Density Policy

The current policy supersedes the October 2020 version and goes into effect April 12th, 2021.

If the managing academic unit has a compelling academic need to increase density and has logistical capacity to manage the increased density, they can allow an increase in density to the maximum allowed in the space (as determined by fire code) provided all personnel can maintain 6 feet of physical distance at all times. Laboratories must analyze their floor plan as described below prior to implementing density increases.

Note: Pods or households that have been formed in accordance with Stanford Student Affairs are only allowed to gather in campus residential settings or outdoors, per Student Affairs guidance. Pods or households formed in campus residential settings or socially beyond Stanford are not applicable within Stanford work settings, and researchers must follow the density policy and all other guidance listed here when in research laboratory or office settings.

Note: Regardless of vaccination status, this density policy must be followed by all personnel, in addition to other policies around use of Health Check, face coverings and other basic guidance.

Information on visitors can be found here. Essential research collaborators and participants are defined as allowable visitors to campus, but must be approved by the School Dean or their designee. Visitors or collaborators who will be on campus must be included in the laboratory headcount for density purposes.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • All personnel are responsible for observing current requirements, including Stanford’s social distancing protocol, health, hygiene, and compliance prerequisites.
  • PIs are responsible for evaluating their lab layout and workable space for possible density increases, taking into account usable space and the need to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between personnel, as well as enforcing the density requirements described here and compliance requirements.
    • As required by their unit or facility, PIs must supply a floor plan proposal with their request for updated density prior to any increase in personnel density. PIs and labs cannot increase density until their floor plan is approved by their department (or building/facility manager where applicable). Proposals needing further review may be elevated to the local unit.
    • PIs must implement a calendar system to track activities such as scheduled shifts and accommodate physical distancing.
    • PIs are responsible for enforcing the density plan that was approved for their lab.
  • Units and facilities are responsible for verifying the density limits of each space based on floor plans submitted by a PI (or their designee) and/or the known maximum occupancy of the room, and overseeing PI-led enforcement of that limit.
    • The unit or facility is responsible for updating all occupancy limit signage.
      If research teams are not observing density limits or are otherwise failing to observe physical distancing or other requirements (see reporting here), academic units (department/building/facility, local unit leadership) have the authority to restrict lab access until the issues are resolved and to revoke access altogether in cases of repeat offenses.

Research Office Density and Usage

The current policy supersedes the version in November 2020 and goes into effect April 12, 2021.

This section permits researchers and scholars (faculty, research staff, postdocs and graduate students) and instructors (including those in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and computational sciences) to return to campus if their activities require them to have access to campus facilities, in all instances subject to applicable local and statewide rules.

Stanford will continue to enforce the Santa Clara County guidance to encourage telework. School/unit leaders will determine whether an on-site staff presence is recommended, either fully or partially, and Deans, Vice Provosts, and Vice Presidents (or assigned delegate) must approve all recommendations for return to work. While reasons for return will depend on the job responsibilities, schools and units should prioritize requests to return that generally fall into the following categories:

  1. Work requires access to material or data that is located at Stanford, and cannot be accessed remotely. This might include confidential information, protected servers, unique teaching materials, or large datasets in lab computers.
  2. Work requires access to information technologies equipment that is present at Stanford, but not at the remote location. This includes high-bandwidth connections needed for quality interactions with remote students, or equipment for recording high-quality remote presentations.
  3. Researchers with other evident and significant barriers to productivity off-site. This could include members of research groups whose work benefits from in-person interactions.

In many cases, researchers and instructors will need to spend only short periods of time at Stanford in order to access the material they need, and will otherwise be able to complete most of their work remotely. We encourage this approach so as to limit the number of people working concurrently on campus.

It is critical that Stanford’s 6 foot physical distancing requirements are met at all times. Before researchers can return to a building, the building manager, or other appropriate person designated by the School, needs to document the maximum office capacity of that building, with the following rules:

  1. Single offices for one individual do not have a size requirement and can be used freely by one individual.
  2. If multiple people occupy an office space, consider alternating the days both are in the office or finding alternative workspaces, and if that is not possible individuals must keep at least a 6-foot distance from one another with the furniture rearranged, and sit facing away from each other.
  3. In open office space, there must be more than one vacant cubicle between occupied cubes. See additional safety guidelines below.
  4. Be sure to maintain exit paths and openings without obstructions.

Selection Process

Our goal for this process is to enable Stanford to set the overall safety standard, while allowing people to make informed decisions. This goal will be accomplished by the following measures. When local units are logistically ready to allow office access, then researchers with compelling needs can use their offices with local approval.

  1. Faculty/Instructors will make a request for anyone in their group (including graduate students, undergraduate students, postdocs, and administrative and research staff) who needs access, and indicate, when relevant, which shift(s) on which days each person is requesting.
  2. Requests will be sent to the department chair/building manager or designee set by the School.
  3. Once access requests are granted, each participant will need to complete all the safety protocols listed below, record on-site status on On-Site Role Management System (ORMS), and schedule their desired time at Stanford on an Outlook or other school-approved building calendaring system prior to beginning work on campus.

Safety Rules

Returning researchers will follow the same safety rules that all on-campus researchers currently follow regardless of vaccination status which include:

  • COVID-19 Hygiene Best Practices, EHS-2470-WEB training and daily health check, including testing protocols in place at the time.
  • Calendared access to the building to support contact tracing
  • Maintaining at least six feet of physical distance from other individuals.
  • Wearing face covering at all times unless alone in a single room office
  • Participating in Stanford’s surveillance testing
  • Self-cleaning protocols for all space occupied
    • This is especially important for space that will be time-shared between different occupants

Additional Protocols for Open Office Areas

For open office areas, please reconfigure workspaces to reduce the number of seats that face each other or alternate seating to allow for physical distancing. Consider removal or reconfiguration of seats, furniture, and workstations to preserve recommended physical distancing and the maximum occupancy requirements. Further details can be found here and here.

Open office area recommendations include:

  • Identify which workstations meet the 6-foot physical distancing requirement.
  • If 6-foot physical distancing between workstations is not achievable:
    • Determine alternating work schedules between adjacent staff or moving staff to alternative rooms/ work desks to limit the number of people working onsite
    • Consider the use of physical barriers (e.g., cubicle wall, rolling whiteboard placement, clear plastic between workstations).
    • When placing new physical barriers, ensure emergency egress paths are not blocked and maintain at least 2′ clearance to the ceiling. Barriers should not be suspended from the ceiling.
    • Consider the use of visual reminders such as floor circle radius with blue tape to indicate 6 foot radius.

Where possible, reconfigure workstations so that employees do not face each other or establish partitions if facing each other cannot be avoided.