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Update on gatherings, campus zones

Categories: Campus, Health & safety, Policies

Dear Stanford community,

I’m writing with updates on two issues that have been of interest to our community as we continue working to limit the spread of COVID-19.

First, we have had many questions about what gatherings are, and are not, allowed at Stanford. To provide more clarity, a new document has been posted summarizing the restrictions currently applicable to in-person gatherings. This information has been posted here on the Health Alerts website, and we hope it is helpful as a central resource.

After months of physical distancing, we know that many people are eager to re-establish in-person connections. However, we also know it is critical to continue exercising the precautions that inhibit transmission of the virus. The State of California still generally prohibits most gatherings; the document linked above outlines limited activities that are permitted. Thank you for the care so many of you are taking in supporting this effort.

Second, also in conformance with State requirements, Stanford has established zones on the main campus intended to limit nonessential visitors. As you read in a message last Friday, we delayed the requirement for members of our community to display a visible Stanford ID as part of this program. I want to provide you with a brief further update today.

The zones are currently in effect, and prominent STAY SAFE signage was placed around the main campus a week ago. We have noted significant traffic reduction on the campus since installing the signage, indicating that the public is responding to the zones and the State health order. We are grateful for the understanding and recognition of these zones. Given this progress, for now we will simply continue to evaluate the effectiveness of this effort in reducing the density of the campus population, and during this period we will not require visible IDs to be displayed.

If it is determined that additional steps may become necessary, including an ID requirement and the use of Stanford ambassadors in designated locations to support compliance, we will be in touch prior to implementation with more information. We’ll take these steps only with advance notice, anti-bias and other appropriate training of personnel, and provisions for individuals who lack an ID card. Thank you for all of your efforts to support the health and safety of our community.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the highly unusual, deep-orange skies we have been seeing in the Bay Area today. As you have heard, wildfire smoke has been moving through our area at high altitudes, blocking sunlight. While air quality near the ground has not been worse than we have already seen recently, please continue to take precautions for your personal health as appropriate. Information and resources on air quality and wildfire smoke are available at, and emergency updates will continue to be posted at


Russell Furr
Associate Vice Provost
Environmental Health & Safety