Senators share thoughts on return to in-person classes at town hall

Jan. 12, 2022, 11:17 p.m.

Student government representatives speculated that Stanford could further delay the start of in-person classes at a virtual town hall hosted by the Undergraduate Senate on Wednesday.

But several representatives, including Senate Co-Chair Alain Perez ’23, said that even if Stanford makes such a decision, they do not think students will be asked to leave campus. “I wholeheartedly do not think that Stanford is going to send us back home,” Perez said.

The representatives’ prediction comes as the University is running out of isolation housing for students amid a surge of COVID-19 cases, and as colleges around the country struggle to regulate the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant.

Should the University choose to further delay the start of in-person classes, the representatives said that they will work to provide necessary accommodations for students — including the possibility of advocating for the return of grading policies implemented during the 2020-21 academic school year, which allowed students to take classes on a credit/no credit basis.

“We have been working on a resolution so that the Faculty Senate provides some sort of accommodations to make sure that students are supported during this time,” Senator Darryl Thompson ’23 said. The resolution is set to be voted on at tomorrow’s Undergraduate Senate meeting.

Thompson added that the student government sent out a survey last Saturday to gauge what students need during this time, and urged students who have not filled out the survey yet to do so.

The student government also implemented a COVID isolation aid program, which is intended to provide students in isolation with the items they need but are not receiving from the University. Volunteers travel to the location of students in isolation and drop off items for those students.

“There are a lot of volunteers who willingly signed up to do this. And we know it’s not easy because it’s potential exposure, right? But people were kind enough to rise to the occasion when it mattered the most,” Thompson said, adding that over 120 volunteers have stepped up to support the program.

When asked about how long the aid program will remain in place, Thompson said that it will continue for as long as students need it.

The senators also offered some insight into the social programming that the University has planned for the coming weeks.

Snehal Naik, director of the Office of Student Engagement, has been working with the senators to brainstorm ideas for outdoor events, according to Perez. Naik is particularly interested in holding more events at Terman Fountain but is always open to more suggestions from students, Perez added.

Carolyn Stein is a Desk Editor for Campus Life and a co-Audience Engagement Editor. She is double majoring in communications and East Asian studies. Her favorite activity is going on unnecessarily long walks. Contact her at news 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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