By Tom Quach
The Stanford Daily recently discussed Stanford’s fall quarter plans with University spokesperson E.J. Miranda. Miranda answered questions that are on the minds of many students — including plans for the return to in-person courses and steps the University will take to prevent and monitor additional COVID-19 cases as the school administration prepares to welcome the entire student body back to campus. Fielding questions raised by Stanford community members on social media, The Daily also raised popular questions about dining procedures and potential hurdles international students might face with returning to campus.
The Stanford Daily [TSD]: What would cause the school to change their in-person on-campus policy if the Delta variant surges?
E.J. Miranda [EJM]: We expect autumn quarter instruction to be more like pre-pandemic conditions, with a return to in-person classes. We will continue to monitor CDC, state and county guidance and adjust health and safety protocols as conditions evolve. The members of our university community have been diligent in working to protect one another and minimize the prevalence and reduce the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. Vaccination rates are well above 90% among employees and students who are currently on campus and reporting their status on Health Check. And our campus community is following masking requirements.
Stanford is continuing to take steps to protect the health and safety of the university community in preparation for the autumn quarter. A weekly testing requirement is in place for unvaccinated staff, faculty and postdocs. Testing is free of charge for employees and is also provided to fully vaccinated employees who wish to take advantage of it.
Following The Daily’s conversation with Miranda, the University updated its COVID-19 policy. Stanford now requires weekly testing for all vaccinated faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students and twice weekly testing for the unvaccinated.
TSD: What percentage of classes in fall 2021 will be operating in-person? How will departments manage large lecture classes if they are in person?
EJM: We are looking forward to resuming the majority of course instruction fully in-person in the autumn quarter and the most current information is in the provost’s message. We do not yet have an estimate of the number of online courses that will be available, but it will be limited.
TSD: What opportunities will there be for those unable to attend in-person classes or feel uncomfortable doing so?
EJM: We are looking forward to resuming the majority of course instruction fully in-person in the autumn quarter and will offer a small portfolio of online courses, including courses that are normally taught online. There will be a limited online curriculum for first-year international undergraduates unable to come to campus and students with demonstrated medical exceptions. In addition, students who are unable to attend in person or feel uncomfortable doing so may enroll in any available online courses or take a leave of absence.
TSD: Where will COVID-19 positive students be isolated or quarantined during fall quarter?
EJM: Students who test positive are isolated in Stanford housing set aside for that purpose. Quarantine is for students who have not tested positive but were in close contact with someone who tested positive. If a student lives in an apartment that has a private bathroom, or lives in couples or families housing, they can quarantine in their apartment. Students who live in a shared space, where they cannot quarantine, can be assigned to a designated quarantine space.
For both isolation and quarantine, Vaden Health Services and Student Affairs deans will check in with the student daily to provide support and ensure they have the services and amenities to meet their daily needs.
TSD: For international students who cannot travel to campus due to COVID, what accommodations will Stanford provide for them?
EJM: Due to ongoing issues related to COVID and delays in visa processing, we realize that some new and returning international students will be delayed, or unable, to come to the U.S. Stanford is working to provide support and information through the Bechtel International Center for students in this difficult and frustrating situation.
TSD: How will dining halls operate during the fall quarter? Would students be able to sit inside, or will it be more limited to grab-and-go?
EJM: The health and safety of staff and students is our priority. Currently, we anticipate students will be able to select from a self-service buffet in the dining halls. Indoor dining may be at a reduced capacity. Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) will continue to monitor public health guidance and adapt service accordingly. R&DE will continue to inform students of any updates to the Dining program.
The article has been updated to include the University’s most recent COVID-19 policy.