Stanford to allow students to form ‘pods,’ some indoor instruction to resume

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The University will begin the formation of “pods” and the start of some indoor instruction, according to a Tuesday email from Associate Vice Provost for Environmental Health & Safety Russell Furr. 

Furr wrote that Stanford had worked with Santa Clara County on guidelines for institutions of higher education regarding COVID-19 transmission during the school year and that they sought to keep community members safe while “allowing some degree of flexibility.”

Furr wrote that students living in on-campus residences will be allowed to form “households” or “social pods,” comprising no more than eight students, within housing facilities. Social pods will be required to register with Stanford to “facilitate contact tracing.” Those living in social pods will be able to interact with each other “as would members of a household”— effectively allowing students to interact with up to eight community members without social distancing or having to wear masks, provided they are distanced from other pods. 

Furr also wrote that classes currently being held outdoors will be able to meet indoors. Classes held remotely will continue to be held online through the end of the quarter. 

Further information about the implementation of these changes will be released early next week, according to Furr.

Furr wrote that the county had “made great strides” in reducing COVID-19’s prevalence due to compliance with state and local guidance, expressing hope that “we can continue to take these small but meaningful steps toward greater flexibility on campus while ensuring everyone’s safety.” 

Contact Ari Gabriel at arijgab ‘at’ stanford.edu. 

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