Skip to main content

Overview of gatherings and meetings at Stanford

Last modified on May 13, 2021


As of 5/13/21, all events are required to register with EH&S with the exception of classroom instruction and regular business/operational meetings. Social events are generally prohibited, except for events hosted by a school/program on behalf of their students, with staff supervision. Click here for the registration form. Please read the instructions thoroughly before registering. Only Stanford affiliates may submit an event at this time.

As infection rates decline and Stanford begins the process of resuming in-person activities and events on campus, we want to provide clear guidance on how to meet with others, and how to plan events on campus. 

This document describes allowable events and modifications for gatherings involving students, staff, postdocs, researchers, and faculty who are approved to be on campus and individuals living on campus. Please note that some activities are governed by specific industry documents and guidelines.

As an employer, Stanford is committed to following the supplemental public health guidance supplied by CalOSHA. This requires that we maintain healthy worksites for our employees. Due to this, guidance and policies for events and gatherings may be more restrictive than state or CDC guidelines, to protect our workforce and campus community

Gatherings are broadly defined to include an event, assembly, meeting, or convening that brings together people from separate households in a single space, indoors or outdoors. As described by the State, “when people of different households mix, this increases the risk of transmission of COVID-19.”

Required Event Modifications

To reduce the transmission of the novel coronavirus, the following modifications are in effect:

  • Gatherings are currently limited to Stanford faculty, staff, and students. Special events (e.g.,  graduation activities and conferences) with outside visitors require special approval. Please email for more information.
  • Off campus events are permissible and may be reimbursed.
  • Events may only be hosted by Stanford faculty, staff, postdocs, or affiliates. 
  • Events must have a defined attendee list, for the purposes of contract tracing if needed.
  • Staff and student attendees must complete the HealthCheck daily health attestation and COVID-19 testing requirements, where applicable. 
  • Attendees must wear face coverings at all times unless actively eating and/or drinking. 
  • Purely social events for staff are currently not permitted.
  • Indoor gatherings are restricted, and outdoor gatherings are allowed with modifications.
    • Indoor gatherings are currently limited to essential business meetings, training, and household pods (see details below). 
    • Outdoor gatherings requiring modifications are broader in nature but can include social and entertainment gatherings if submitted on behalf of students by Student Affairs or a department.
    • Staffing requirements for events hosted for students are 1 staff per 50 students at all times.
  • Gathering Capacity: Maximum 200 people while maintaining minimum six foot physical distancing. Your venue must be able to accommodate your event headcount with at least six foot physical distancing. If you need help assessing if your venue meets social distancing requirements, contact
  • Physical distancing of at least 6 feet between people from different households.
  • Only individually boxed/prepackaged food and drink are allowed. Potluck style food service, buffet, open bar, and self service is prohibited.
    • To-go/ pickup options where individuals consume goods away from the venue are preferred.
    • Food and drink consumption is allowed at events where participants will be seated.
      • Table distancing of 10 feet (edge to edge) is required, and attendees must remain seated while eating. All guests must maintain physical distancing and wear face coverings when not actively eating. Event attendees and workers are only permitted to eat and drink at designated areas.
    • Food and drink, with the exception of water, are not allowed in University Classrooms.
  • Hosts must allow for at least two hours between events to prevent mixing across attendees. 
  • Entry and exit should be controlled to prevent concentrations of people at entry and exit.
  • Use 25Live or MedScheduler (School of Medicine) or contact the appropriate office for reserving a space on campus. Conditional approval of your event does not guarantee a space, so please coordinate with the appropriate facility scheduler to ensure a space is available. Many indoor spaces on campus are currently still unavailable for general use.
  • Facilities may enforce stricter requirements than listed here, depending on the facility.
  • Discuss AV Support, tables, chairs, and other event needs with Events Services.
  • All seated live events and performances must adhere to CDPH COVID-19 Guidance for Outdoor Seated Live Events and Performances or CDPH COVID-19 Guidance for Indoor Seated Live Events and Performances

As a result of other statewide and local restrictions, Stanford has adopted zone restrictions on its campus to help minimize interactions between nonessential visitors and those approved to be on campus for education, research, and related purposes. Further information on the campus zones program is available here.

The following limited, in-person activities are permitted, each with required modifications noted in the bullet points. At least six feet of social distancing and compliance with Stanford’s face covering policy are each required in all instances.

Classroom instruction and related university-led academic activities (e.g., office hours, mentoring, advising)

  • Most of these activities do not require approval from EH&S. 
  • Use of classroom subject to the In-Person Instructional Activities Recovery Plan
  • General indoor lectures are permitted. 
  • Outdoor classrooms and specialized indoor classrooms are  allowed with adequate physical distancing and capacity limitation. 
  • 200-person maximum for outdoors, subject to change; indoor capacity limited to the number where six-foot social distancing can be consistently achieved, or 50% of pre-COVID capacity, whichever is fewer.
  • Any such meeting must have a designated leader who is responsible for ensuring compliance with all requirements and maintaining a list of all attendees. See the In Person Instructional Activities Recovery Plan for details.
  • Stagger use and restrict the number of people allowed in at one time.
  • Clean and disinfect space between use.
  • An exception to capacity limitation requires prior registration, review, and explicit approval from Classroom Management Group using the Events and Gatherings Registration.

Necessary university business meetings solely among Stanford employees unable to be conducted virtually

  • All personnel must carry out job functions remotely if they are able to do so, including with respect to meetings. Replace in-person meetings with video- or teleconference calls whenever possible. If this is not possible, please consult with the appropriate unit or department head. 
  • For job functions that are not practical to perform remotely, in-person work/meetings are permitted to the limited extent necessary to complete such job functions.
  • Where possible, any such meetings should occur outdoors.
  • Stagger use of meeting rooms and restrict the number of people allowed in at one time to allow for social distancing.
  • Any such meeting must have a designated host who is responsible for ensuring compliance with all requirements and maintaining a list of all attendees.
  • Clean & disinfect spaces between use.

Student Household Space

  • Please click here to view information from Student Affairs on Households.

Outdoor protest activities

  • Requires prior registration with EH&S using the Events and Gatherings Registration.
  • Must follow all applicable regulations including specific face coverings, and social distancing requirements, and have a designated host who is responsible for ensuring compliance with all requirements and maintaining a list of all attendees.
  • Indoor protest activities are not permitted at this time.

Religious observance

  • Exemptions for in-person religious services may be made for specific religious obligations that cannot be fulfilled either individually or online.
  • Requires prior registration, review, and explicit approval from EH&S and Office for Religious Life using the Events and Gatherings Registration.
  • Outdoor religious gatherings must follow all applicable regulations including capacity limitations (no more than 200 people or 33% of the outdoor venue capacity, whichever is less), specific face covering and social distancing requirements, and have a designated host that is responsible for ensuring compliance with all requirements and maintaining a list of all attendees.
  • Indoor religious services are permitted and are subject to capacity limitations. Religious services may be held at 50% capacity. Office for Religious Life and their partners offer virtual services for our diverse communities of faith.

Source material

California statewide restrictions
State Website
Education Guidance

Santa Clara County restrictions
Order and related materials

NOTE: As to any subject covered by these restrictions, the stricter of the state and the county’s rule controls. The state’s “guidance” is an enforceable order by the state, so its contents amount to requirements.