Stanford Won't Let Freshmen, Sophomores on Campus After 43 Positive Tests

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The message is clear: stay home. Stanford University’s freshmen and sophomore classes will not be allowed on campus for the winter quarter after 43 students on campus recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Stanford now hopes to allow freshmen and sophomores back on campus for the summer quarter.

In a message to the Stanford community, the university’s president announced that freshman and sophomore students planning to start winter quarter Monday will not be allowed on campus as planned later this month because COVID cases in California have skyrocketed.

Stella Meier was expected to attend Stanford as a freshman but opted to take a gap year instead because of the pandemic.

She said she felt she made the right decision amid the uncertainty of the situation, and she understands some current freshmen may be upset about the decision.

“I understand that it would be frustrating learning at the last minute that all of your plans have changed,” she said.

In addition to a spike in cases in Santa Clara County, Stanford itself is grappling with an increase in cases. On Friday, the university announced 43 graduate, professional and undergraduate students are now in isolation after testing positive for COVID since January 2.

UCSF infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine Dr. Monica Gandhi said Stanford’s decision to stop freshmen and sophomores from coming to campus makes sense right now.

“No doubt we are in the worst time we’ve ever been in California, we have the highest community transmission,” she said. “It will get better, we will get vaccines, but I feel like this was a reasonable decision.”

Graduate students and students with special circumstances started moving in over the last few days. Undergraduate resident assistants and undergraduates with “approved special circumstances” will still be allowed to stay on campus for now.

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