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COVID entry testing for graduate and professional school students

Aug 6 2020

This message is being emailed to all graduate and professional students.

Dear graduate students,

As we begin a new academic year, we are writing with testing requirements for graduate and professional school students. We hope this information is helpful for everyone, including students who have been living on campus and who would like to know more about how new and returning students will be safely integrated into our community, and in particular, into shared living spaces.

The entry testing guidance below applies to the following groups: 

  • New graduate and professional students living on-campus or in off-campus subsidized housing. 
     
  • Graduate and professional students returning to on-campus or off-campus subsidized housing from outside Northern California (defined by the map here)


During the entry testing period, we are asking graduate students who are sharing apartments to practice physical distancing and staggered use of essential spaces. We also recommend wearing face coverings in all common spaces within an apartment, as well as frequent handwashing and surface cleaning. We require everyone to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing whenever they leave their apartments.         

Your input helps shape our work, and we would like to invite you to keep in touch with us. You can do so here. If you have individual or specific concerns about navigating your needs, please consult with the Graduate Life Office to receive support and/or contact the Office of Accessible Education, should you have specific accommodations to address. 

Entry testing requirements

  • PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing for SARS-CoV-2 is required. Each student will be tested twice, once on approximately days 0-2 upon arrival, and then again on days 5-7 of their residence within Stanford housing. 
     
  • The testing location is Vaden Health Center. Appointments are required and available beginning Aug. 10. To make an appointment, please visit https://vadenpatient.stanford.edu/.
     
  • Students who are unable to book an appointment online should call Vaden at 650-498-2336.
     
  • The tests will come at no cost to students.
     
  • Vaden will receive test results and then will perform exposure notification and care management for students, in accordance with Santa Clara County Public Health Department standards. 
     
  • No testing is required at this time for spouses, partners and children because couples and families live in self-contained units. We require that everyone wear face covering and practice physical distancing whenever they leave their units. For those who would like to be tested, more information is available on Stanford’s Health Alerts website.
     
  • MD and MSPA students are following a different protocol provided to them by the School of Medicine. 
     
  • All graduate students with housing contracts will be required to sign a compact confirming that they will abide by the health and safety standards of the university. More information on this campus compact will be available soon. 
     
  • In addition to the entry testing described here, the university is planning to test all students on an on-going basis throughout autumn quarter. More details will be provided at a later date. 


Health and safety measures during the testing period

We would like to take a moment here to address a very specific set of concerns. We know students who have been living on campus or in subsidized off campus housing through the spring and summer are worried about being exposed to the virus by newcomers while newcomers are undergoing testing. We know newcomers are worried about the possibility that continuing students may have the virus but are not being tested. 

We have been discussing these possibilities and studying all applicable guidance. All of us are being asked at this time to limit close contact with individuals outside our household to reduce the spread of the virus. For COVID-19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define a close contact as any individual who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes. 

Santa Clara County uses a more conservative definition, which Stanford follows. You are considered a close contact of a COVID-19 positive person if you were within six feet for 15 minutes or more, regardless of whether either person was wearing a face covering, during the period the COVID-19 positive person is considered contagious.

We are not requiring testing at this time for continuing graduate students who have been living on campus or in subsidized housing throughout the spring and summer, and who have not traveled outside the Bay Area because they have been following our existing shelter-in-place guidance, which limits close contact.

As we mentioned earlier, during the entry testing period, we are asking graduate students who are sharing apartments to practice physical distancing and staggered use of essential spaces. We also recommend wearing face coverings in all common spaces within an apartment, as well as frequent handwashing and surface cleaning. We require everyone to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing whenever they leave their apartments.                

Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) safety measures

In addition, our R&DE staff, custodial and maintenance teams have modified their operations to protect students and workers. Common spaces (such as hallways and bathrooms) and high-touch areas (like door knobs and elevator buttons) receive enhanced cleaning and disinfecting twice daily, seven days a week. 

R&DE's CleanDining program builds on our already high standards of food safety and sanitation in our dining halls. Dining halls will continue to receive enhanced cleaning and disinfecting using a hospital-grade electrostatic fogger that disinfects all objects and surfaces. 

We welcome your thoughts and concerns

The impact of the virus on each of us individually, and our community as a whole, feels magnified with every change and transition. We are all trying our very best to think through how best to proceed. The plans we describe here take into consideration CDC and Santa Clara County public health recommendations and requirements, as well as input from Stanford experts in related fields. 

We recognize that some of you will continue to have questions and concerns. Again, here’s where you can share your general concerns.  As importantly, if you have individual or specific concerns about navigating your needs, please consult with the Graduate Life Office to receive support and/or contact the Office of Accessible Education, should you have specific accommodations to address. 

Sincerely,

Shirley Everett
Senior Associate Vice Provost, Residential & Dining Enterprises

Mona Hicks
Senior Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students

Dr. James Jacobs
Executive Director, Vaden Health Services