sessions organized for students based on interests and identity affinities in addition to Q&A sessions, student panels, navigating academics, utilizing TAs, etc., with Student Orientation Leaders and relevant staff/faculty.

4.     What are key dates for YSN?

August 31:                 All classes start

November 20:         Last day of in-person classes (clinical training likely will vary by program & site)

December 18:         End of fall term for GEPN, MSN, post master’s, and DNP programs

December 21:         PhD program examinations end; winter recess begins

YSN Academic Calendar

5.     When will I find out about my clinical assignment?

Specialty Directors are working with the YSN Clinical Support Unit to place students over the summer and fall semesters as sites become available and will contact students accordingly. The Clinical Support Unit is in touch with all of our clinical training sites and preceptors we have used, as well as working to recruit new ones. We are finding that while a clinical preceptor may be willing to work with a student, the agency may not be ready to open the facility up to accepting students. These are decisions that we need to abide by until YSN is notified by the agency. We also know that clinical training sites are reducing the number of students they are willing to train or to allow their respective preceptors to train. We are making every effort possible, within the constraints of the clinical agency decisions.

6.     What do I do if my clinical site requires PPE, but does not provide it?

As preceptors and agencies open the doors for training, we consistently ask if students will need PPE and if the agency will provide the PPE. If not, YSN will make the provisions as available. Site PPE and other tracking will be done in YSN’s E-value software program.

7.     Are visitors allowed at YSN?

Visitors on campus will not be allowed.

8.     Will Student Life activities be able to take place in person?

Student life activities transitioned to online modes since the closure of YSN in March. Student meetings, fitness classes, and wellness opportunities continue to be delivered online using Zoom. We have a variety of student wellness activities that will continue, such as direct meeting times with the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion or the university’s Chaplain’s Office. Mental health support is provided by Yale Mental Health & Counseling staff, either in group or one-to-one sessions online. Peer group sessions will be offered, too, either in person while maintaining social distancing or on Zoom as needed. Student organized meetings will follow social distancing protocols, and/or depending on the size of the group may meet in-person as guidelines permit. If policy and weather permit, we will consider outdoor wellness activities that adhere to strict social distancing and state guidelines.

9.     Will faculty who aren’t teaching in the building and staff continue to work from home?

In order to maintain building occupancy standards, Yale is encouraging faculty and staff who can work from home to continue to do so. YSN plans to minimize points of exposure by creating “zones” throughout the building, separating workstations (employee offices and workstations) from classrooms. YSN will provide its community with individual insulated lunch bags for food storage. Shared food storage will not be permitted. All Yale facilities guidance will be implemented.

10.  Will adjustments be made in tuition and financial aid?

We are investing now in strong dual-delivery programs to provide an excellent experience and education and continue to invest in our faculty. Although we do not know the full financial impact of COVID-19 at this point in time, we do know that higher education will not be spared from those challenges. YSN takes its fiduciary responsibility seriously and we are committed to continuing efforts so that any unforeseen expenses resulting from the pandemic are not passed on to our students.

11.  How will courses be graded?

As of now, we anticipate that Fall 2020 courses will be graded using formal letter grades.

12.  What if I decide to take a leave of absence or defer my admission?

There is information about taking a leave of absence for current students on the YSN website. If you are anticipating the need for a break in your education due to the current circumstances, please review the information and discuss your plans with the advisor and/or specialty director. The deferral deadline for incoming GEPNs was June 24th.

13.  Is the building open?

The building will remain closed through the summer. The Phase 2 research re-opening at Yale will take place on July 20, but YSN research will not utilize the building over the summer. It will open on a controlled basis and building hours will be reduced (times to be confirmed). To manage occupancy, YSN is currently planning one point of entry and one designated exit (although all forms of egress are available in an emergency). Entry will only be granted with an active ID visibly worn, appropriate face covering/mask, and completion of symptom attestation. All YSN members are expected to take their temperature every day before coming to campus. Security guards will continue to be stationed at entrance of building 400. 

YSN is planning to operate with designated Zones based on functional use; each Zone (and unique spaces within those zones) will be clearly marked with maximum occupancy. All active members of the YSN community will be issued lanyards for their YSN ID and will be required to wear their lanyard/ID at all times while in the building. IDs will be hung on boards at each Zone to indicate occupancy. When a zone is entered, the ID is placed on the board and retrieved upon departure. YSN members will not be permitted to enter a zone if that area is fully occupied.

Building 410 will be temporarily available to allow YSN activities to spread out, following facilities guidance as above.

Unless the use of on-campus simulation equipment is needed, students are encouraged to study at home to reduce building occupancy pressures.

YSN Study Commons will follow Yale Library guidance and social distancing.

YSN Hub refrigerators and water fountains will be closed.

14.  Will the Simulation Lab be open?

YSN Simulation Director, Virginia Sherrick, is developing feasibility guidelines so that simulation activities can resume on campus at the Simulation Lab for all simulation lab staff, faculty, learners, and standardized patients (SP). These guidelines follow CDC, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), applicable federal, state, and local government mandates and/or guidelines to effectively reduce exposures to SARS-CoV-2 by outlining PPE requirements and physical distancing. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are being developed to ensure provision of a healthy and safe working and learning environment for all faculty, SP, staff, and learners. This SOP establishes and requires simulation labpersonnel to supervise all simulation center activities to ensure enforcement of SOP. This includes ensuring adherence to proper PPE guidelines, limiting the number of learners based on physical distancing guidelines, and cleaning/disinfection of all simulation space and equipment per guidelines.

In addition, YSN has purchased pre-licensure students nurse kits that will be used in developing medical-surgical skills in order to begin clinical training. The kits include items that students will need for the skill lab portion of the medical-surgical course, such as a surgical face mask, an isolation gown, a suction kit, a catheter kit, and wound care supplies. The kits allow for the case that if students are unable to be in the building, they can practice at home. The kits also allow for decreased sharing of equipment that is supported by CDC guidelines.

15.  How often will YSN community members be tested for COVID-19?

Yale Health will be providing viral testing for students, faculty, and student-facing staff who return to campus. Additionally, faculty and students in clinical settings may be expected to be tested more frequently (timing TBD). Click here to read more about the Yale COVID-19 Screening Program.

As you may have read, the Governor Lamont has issued an Executive Order (EO) that individuals coming to Connecticut from states with a high incidence of COVID-19 infections self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. However, the EO provides an exemption for students in the health professions. YSN will require the following screening for all students in order to protect our patients and our community:

  • •  Regardless of your state of origin, when you arrive in Connecticut you must quarantine until you are tested for COVID-19.
    • •  Tests must be conducted by Yale Health and occur as soon as possible after you arrive.
    • •  Appointments can be scheduled in advance online here:
    • •  It may take up to 72 hours to receive test results. This may require you to arrive earlier than you had previously planned. 
  • •  All students, regardless of setting, must self-monitor re: COVID-19 symptoms and will be required to take their own temperature on a daily basis before coming to YSN and/or clinical sites, and to report COVID-19 related symptoms daily upon entry to the building and/or to advisor or Specialty Director and primary care provider. Self-monitoring of temperature should begin 14 days prior to first day of clinical and continue daily during time on campus or in clinical. Symptoms indicating COVID-19 infection can be found here:

In addition to the above, if you arrive from one of the states identified as high prevalence in the Executive Order, you will be retested for COVID-19 one week after your first test. The list of included states is fluid and updated daily, so please check this link for the most up-to-date information.

If a student, faculty, or staff member has a positive test, the individual will be asked to self-isolate at home until they have recovered. YSN students live mostly in community-based housing. The individual will also be connected with a Yale Health primary care provider for further oversight and testing or encouraged to immediately contact their own health care provider. YSN will require a recovery status protocol when the individual: 1) remains fever free without the use of fever reducers for 72 hours, 2) shows improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), and 3) it has been at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared (CDC guidance as of June 2020). Contact tracing and isolation guidance will follow Yale/DoH procedures.