Stanford hopes to eliminate periods of restricted activity for fully vaccinated students following winter quarter move-in, according to a Monday email from Provost Persis Drell and Associate Vice Provost for Environmental Health and Safety Russell Furr.
This marks a change from the policies when fully vaccinated students returned to campus in the fall. Private residential gatherings, residentially-sponsored meetings, student organization meetings and registered parties were officially put on hold until the start of October.
The University also anticipates the continuation of in-person classes during winter quarter, according to the email. Graduate students with new on-campus housing contracts will be able to move in beginning Dec. 31, and undergraduate residences will reopen on Jan. 1. Winter quarter officially begins on Jan. 3 for most students, leaving two days for undergraduates to move in.
However, time will tell whether Stanford will be able to follow through with these planned policies, with some experts predicting another surge in cases during the winter, albeit blunted by widespread vaccination. The University is also bound by county and state restrictions, which have also led to previous policy reversals.
In June, the University announced that fully vaccinated students were no longer required to wear masks in indoor or outdoor residential areas. In August, the University reversed its decision and reinstated its indoor mask requirement for all Stanford employees, students and visitors. The University then eliminated its weekly COVID-19 testing requirement for fully vaccinated students in July. It reinstated the requirement for all students (regardless of vaccination status) in August, after seven fully vaccinated students tested positive for COVID-19.
Drell and Furr assured students that they “expect to adjust our return protocols for students to provide for a smooth return process, even within the relatively short window for move-in.”The University continues to work to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, according to Drell and Furr. The two wrote that the University plans to emphasize testing and continued masking for the beginning of winter quarter.
COVID-19 testing will be available, though not required, for students and employees who remain on campus during Stanford’s winter closure from Dec. 20 to 31, according to the email. The University will provide more information in early December.