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Planning for fall quarter

Categories: Fall quarter, Health & safety, Leadership communications, Provost, Vaccine, Workplace & HR

A message from Persis Drell and Russell Furr.

Dear Stanford community,

Recently we’ve provided you with updates on our campus protocols as local public health conditions continue to improve. As our dashboards show, COVID-19 positivity rates at Stanford remain low, and more than 90 percent of those who are making Health Check submissions report that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Today we’re looking ahead and writing to provide a fuller picture of what we expect for the fall quarter. We hope this information assists with your planning for the upcoming academic year. This information will be maintained on the Health Alerts website and updated as the fall approaches, taking into account current public health conditions. 

Especially with the return to higher density, campus safety will require continued vigilance. Thus, we are planning for the following procedures and policies this fall:

1.     Vaccine Requirement: As was announced earlier, all faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars as well as undergraduate, graduate and professional students coming to campus this fall will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. In addition, we urge everyone who will be on campus this summer to be vaccinated as soon as possible. The vaccination status question on Health Check, which has been voluntary, now requires a response from faculty, staff, postdocs and students coming on-site, and beginning at 5 p.m. on July 1, Health Check will include the ability to upload proof of vaccination. Students are required to confirm their vaccination status by uploading their immunization record to the VadenPatient portal.

For students enrolled during the 2021-22 academic year, the deadline for undergraduate students to confirm their vaccination status is July 23. The deadline for all graduate and professional students to confirm their vaccination status is July 30. More information on confirming your vaccination status by submitting your immunization record is available here.

2.     Health Check: We will continue to rely on Health Check to manage access to campus throughout the fall; therefore, we encourage all members of the Stanford community who have not done so already to become familiar with its features. In the fall anyone who has not been fully vaccinated and attested to this in Health Check, which includes uploading proof of vaccination through Health Check – or, for students, the Vaden portal – will need to complete Health Check every day that they access campus. A green Health Check badge will be required for entry.

3    Testing – Students: Unvaccinated students will be required to test on arrival and at least weekly. Requirements – if any – for vaccinated students to test will be finalized nearer to the start of fall quarter, based on prevailing disease prevalence and vaccine performance. Self-collected mid-turbinate testing for COVID-19 will remain available throughout the fall quarter. Updated student testing information can be found here.  

4.  International Student Arrivals: In alignment with the CDC’s international travel recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated people, we are currently planning the schedule for international student arrivals so as to ensure that testing (for vaccinated individuals) and seven-day quarantine (for unvaccinated individuals) can be completed prior the start of fall quarter orientations and courses. Specific information for undergraduate and graduate students will be posted soon on the Bechtel International Center website.    

5.    Testing – Faculty, Staff and Postdoctoral Scholars: In the fall, faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars who are not fully vaccinated or who do not disclose their vaccination status will be required to continue regular COVID-19 testing. While regular testing will not be required for those who have provided proof they are fully vaccinated, voluntary surveillance testing will remain available to any employee or postdoc who wishes to access it.

6.     Fall Instruction: Stanford is planning to return to the traditional three-quarter academic year with mostly in-person operations beginning fall 2021. The academic calendar can be found here. We envision that fall quarter instruction will look much like our pre-pandemic operations. Academic policies including grading basis that were changed for 2020-21 will expire at the end of summer quarter 2021. A revised classroom meeting pattern will be used to schedule courses. Instructors should plan to use classrooms based on their normal seating capacity without physical distancing. Academic planning guidelines can be found here.

7.     Building Spaces: All classrooms will be prioritized for course activities (e.g., classes, discussion sections, office hours, review sessions, exams). Prioritizing classrooms for teaching and learning means that many departmental functions (e.g., guest speakers, thesis defenses, faculty and staff meetings, and program activities) will likely need to be held online this year unless they do not conflict with classroom needs. Units should review local building space inventories now and foster a culture of shared spaces to be able to coordinate and prioritize use of spaces for in-person events.

All other spaces will be fully utilized this year including libraries and spaces for research, administrative services and recreation. 

Libraries: Entry to campus libraries for fall quarter will require a current Stanford ID and a green Health Check App badge. Face coverings will be optional for fully vaccinated patrons and required for all others. Appointments will no longer be required to enter Green Library or Special Collections. Visit the Libraries’ website for current hours and the latest entry requirements.

Recreational Facilities:  Recreational activities and spaces will be open to fully vaccinated participants in the fall. Some smaller indoor areas may require mask use that will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Unvaccinated individuals will be required to follow Stanford guidelines on required mask use in order to access recreational facilities. Updates are posted on our recreation home page  and on recreation social media.

Arts Facilities: The Anderson Collection and the Cantor Arts Center will be open at 100% capacity in the fall. Please visit their websites for information about reservations and health recommendations. Stanford Live will resume in-person concerts at Bing Concert Hall Main Stage, Bing Studio and Frost Amphitheater at 100% capacity. Masking and vaccination guidelines will follow the university’s recommendations.

8.     Face Coverings and Physical Distancing: Employees will not be subject to distancing rules in most work settings. Employees who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 will not be required to wear face coverings in most work settings. However, face coverings may still be required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in certain locations such as classrooms, all healthcare facilities, and public transportation. Updates will be added as we get closer to fall quarter.

For those who are not fully vaccinated or decline to state their status on Health Check, face coverings will continue to be required in most work settings. (See above for additional testing policies.)

At all Stanford Health Care facilities, face coverings, physical distancing and COVID-19 screening continue to be required even for individuals who have been fully vaccinated.

 9.     Gathering Size and Events Policy: Currently, there are no limits on the size of non-student gatherings on campus, with the exception of mega-events above 5,000 people indoors and 10,000 people outdoors. Events and gatherings of greater than 500 individuals require registration. Please email for more information, and visit Health Alerts for the latest event and gatherings guidance.

For student gatherings, guidance will be provided for fall quarter at a later time. You can check here for updates on student gatherings. 

10.     Visitors: Starting September 1, restrictions on new appointments of Visiting Student Researchers, Visiting Postdoctoral Scholars, Visiting Scholars and other non-matriculated students who will be physically present on campus will be relaxed. Such appointments will be allowed subject to approval by the cognizant dean of the relevant school. More information can be found here. Minors who are vaccinated will be allowed to participate in programs inside Stanford buildings (space permitting) later in fall quarter. 

11.     Fall Travel: Revised travel guidelines will be in effect beginning July 15. Undergraduate travel remains restricted through at least summer quarter, and will remain subject to the Stanford International Travel Policy. The Bing Overseas Studies Program will resume in the fall quarter and will operate throughout the year. On fully vaccinated status in Health Check, graduate students, staff, postdoctoral scholars and faculty may travel both domestically and internationally. ALL TRAVEL must be booked through one of the several booking channels at Stanford Travel.  Additional details about the new travel policy can be found here

12.     Parking and Transportation: Stanford Transportation is now back to near normal operations with a few changes. Parking permits are required, and the Marguerite is up and running on the most traveled routes. As demand increases, the Marguerite routes may be expanded. Updates are available and daily, monthly or visitor permits may be purchased here. Public transit services are available, and the university continues to support free public transit on Caltrain, VTA and AC Transit. Additional information is also available on Returning to Your Stanford Commute

13.    Resources for Employees Returning On-site: While many employees will continue to telework over the summer through early September, there will be employees coming on-site to support the return of our students, the resumption of research activities and the Flexible Work pilot process. To help support the health and safety of our community, comply with public health guidance and minimize disruptions in the event of an increase or resurgence, you may view the latest requirements before returning to work on Stanford campuses on Health Alerts. The Cardinal at Work COVID-19 Guide also provides relevant information to acclimate you to the workplace, including Interim Workplace Policies, a guide to safely Returning to Campus and Employee Support and Self-Care.

Thank you for your continuing work to advance our academic mission and to keep one another healthy and safe.

Persis Drell

Russell Furr
Associate Vice Provost
Environmental Health & Safety