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Overview of gatherings and meetings at Stanford

Purpose

This document describes restrictions on gatherings for students, staff, postdocs, researchers and faculty approved to be on campus, in order to comply with statewide and local orders during the COVID-19 period. This document also clarifies several related topics including allowable classroom instruction, business meetings, and use of essential shared spaces. This guidance is subject to change as state and local requirements continue to evolve, and as Stanford further updates its policies and protocols related to these matters. For access to the latest State and Santa Clara County rules, please see the Source Material section at the end of this document.

We also would note that our medical community advises that it is situations where individuals are less than 6 feet apart and not wearing face coverings that present more significant risk, especially when indoors. Larger groups also pose greater risk. It is these types of high-risk situations that particularly concern us.

Summary: General prohibition on gatherings

To reduce the transmission of the novel coronavirus, both indoor and outdoor gatherings are generally prohibited per California State order. 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, gatherings “pose an especially high danger of transmission and spread of COVID-19” and consequently there are limited, narrow exceptions to this general prohibition on gatherings as described below.

For the avoidance of doubt, the general prohibition on gatherings (indoor and outdoor) applies to gatherings of a social nature, including gatherings of student organizations.

In furtherance of this general prohibition on gatherings and 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.

Limited exceptions to the general prohibition on gatherings

The following limited, in-person activities are permitted, each with required actions noted in the bullet points. At least 6 feet 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)

  • Does not require approval from EH&S.
  • Stagger use and restrict the number of people allowed in at one time.
  • 15-person maximum for outdoors (subject to change).
  • No indoor general classroom instruction and related activities. Specialized indoor classrooms (e.g., labs, studio arts) are permitted; 10-person maximum for indoors or 25% of room capacity, whichever is less (subject to change).
  • Any such meeting must have a designated leader who is responsible for ensuring compliance with all requirements and maintaining a list of all attendees.
  • Clean & disinfect between use.
  • Exception to capacity limitation requires prior registration, review, and explicit approval from EH&S via Cardinal Recovery.

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

  • Consult with appropriate unit, program or department head. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Any such in-person work/meetings must in all instances be compliant with any guidelines or protocol adopted by the applicable school or department.
  • Stagger use and restrict the number of people allowed in at one time.
  • Where possible, any such meetings should occur outdoors.
  • Any such meeting must have a designated host who is responsible for ensuring compliance with all requirements and maintaining a list of all attendees.
  • 15-person maximum for outdoors, subject to change; 10-person maximum for indoors or 25% of room capacity, whichever is less (subject to change).  Total number of personnel present at a business facility may not exceed one personnel per 250 gross square feet of the facility.
  • Clean & disinfect between use.
  • Exception to capacity limitation requires prior registration, review, and explicit approval from EH&S via Cardinal Recovery.

Use of essential shared space (e.g., bathroom and laundry room)

  • Does not require approval from EH&S.
  • Stagger use and restrict the number of people allowed in at one time.
  • 10-person maximum for indoors or 25% of room capacity, whichever is less (subject to change).
  • Clean & disinfect between use.

Outdoor protest activities

  • Requires prior registration, review, and explicit approval from EH&S via Cardinal Recovery.
  • Must follow all applicable regulations including capacity limitations (no more than 60 people), specific face covering 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.

Religious observance

  • Exemptions for in-person religious services may be made for 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 via Cardinal Recovery.
  • Must follow all applicable regulations including capacity limitations (no more than 60 people), 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 not permitted. Office for Religious Life and their partners offer virtual services for our diverse communities of faith.

Source material

California statewide restrictions
State Website
Order
Q&A
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.