News & Opinion | August 21, 2020 10:38 am

Yale Administrator Tells Students to “Emotionally Prepare” for COVID-19 Deaths

The school plans to reopen classes and housing on Aug. 31

Students walk through the campus of Yale University (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Students walk through the campus of Yale University (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Many students preparing to start their fall semester of college classes in person this month are, naturally, a little uneasy about the threat of COVID-19 on campus. And according to one administrator at Yale at least, those fears are completely justified: in a recent email to students, she warned that they should “emotionally prepare” for some of their peers’ deaths due to the pandemic.

“We all should be emotionally prepared for widespread infections — and possibly deaths — in our community,” Laurie Santos, head of the school’s sprawling Silliman College, wrote in the email to students, which was sent on July 1. “You should emotionally prepare for the fact that your residential college life will look more like a hospital unit than a residential college.”

Besides that ominous warning, Santos used the email to outline the university’s plan to reopen classes and on-campus housing beginning on Aug. 31. Those plans include testing students for the virus twice a week.

However, reopening for in-person classes has proven difficult for other universities thus far. Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina were both forced to cancel their in-person classes this week after hundreds of students (at least 147 at Notre Dame and 130 at North Carolina as of this writing) tested positive for COVID-19.