Research Continuity Update for Chairs - June 25, 2021

June 25, 2021 


Dear Chairs and Directors,


Effective Saturday, June 26, when the restricted period ends for undergraduates traveling to campus for summer quarter, Stanford will implement new Cal/OSHA guidance. In alignment with updated guidance from Cal/OSHA, research activities at Stanford will move to Stage 3.


In Stage 3, each academic department may adjust research activity levels depending on staffing and readiness, within the bounds of guidance established by the University. Importantly, all researchers (faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and research staff) in laboratories and offices may return to campus, without any requirement that their work can only be done on campus. Other key changes include an end to density limitations and physical distancing in our research facilities. 


This message is specific to the research community’s move to Stage 3. The university policy group is continually assessing university-wide COVID safety protocols. Please look for another campus-wide update from Health Alerts later this afternoon.


Face Coverings

Employees who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to wear face coverings or follow distancing rules in research facilities. Face coverings will continue to be required for those who are not fully vaccinated or who decline to state their status on Health Check. Face coverings will also continue to be required for everybody in certain locations, including classrooms, crowded events, all healthcare facilities, and public transportation.


Many people in our community, even those who are fully vaccinated, may choose to continue wearing face coverings. We ask that you help us create a welcoming environment within the research community  to allow all to make these decisions at their own pace and based on their own comfort level.


Other health & safety requirements that will remain in place for now:

  • Complete the COVID-19 Hygiene Best Practices, EHS-2470-WEB
    • Please note that EH&S will issue an update to all learners in the next few weeks with new information about vaccinations. 
  • Self-monitor signs and symptoms of illness and report COVID illness or diagnosis via Health Check regardless of your vaccination status 
  • Complete Health Check before you come onsite
    • The vaccination status question on Health Check is now mandatory. Fully vaccinated employees can upload an image of their vaccination documentation to Health Check, and students can do so through the Vaden patient portal.
    • We recommend you continue to test weekly until you are fully vaccinated. 
    • Additional updates on Health Check will be provided in a university-wide communication this afternoon. 


Requirements that are NO longer in effect:

  • No need to use ORMS to authorize onsite access
  • No need to develop or seek approval for COVID-related SOP for general laboratory and office access (with exception of certain types of human subjects research noted below)
  • No need to calendar shifts or schedules for density control or contact tracing


Local departments in coordination with facility managers are encouraged, as staffing permits, to: 

  • Allow building access during normal business hours to anyone with a valid Stanford ID 
  • Reopen kitchens, break rooms, and restrooms
  • Reopen conference rooms
  • Remove signage and floor markings, if appropriate
  • EH&S Safety is working on comprehensive building management updates to Cardinal Recovery. 



Stanford Libraries COVID-19 update page has the most current information regarding the Libraries’ policies.  Please consult it for information on library opening hours and access requirements.  The libraries are currently assessing the impact of the reduced face covering requirements on operations. 


Shared Facilities

Shared Facilities will follow the same guidance as provided for laboratories, and return to normal usage, hours, and access at their discretion as staffing permits. Please contact specific shared facilities directly for further information. 


Clinical and Non-Clinical Human Subjects Research

COVID-related SOPs are no longer needed for domestic human subjects research projects that have an IRB approved requirement for fully vaccinated participants or for requiring a negative COVID test from a participant within 72 hours before the research is conducted. Otherwise, SOPs continue to be necessary. Local departments will have the full discretion to approve the SOPs. 


The same policy and procedure apply to human subjects research requiring domestic travel. That is, SOPs are only required for domestic human subjects field research without vaccination or testing requirements. A separate approval for international travel and international human subjects field research remains in effect until further notice (see below).


Field Research and Travel 

Researchers can participate in domestic travel for research without prior approval (please see the separate SOP requirement above for certain types of human subjects field research). International travel for essential research still requires prior approval. Please submit your request here. University-sponsored undergraduate travel remains suspended during summer quarter.


Performing Arts 

We are currently evaluating the impact of face coverings on performing arts activities, in particular in classroom settings, where the majority of performances, rehearsals, and one-on-one instruction occurs on campus. Please stay tuned. 


Stanford Undergraduate Students 

For summer quarter, undergraduates living in the local area (within 150 miles) may apply for an exception to come to campus to work on a research project that requires access to special facilities. Seniors that graduated in spring quarter 2021 are not eligible. Undergraduates applying for this research exception should first discuss it with their faculty research mentor/advisor, and then fill out the Research Exception application. This exception applies only to students living off-campus in the local area. Undergraduates in residence can already be included in on-campus research in the summer.


High School Students 

We will continue to prioritize matriculated students’ use of on-campus research facilities. High school students who are involved in Stanford’s research projects will not be allowed to perform on-campus research during summer quarter. 


Appointed Visitors

Beginning September 1, new appointments of Visiting Student Researchers, Visiting Postdoctoral Scholars, Visiting Scholars, and other non-matriculated students who will be physically present on campus are allowed, subject to approval by the dean of the school. All visitors must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. The appointing department and school are responsible for communicating public health requirements, ensuring compliance with safety procedures, and covering associated costs. The restriction on new appointments of remote visitors will continue. The vice provosts will consider exception requests for high-priority and urgent programmatic needs. These should first be reviewed and approved by the school deans.


Other Approved Visitors for Research Purpose

Visitors coming onsite for research purposes are approved on a case-by-case basis by local departments, no dean or VP level approval is needed. Approved visitors must complete the Stanford Visitor: Daily COVID-19 Health Attestation, prior to visiting our campuses. They must attest that they have screened themselves, do not have COVID-like symptoms, and that they are not in a restricted status requiring isolation or quarantine. Any visitor unable to attest, is not approved for onsite access. 


As always, you are welcome and encouraged to share these updates and reminders with faculty, staff members, postdocs, and graduate students who may find the information and links helpful. Please encourage your researchers to keep in mind that staff will be working hard to make all of this possible. We are so appreciative of all you are doing that enabled the research community at Stanford to enter into Stage 3 of recovery! 


Stay safe and be well,

Kam, Stacey, Tim, Russell, Serena, Susan


Kam Moler, Vice Provost and Dean of Research; Professor of Applied Physics and of Physics

Stacey Bent, Vice Provost of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs; Jagdeep and Roshni Singh Professor of Engineering

Tim Stearns, Senior Associate Vice Provost of Research; Frank Lee and Carol Hall Professor of Biology and Professor of Genetics

Russell Furr, Associate Vice Provost for Environmental Health and Safety

Serena Rao, Senior Associate Dean for Finance and Administration, Vice Provost and Dean of Research

Susan Vleck, Assistant Director, Laboratory Chemical and Physical Safety, Environmental Health and Safety