This is the first in a series of weekly newsletters for undergraduates, titled “Re-Approaching Stanford,” through which we will convey further updates, important timelines and action items as we prepare for the academic year 2020-2021. Students’ families will also receive these updates via the newsletter for parents and guardians today, and will receive further updates directly from us.
We know that you have been eagerly awaiting news of which class years will be on campus for which quarters. Thank you for your patience as we sorted through and balanced the many considerations, including your responses to the ASSU survey. As the president and provost communicated earlier this month, we will be inviting about half of our undergraduates to campus for each quarter in academic year 2020-2021, and frosh will be invited back in the fall and seniors in the spring, assuming that this is allowed by health officials at the time.
Consultation and feedback
We deeply appreciate the many students, faculty, staff and family members who contributed to our thinking and the ASSU for their highly informative survey of undergraduate students on this topic. Your ideas and expressions of concern were central to our decision process. The following factors were particularly important in determining the plan below:
Class cohorts in residence for Academic Year (AY) 2020-2021
Based on these considerations, we are inviting back two class cohorts each quarter, with the following four-quarter plan:
New Transfer Students*
*New transfer students entering as sophomores will be on campus autumn and summer. New transfer students entering as juniors will be on campus autumn and can select winter or spring as their second in-person quarter. Those transfer students and non-traditional undergraduates who are approved to live in graduate housing will be able to live on campus for all four quarters.
Here, cohort year is defined by year of entry into Stanford. This means:
If you are unsure of your cohort year, please consult with your academic advising director.
Co-Terms (updated June 30):
Co-terms who still have eligibility for undergraduate housing are eligible to live on campus when their undergraduate class cohort does.
Co-term students who are in their fifth year or beyond, and have exhausted their four-year eligibility for undergraduate housing, are considered graduate students for housing purposes and cohort restrictions do not apply to them.
We realize that this schedule will be challenging to everyone, and especially to frosh and sophomores who have a two-quarter gap between their on campus quarters. We will be paying special attention to helping them consider how best to arrange their schedules, and what options are available for their quarter off-campus.
As with all planning for next academic year, this plan is dependent on our ability to safely reopen in alignment with county orders and with the guidance of public health officials. We may change this plan if there is a surge in COVID cases, or if there is, for example, a vaccine that allows us to bring more students to campus safely. For those of you purchasing airline tickets, we encourage you to wait to purchase a ticket and/or purchase a refundable ticket to ensure flexibility.
Students with special circumstances
In addition to the quarterly cohort assignments, we will have limited housing available for undergraduates of all class years who may need to reside on campus outside of their cohort’s designated quarters. Special circumstances may include international students who may face travel or visa complications; students experiencing homelessness; students with home environments that prevent them from being able to participate in a remote learning environment or are unsafe; student-athletes approved to prepare for and compete in their intercollegiate seasons; and other special needs.
We will announce a process through which you may request consideration for these specially reserved spaces. We expect this process to be available for application in early July, with notifications of eligibility to return to housing outside of the assigned class cohort quarters going out in late July. Please note that student requests for these spaces may exceed available housing, and we would then need to prioritize according to student need.
Undergraduates will be housed in the following residences next year: all residences with resident fellows; Suites; Mirrielees; and the new Escondido Village Graduate Residences Building A. The Studio 2 building in Escondido Village will house students (graduate and undergraduate) required to quarantine, and Row houses (except Muwekma-Tah-Ruk, which will continue to house the Native American ethnic theme dorm) will serve as isolation housing for undergraduate and graduate students who have tested positive for COVID-19. Ujamaa, Casa Zapata and Okada will also continue next year as ethnic theme dorms. As communicated in the president and provost’s June 3 email, all undergraduate housing will operate at reduced capacity to ensure physical distancing and other public health measures. All undergraduate residents will be assigned to singles or two-room doubles.
Again, this is our current plan for autumn quarter housing, but evolving circumstances will determine if plans need to change for subsequent quarters.
Information about the housing assignment process will be conveyed in the coming weeks.
We know that you will have many questions about the enrollment decisions you will need to make. We are working hard to make sure we have all the answers in place, and some things, such as leave of absence policies, are still being finalized. However, we can share these things now:
While we very much look forward to welcoming undergraduates back to campus, we need to be clear about what you should expect: The safeguards we will need to implement will fundamentally change the student experience. We are working with a group of students this summer to start creating ways to help students get acquainted and spend time with friends; however, there will be significant restrictions on in-person classroom use, dorm life, social life, guests and travel. For example:
We know this is difficult news. However, these are essential steps that we need to take to protect the health and safety of all students, instructors and staff who live and work in your residences, dining centers and throughout campus.
As previously announced, autumn quarter will begin on September 14, 2020. Other dates in the academic calendar, including the end of autumn, and the start and end dates for winter, spring and summer, will be announced shortly, pending Faculty Senate approval.
To ensure that all students have access to the necessary classes for their academic progress, we expect most, if not all, courses to be online for the 2020-2021 academic year. Registration for autumn quarter classes will begin on September 1. The academic calendar for AY2021 will be updated periodically on the registrar’s website; please continue to check back. In preparation for autumn, we’re taking the following steps:
Things we’re still working on
We are continuing to plan for a range of other housing and academic details in preparation for the academic year, and we will send updates through the weekly “Re-Approaching Stanford” newsletter as decisions are finalized in each of these areas. These include:
We value your feedback
We’d like to close by acknowledging the uncertainty of the weeks and months ahead. The changing conditions of COVID may require that we modify our plans between now and September and throughout the year. We will continue to communicate as conditions evolve. There is no doubt that our next year together is going to be unusual, and not what any of us have planned.
Together, we are a creative and resourceful community, and our collective energy can lead to innovations that may be helpful even under normal circumstances. We encourage you to join us in this planning process to contribute to our next steps. To get involved and/or share your ideas, please go here. If you have any questions, please submit a ServiceNow ticket here.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Freeman-Thornton Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
Professor of Physics
Pritzker University Fellow in Undergraduate Education