The University reported six new COVID-19 cases in students and five in faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars for the week of Feb. 22, according to its COVID dashboard, marking an increase in student cases from two new cases per week for the past two weeks. However, the University noted there was “no secondary spread.”
This increase in student cases comes as Stanford has begun to ease restrictions on outdoor gatherings, now allowing groups of up to eight students from three separate households to gather at one of the designated outdoor spaces after registering via Stanford’s online portal three days before. Students attending the gathering are expected to have completed their daily health check, two COVID-19 tests per week and must act in accordance with the Campus Compact.
Seven students are currently in isolation on campus. Students self-isolating in R&DE-assigned housing are given “isolation support and accommodations,” including the delivery of free meals for the duration of self-isolation, according to the dashboard.
E.J. Miranda, Stanford’s Senior Director of University Media Relations, was asked to comment on the reasons for the uptick in student cases and the likelihood of community transmission on campus. He referred The Daily back to the dashboard page and said it contains the “most current available information on surveillance testing.”
Since last week, five positive cases have been added to the “total confirmed positive cases” for faculty, staff and postdocs. However, only four are included in the University’s testing count, because the remaining employees tested positive through providers not facilitated by the Stanford Occupational Health Center.
Of the five positive employee cases, three were last on campus within two weeks of their diagnosis.
The number of employees testing positive with the University’s surveillance testing program has declined steadily from a spike of 28 employees in the week of Jan. 4. As of Feb. 28, Santa Clara County has extended vaccine eligibility to workers in education, food and emergency services.
After canceling plans to invite students to campus twice this past year, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne reaffirmed the University’s plans to bring back juniors and seniors back in spring last week. Some epidemiologists and physicians say the Stanford reopening plan is reasonable based on current public health data in Santa Clara County. Meanwhile, students interviewed by The Daily had mixed reactions to the initial announcement.