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New Santa Clara County recommendations on “households” and indoor instruction

Category: Campus

Dear Stanford community,

Last week, Santa Clara County’s Public Health Department issued recommendations for institutions of higher education to help reduce COVID-19 transmission during the school year. We, along with other educational institutions, have worked closely with the County on this guidance and on ways to keep our students, faculty and staff as safe as possible while allowing some degree of flexibility. There are two key provisions in these recommendations that I would like to highlight below:

  • The new guidance provides for the formation of “households,” sometimes also referred to as social pods, within each Stanford student housing facility. Each household will be composed of no more than eight individuals and will be required to register its membership with the university to facilitate contact tracing.  Members of the pod will be able to interact with each other as would members of a household, meaning mask wearing will not be required when pod members are together and appropriately distanced from other “households.” Residential Education and the Graduate Life Office are currently designing full implementation details in consultation with RA and CA student staff. Full plans and instructions will be communicated to Stanford student housing residents early next week. 
  • Classes that are currently being held outdoors will be able to move indoors under the new guidance. We are developing policies and procedures to be released early next week to guide this process. It is important to note that this change is only applicable to classes that are currently being held in person outdoors. All courses with a current remote component will continue to be available remotely throughout the quarter. 

Our county has made great strides in recent weeks in reducing the prevalence of COVID-19, largely through the community’s adherence to existing state and local guidance. We hope that by working together and following public health recommendations, we can continue to take these small but meaningful steps toward greater flexibility on campus while ensuring everyone’s safety.


Russell Furr
Associate Vice Provost
Environmental Health & Safety