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Stanford to restrict gatherings, reaffirms in-person January return

Dec. 29, 2021, 2:51 p.m.

Stanford will restrict student gatherings at the start of winter quarter and require students to take three COVID-19 tests upon arrival to campus, University officials announced in a Wednesday email to students.

The email also reaffirmed Stanford’s plans for students to return to campus on Jan. 3 with in-person instruction slated to begin on Jan. 18, wrote Dean of Students Mona Hicks and Executive Director of Vaden Health Services Jim Jacobs. The University first announced the two-week period of remote instruction in mid-December.

The University will restrict outdoor student gatherings and parties until Jan. 21 and indoor ones until Jan. 28, according to Hicks and Jacobs. The restrictions mark an extension from the University’s last email in early December that for the first two weeks of the quarter, parties and similar gatherings would be prohibited.

In an email sent to student leaders shortly after, the Office of Student Engagement wrote that the dates for gathering restrictions “are subject to change” and are in place “pending COVID test results of our community.”

The return-to-campus protocol also mandates a University-provided rapid test and two Color tests to be taken on the student’s first day and on the fifth day. Rapid tests will be provided to undergraduate students in each dorm room and in residence common areas. Graduate and professional students can access rapid test kits at Residential & Dining Enterprises housing services.

Following the initial three tests, students will be required to test regularly for COVID-19 — once a week for vaccinated students and twice a week for those who are unvaccinated.

Travel for voluntary student organizations, Greek organizations, residences and club sports teams will be restricted to day trips within 150 miles of campus, with overnight trips or other travel barred until at least Feb. 1, the email added.

Hicks and Jacobs urged students to wear masks indoors and in situations where social distancing is not possible unless an individual is living in a studio apartment, couples apartment or family apartment. 

Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday shortened the recommended isolation and quarantine period to five days, Stanford will continue to require students who test positive to isolate for 10 days as Santa Clara County assesses the new guidance. 

Hicks and Jacobs recommended that students do not alter travel plans “on the assumption that 5 days is sufficient.”

According to Hicks and Jacobs, dining halls will reopen Jan. 1 with limited eating capacity. Students are required to wear a face covering when not actively eating or drinking and will have the option to take to-go meals.

The University stressed the importance of receiving a COVID-19 booster vaccine as soon as possible, particularly as Stanford mandated the booster shot for eligible students by Jan. 31.

“We remain grateful for everything you have been doing to reduce the transmission of COVID-19,” Hicks and Jacobs wrote. “Let’s continue working together to keep campus safe and as healthy as possible.”

Hannah Lee is a high school reporter in The Stanford Daily Winter Journalism Workshop.Sophia Ibrahim is a high school reporter in The Stanford Daily Winter Journalism Workshop.

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