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Safe Return to the Workplace FAQ

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Updated on October 17, 2022

Safe Return to the Workplace FAQ

What are the mask requirements when working on-site? (updated 10/17/22)

Though masking requirements have eased across the county and state, to minimize the spread of COVID, face coverings still continue to be strongly recommended on-site, both indoors and in crowded outdoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.

Effective Monday, October 24, 2022, masking is: 

  • No longer mandatory in classrooms. However, individual faculty members will have the option of requiring masks in classes. Instructors who will require masking should inform students in advance on Canvas, the university’s learning management system, and by email. 
  • Optional on Marguerite buses
  • Still required in healthcare facilities, including Vaden Health Center and Stanford hospitals and clinics.

For more information about masking guidelines, visit Health Alerts.

What is the COVID-19 surveillance testing program? (Updated 9/23/22)

Based on the current status of the pandemic, effective September 1, 2022, regular surveillance testing is no longer required for faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars working on-site, regardless of vaccination status. Faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars should still test if experiencing symptoms, after travel or after exposure to COVID-19.  Color testing, with results reported to Health Check, will continue to be available (up to two tests per week) for anyone who wishes to continue regular asymptomatic testing.

In our efforts to provide a safe environment for learning and working, we will continue to monitor public health conditions and protocols, and adjust as appropriate, and always with a priority on health and safety.

Current requirements 

  1. Fully vaccinated individuals are required to upload vaccination documentation into Health Check
  2. All individuals regardless of vaccination status are required to:
  • Test for COVID-19 if experiencing symptoms, after travel or after exposure to COVID
  • Self-report health status in Health Check if experiencing COVID-like symptoms*, after a close contact exposure, or if a positive COVID test result is received through any rapid antigen test, primary care provider or other testing site.

Please note that Stanford's Color testing program is not available for employee dependents. Attempts to add a dependent on Color’s testing platform will prompt an error message indicating this option is not available. Anyone who listed dependents before the error message was added should contact the Color Support team [] to remove their information. Non-student spouses and partners have separate testing accounts.

Additional information on the faculty, staff and postdoc testing requirement is available on the Surveillance Testing page.

How will employees be notified of possible exposures when working on-site this fall? (updated 2/28/21)

Information on the exposure notification process has been updated on Health Alerts under the Exposure page.

Why is the university returning non-student facing employees to on-site work given the Delta and Omicron variants? (updated 1/7/22)

We are grateful for how our community has responded during the last 18 months of the pandemic. It’s clear with the Delta and Omicron variants, the pandemic is not past us. Public health conditions are changeable and we will need to continue to be flexible during prolonged uncertainty. As shared by university leadership, we are continuing with returning to near-normal operations in 2022 in support of the student and residential experience. 

The health and safety of our community is our priority and the university has established tools such as Health Check, vaccine, testing and masking policies, as well as other protocols to ensure community safety. We will keep a close eye on the situation, monitoring CDC and public health guidance and keep our community updated on any changes.

Please consult your supervisor or your school/unit HR Manager if you have concerns or questions about circumstances that may affect your return.

Is vaccination required for faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars? (Updated 12/14/2021)

Yes, Stanford policy requires that all faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, including those working remotely in the United States. Individuals must upload a copy of their COVID-19 vaccination card into Health Check indicating a single dose of the one-dose COVID vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen) or the second dose of a two-dose COVID vaccine (e.g. Pfizer or Moderna) was administered before or by January 4, 2022. Learn more about the requirement on the COVID-19 Vaccinations page.

How will you ensure the safety of staff who have to take public transportation to get to campus? (added 9/7/21)

The Bay Area Healthy Transit Plan provides more information about transit agencies’ COVID-19 response, which is based on guidance and best practices from the California Department of Public Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, as well as other transit agencies from around the world. 

To help you plan your commute to campus, please visit the Stanford Transportation website for options and suggestions to support your commute, including a new Return-To-Your-Commute Toolkit.

Should you still have concerns or questions about circumstances that may affect your return, please consult your supervisor or your school/unit HR Manager.

What do I do if I’m concerned for kids at home who are under 12 or if I have a family member who is immunocompromised? (added 9/7/21)

Please consult your supervisor or your school/unit HR Manager if you have concerns or questions about circumstances that may affect your return.

Health concerns and desires for more flexibility can cause stress. What are the resources to help deal with the added stress employees and managers may be experiencing? (added 9/7/21)

The global pandemic has posed significant challenges to our families, our personal lives, and our health. Please utilize the benefits and wellness resources available to help support you and your family during this difficult time. If you need additional support, please reach out to your HR representative.

What are the guidelines for events, meetings, and catering? (added on 8/31/21)

See the latest Guidance for Events and Gatherings on Health Alerts.

Are there any cleaning requirements for shared spaces? (added 8/31/21)

Cleaning crews in academic, research and administrative buildings will focus their efforts on common spaces such as break rooms, restrooms, cafes, and high-touch areas like doorknobs and elevator buttons.

For more tips about safety habits for cleanliness, visit Cardinal Recovery

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19, have been exposed to someone who tested positive, or I am experiencing COVID-like symptoms (updated 8/27/21)

Faculty, staff and postdocs must notify Stanford via Health Check. See the Symptoms, Exposure and Testing Positive page on Health Alerts for more information.

I have questions about my Stanford work area/workspace, who should I contact?

Each school/unit typically manages its space, equipment and supplies. For questions about your building or workspace, including filter systems, cleaning enhancements or space accommodations, contact your facilities manager or building manager. You may reference the Stanford Facilities Information Management System for the building manager assigned to each campus building at You may also reference Cardinal Recovery’s Healthy Buildings FAQ for more information on healthy buildings.

What options are available for those who are chemically sensitive to the fragrances in sanitizers and wipes? (added 8/9/21)

As far as the fragrance issue goes, there are non-fragranced options available in the market. However keep in mind that they will not be completely free of scent. The chemicals that provide the disinfectant activity have their own odor which cannot be completely avoided. Simple soap and water is still the preferred hand washing technique when available. Searching for “scent free hand sanitizer” or “scent free disinfectant wipes” on Amazon yields several options in both categories and the user may consider providing their own preferred brand.

Will high efficiency filtration be installed in buildings? (added 8/9/21)

Campus ventilation systems are designed to deliver outdoor air exchange consistent with building code requirements and consensus industry standards. Over the past several years, the university has also been upgrading its air filtration systems to further optimize its general indoor air quality, and also provide additional resiliency during wildfire seasons. Where possible, the university has standardized on MERV-13 grade filtration which is often used in hospitals and urgent-care/outpatient facilities. Visit Cardinal Recovery for details.

What guidelines and requirements apply to Stanford affiliates, including individuals involved with patient care, service vendors, temporary employees, Visiting Scholars, Researchers and other Temporary Community Members (such as Cardinal Temps)

Guidelines and requirements regarding vaccinations, testing and other health and safety precautions for Stanford affiliates can be found on this page

I am thinking of resuming my commute to Stanford's main campus or Redwood City in summer or fall 2021. What do I need to know about parking permits, parking enforcement and transit passes?(Updated 7/28/21)

Stanford Transportation is listening to employee questions and concerns regarding sustainable commute programs and other resources. They are identifying solutions based on the number of people working on-site each day and the transportation needs of the Stanford community, among other factors. To find out which permit is most cost effective based on your commute pattern, view this chart

We ask for your continued patience as Transportation navigates the complexities of how to best support our diverse community while continuing to financially sustain operations. In the meantime, hourlydaily, and monthly parking options and many sustainable commute programs continue to be available, including free transit passes for eligible commuters. 

Please visit the Stanford Transportation website for options and suggestions to support your commute, including a new Return-To-Your-Commute Toolkit. For parking questions, please contact For help planning a sustainable commute, Transportation offers one-on-one commute consultations or you can contact them at

How can employees who do not have access to computers take the required COVID-19 Hygiene Best Practices training? (Added 5/4/20)

For managers with employees who don’t have access to computers, please contact Heather Perry ( in Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S). A PowerPoint slide version of the COVID-19 Hygiene Best Practices training course can be made available in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Tagalog.