TO: Stanford University community
FROM: Russell Furr, Associate Vice Provost for Environmental Health & Safety
I am writing this evening with a few updates on COVID-19.
First, we know that many of you have questions following the announcement yesterday about the university’s plans for spring quarter. A number of teams around the university are working to respond to those questions and work through emerging issues as Stanford responds to the unusual and rapidly changing circumstance that we are in. More updates and FAQs will be provided on the healthalerts.stanford.edu/covid-19 and teachanywhere.stanford.edu websites.
Second, as we have known it would, the spread of COVID-19 is continuing. There have been numerous confirmed COVID-19 cases in our surrounding area, including one last week in the Stanford Medicine faculty community. We now have another confirmed case in Stanford Medicine as well as one on the main campus. While this continued spread is what we have been anticipating, it can also be upsetting, and I want you to know the steps the university is taking when these cases are confirmed.
When there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our community, we are following the recommended CDC and county public health protocols to inform those who have been in close contact with the individual during the period when they might have been contagious. This is the first step in a “contact tracing” process that may then identify additional people who might have been in close contact with the individual. These people are also contacted directly.
Health professionals are providing guidance to those who have been in contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, based on the latest guidance from the CDC and county public health officials. This chart produced by Stanford Environmental Health & Safety provides a summary of the current guidance, which may continue to evolve as the situation changes.
We ask your understanding that patient privacy means that beyond these notifications to affected members of our community, we are not in a position to provide information broadly about individual cases. The quickly changing nature of the situation and the distributed nature of our community also mean that we cannot provide continuously updated numbers of cases. We will be providing updates on university policies, impacts on university operations, and steps you should take to protect your health and that of the people around you. Your health and safety continue to be essential concerns for the university.
Going forward, we are aiming to shift from sending mass emails to providing a daily update on the healthalerts.stanford.edu/covid-19 website by 7 p.m. each weekday. If you wish, you can sign up on the website for email updates as new posts are added to it. In addition, we will still email you when there are significant new developments or time-sensitive actions for you to take, and you will continue to hear from different members of the university leadership as the subject matter requires. Thank you.