October 7, 2020
Yale Divinity School Dean Greg Sterling made the following announcement today to the YDS community.
I am writing to provide you with information about the spring schedule. Before I do, I want to thank all of you for the efforts you have made to contain COVID-19. Everyone has cooperated; your commitment to the community has resulted in a very low rate at the Divinity School specifically and at Yale University more broadly. While none of us have enjoyed the restrictions, you have put the safety and well-being of the entire community before personal desires and it has kept the virus at bay. Thank you!
The spring semester will largely repeat the fall semester in terms of processes and logistics; only the calendar will be different. All plans are, of course, subject to modification based on health conditions. Here are some of the specifics as we now know them.
The faculty voted yesterday to adopt the following spring calendar: We will begin classes on Monday, February 1st, 2021, and conclude instruction on Friday, April 30th, 2021. As was true this fall, there will be no mid-semester break. However, unlike this fall, there will be a total of five days off for classes meeting on a specific day of the week. These will occur as follows: Monday class break on February 22nd; Tuesday class break on March 9th; Wednesday class break on March 24th; Friday class break on Good Friday, April 2nd; and Thursday class break on April 8th. There will be an extended reading period at the end of the semester to enable you to complete papers, with finals taking place May 13-18, ending just prior to commencement. Senior Associate Dean Jennifer Herdt will send additional details as we draw closer to the end of this semester, and the calendar will be posted on the YDS website.
Classes will again be a mixture of online and hybrid, as they are this fall. Advising will occur in December and pre-registration in January, with some modifications based on the valuable feedback gathered in the recent survey. Again, details will be on the calendar.
We are planning to restrict Quad access beginning at the end of the day on December 18th. This means that if you need materials from the library over the break, you will need to have checked them out by the end of that day. We will reopen the Quad on a limited basis on Monday, January 4th. The library will reopen with limited hours, e.g., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the month of January, we will have limited staff on hand; most staff will work from home. We will bring staff back on a phased basis over the month of January in the same way that we did prior to the opening of the fall semester. If you need to speak with a staff person, please send them an email and arrange a conversation.
Housing and dining
The Divinity School’s apartments are the primary home of the students who reside there, and they will remain open throughout the winter break. Dining services will end on December 18th and begin again on February 1st. We will use the same system in spring semester that we have at present, relying on Yale Catering to provide meals.
Commencement is scheduled for May 24th for Yale University and YDS. It is too early to determine whether commencement will be virtual or in-person. We all want an in-person event; Commencement is my favorite day of the year—a sentiment shared by many faculty and staff. It will all depend on whether health concerns will permit us to be in-person or not. We will inform you as soon as we are able to make a definite decision; we will probably not reach that point until next spring.
We are halfway through the instruction period this fall. I know that it is a real challenge to continue without any break. Zoom fatigue is real. Everyone feels the drain. Please take good care of yourself. Maintain social distance, wear your face mask, wash your hands regularly, and avoid large gatherings. We do these things for one another. If I can be of any help to you, let me know how. I am in the Dean’s Office Monday through Thursday all day. I would be happy to meet with you either virtually or in person. I wish you the very best in the second half of the semester.
Gregory E. Sterling
The Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean
Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament
Yale Divinity School
October 7, 2020