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Stanford expands options for gathering in person as COVID-19 rates decline

New rules will go into effect on April 14

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Students living on campus will have expanded opportunities to gather outdoors, announced Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Sarah Church in a Wednesday email to undergraduate students.

The expansion follows improving COVID-19 conditions nationwide and rising vaccination rates. The University reported only three new cases for the week of March 22, and student staff members have begun receiving vaccines.

Starting on April 14, students will be able to organize private outdoor gatherings with up to 24 students from three households, which students can pre-register for at http://scheduling.stanford.edu. Students can form households of up to eight students starting April 7. Currently, gatherings are not permitted due to spring break travel and the recent arrival of many juniors and seniors to campus for the first time this academic year.

A University spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Daily’s request for comment regarding how the new gathering restrictions would be enforced.

The University also announced that they are working toward “bringing back” fountain hopping and that some dining halls — AFDC, Wilbur, Stern, FloMo and Lakeside — will begin to take reservations for indoor dining starting April 12.

In addition, the Arbor outdoor pub and gathering space, also referred to by students as Barrillaga, will reopen on April 15, and Frost Amphitheater will begin showing outdoor movies later this spring. Between April 5 and 13, students will be able to reserve times for swimming, climbing and other athletic activities through Stanford Recreation. The University is in the process of reopening some outdoor basketball and volleyball courts.

The Office for Religious and Spiritual Life will begin sponsoring outdoor religious services on April 15 and allow religious student groups to soon apply to host their own gatherings.

Brubaker-Cole and Church emphasized the importance of students continuing to follow COVID-19 rules, such as wearing face masks and getting tested twice a week. 

“We are counting on everyone to double down on prevention,” they wrote. “If we can keep people healthy, we can offer more opportunities to see each other.”

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Sam Catania ’24 is the Chief Technology Officer at The Daily. He also is the producer of the weekly video roundup and formerly served as a news beat reporter covering COVID-19 on Stanford's campus and the assessment team leader of The Daily's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team. Sam is a Philadelphia native currently studying computer science and political science. You can follow him on Twitter @sbcatania. Contact him at scatania 'at' stanforddaily.com