Stanford To Require Weekly Covid-19 Testing For All Students

Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA students will soon be back on campus, as the GSB is among the vast majority of U.S. B-schools planning fully in-person classes for the fall quarter. Stanford photo

All Stanford University students living on campus, in off-campus student housing, or coming to campus will be required to take weekly Covid-19 tests, regardless of vaccination status. The change in policy was announced yesterday (August 11) in an email sent from Susie Brubaker-Cole, the vice provost for Student Affairs at Stanford.

“Working together, we can monitor the prevalence of Covid-19 at Stanford, adjust requirements as needed, protect our friends and family, and keep campus as safe as possible for in-person learning and activities this summer and autumn,” Brubaker-Cole said in the email.

The testing will begin this Sunday, August 15. All students — including MBAs in the Graduate School of Business’ incoming Class of 2023 — are required to be vaccinated for the novel coronavirus before returning to campus. Vaccinated students will no longer be required to complete Stanford’s “Health Check” unless they begin displaying Covid-19 symptoms, have a positive Covid-19 test, or are exposed to roommates or other household members who have tested positive.


All students returning to campus from out of the area are required to take two entry tests in addition to the weekly testing, the email also said. Students who were gone for the summer will be required to test on the day they arrive and five days after their arrival. And all unvaccinated students are now required to arrive seven days before in-person activities to quarantine and be vaccinated.

Lastly, Stanford announced face-masks will be required of all people on campus, including students, staff, faculty, and visitors. And spouses, partners, and children 12 and older of Stanford personnel are all strongly encouraged to also get vaccinated.

For students concerned about potentially living with other students that have not been vaccinated, Stanford says there is no way they’ll know who is or is not vaccinated.

“We cannot disclose the immunization status of one person to another, so you won’t know the vaccination status of other people in your residences,” Brubaker-Cole’s email says. “However, only a very small number of students living on campus this autumn will be unvaccinated. Face coverings and regular Covid-19 testing are required for all students. This is a highly sensitive self-test, with results provided within 24 hours, facilitating early diagnosis.”


Stanford is just one of many top B-schools that are planning a return to campus but also requiring proof of vaccination. (See: Reopening Plans For The Top-100 B-Schools) Of the top 25 MBA programs, all are planning on returning to in-person learning and all but three (the University of Texas-Austin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Georgia Institute of Technology) are requiring students to have proof of vaccination.

Outside of the top-25, fewer B-schools are requiring proof of vaccination. For example, of the schools ranked No. 26 to 50, only 10 are requiring proof of vaccination, despite all offering most, if not all, courses to be in-person.

Stanford’s decision to require weekly testing, likely not coincidentally, comes at a time in which the U.S. is seeing another surge in Covid cases. Spurred by the Delta variant, the U.S. is now averaging more than 124,00 daily cases over the past seven days, according to The New York Times database. That’s the highest national average since February 5, when the country was coming down from its peak of averaging more than 254,000 daily cases in January.

The concern and additional testing also come at a time when increasing numbers of so-called “breakthrough cases” are happening among vaccinated individuals. Even with all of these precautions, it’s still more of a when rather than if MBA students test positive. At least one incoming student at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business already reported a positive Covid test after a July 28 new student orientation event.

“Vaccination provides a high degree of protection against serious illness from infection, and the large percentage of vaccinated students, faculty, and staff at Stanford protects our campus community as a whole,” Brubaker-Cole said in the email. “We will continually assess these measures and will notify the entire campus community if changes are needed. In summary, we are confident these public health measures will protect our campus community. ”


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