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Fearing a 'resurgence' of infections, Stanford plans to limit students on campus with mostly online classes this fall

For those allowed on campus, masks will likely be required and travel will be restricted

Simon John Christoph Sørensen, a last-year medical student from Denmark, walks through an empty hallway on the Stanford University campus. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Travel restrictions, fewer students on campus and primarily online instruction: A Stanford University education will look vastly different when the fall quarter begins.

President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell announced on Wednesday initial plans for reopening campus the next academic year while working to limit the spread of the coronavirus, with the caveat that the plans are subject to local public health conditions and guidance.

They said "(We) want to plan for a scenario that we have a high degree of confidence we can stick to, even if COVID-19 infections increase in a second wave. Shutting down mid-quarter and sending students home would not be a desirable outcome for anyone."

Online teaching will be the "default," though some in-person classes will be offered "as much as is safe and feasible for students and faculty who are present on campus," Tessier-Lavigne and Drell said. Any class larger than 50 students will likely need to be taught online. Class times will likely extend from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. "to make the best use of our classroom spaces," they said. For some classes that can only be held in person, they might be offered several times a year as different groups of students return to campus.

"The rapid switch to online learning this spring left little time for instructors to redesign their courses for an online format, and the priority was ensuring that students could finish out the academic year. In preparation for next year, teaching and learning experts from across campus are making themselves available to instructors to optimize their course offerings for online delivery," Tessier-Lavigne and Drell said. "We are also looking at ways to better replicate other features of in-person teaching, such as small group interactions, academic support and peer-to-peer learning."

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To allow for social distancing, the university is planning to allow only half of all undergraduate students to live on campus for a quarter, with each group alternating every quarter. The academic year will start one week earlier, on Sept. 14, and be extended into a four-quarter year through the summer. Most students take three quarters of courses, so this would allow all undergraduates to have at least two quarters of living on campus — unless the coronavirus spikes again and requires the university to shrink the number of students on campus.

Undergraduates will take their final exams remotely.

Stanford plans to prioritize freshmen and transfer students for the fall quarter "to allow them to get to know our campus, form community and begin their Stanford careers in the most positive way." Graduating seniors will take priority in the spring quarter. Staff are "having conversations with faculty and students about different options for bringing students back, whether by class year or by another rubric that aligns with the academic programs we offer," Tessier-Lavigne and Drell said.

All undergraduates will live on campus in rooms with private sleeping spaces, such as a single or a two-room double, to "limit the risk of disease transmission between students in a multi-occupancy room," Tessier-Lavigne and Drell wrote. It will also "have the important benefit of providing quieter spaces with less distraction for students engaged in online coursework," they said. They also want to have sufficient space on campus to allow students to quarantine or self-isolate in the event of a "resurgence of infections."

The university is also planning for a "limited" number of spaces for students who have a need to be on campus during breaks or the entire school year due to special circumstances, as they did during spring quarter for students who couldn't leave campus.

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Stanford doesn't expect any major changes for graduate student housing, which is mostly apartments that allow for greater physical distancing.

Students will likely have to wear masks on campus. Stanford will ask them not to travel outside the local area, or else self-isolate when they return. Campus events and gatherings will be limited. Social distancing will be required in buildings and common spaces.

"For our incoming first-year undergraduates, we know this is not how you originally envisioned beginning your college career," Tessier-Lavigne and Drell said. "But we will work to make the coming year as rich and rewarding an experience as possible within the constraints of this unusual time we are living through."

(They noted that any students who choose to take a gap year instead must notify the admissions office by June 15.)

A Stanford committee led by the dean of the School of Medicine, Lloyd Minor, is working on recommendations for a universitywide plan for testing, contact tracing and isolation.

The university plans to provide more information about the 2020-21 year by the end of June and is accepting input via email at academic-continuity@stanford.edu.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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Fearing a 'resurgence' of infections, Stanford plans to limit students on campus with mostly online classes this fall

For those allowed on campus, masks will likely be required and travel will be restricted

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jun 3, 2020, 3:28 pm

Travel restrictions, fewer students on campus and primarily online instruction: A Stanford University education will look vastly different when the fall quarter begins.

President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell announced on Wednesday initial plans for reopening campus the next academic year while working to limit the spread of the coronavirus, with the caveat that the plans are subject to local public health conditions and guidance.

They said "(We) want to plan for a scenario that we have a high degree of confidence we can stick to, even if COVID-19 infections increase in a second wave. Shutting down mid-quarter and sending students home would not be a desirable outcome for anyone."

Online teaching will be the "default," though some in-person classes will be offered "as much as is safe and feasible for students and faculty who are present on campus," Tessier-Lavigne and Drell said. Any class larger than 50 students will likely need to be taught online. Class times will likely extend from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. "to make the best use of our classroom spaces," they said. For some classes that can only be held in person, they might be offered several times a year as different groups of students return to campus.

"The rapid switch to online learning this spring left little time for instructors to redesign their courses for an online format, and the priority was ensuring that students could finish out the academic year. In preparation for next year, teaching and learning experts from across campus are making themselves available to instructors to optimize their course offerings for online delivery," Tessier-Lavigne and Drell said. "We are also looking at ways to better replicate other features of in-person teaching, such as small group interactions, academic support and peer-to-peer learning."

To allow for social distancing, the university is planning to allow only half of all undergraduate students to live on campus for a quarter, with each group alternating every quarter. The academic year will start one week earlier, on Sept. 14, and be extended into a four-quarter year through the summer. Most students take three quarters of courses, so this would allow all undergraduates to have at least two quarters of living on campus — unless the coronavirus spikes again and requires the university to shrink the number of students on campus.

Undergraduates will take their final exams remotely.

Stanford plans to prioritize freshmen and transfer students for the fall quarter "to allow them to get to know our campus, form community and begin their Stanford careers in the most positive way." Graduating seniors will take priority in the spring quarter. Staff are "having conversations with faculty and students about different options for bringing students back, whether by class year or by another rubric that aligns with the academic programs we offer," Tessier-Lavigne and Drell said.

All undergraduates will live on campus in rooms with private sleeping spaces, such as a single or a two-room double, to "limit the risk of disease transmission between students in a multi-occupancy room," Tessier-Lavigne and Drell wrote. It will also "have the important benefit of providing quieter spaces with less distraction for students engaged in online coursework," they said. They also want to have sufficient space on campus to allow students to quarantine or self-isolate in the event of a "resurgence of infections."

The university is also planning for a "limited" number of spaces for students who have a need to be on campus during breaks or the entire school year due to special circumstances, as they did during spring quarter for students who couldn't leave campus.

Stanford doesn't expect any major changes for graduate student housing, which is mostly apartments that allow for greater physical distancing.

Students will likely have to wear masks on campus. Stanford will ask them not to travel outside the local area, or else self-isolate when they return. Campus events and gatherings will be limited. Social distancing will be required in buildings and common spaces.

"For our incoming first-year undergraduates, we know this is not how you originally envisioned beginning your college career," Tessier-Lavigne and Drell said. "But we will work to make the coming year as rich and rewarding an experience as possible within the constraints of this unusual time we are living through."

(They noted that any students who choose to take a gap year instead must notify the admissions office by June 15.)

A Stanford committee led by the dean of the School of Medicine, Lloyd Minor, is working on recommendations for a universitywide plan for testing, contact tracing and isolation.

The university plans to provide more information about the 2020-21 year by the end of June and is accepting input via email at academic-continuity@stanford.edu.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

SIP
Stanford
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:37 pm
SIP, Stanford
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:37 pm
30 people like this

Many Stanford students supposedly sheltering in place in their dorm rooms have been participating in BLM protests around the Bay Area. I anticipate that Stanford will soon be dealing with a Covid-19 resurgence on campus.


Rigor
College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 5:32 pm
Rigor, College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 5:32 pm
33 people like this

Stanford students are currently bullying faculty into waiving final course requirements for all students (Web Link), ostensibly so their Black classmates will not need to request accommodations. Will the 20-21 year have the same lack of rigor as the current quarter?


Resident
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 5, 2020 at 5:42 am
Resident, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 5, 2020 at 5:42 am
9 people like this

Pandemics are caused by travel. Global travel brings new diseases into our community.
Stanford is a basically an educator of foreign and out-of-state (non-Californian) students.
Their faculty regularly travel all over the world giving talks and attending symposiums, and their students fly in (and out) from all over the world - inoculating our community with the latest infections, and carelessly burning tons of jet fuel while loudly preaching against it.
This is what they have done to our community. Stanford hospital used to be a nice community medical center and school - that was until they began competing with UCSF to be the biggest and best medical center.
Now they have become a mega magnet for disease - bringing in Ebola, SARS, MERS, the latest strains of hepatitis, and new Coronavirus into our community - for their pleasure and financial reward. Our community did not ask for this.
Even though students were told to leave campus and return home, the foreign students refused to leave because it would mess up their immigration intentions. They promised the university that they would not to go into our community or travel off campus (but they did).
Stanford students have been shopping for groceries at local stores, going to the beach, hiking, taking part in the protests, and taking various part-time jobs like baby-sitting & tutoring all throughout the pandemic. Some seem to have too much time on their hands now, yet they complain loudly that they are too stressed and busy (now that they have won their tantrum to reclassify and lengthen their visas to stay and work longer in the US), most have received free grant money, and housing.
Some are now fighting with their TA's and professors to be given extensions on their assignments because they spent too much time protesting. I am not kidding. We are living amongst a bunch of super spreading entitled brats.


Full Semester
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2020 at 9:00 am
Full Semester, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2020 at 9:00 am
4 people like this

This plan doesn't make sense as stated here. Why rotate out the students after one quarter, to then rotate them in again for the 3rd quarter? Why not just keep them there for 2 consecutive quarters, send them home and bring in the second group for two quarters. Thus avoiding sending undergrads back and forth and back and forth two times. Some are international students and some have little money for travel. What is the justification for this?


plan
Mayfield
on Jun 5, 2020 at 11:28 am
plan, Mayfield
on Jun 5, 2020 at 11:28 am
Like this comment

>Why not just keep them there for 2 consecutive quarters, send them home and bring in the second group for two quarters.
Most likely each class will spend 2 consecutive quarters on campus and 2 at home on Zoom


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2020 at 11:46 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2020 at 11:46 am
1 person likes this

It is an interesting schedule. I wonder what the UC's are planning?


Fact Checker
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:27 pm
Fact Checker, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:27 pm
8 people like this

Stanford is giving ALL students the choice of online or in person. Let's make sure PAUSD does this too.

Please support the requirement that for middle school and high school all classes be streamed and recorded for students who are vulnerable, live with vulnerable, are in isolation (infectious), or in quarantine.

For those concerned that Stanford students will bring more Covid-19 to the community. Indeed they may. But, let's focus on what we are doing on our community to keep it safe. Contact tracing, testing (not just fever checks), isolation, and quarantine must be part of our school and business protocols.


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