Stanford will require surveillance testing for all faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students on-site regardless of vaccination status beginning Sept. 20, according to a Friday email from Provost Persis Drell, School of Medicine dean Lloyd Minor and Associate Vice Provost for Environmental Health and Safety Russell Furr.
This news comes as the University prepares to welcome all students back to campus in the fall and return to in-person classes and research for the first time since March 2020.
“The coming weeks will be a time for reconnecting on campus and also, given the recent rise in cases driven by the Delta variant, for redoubling our commitment to keep our community safe from COVID-19,” Drell, Minor and Furr wrote.
To this end, fully vaccinated faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars will be required to test for COVID-19 once a week; unvaccinated faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students will be required to test twice a week and fully vaccinated students will continue to test once a week, according to the email. Those who come to work on-site three days a week or less and are not fully vaccinated will be required to test once a week.
University leadership and medical professionals concluded that community-wide surveillance testing will add a layer of protection for the Stanford community and assure that members can resume in-person activity, according to the email.
The University will continue to provide free COVID-19 testing with results automatically reported to Health Check, according to Drell, Minor and Furr, and the surveillance testing program will continue to be available on a voluntary basis until the new requirements go into effect on Sept. 20, at which time it will be mandatory. Kits for self-administered tests will be available at multiple locations across campus, Stanford Redwood City and other work sites.
“As before, low or decreasing levels of infection — along with adherence to other safety protocols — will guide our decisions to ease or eliminate testing requirements,” Drell, Minor and Furr wrote. “We will continue to evaluate and adjust as appropriate, but always with a priority on health and safety.”
The University will also permit travel associated with the Bing Overseas Study Program, Stanford in New York and Stanford in Washington for fully vaccinated undergraduate students effective Sept. 20, according to the email. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a deluge of canceled study abroad programs, and Stanford has not offered its study abroad program in full since winter quarter 2019-20.
Undergraduates will also be permitted to travel within California for Stanford-related course field research and field trips accompanied by an instructor, according to the email. Other international travel and domestic travel outside of California will remain prohibited.
All faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate students will also be permitted to travel domestically beginning Sept. 20. However, while those who are unvaccinated will need to request a travel exemption to travel internationally, those who are vaccinated will not.
The University also extended quarantine pay and COVID Flex Hours to “to help those who are dealing with challenges brought on by the pandemic, Drell, Minor and Furr wrote. Quarantine pay will remain in effect through March 2022 and COVID Flex Hours will continue to be offered through December 2022. The three added that they will provide additional guidance on all of these policy changes as plans are finalized.
“Stanford continues to be grateful for your continued understanding, feedback and concern for one another,” Drell, Minor and Furr wrote.