Jessie Cheung, Staff Photographer

After holding steady at the orange alert level since November, Yale lowered its COVID-19 alert level to yellow on Thursday afternoon.

In an email to members of the Yale community on Thursday, University COVID-19 Coordinator Stephanie Spangler announced the change in alert level from orange, which indicates moderate risk, to yellow, which means low to moderate risk, citing to improving public health conditions on campus as well as in the Elm City. 

“For over five months, due to concerns about state and local rates of infection and outbreaks in our Yale community, the alert level has remained at orange, reflecting a moderate risk of viral transmission,” Spangler wrote in her email. “Today, I am pleased to share that—in recognition of more favorable rates of COVID-19 infection in New Haven and on our campus, rising rates of vaccination, and the continued diligence of so many of you—we have changed Yale’s alert level from orange to yellow.”

According to the email, as a result of the change in alert level, many campus policies have changed. The University travel policy has now been modified to eliminate testing and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated individuals returning to campus after domestic travel and to permit University-sponsored travel for fully vaccinated faculty, staff and students, subject to “appropriate approval.”

Furthermore, faculty who do not reside in Connecticut who were previously required to teach remotely are now permitted to come to campus to teach in person if they are fully vaccinated, capacity limits for labs have been lifted as long as social distancing guidelines are observed and quarantine and testing requirements are suspended for fully vaccinated, asymptomatic individuals who are close contacts of individuals who test positive.

The email also detailed how the University’s gathering and event policy has changed. Now, community members can host or participate in outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people without obtaining prior approval, as long as health and safety measures, such as masking and distancing, are observed. Previously, gatherings were limited to 10 people, and events with more than seven individuals were required to be registered with the University through YaleConnect.

Lastly, the Yale University Art Gallery will reopen to visitors. People can make appointments to visit beginning on May 14.

The University COVID-19 dashboard reflects 18 positive cases in the last week — 10 from students and eight from faculty and staff. The last positive case for on-campus undergraduates was reported on April 15, and a total of 507 positive cases have been reported since Jan. 1.

Julia Bialek currently serves as a public editor for the Yale Daily News. Previously, she covered the student policy & affairs beat as a reporter on the university desk. Originally from Chappaqua, New York, Julia is a junior in Saybrook College studying political science and history.