COVID-19 Information

Updated November 13, 2020

YSN COVID-19 Information Highlights

November Health and Safety Reminders

FAQs: COVID-19 Protocols and Planning

Yale School of Nursing | Fall 2020 Plan

Yale School of Nursing’s guiding principles and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are rooted in safety of students, faculty, staff, and the patients and public with whom we interact. To this end, YSN leadership has worked deliberately with Provost Strobel’s office, various campus committees, YSN chairs, Specialty Directors, and Unit Directors on a safe and consistent plan for next academic year. YSN will remain steadfast and observe our stated guiding principles. As with all communications in the COVID-19 era, protocols may need to be adjusted, based on local/state epidemiologic disease patterns and corresponding guidance.

Overview of Process

The dean has led the work along with members from the dean’s leadership team for several months, utilizing information from national guidelines (e.g., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) and scientific evidence that were considered as part of the strategies to re-open YSN. We have listened to how faculty and students might need support using a dual delivery mode (i.e., in-person and online/remote) to teach and learn under conditions of social distancing. We have been working with staff on how to continue supporting the mission of YSN working from home in order to decompress the number of people in YSN building spaces.  

Guiding Principles:
  • Develop/maintain protocols that protect the health/safety of students/faculty/staff.
  • Provide students a maximal YSN/Yale experience.
  • Prioritize in-person clinical development of skills/tasks and physical assessment strategies, as well as exams for large classes that need to be proctored.
  • Provide a pedagogical approach to meet unique needs of faculty and students.
  • To every extent possible, make efforts to encourage student progress toward degree completion.
The following outlines Yale School of Nursing’s planning for this fall, re-entry to clinical training sites, and student life activities. All scenarios are contingent upon established federal, state, and Yale guidelines.
Key Assumptions:
  • All students will be asked to sign a Community Compact as a condition for returning to campus. 
  • Appropriate testing will be available and testing protocols followed by any YSN member returning to campus. YSN will follow testing guidelines set by Yale University. 
  • All those returning to the building must self-monitor temperature and report symptoms before entry is allowed.
  • Strict social distancing policies will be enforced including modified building occupancy for all spaces, per university guidelines.
  • Masks are required at all times for those in the building, unless alone in a private office.
  • Adequate cleaning protocols will be in place.
  • Visitors will not be allowed.
  • Students, faculty, and staff who travel for personal reasons during fall semester should make the decision taking into consideration potential risks of travel (see CDC guidance), including impact on availability of clinical hours for progression. If international travel occurs, self-quarantine for 14 days upon entry to the US is recommended.
  • YSN will teach through the fall semester without observing Labor Day.
  • If clinical training/site availability is delayed in the fall, there may be a need to have clinical training over winter, spring, and summer breaks.
​SUMMER 2020
The building will remain closed through the summer or until a specific notice from the provost. A few students are currently in newly available off-campus clinical training, and they are abiding by prescribed precautions according to the agency’s protocols. During the summer months, YSN faculty and leadership are actively planning for a dual delivery mode of teaching for the fall semester and determining how many students can be accommodated in the building at any one time and in which classrooms according to class size and active learning needs. In addition, faculty are meeting with staff from the Poorvu Center and YSN Academic Support Unit for consultation on optimally transitioning courses from in-person only courses to remote/dual teaching modality. YSN Academic Support Unit has developed faculty resources available on Canvas, and additional resources will also be posted. 
Clinical Training/Preceptors
Currently, the Clinical Support Unit is in touch with all of our clinical training sites and current preceptors, 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. 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 PPE is required but will not be provided by the site, YSN will make the provisions as available.
FALL 2020
YSN will begin the academic program on August 31. The Executive Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) hybrid program will maintain the fall program online only, with no in-person campus visits. The PhD program will adhere to the GSAS schedule. Student orientation will be delivered asynchronously with some content to be delivered synchronously via Zoom the week of August 24. 
If epidemiologic circumstances or Yale/CT guidance changes in the middle of the fall semester, as with another COVID-19 surge, YSN may need to pivot. In that case, all courses and skills teaching will be delivered entirely remotely should the epidemic circumstances warrant. 
The Spring 2021 schedule will be developed by November 2020. In addition and throughout, we will plan on how students are able to make up clinical hours as quickly as possible as soon as the clinical sites give us permission to resume training throughout the rest of the academic year. 
Student Orientation 2020 
Orientation will take place asynchronously throughout the month of August and synchronously in person starting August 24th:
  • We will make available informational videos, introductions, and other videos featuring important resources, offices, and people.
  • Scheduled Zoom meetings for incoming students with Office of Student Life and Belonging staff, faculty, program leaders for meet and greet, information sharing, and cohort building.
Student Life & Belonging
Student life activities transitioned to online modes since the closure of YSN. Student meetings, fitness classes, and wellness opportunities continue to be delivered online using Zoom. We have a variety of student wellness activities that have been mounted and are continuing, such as direct meeting times with the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion or the university 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.
Clinical Training
The Clinical Support Unit will work with Specialty Directors to place students as soon as possible as sites become available and will contact students accordingly. Should PPE be required, YSN will work to secure it. Site PPE and other tracking will be done in YSN’s E-value software program. Students will be required to take an online workshop on telehealth at the beginning of fall semester.
Faculty and Staff 
Staff and faculty who can work from home will continue to do so to reduce building occupancy. 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.
Training in PPE use, hand hygiene, social distancing, masking, types of masks:
  • All students will be ‘checked-off’ on instruction on the use of PPE and putting on and taking off face mask and shield prior to clinical via a video or other resources. 
  • Prior to returning to clinical, students will watch a video on hand hygiene and answer questions to demonstrate knowledge.
  • All GEPN students will be introduced to PPE in September with the anticipation of eventually returning to the clinical area by October. 
  • All new GEPN students will be fit-tested for proper sizing of N95 mask according to Simulation Lab protocol/state and federal guidance.
  • Students will be instructed on social distancing on the clinical unit, maintaining 6 ft distance from other students, instructors, and other health team members when not delivering direct patient care.
Symptom Monitoring and Reporting Process:
  • Anyone who will be on campus in any capacity must complete the COVID-19 Return Training and complete the Symptom Tracker each day prior to being on campus. 
  • Students will 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.
Health Considerations:
  • 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.
Building Use & Entering YSN Building Protocols:
  • YSN will open on a controlled basis. 
  • Building hours will be modified based on strategic usage and safety protocols.
  • 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. 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. 
  • Hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes will be placed strategically throughout the buildings. Occupants are responsible for proper hand sanitizing protocols and for wiping down surfaces before and after use.
  • Only one occupant in an elevator at a time. Stairs will be marked and use encouraged.
  • 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. 
  • West Campus shuttle service is expected to continue at reduced per-trip density.
  • Group events and speakers prohibited on-site; delivery of such events will remain remote until further notice. 
Testing for faculty, staff, and post-doctoral trainees:
All faculty and student-facing staff and post-doctoral trainees who will be on campus during the fall semester will have the option to be tested for COVID-19 at the start of the semester. Testing is encouraged but not required and will be offered through the Yale COVID-19 Screening Program.
  • Travel Guidelines:
    • The state exempts individuals who work in critical infrastructure, including healthcare, only if their travel is work-related. Individuals traveling for personal reasons, regardless of profession, must quarantine for 14 days on return or on arrival in Connecticut.
      • Faculty and staff working in healthcare and students in health professional schools arriving for study are exempt from quarantine. Yale is requiring these individuals to test on arrival in Connecticut, quarantine until that result returns, and then test again in 1 week.
      • YSN students should SCHEDULE YOUR ARRIVAL TEST now, at the YHP portal: 
Prior to arrival to Greater New Haven area:
  • All YSN students are strongly encouraged, but not required, to have a SARS-CoV-2 viral (PCR) test before arriving on campus.
  • If the pre-arrival test is positive, the student should seek medical advice and isolate in their current location for at least 10 days and at least 24 hours following resolution of a fever, if present, before traveling to their Connecticut residence. Students with a positive test should not travel to New Haven, and they should begin their studies remotely.
  • The university will reimburse the cost of the pre-arrival viral (PCR) test up to $120. Save your receipts; instructions for submitting the test bill or receipt for reimbursement will be forthcoming.

Upon arrival to Greater New Haven area:

  • All students must have a viral (PCR) test through the Yale COVID-19 screening program prior to the start of the fall semester to reduce the likelihood that asymptomatic infection will be brought into the community. Please schedule your on-arrival test now.
  • Testing appointments are currently available now through August 21, Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm. If you are already in the New Haven area, you are encouraged to schedule now. Additional times will be made available later.
  • Students who have remained in the CT area and 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.
  • All students must quarantine in their residences until a negative arrival test result is received.
  • As outlined above, YSN students must quarantine until that result returns (currently 72 hour turnaround time), and then test again a week later.
  • Individuals with positive test results will be contacted by Yale Health and required to self-isolate. It is also recommended that you sign up for a MyChart account for online access to all of your medical information including lab and radiologic results. We also recommend downloading the app (App Store and Google Play).

Ongoing screening:

  • Students may obtain subsequent testing on a voluntary basis through the Yale COVID-19 Screening 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.
Simulation Lab
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 lab personnel 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.

In sum, there remain many variables that are uncertain, but Yale recommends preparing all courses to be available online while also preparing for a return of students to campus with the goal of an on-time start. YSN stands ready to deliver to every extent possible within our powers.

Yale University Updates

Please review Yale’s COVID-19 website for more information. Additionally, Yale affiliates should go to the Yale ALERT webpage to make sure your contact information is current. 
Yale Resources
Yale Health 24-Hour Hotline: 203-432-6604