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COVID precautions during upcoming holiday breaks

Categories: Travel, Vaccine


  • The new bivalent booster provides crucial protection from COVID-19, especially during travel season.
  • Please test after gatherings and travel.
  • Free rapid tests are available for faculty, staff, postdocs, and students.

Dear Stanford community,

With the approach of the university’s Thanksgiving and winter breaks, we are writing to share some specific steps you can take to help protect you, your loved ones, and vulnerable members of our community against COVID-19.

Stanford has a highly vaccinated campus community. But COVID is still actively circulating and adherence to health protocols continues to be important, especially for those traveling in order to spend time with friends and family. 

Now is the time to schedule a booster, ahead of the Thanksgiving break, gatherings, and holiday travel.

We encourage everyone who is eligible to get the new bivalent booster authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Click here for information on Stanford’s vaccination requirement, which remains in effect as we transition to winter quarter.

You can find appointments by visiting Stanford Health Care or If you are traveling and unable to get a booster before leaving campus, please try to do so at your Thanksgiving destination.

Boosters help reduce the risk of both hospitalization and Long COVID. The CDC estimates that about one in every five people who get COVID, even those with no symptoms when infected, develop and suffer from Long COVID, which can have devastating and debilitating long-term health effects including nervous system, digestive, heart, and breathing issues.

Please test – especially following travel and gatherings – and take advantage of test kits available from the university.

We recommend that faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, and students who travel or attend large gatherings during the break take a COVID test before returning to on-campus activities.

  • Rapid tests for faculty, staff, and postdocs are available at AFDC, the EH&S tent at 484 Oak Road, and the Stanford Redwood City RecWell Center 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays starting Wednesday, Nov. 16, and are free of charge with a Stanford ID. We recommend picking up two prior to Thanksgiving break and two prior to winter closure.
  • Students may continue to pick up rapid tests, up to eight per month, at AFDC or EH&S and high-quality masks at AFDC. Students are encouraged to test after gatherings, before returning to campus from travel, and upon arrival back to campus.
  • Color test kits are available for faculty, staff, postdocs, and students to pick up at locations across campus
  • The FDA has extended the expiration dates of many rapid tests, so yours may still be safe for use. Use this online database to check the status of any unused rapid tests that appear to be past their expiration date or are expiring soon. 

Masking while traveling and in crowded indoor spaces can also limit your risk for COVID, as well as RSV and influenza, all of which are circulating widely.

As a community, we want to do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID. Thank you for helping protect one another.

We wish each of you a happy, restful, safe, and healthy Thanksgiving break, and look forward to seeing you back on campus after the holiday.

In good health,

James Jacobs, MD
Executive Director
Vaden Health Services
Rich Wittman, MD, MPH
Medical Director
Stanford University Occupational Health Center