The pandemic has uprooted the lives and academic planning of thousands of students across the country. At Stanford, juniors and seniors are deciding whether or not to return to campus for the spring quarter, which begins at the end of March. The Stanford Daily Data Team conducted a flash survey on February 9 to gauge student interest in returning. The survey closed on Feb. 11 with 157 responses, 81 of which were juniors and 76 of which were seniors.
54.1% of surveyed students plan to enter the housing draw due on Feb. 16. This trend is similar for juniors and seniors, with 53.1% of juniors and 55.3% of seniors indicating that they would enter the housing draw.
Some students also responded that they would not enter the draw. Juniors made up the largest portion of these students, with 34.6% of juniors answering that they would not fill out the housing form. 27.6% of seniors reported that they would not enter the housing draw. On the other hand, seniors seem more undecided about whether to enter the draw, with 17.1% of seniors replying “maybe,” and 12.1% of juniors also replying “maybe.”
Similar patterns hold true for juniors and seniors planning to return to campus. While only about a quarter of juniors and seniors replied “definitely yes” to returning to campus, almost half of juniors and seniors indicated they would definitely or probably return to campus. Additionally, about a quarter of seniors replied that they would probably not return to campus, while 12.3% of juniors gave that same response.
In total, 24.2% of students reported that they would definitely not return to campus, although these percentages look very different for juniors and seniors. 32.1% of juniors responded that they would not return, compared to 15.8% of seniors.
There was also a section on the survey that inquired about students’ plans if they chose not to live on campus, either because Stanford did not reopen campus, or because students chose to stay home. In this situation, 32.3% of students said they would live at home. These percentages differ between those who currently do not plan to return to campus and those who do. 43.9% of students who said they would definitely or probably not return to campus planned to stay at home while only 25% of students who said they would definitely or probably return to campus would stay at home if Stanford’s reopening plans changed.
The percentages between juniors and seniors who intend to live off-campus in the Bay Area also differ greatly. While 34.2% of seniors plan to live off-campus in the Bay Area in the spring, only 9.9% of juniors plan to do so.
Finally, for applications to special circumstances housing, 7.4% of juniors, compared with 9.2% of seniors, planned on applying for special circumstances housing. Some students shared that they already had special circumstances housing that would continue through the spring.
At the end of our survey, we left an optional open-ended question where students could share more details on their housing plans. Some students shared the differing reasons for their living arrangements. One student planned on staying at home because they are “taking a leave of absence to work.” Another student who was unsure of their living arrangements for spring mentioned how “trying to get their financial aid on time for payments every quarter is super stressful.”
Many students expressed uncertainty and stress given how Stanford has handled reopening in the past. A current RA on campus said they are “considering quitting next quarter depending on safety concerns with Stanford bringing so many students back.” Others want to return but are worried about isolation.
The University will announce finalized plans for spring quarter during the week of Feb. 22-26, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne announced Tuesday.