‘About 640’ undergrads left on campus; some to be reassigned amid safety concerns

March 25, 2020, 10:48 p.m.

Residential student staff have reported that some of the students allowed to stay on campus for spring quarter are not following Santa Clara County’s “shelter-in-place” guidelines, wrote Dean of Students Mona Hicks in an email to the staff on Wednesday night.

Most of Stanford’s nearly 7,000 undergraduates were asked to leave by March 18, but a small number — “only about 640,” said Provost Persis Drell in a call with University program directors on Wednesday — are still on campus after receiving offers to stay on the condition that they follow University, county and state regulations related to combating the spread of coronavirus. 

Stanford’s own “Sheltering in place” guidelines limit all gatherings to 10 or fewer people and prohibit students from having guests or visiting dorms in which they do not live. 

Students are allowed to leave their residences only for a limited number of pre-approved activities, including taking walks, exercising or going to a grocery store for food or supplies. Any student who leaves the Bay Area for any reason is not to return to their on-campus housing. 

Student staff were instructed by Hicks to contact a residence dean immediately if they observe someone not abiding by the guidelines. 

“I need your help,” Hicks wrote. “If this is going to work, we all need to follow this guidance. If we do not, we put our students and our workers at risk.” 

Any violation of Stanford’s guidelines or failure to comply with the shelter-in-place order could be grounds for the immediate termination of a student’s housing.

Some students are being reassigned to different dorms, according to Hicks.

“Some houses have very low numbers of residents, particularly all-frosh and Row houses,” she wrote.

She cited isolation, vulnerability to crime and the potential need for self-isolation space as reasons to move students from sparsely populated houses. 

Factors affecting reassignments will include the current number of residents in a residence, its location and the residence type. Residential Education (ResEd) currently plans to keep house occupancy between approximately 25 and 50 students to maintain social distancing. 

ResEd aims to prioritize allowing existing communities of students to stay or move together, Hicks wrote. However, she noted that individuals will not be able to request preferences for particular spaces as the “reassignments must prioritize the needs of the entire Stanford community.” 

If a student is reassigned, they will need to relocate by an assigned date in order to retain their on-campus housing. ResEd will begin communicating potential reassignments to Row students on Thursday, Hicks wrote. Students on East Campus will be notified by early next week, followed by students on West Campus by the end of next week, she added. ResEd hopes to have all moves completed by the beginning of spring quarter. 

“These measures are in place to help support you, foster collective responsibility, and help in keeping your communities and our broader community healthy and safe,” Hicks wrote. “In the words of Kendrick Lamar, ‘keep [your] head up high…we gon’ be alright.’”

Contact Sophie Regan at [email protected].

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