Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

Main content start

Shelter in place, financial resources and other updates

An update for graduate students.

Dear graduate students,

In our conversations with many of you over the last few weeks, we have heard how difficult the emergence of COVID-19 has been for you and your families. We know that you are worried about how to continue your work with the significant changes to research and teaching activities right now, how to ensure you are able to meet your basic needs and the needs of your families, and how difficult it can be to navigate this quickly changing landscape. Please know that we are thinking about you, we are thinking about the impact of our current circumstances on your well-being, and we will remain with you throughout this difficult time.

Thank you for your patience as we work on answers to the many questions you may have. The graduate student and postdoc section of the COVID-19 FAQs is being updated regularly.  In this email, we’ll share more on the following topics:

  • Community values

  • Sheltering in place

  • Health expectations

  • Leave of Absence

  • Financial resources

  • Graduate student housing

  • Keeping campus safe and secure

  • Housing for community members ill with COVID-19


Community values

As we join together as a community to respond to COVID-19, we lead with the same values that shape who we are at all times at Stanford, including support for our international and Asian and Asian American community members. Hateful speech expressed against any group based on their race, ethnicity or national origin has no place on our campus at any time. Should you witness or experience an Act of Intolerance, please report this conduct.

Sheltering in place

As you know, the state of California has announced shelter-in-place orders for all residents, directing them to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible at least until April 7. Failure to comply with these orders constitutes a violation of the law and will be considered a violation of the Fundamental Standard. Students who are removed from housing for violating the Residence Agreement and/or Fundamental Standard are still responsible for paying housing charges for that quarter.

What this means for Stanford’s graduate students

In the graduate residential community in both on and off-campus subsidized housing, we define “shelter” as a student’s apartment unit. You may not visit another student’s apartment. In addition, we are suspending all visitor access to graduate housing. More guidance on where students can go and what they can do while we remain subject to shelter in place orders is posted on the Dean of Students website.

Who to contact for help

Please reach out to the Graduate Life Office (GLO) deans if you have questions, concerns or need support. For emergencies or if you see violations of the expectations described below, please contact the GLO Dean on Call immediately.

  • Text messaging is preferred. Text the GLO pager at Include your name and reason for paging in the message.

  • Another option available to you is to call the GLO pager at 650-723-7288. You will reach a Stanford operator. Provide pager ID #25085 and indicate that you need to reach the graduate dean-on-call.

Self-care while sheltering in place

While there is much we can do to stop the spread of COVID-19, it is also critical that we find ways to keep ourselves and one another well during this time.

  • Many Stanford units and community associates (CAs) are planning to offer virtual support groups, virtual concerts, virtual exercise options and more. You’ll find more information on the Stanford Recreation and Wellness website.

  • We encourage regular virtual communication with fellow graduate students near and far, your community associates, family and loved ones. We encourage you to make use of resources at Vaden Health Center.

  • For immediate mental health crisis assistance, call 650-723-3785 any time, including evenings and weekends. A clinician will be available to speak with you, assess your situation, and offer support and/or recommendations for follow-up.

  • The graduate student well-being coaching service is available. Sign up for a Zoom coaching session here.

  • Housing front desks are available to answer questions about your residence.

A special call to heed social distancing recommendations

We understand that for many, it is hard to remain isolated and away from our friends and loved ones. While students are a less vulnerable population, there are some who have, or care for people with, underlying health conditions and risk factors that put them at greater risk. In addition, we must have compassion for our healthcare workers who will not be able to handle a sudden spike in new cases of COVID-19, and other essential campus workers serving our community. We are desperately trying to slow down the rate of transmission. The preemptive sacrifices we make today will have a profound influence on how we weather this pandemic.

Health expectations

If you meet one of the following criteria, please call Vaden Health Center (650-498-2336) immediately for consultation and reporting:

  • You received test results for COVID-19.

  • You have been tested for COVID-19.

  • You are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath).

In addition, if you have been tested for COVID-19 or have a test result, you must report this information to the Dean of Students at

The information you report is crucial to our ability to trace contacts and prevent community spread within and beyond your residence.

Leave of absence guidance

With the approval of your department or program, you may take a leave of absence for spring quarter for any reason including if you do not want to take remote classes. Because of the exceptional circumstances relating to COVID-19, the deadline for submitting a leave of absence for spring quarter 2020 will be Sunday, April 5, 2020. You can receive a full-tuition refund if you file for a leave by this deadline. If you file for a leave after this deadline, you may be able to receive a prorated refund. As graduate students, you should reach out to your department; see the Bulletin for more information.

Note that some master’s programs may have different deadlines corresponding to their spring quarter start dates. Coterm students should check with their departments to verify leave of absence deadlines and tuition refund schedules. All international students considering a leave of absence should email Bechtel International Center advisors at  As you consider your options, we encourage you to stay abreast of U.S. travel advisories and how they intersect with your planning.

Financial resources

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to cause financial stress on you and your families. We are working with other offices on campus to expand the options available to support you through this crisis. An updated list of financial resources for undergraduates and graduate students has been posted on Health Alerts. Additional resources, such as the Emergency Grant-in-Aid Funds, Graduate Cash Advance, and Family Grant, are listed on the Financial Aid Office website. Please ask for help if you need it, even if you have already received funding from these sources. We also encourage you to check with your school or program to see what funds might be available to help you through this difficult time.

For graduate students who are supported by research assistantships, fellowships and teaching assistantships, if you were offered TA, CA, or RA support for spring quarter, that support will be forthcoming on the original spring quarter schedule, not the revised schedule. Schools will be communicating with students directly on this. To all recipients of graduate fellowships and financial aid in all schools, your fellowships and financial aid for spring quarter will be provided as promised if you are registered as a student.

Graduate student housing

R&DE will be sending a letter to all graduate students in housing letting them know about their options for spring quarter. The housing assignment Lottery will begin in the coming weeks. Look for invitations to virtual information sessions where you can learn about the Lottery and get your questions answered.

Keeping campus safe and secure

We have found that when there are fewer people on campus, crime is more likely. The Department of Public Safety and the R&DE CARE team are providing enhanced patrols. To help keep your campus and off-campus community and your belongings safe, we ask that you:

  • Lock your door and your windows when you leave your room and apartment.

  • Ensure that doors latch behind you when you enter or leave a building, and do not allow tailgaters.

  • Do not tamper with any building access equipment, such as crash bars, door/window locks or latches, card readers, audible alarms, door sensors, display panels or motion sensors.

  • Do not leave personal belongings in plain sight, particularly in your parked vehicle.

  • For lockout assistance and repairs, call your front desk during normal business hours or after-hours support at 650-725-1602.

  • Call the Department of Public Safety at 911 to report any suspicious activity.

Housing for community members ill with COVID-19

Following CDC guidelines, our protocol is for self-isolation to occur in a single room with a private bathroom, with no interaction with nearby residents and no use of building common areas such as lounges or laundry rooms. This may occur in a stand-alone structure or in a multi-unit complex that houses other people. However, none of these complexes has air circulating between units, and all common spaces and common areas are receiving enhanced cleaning and disinfection daily. So far, a very limited number of students have needed to self-isolate on campus, either because they are awaiting or have received a COVID-19 test result, or because they have returned from or traveled through a CDC Level 3 country.

We thank you for working with us to keep our communities safe. If you have questions, here’s how to reach out for answers.


Stacey Bent
Vice Provost for Graduate Education & Postdoctoral Affairs

Susie Brubaker-Cole
Vice Provost for Student Affairs