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Coronavirus: Stanford University Releases Plan to Reopen Campus

By Chloe Lane

Updated June 18, 2020 Updated June 18, 2020

Stanford University plans to let undergraduates return to campus for at least two quarters of the 2020/21 academic year, the university’s president, Marc Tessier-Lavigne and the provost, Persis Drell, announced last week in an email to the faculty.

Under the plan, freshman undergraduates would return to campus for the Fall term and would switch with senior undergraduates for the Spring term. All final exams would be administered remotely. This is to reduce the number of students on campus at any one time, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Despite these measures, the university has said that online teaching will remain “the default” until further notice.

Contrastingly, graduate education is expected to go ahead “at near-full capacity, albeit with some instruction and research conducted online,” Tessier-Lavigne and Drell revealed.

Undergraduate housing on campus 

If the plan goes ahead, first year students will stay in on-campus accommodation in the Fall term, which spans from September 14th, 2020 to November 14th ,2020. After classes finish they will be asked to leave and will then complete at least one more quarter remotely

Those who are unable to leave will have the opportunity to remain on campus over the winter break. Students with disabilities and other special circumstances will also be able to stay on campus. 

Stanford University hopes to expand the overall number of students on campus later in the year “if health conditions allow”.

Social Distancing on Campus

Stanford University

Students who return to campus will be subject to social distancing. There will also be strict limitations on gatherings. It is also likely that students will be asked to wear face masks while on campus.

In addition, any student who leaves the local area will be required to self-isolate for two weeks when they return.

Most teaching will remain online, said the university, including classes with over 50 students. This is due to the limited number of on-campus classrooms available to accommodate social distancing.                       

“We will need to view online as the default teaching option for 2020-21, to be supplemented by in-person instruction as much as is safe and feasible for students and faculty who are present on campus,” said Tessier-Lavigne and Drell.

Dependent on Circumstances

According to the university, the plan is subject to change. Whether it goes ahead depends on “the public health situation, and on any requirements that may be imposed by our state and county officials,” the university said.

They added that they “may not know these things definitively until late summer” but they plan to update students on the situation by the end of June.

This article was originally published in June 2020 .

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Written by

As Content Editor for and, Chloe creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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