Campus Access and Research during COVID-19 (2020 updates)

July 24, 2020

Update from Karsten Heeger, Chair

The Physics Department has started to operate under Phase II of Yale’s campus plan for research reactivation. Phase II broadens access to campus so long as there continues to be adherence to Yale’s guidance on physical distancing, room density and other public safety measures. Working from home is still recommended and strongly encouraged.
Before coming to campus 
1. please complete the EHS training 
2. your health check 
While on campus 
Please follow all current guidelines for social distancing and wear face masks. Please also follow the posted signs for maximum occupancy of rooms. Social distancing is required in all common areas. 
Office Use
Research Scientists and Postdocs with double occupancy offices will coordinate the office use with their office neighbor using their preferred means of communication to ensure <50% occupancy in all offices.  In double occupancy offices this limits occupancy to only one person at a time. Everyone will use their own desk and, keyboard and computer. 
For Graduate Students and Postdocs in shared offices the occupants of the shared group office will coordinate the office use through their preferred means of communication such as Slack, Google, doc, Google calendar. PIs will be responsible for ensuring that all occupants follow the guidelines for social distancing and < 50% occupancy. 
PIs are responsible that their groups follow the guidance for < 50% occupancy and social distancing in their group offices. I have asked PIs to send me their plans for shared spaces. Please consult with your PI before coming to campus. 
For Graduate Students in years 1 and 2 in the shared SPL offices without a research group we will send out special instructions.
PPE Kits
For everyone returning to campus under Phase II (and who is not engaged in laboratory research) the department will make a bulk order of PPE kits. We will let you know when they are available and how to retrieve them. Research groups with laboratory activities and EHS integrator plans will receive PPE directly from EHS and their PIs.  
Laboratory Activities
are coordinated through the PIs and their research plans. Please discuss laboratory work with your PI before coming to campus. 
If you have any questions please contact the building contacts Hannah Carroll (SPL, HH, SCL), Sid Cahn (SPL, SCL), Jeff Ashenfelter (WL), Frank Lopez (WL)

July 14, 2020

Preparing for campus access during Phase II starting July 20

Next week the university will enter Phase II of the research reactivation on campus. For more information please see

This will allow researchers including postdocs and graduate students to access campus facilities, labs, and offices for research. 

The guiding principles are

  • wear a mask
  • practice social distancing 
  • <50% density of personnel in all spaces (including labs and offices) 

To access campus you will need to 

  • have an authorization 
  • complete EHS training 
  • perform health checks and symptom monitoring before you come to campus 
  • follow rules for social distancing and PPE

To get authorization

  • If your group has a Phase I authorization for campus access you don’t need to do much. Please review your EHS Integrator plan, add any location or personnel you might want to add, and submit the revised plan.
  • If you and your group do not have authorization for campus access yet, please fill out an EHS Integrator plan for Phase II for review and approval. 

Department Plan for Group Offices and Shared Spaces 

In addition to the PI plans I will need to submit a department plan that ensures we will follow the guiding principles of social distancing and personnel density in all department spaces. One of the most challenging aspects will be coordinating the use of group offices for graduate students and postdocs and use of shared laboratories. To coordinate this I will need all of your help. Our department is spread over several buildings and every group has a different way of using their office spaces. 

To help me put together the department plan I ask that every PI whose group is expected to return to campus under Phase II send me a short plan (few sentences) for how will you and your group ensure < 50% personnel density and social distancing of > 6ft in your group offices and laboratories? If you have a shared group office with another PI please coordinate through Google doc, Slack etc. Please send me your group’s plan for the use of shared offices and labs by Thursday, July 16.

Together with the graduate program team we will develop a separate plan for the shared graduate student spaces for 1st and 2nd years in SPL.

June 26, 2020

Take action now to avoid disruptions using Zoom after July 19

To improve the security and privacy of the Zoom platform and its meeting participants, Zoom will require that all meetings have either a Passcode or a Waiting Room enabled as of Sunday, July 19. Zoom is renaming meeting “Passwords” to “Passcodes” to better align with its role of allowing people in a meeting.

If your meeting does not have a passcode, the Waiting Room will be enabled, and you will need to admit participants to the meeting. Participants will see a screen showing they are in the waiting room and the Host will see a message showing someone is in the waiting room. Participants who sign into Zoom prior to joining the meeting will bypass the waiting room.

June 15, 2020

Machine shop access at Wright Lab during Phase I

JW Gibbs shop

The professional machine shop is operational and ready for work. If you are in need of  getting a part made or machined please contact shop supervisor Vincent Bernardo at to arrange an online Zoom consultation and discuss your needs. No walk-in consultations.  

Advanced Prototyping Center (APC)

The APC is operational but only for APC personnel. No walk-ins or direct work by users. Please contact James Nikkel at if you need to get a part made using one of the machines in the APC. He will arrange for one of the APC experts to help you.

Research and Teaching Shops

The research and teaching shops will open soon under the supervision of David Johnson and Craig Miller.  You will receive a separate email confirmation once the shops are open. To use these shops please contact David Johnson <> for the teaching shop and Craig Miller <> for the research shop to schedule a time when you can come and use the machines. Please allow sufficient time and schedule your appointment at least a day in advance.
At the time of your appointment you will need to swipe in and out of the shop space using your Yale ID card. You will be asked to wash your hands when you enter and leave the shop space. Due to the need for cleaning, the initial working hours of both the research and teaching shops will be 9-12pm and 12.30-3pm. You are expected to wear a surgical masks in the shop and clean up your space after your work. To allow for proper social distancing and shop supervision the number of users (besides shop supervisors) in the teaching shop will be limited to 2, and to 1 in the research shop.

June 1, 2020

Notice to faculty, staff and trainees about Phase 1 Research Reactivation

Phase 1 of Yale’s measured research reactivation plan will start on Monday, June 1st. Investigators will be cleared over the course of the coming week to return to campus, if their lab and department safety plans and approvals are in order. Authorization to return to campus is being spaced out over several days to ease the strain of reactivating campus infrastructure, and allow for the delivery of laboratory (PPE) ‘Welcome Kits’.  Faculty and facility directors who submitted safety plans for approval will receive an authorization notice from EHS Integrator for the approved investigators in their labs to return to campus. Faculty are expected to forward the authorization notice and communicate with their trainees and staff to coordinate shifts and their return to campus schedules, providing flexibility given the rapidly changing conditions. Faculty should also convey their laboratory safety plans, including expectations for PPE use, dedensification, disinfecting procedures, and any other operational plans to trainees and staff. 

Please note: Faculty and facility directors who have not received an email authorization notice from EHS integrator are not yet approved to return to campus, and should wait until they have received a notice before bringing their labs back to campus. Similarly, staff and trainees who have not been notified by their supervisor to return to campus, should wait until they have received communication from their supervisor and coordinate their schedules with their supervisor before returning to campus.
For additional information on Phase 1 reactivation and all the reactivation steps, see the Research at Yale website.

Signage update:

In general, EHS is putting up the legally required signs, and Facilities is putting up the other in-building signs. They all share design elements. They are posting them all as PDFs at If anyone sees a need for another sign or wants the nicely printed copies, let me know.

May 29, 2020

2020-21 Academic Calendar (revised)

Fall 2020

Aug 24, 2020 - Aug 28, 2020
Move-in, if in residence

Aug 31, 2020
Classes start

Nov 21, 2020  - Nov 29, 2020
November break

Nov 30, 2020 - Dec 4, 2020
Last week of classes online

Dec 7, 2020 - Dec 10, 2020
Online reading period

Dec 11, 2020 - Dec 18, 2020
Online final exam period

Spring 2021


May 28, 2020

SEAS & Science Safety Committees

SEAS Safety Committee
Fahmeed Hyder, Sohrab Ismail-Beigi, Corey O’Hern, Mark Reed, Brian Scassellati, Vince Wilczynski, Julie Zimmerman 

Science Safety Committee
Jay Ague, Ron Breaker, Casey Dunn, Don Engelman, Larry Gladney, Scott Miller, Wilhelm Schlag, Pieter von Dokkum

These committees will be reviewing Phase 1 research proposals and providing recommendations to the FAS Dean of Science. They will help ensure that we hold our research community to a consistently high standard of safety across disciplines. In addition to your department chair, these safety officers will serve as a point of contact for any concerns or suggestions for improvement you may have within your department. 

May 26, 2020

New campus COVID resource line

Here is the new Campus COVID Resource Line: 203-432-6604, toll free 866-924-9253, which is staffed by Advanced Practice Nursing Students 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is the  one stop shop if there is a COVID health concern by staff/trainees/faculty.

May 21, 2020

Resources for Phase 1 Research Reactivation

·  COVID-19: Returning to Yale

· EHS: Return to Yale

· Overview and Instructions for Faculty for Phase 1 Research Reactivation

·  Research Reactivation Phases

·  Overview for using EHS Integrator Phase 1 Reactivation and Video

·  EHS Integrator

·  Expectations of Working in Laboratories during the COVID-19 Pandemic

·  Laboratory Ramp-up Checklist

·  EHS Instructions for Return to Laboratory Research Phase 1

·  FAQs - Phase 1 Research Reactivation

·  FAQs for Library Reopening

·  YARC Guidance 

·  Lab PPE Guidance

·  Trainee Accommodations Guidance

· University Hotline  (for reporting violations)

There will be a call center opening in the coming week that will be a single number to address both possible COVID-19- symptomatic and positive individuals.  We will advise you on this procedure when it is ready.

This is the current protocol to report COVID-19 positive cases:   

  • If the person has symptoms, but has not been tested, have them contact employee health (203-432-7978). They will advise on testing and provide information on next steps.
  • If someone who is COVID-19 positive has been in your workspace or laboratory, immediately          contact your Human Resource Generalist (HRG). Your HRG will ensure that public health authorities will implement measures to trace contacts, etc. Your HRG can also answer any questions about minimizing transmission of COVID-19 to other workplace occupants. In addition, immediately contact Facilities (203-432-6888) and EHS (203-785-3550) to implement enhanced cleaning. A restricted access sign (last page of this pdf link) should be placed on the door of the area that requires cleaning. This is the same for non-lab areas.

May 18, 2020

Instructions for Faculty for Phase 1 Research Reactivation 

Provost announcement

Reactivation phases

Overview and Instructions for Faculty for Phase 1 Research Reactivation includes:

  • Helpful Information for Review Before Return to Campus
  • How to Apply for Permission to Return to Campus (including Integrator link)
    • Please note  that you must be on the Yale network to access EHS Integrator. If you are not on the Yale network or Yale Secure wi-fi, you must first begin a VPN secure connection (via Cisco Any Connect).
  • Current Status of Campus Operations
  • Contacts for help (including how to report COVID-19 positive person in your lab)

Research Registration Reactivation Demo

For questions regarding your Phase 1 research plan in Physics please consult first with the building contacts: Sid Cahn (SPL, YSB) and Jeff Ashenfelter and Frank Lopez (WL).
For questions regarding EHS Integrator, please email or call 203-737-2122 with any questions.

May 13, 2020

Message from Karsten Heeger, Physics Department Chair

At this point in time access to these buildings is still limited to personnel who are authorized for critical maintenance activities. If you are part of this group, you have been notified and face masks have been issued to you from the university. Everyone else is expected to stay off campus. While the State of Connecticut and parts of the country are working towards a re-opening in the coming days, the current access restrictions to campus remain for now. If you have a need to retrieve items from campus please contact one of our building contacts:
Hannah Carroll and Sid Cahn for SPL, SCL, HH.
Jeff Ashenfelter and Frank Lopez for WL.
They will arrange a pick up for you or schedule a time with you to retrieve your items. Please do not simply enter the buildings. The university has observed an increase in unauthorized building access across campus. Unless we follow the current rules we run the risk of delaying the return to campus and the restart of our research activities.

April 29, 2020

Message from Karsten Heeger, Physics Department Chair

At this point only critical personnel authorized by the Dean’s Office for critical maintenance activities in labs are allowed to enter the buildings and work on campus. Everyone else is expected to remain off-site. If you have not received an email you are not on the list of critical personnel.
We do realize that the extended period of off-campus work poses significant challenges, and some of you may need to retrieve some items from your office or lab to effectively continue work from home. To allow for this possibility,  the following people are the designated point of contacts for the following Physics buildings. They will coordinate the pick up of items or find ways of getting them to you. Eventually, they will also help implement building-specific procedures for access when we start limited on-campus work. 

SPL, Hillhouse, SCL

Hannah Carroll
Sidney Cahn

Wright Lab

Jeff Ashenfelter
Frank Lopez