Yale leaders talk about COVID-19: Part three in a series
Yale News has been publishing a series of interviews with Yale leaders about aspects of the university’s response to the pandemic. We continue today with Yale College Dean Marvin Chun.
What are students' most immediate needs for completing the semester?
With nearly all students now away from campus, my office is working to make sure that they have what they need in order to continue their course work. We have asked students to tell us what essential belongings are still in their rooms — books, laptops, equipment — and the office of student affairs is arranging for those belongings to be shipped to them now. Some students lack what they need at home — sufficient internet access, for example, or computer equipment — and Yale College's office of student engagement is focusing now on providing support for these students, drawing on programs like Yale Safety Net, an especially useful resource created to meet students' unexpected financial needs, which have surged in this pandemic. On campus, we are housing and feeding about 180 students who do not have a suitable place to go. To address the challenges of remote learning and research, I am actively working with faculty and deans to develop helpful policies and guidelines.
How has the staff adapted?
Luckily, so many operations can now be handled remotely, and the Yale College Dean's Office is making sure that the staff has everything it needs to do its work from off campus. For students seeking support usually handled in person — consultations with residential college heads and deans, for example, or with advisers — video conferencing has already been extremely useful. Right now, staff members have been holding daily meetings this way, and some students have “met” with staff for support during the break. I anticipate that many more students, deans, heads, and advisers will make use of electronic resources like this as they start or resume discussions about advising.
How engaged have alumni been?
Extremely. I am overwhelmed by and grateful for the outpouring of support from the alumni who have written to ask how best to get involved. Some have offered financial support for programs like Yale Safety Net. Others have written to offer expertise from their respective fields. Others still have written with words of encouragement for students and for the university. Once we have navigated these first steps to support students and instructors for resuming classes remotely next week, I anticipate that my team and I will be able to communicate with alumni about their many offers of support. I am deeply grateful to them.