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Staying healthy over winter break

Categories: Health & safety, Policies


  • If you haven’t already, please get the new bivalent booster and a flu shot.
  • Continue masking, especially during travel and gatherings, to reduce community spread of COVID-19, RSV, flu, and other health risks.
  • Take a COVID-19 test before resuming on-campus activities.

Dear Stanford community,

We are writing to encourage you to take steps to protect your health and those around you during the university’s winter break, and to let you know about changes in COVID-19 notification procedures.

The uptick in COVID cases in our region and at Stanford, as well as high rates of flu and RSV, underscore the importance of actions we can all take in the coming weeks, especially during gatherings and travel.

Vaccinations, masking, and testing

If you have not yet received the new bivalent booster or a flu shot, we recommend you do so as soon as possible, ideally before you travel or attend crowded gatherings. For appointments, visit, Stanford Health Care, Kaiser, or another health care provider near your home or destination.

We strongly encourage you to continue masking when you are indoors, feel ill, travel, or are in close proximity to others.

Faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, and students who travel or attend large gatherings during the break should take a COVID test before beginning return travel and before resuming on-campus activities. Color and rapid tests continue to be free. Click here for locations and hours.

Students should test prior to return travel and once they return to campus. Anyone not traveling should test after attending gatherings and at the start of the quarter.

Building notifications

The university has consolidated the list of campus locations where potential COVID exposures may have occurred. Employees are able to view the Potential Exposure Building List, which will replace location-based emails beginning Jan. 1, 2023. If you believe you have had a close-contact exposure, please monitor for symptoms, mask, and test. 

HR leads and managers will receive additional information via email tomorrow on this and other policy updates.


Self-reporting in Health Check continues to be required for faculty, staff, and postdocs who test positive for COVID (except those who are fully remote). Beginning Dec. 19:

  • Individuals who are exposed, but otherwise healthy, will receive a green badge and be cleared for work on-site, with required masking and regular testing.
  • Symptomatic individuals will receive a red badge, as before, and a recommended date for return on-site. They can update their status on Health Check as symptoms change, for a more flexible approach.

Updated guidance for students who test positive is here. Students who test positive beginning Dec. 12 should review COVID resources for winter break. Guidance for students who are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone who tested positive is here.

A final recommendation: In addition to COVID precautions, we hope you will stay focused on your personal wellbeing. See BeWell or The Flourish for excellent resources and suggestions regarding self-care.

Please continue to be diligent in following practices that will help us all to begin the new year on a strong note.

Best wishes for a healthy, happy winter break.

James Jacobs, MD
Executive Director
Vaden Health Services

Rich Wittman, MD, MPH
Medical Director
Stanford University Occupational Health Center