Dear YSM community, 

I write to update my last communication in July about our plans for the fall semester. Since my last email, the school has received approval for the majority of our normal semester activities. As conditions surrounding the Delta variant have progressed, additional precautions have been put in place.

As we approach and begin the fall semester, it may become necessary for the university to implement additional health and safety measures in response to changes in conditions. Yale’s Public Health Committee is closely tracking and advising university leaders on the state of the pandemic, the impact of variants, and current guidance from national and international public health experts. We are aware that our planning efforts must include the capacity to pivot if necessary.  

Opening week schedule

Monday, Sept. 6

YSM offices and facilities closed for Labor Day

Tuesday, Sept. 7

  • Chamber Music and Yale Philharmonia auditions
  • 1:30-3 p.m.: Orientation & Immigration Check-in for International Students (Glee Club Room, Hendrie Hall) This is mandatory for first-year students. More information will be communicated by Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). If you cannot attend, a make-up date will be held Sept. 20 at 12 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 8

  • Chamber Music and Yale Philharmonia auditions
  • 9:30-10:30 a.m.: Faculty and staff opening meeting (Zoom) 
  • 11-11:20 a.m.: New students’ meeting (Morse Recital Hall) 
  • 11:30-11:50 a.m.: Returning students’ meeting (Morse Recital Hall) 
    Boxed lunches will be available for students, faculty, and staff at the Graduate Club after the morning meetings.
  • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Adams Center for Musical Arts tours (in-person)

Thursday, Sept. 9:

  • Chamber Music and Yale Philharmonia auditions
  • 7-8 p.m.: Convocation (Morse Recital Hall)
    We are delighted that the school will be able to hold Convocation in person. Only YSM students, faculty, and staff may attend. Attendees must be masked at all times and audience members will be ticketed to ensure physical distancing.

Updates for students

Prior to being granted access to YSM facilities, each YSM student must complete all of the following requirements:

COVID-19 vaccination

Your verified fulfillment of the COVID-19 vaccination requirement must be on file with the university.


The online COVID-19 training program for students has been updated for fall 2021. All students—except for those who completed the spring 2021 training—are required to complete the Student Return to Campus COVID-19 Training.


All students are required to read and sign the Fall 2021 Compact, even if they signed last year’s compacts.  

Gateway testing

Gateway testing is required for the following students:

  • All students living in certain graduate dorms (Helen Hadley, Harkness, Baker, 254 and 276 Prospect, and 272 Elm)
  • All students arriving from out-of-state locations 
  • Students arriving from outside of the U.S. must also get a second test 3-5 days after arrival
  • Unvaccinated students with exemptions (or those with vaccination underway upon arrival) Please see your email for detailed instructions from the YSM H&S team
  • Once you have completed all Gateway testing, please submit this form to confirm.

Routine weekly testing

In consideration of the risks posed by asymptomatic COVID-19 due to the Delta variant, we have now determined that all fully-vaccinated YSM students will be required to test once weekly, at least through the end of September

This surveillance approach, which will also apply to all undergraduates and residents of Yale graduate dormitories regardless of school, will allow us to assess the status of our vaccinated students and to identify possible asymptomatic infection early. We will update you in late September as to whether the testing requirement will be extended.

Once you have completed your gateway test, you should plan to self-schedule a weekly test at the site of your choice through

  • For full guidance on the testing process, go to the Yale COVID-19 Screening Program web page.
  • You may do your weekly test any day of the week but should not let more than 7 days pass between tests; you will be notified on day 8 if you fail to schedule a test. 
  • Be sure to register for your MyChart account if you have not done so already. (A registration code was sent to new students on August 3; search your email for messages from Yale Health; you may also request one through the link above).

We appreciate your patience with these evolving policies. If you have questions, you may contact the YSM Health and Safety Team at or for clinical questions contact the Campus COVID Resource Line at 203-432-6604.

Early access to practice facilities

Students who would like to practice in YSM facilities prior to August 30 must complete all of the steps above and email to request access.

If you have questions about any of the requirements above, please contact the YSM Health and Safety Team at 

Updates for faculty and staff

Fall 2021 COVID-19 training

The training program for faculty and staff has been updated for fall 2021. All faculty, staff, and trainees—except for those who completed the spring 2021 training—must take the revised 2021 COVID-19: Working at Campus training.

Staff return to campus

The staff return to campus will be layered throughout September to accommodate the university’s request for dedensification of non-curricular activities. YSM managers will be in touch with the staff later this week to finalize in-person schedules.

Availability of voluntary testing

Although YSM faculty and staff are not required to engage in mandatory weekly testing, you are strongly encouraged to receive regular and frequent voluntary testing. You can self-schedule a testing appointment through Yale’s screening program at any time—and at no cost—especially in the event of possible exposure or if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Yale employees with Yale Health insurance may schedule an appointment for a dependent provided your dependent has a MyChart account (or you have a MyChart proxy for your minor child under age 18). 

Childcare issues and teaching accommodations
Childcare considerations are likely to impact the faculty and staff of our campus community in ways that will be difficult to predict. I am hopeful that we will not experience closure of our local schools or daycare centers this fall, but I fully expect there will be COVID-19 cases in the schools that will result in partial closures, quarantine, and isolation of some students. HR is reviewing the university’s childcare support structures and additional details will be communicated in the coming days.  

Important dates and details 

Regular communication

Please monitor your Yale email frequently. The YSM newsletter is distributed on Monday mornings with key information for students, faculty, and staff regarding the fall semester.  

Class registration

Class registration opens today, Monday, August 23. Please see the email from Suzanne Stringer for more information.

Building hours

Aug. 30–Sept. 3: Adams Center open for solo practicing only from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Students who do not have practice access may request it from

Sept. 3–Sept. 5: Adams Center is closed

Sept. 6–Dec. 17: All YSM facilities open from 8:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m. every day


The school will provide masks for all students, as well as slit masks and bell covers for woodwind and brass players. A “starter pack” of PPE will be distributed to each student at the opening week meetings.

I want to thank each of you for your patience and understanding as conditions continue to unfold. I am hopeful and encouraged that we will make music together again in the new academic year.

Warmest regards, 

Robert Blocker
Henry and Lucy Moses Dean of Music