Stanford University Calls off Plans for In-Person Classes as Over 40 Students Test Positive for COVID-19

More than 40 students at Stanford University are in isolation after they tested positive for COVID-19 since January 2, according to Stanford’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Due to the increase in the number of infections at the university and in Santa Clara County, the university cancelled the plan to bring first and second-year students back to the campus for the winter quarter, Erudera College News reports.

According to the dashboard, most of the cases are linked to students arriving or returning to campus, noting that the spread of the virus has not been noticed yet within the student community on campus.

“The overall positivity rate in our student testing programs also remains low. In our same-day rapid testing for arriving undergraduates, the positivity rate has been 1.6 per cent over the last week; in the regular Verily student testing program, the positivity rate has been under 0.9 per cent over the last week,” the dashboard reads.

Despite the university declaring that numerous students will be allowed to return to campuses as of January 21 and 24, the undergraduate instruction for Stanford winter quarter starts in the online version from Monday, January 11, 2021.

In a message to the campus community, the Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell stated there was hope that after two weeks delay on arrival and two weeks of restricted activities, the public health restrictions could be facilitated so students can begin classes in campuses.

However, according to the university, Santa Clara County might not be able to emerge from the most restrictive tier of California for a while.

“Without the ability to expand opportunities for in-person social and academic interaction to the extent we had anticipated, we do not believe we will be able to offer the kind of engaging on-campus student experience that would warrant bringing back the frosh and sophomore classes in their entirety,” Tessier-Lavigne and Drell wrote in their message.

According to university officials, most classes and support services for students will continue to be offered online, while undergraduate students in special circumstances can remain on campuses.

Among others, officials stated they are hoping that freshmen and sophomores would be able to return to campuses for the summer quarter. 

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