After two long weeks quarantined in their residential colleges, on-campus Yale students were abuzz on Monday as they rediscovered the campus they’d been waiting to roam.
As of Feb. 15 at 7:00 a.m., Yale has entered Phase 3 of arrival quarantine procedure. Undergraduate students are now permitted to move freely around campus, as well as invite on-campus guests into their suites. Traveling to the surrounding city and hosting off-campus students in their dorms remain forbidden. Despite the increased level of COVID-19 risk due to the more lenient restrictions, many students remained enthusiastic about exploring campus once again.
“Stepping out of the gate for the first time onto Cross Campus, it was just a wave of nostalgia, and I was like ‘Oh my God, this is why I came back,’” Tyler Brown ’23 commented. “It was so good to see campus, and it was so good to see life happening … When I’m in my room, with the two walks I take every day to the dining hall, I don’t see anyone. It was so good to just see other people, and feel like I’m not in Grace Hopper looking at the world through a window, and I’m actually in New Haven, part of Yale, part of the city.”
The return to campus holds extra significance for sophomores, who, for the most part, have not been able to return to campus since being sent home last March. Brown remarked that this exodus did not feel like it ended until Phase 3 started, when he was finally able to move out of the “little rectangle of [his] existence.”
First-year students who were granted a housing exception shared some of this excitement. Their enthusiasm was somewhat dampened by a familiarity of lifted restrictions or perhaps a more immediate familiarity with Yale’s campus.
“It’s definitely different,” Abby Davis ’24 commented. “It was the second time around [for first years], so everything was a bit less exciting.” She quickly added, “Hopefully people will be less likely to go do crazy things on the first day this time.”
Regardless of these nuances, students from all classes shared a common interest in returning to popular campus destinations. Hillhouse Avenue, Sterling Memorial Library and a smattering of residential colleges were all frequent features in Yalies’ short lists of on-campus destinations, according to the seven students the News spoke with.
But local restaurants, grocery stores and off-campus apartments were also included in some students’ lists. Traveling to these off-campus locations is not permitted during Phase 3 of the arrival quarantine.
Some students have accordingly expressed worries about adherence to quarantine guidelines. With no mechanism in place to monitor students traveling off campus, students must follow restrictions on an essentially voluntary basis.
“As long as everyone is diligent with themselves and tries to do the right thing, it should be okay,” Meg Dreany ’24 affirmed. “It starts to get out of hand when people kind of lose the respect for their community and their suitemates … you shouldn’t want to do anything that will put them in danger.”
Brown echoed these concerns, remarking that contact with New Haven seems inevitable. Even when following every precaution, any exposure to someone who had ventured into New Haven would cause contact levels to “skyrocket,” he said.
Regardless, Brown did not contend that students should remain restricted to their residential colleges. He instead emphasized that the guidelines in Phase 3 will be effective, so long as students adhere to them.
Phase 3 is currently slated to end March 1 at 7:00 a.m., when students will be permitted to travel off campus.
Sean Pergola | email@example.com