Information on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

University’s COVID-19 page: https://communications.yale.edu/covid-19-information

University’s Returning to Yale page: https://covid19.yale.edu/returning-yale

Jackson’s COVID-19 FAQ page: http://jackson.yale.edu/CovidFaqs


Email from Jim Levinsohn (sent on 07/01/20)

Dear Jackson Community,

I write to follow up on the email you have recently received from President Salovey and Provost Strobel.  Please read their message with care.   

The purpose of this email is to speak to issues that are Jackson-specific.

This fall will be different—no question about it. But I believe that we can continue to convene as a community to offer a world-class professional degree in Global Affairs while maintaining, and indeed highlighting, those aspects of Jackson that are special—a tight community, small classes, a faculty comprised of world-class academics and practitioners, and a fantastic staff.  The Jackson team has been working to develop protocols to achieve these goals while protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

Jackson is Yale’s only professional school with a very large undergraduate major.   The plans for the undergraduate and graduate programs are markedly different.  Each are discussed separately.

Undergraduate GLBL Program: 

Jackson’s undergraduate classes will follow the policies of Yale College and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.  A review of the Yale College policies can be found here.  Please note that most teaching in the College will be online and Yale College rules will apply to our GLBL undergraduate classes.  Jackson’s Director of Undergraduate Studies, Sigga Benediktsdottir, will be the point of contact for questions on our GLBL undergraduate classes.

The remainder of this message applies to Jackson’s graduate programs.

Graduate Global Affairs Programs (MA and MAS):

The health and safety of our community are first and foremost, so let me start with that.   Classes will start on August 31st.  With that date in mind, I encourage students returning to Connecticut to be mindful of current Connecticut public health guidance and travel advisories and to arrive in Connecticut at least two weeks before you need to be here, if quarantine restrictions have been placed on the state or country from which you are traveling.  As noted in President Salovey and Provost Strobel’s letter, all arriving students, faculty, and staff will be required to take COVID-19 tests as part of Yale’s gateway (initial) testing and all students will be asked to sign a Community Compact as a condition for returning to campus.

The gateway testing is intended to ensure that when you come to that first Jackson convening, you will know that everyone in the room has tested negative for COVID-19.  It is then up to us as a community to maintain a healthy and safe environment.   This will require all of us to practice social distancing in Horchow Hall, wear masks (or other face coverings) while in public spaces in the building, and constantly track for symptoms.  Let me be upfront from the outset—failure to adhere to these guidelines will result in rather draconian penalties.  (i.e.  We may disable your Yale internet access as well as your keycard that gets you into the building.)

Over the summer, we have invested in technology that will allow many permutations of class convening.   The GM Room (the large room in Horchow) is large enough to accommodate a seminar with fewer than 20 students.  We have structured the fall curriculum so that 19 of our 21 courses will fit in this room.  If faculty wish to teach in person, they may.  (A preliminary poll indicated that most preferred to start their seminar in this manner.)   If students wish to attend class remotely, or must, should visa issues delay arrival to Yale, this too will be possible.  We will also have the ability to record classes if time zone issues so dictate.  If acoustics are sketchy in the retrofitted GM Room when wearing a mask, Jackson is prepared to provide all students with their own lavalier mic.    Faculty, please note that the GM Room can only accommodate one class at a time so we will be asking for flexibility on when you teach.

In addition to investing in technology, I know that part of what makes Jackson special is the ability to connect outside the classroom.   To supplement our student lounges (which will have occupancy rules), we will be investing in a tent for behind Horchow until the fall weather fades to winter.

I am keenly aware that some, and perhaps most, international students may encounter difficulties getting to the U.S. for the start of the semester due to visa issues and/or travel restrictions.   Yale’s Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) stands ready to help impacted students navigate these issues, as does the Jackson team.

There are still a lot of moving parts and further guidance on testing, building protocols, and other logistics specific to Jackson will be available in the coming weeks.  Updates on testing will be posted on our website in addition to email communication.   It is perhaps obvious but it bears repeating:  Jackson will follow all federal, state, and university guidelines and while we hope it does not happen, in the event of a COVID-19 resurgence, Jackson is prepared to resume all remote learning if needed.

Yale is posting an FAQ regarding the fall semester and Jackson is posting a Jackson-specific version.  These should be up before the end of today.

This coming semester is a chance for us to come together and show what’s possible when everyone has each other’s backs, when we have the resources of Yale upon which to draw, and when we keep our eye on the mission of Jackson.

Please stay well, stay safe, and stay involved.   And while there were times I wasn’t sure I’d be able to say this:  See you in the fall.

Best,

Jim