David Zheng, Senior Photographer
In an April 29 email to undergraduates, Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun announced the preliminary move-in dates for the fall 2021 semester.
In the mail, Chun detailed both move-out information for the current semester and move-in information for the fall 2021 semester. Because Yale College currently plans to invite back all students, the move-in dates for on-campus housing will be staggered throughout the last week of August, with first-year students moving in first and then upperclassmen following.
“The move-in dates were advised by the public health group,” Chun told the News. “We are trying to return to normal as surely and solidly as possible, but there are going to be some differences in the transition to make sure we are doing everything as safely as possible. Spreading out the move-in process across the class years is part of those efforts.”
According to the email, vaccinated students who are participating in pre-orientation programs will move in on Aug. 23. After that, vaccinated first-year students who are not already on campus for pre-orientation will move in on Aug. 27. On Aug. 30, vaccinated sophomores will move in, and during the last two days of August, vaccinated juniors and seniors will move in.
Yale is requiring students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the time they arrive on campus. Students who are not able to access a vaccine before the start of the semester will be required to come to campus early to quarantine and fulfill other public health requirements. Students who have not received a medical or religious vaccine exemption will be required to get vaccinated when they arrive, according to an April 19 announcement.
Classes for the fall 2021 semester are set to start in-person on Sept. 1, giving upperclassmen only one or two days between when they are allowed to arrive on campus and unpack their belongings and when classes start. In previous years, sophomores, juniors and seniors were given more flexibility regarding move-in dates and were able to move in anytime in the week before classes started.
After the announcement, many students took to social media and other means to express their dissatisfaction with the new timeline. Four expressed their concerns to the News.
Newly-elected YCC President Bayan Galal ’23 told the News that she feels that the move-in timeline as it currently stands does not allow students to have sufficient time to settle in before classes.
Tiya Proctor-Floyd ’24, who was originally in the class of 2023 before taking a one-semester leave of absence, explained that while the timeline does not impact her since she will be living off-campus, she views it as “deeply unfair.”
Proctor-Floyd detailed how Yale will be comprised of the new first-year class, a sophomore class that has only experienced one semester on campus, a junior class which has never spent a full year on campus and a senior class. She said that slating move-in so close to the start of classes fails to give students the necessary time for adjustment to life on-campus again.
“We, as a collective, will be reintegrating into a world that is wildly different than the one we knew before the pandemic,” Proctor-Floyd wrote to the News. “The week before classes, Camp Yale, as so many of us have come to call it, serves an integral role in allowing students to identify and find communities that ultimately are central to their transition into college life. Usually, I would say that this is more important for first-years, except this year I think it serves the purpose for students across all four years, many of which will have spent more time away from campus than on campus.”
Luke Tillitski ’24, who took a leave of absence this year, also expressed concerns about “Camp Yale” — the colloquial term students use to describe the period between when students arrive on campus and when classes start — “functionally no longer existing.”
He explained that, since he has been away from campus since March 2020, he was looking forward to using the time before classes start to reconnect with the friends he will not have seen in over a year.
Tillitski also mentioned how many clubs, especially performance groups, begin their audition processes during that time period.
“Now much of that [extracurricular audition] work will have to happen at the same time as [shopping] period, which will be incredible stressful,” Tillitski wrote to the News.
President of the Yale Symphony Orchestra Stella Vujic ’22 told the News how the YSO typically holds auditions during Camp Yale, allowing the musicians to focus on their music before classes begin and then beginning rehearsals during the first week of classes.
However, Vujic explained that, because of the new move-in dates, the YSO will hold auditions during the first week of classes, meaning that they will effectively lose a week of rehearsals. To mitigate the potential stress caused by the compressed dates, the YSO plans to release their audition excerpts earlier in the summer than usual.
Galal explained that, especially in light of how different this year was with remote learning, it would be “ideal to have a fall move-in process that looks more like a regular year” to give students time to adjust.
“Without a doubt, [YCC Vice President] Zoe and I plan to advocate for change regarding the move in timeline,” Galal wrote in an email to the News. “We understand that students are disappointed with and frustrated by the timeline, and we want to bring that to the administration’s attention right away. We have a meeting with Dean Chun scheduled for next week and plan to present a policy proposal on the topic to him.”
According to Chun, although he recognizes that the move-in schedule may not be ideal, the University is trying to “ease back to normal gradually.” Because the College plans to be at full capacity, and because there likely will still be public health concerns to take into account, the administration felt it would be too difficult to manage an unconstrained move-in like is typically the case.
Additionally, Chun said that he is relying on the fact that the weekend after move-in is Labor Day, providing students with a long weekend to rest and catch up.
Chun explained that more details concerning the student move-in process will be shared as the fall semester approaches and public health conditions are more clear.