146 students in isolation for COVID-19 following winter break

Jan. 3, 2022, 8:22 p.m.

As of Monday afternoon, 146 students are isolating in Stanford student housing following winter break, according to an email from Associate Vice Provost of Environmental Health & Safety Russell Furr.

This news coincides with the return of students to campus amid skyrocketing COVID-19 cases nationwide due to the Omicron variant. The University has also announced that the first two weeks of classes will be virtual, and many students have yet to make their return to campus.

Most of the positive results were identified through rapid testing kits administered to students upon their return to campus, according to Furr. The other positive results were from students who were on campus over winter break and tested positive prior to the weekend, he added. 

Students who tested positive are either quarantined in designated isolation housing or in their assigned housing if they have a private bedroom and single-occupancy bathroom, according to the email. Stanford is providing all isolating students with delivered meals, medical consultations and other support. 

Under the University’s new isolation policy, students living in campus housing with a private bedroom and single-occupancy bathroom who test positive upon arrival are expected to self-report their test results using a Google form and to isolate in place. Students living in a dorm or row house are expected to report to the Quarantine/Isolation Housing Service Center.

Temporary limitations on student gatherings are in effect in an effort to prevent the transmission of the virus on campus, according to the email. The University also still has isolation space available, according to Furr, and the University staff continues to provide support and guidance to arriving students.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and will keep you informed of any changes in campus protocols that may become necessary,” Furr wrote.

While some employees need to report to campus for in-person work, Furr wrote that leaders of schools and units are making remote work possible where feasible. He encouraged employees to check with their manager about plans.

All individuals returning to campus are required to take a rapid COVID test and, if they test negative, take two Color COVID tests during their first week back on campus. Though the University is hopeful that Omicron will reach a peak soon, Furr reminded students to take a COVID test before traveling back to campus and not to travel if they test positive. 

Furr emphasized the importance of mask wearing, and wrote that N95 respirators and KN95 masks provide a higher level of filtration than surgical masks — though surgical masks are still acceptable. Eligible individuals should get a booster shot as soon as possible, and the University is working on securing additional booster opportunities for students, according to the email.

“While this is not the way any of us had hoped to begin 2022, we’re deeply grateful for everything you are doing to support the health of our community through this period,” Furr wrote. “Thank you, and we will continue to keep you informed.”

Malaysia Atwater '23 is a senior staff writer and former Vol. 260/261 managing editor in the News section. She is a political science major from Centennial, Colorado, and she enjoys dancing and re-watching Grey's Anatomy in her free time. Contact her at matwater 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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