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Looking ahead to spring quarter; life on campus; coaching resource

graphic of the VPGE Shield
Mar 18 2021
COVID-19, Stanford, Students, VPGE

Dear graduate and professional students,

As we mark the end of winter quarter and the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, we share our gratitude for your contributions to keeping the Stanford community, and other communities where you live and study, safe and healthy. Over 5,000 of you have been living on and coming to campus over the last year. That we have seen a remarkably low rate of COVID-19 cases and very little community spread is a testament to your commitment to each other’s health and wellbeing. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our community.

We hope you saw our message about the tragic deaths in Atlanta and recent acts of violence and discrimination directed against Asian-Americans. We want to again share the statement and resources from the Asian American Activities Centers (A3C) as well as this web resource on harassment and hate towards Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders during COVID-19. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the A3C staff or a GLO Dean if you would like to talk with someone or have concerns for another student.  

Spring Quarter

As communicated via email on March 15, we are pleased to be able to transition all graduate and professional students living on or coming to campus to a self-administered, twice-weekly testing protocol for spring quarter (read more on this new website about Color testing), rather than the in-person testing by Verily. We know this is welcome news, especially given the challenges of scheduling testing appointments into your busy lives.

The at-home Color test kits can be picked up and dropped off at multiple sites around campus. If you are on campus and planning to travel over spring break, please pick up Color kits in advance so you have them ready for immediate testing when you return. Please discuss your plans with your apartment-mates and, upon your return to campus, limit your interactions with others until you receive two negative tests. You can find more guidance here.

At this writing, graduate students will be allowed to form new households, have essential visitors, and request small gatherings at the start of spring quarter (though see above for guidance regarding those who travel or are newly arriving on campus). Undergraduates will have restricted activity until April 7. Most classes will still meet remotely through the quarter. Please consult with your program about course schedules.

Links to current COVID policies and academic information can be found on the Grad Updates homepage. You can also stay on top of campus news, policies, and events via the new Stanford Today portal, with content curated specifically for students and postdocs. 

Campus Reopening

At Wednesday’s Campus Conversation (recording available soon), university leaders gave an update on the pandemic and vaccination efforts on a national scale, as well as shared insights into what campus life might be like in spring quarter and in the months beyond. Provost Drell noted that future plans call for a “deliberate and well-executed resumption of activities.” This wide-ranging discussion also touched on the Research Recovery process and plans for a gradual increase of campus activities. You can read more about the Campus Conversation in this Stanford Today article


The COVID-19 vaccination roll-out is gaining momentum across the country, and increasing numbers of Stanford community members are being vaccinated. You can learn about vaccination availability at surrounding public sites via the COVID vaccinations website. Please note that even if you have been vaccinated, you must continue to follow public health and Stanford policies, including masking, social distancing, testing, and restrictions on gatherings.

One-on-One Support

If you’re not too “zoomed out,” you might want to take advantage of the many dedicated staff who are eager to support you through individualized, one-on-one coaching sessions. Our colleagues miss seeing you in person and would be happy to talk with you virtually:

Finally, our congratulations to all of you who are graduating this year! Your adaptability and achievements over the last year are indeed admirable. Many of our colleagues are exploring ways to celebrate you, and we welcome your ideas and suggestions.

Again, many thanks for your perseverance and commitment over the last year. We can finally see signs that campus activities, and our lives generally, are beginning to return to normal.

With appreciation,
Susie and Stacey

Susie Brubaker-Cole
Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Stacey F. Bent
Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs
Jagdeep and Roshni Singh Professor in the School of Engineering