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Safe Return to the Workplace FAQ

Updated on December 14, 2021

Healthy & Safe Workplace FAQ

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

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.


Yes, in compliance with County guidance, face coverings are required indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are also strongly recommended when at crowded outdoor events where physical distancing is difficult. For more information about masking guidelines, visit Health Alerts.

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.

In compliance with County guidance, face coverings are required, regardless of vaccination status, in the following settings: when indoors, when using public transportation, carts and other university vehicles occupied by more than one person, and when in healthcare facilities.

Face coverings are strongly recommended at crowded outdoor events where 6-feet physical distancing is difficult.

While vaccination is the most effective step we can take to minimize the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, masking provides an extra level of protection and helps keep our community safe. For more information about masking guidelines including exceptions, visit Health Alerts.

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.

Surveillance testing is provided for free to students, faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars, and is an added safeguard to minimizing the spread of COVID-19.

Student testing program: The plan provides COVID-19 surveillance testing for graduate and professional students, and for undergraduates who have been approved to live on campus. Testing for students is required twice weekly. Additional information on the student testing requirement is available on this page.

Faculty, staff and postdoc testing program: COVID-19 surveillance testing is available to Stanford faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars who work on-site at a Stanford location. Regular surveillance testing is required for everyone working on-site. Testing frequency is as follows:

  • Fully vaccinated faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars are required to test once a week. This is already the policy for fully vaccinated students, but is a new requirement for these other groups.

  • Unvaccinated faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars who have been granted a medical or religious accommodation are required to test twice weekly for those working on-site four or more days per week. Individuals on-site three days or fewer per week are required to test once a week.

A new feature on Color’s COVID-19 testing platform enables participants in certain organizations, such as parents with children in K-12 schools, to activate testing kits for dependents. This feature does not apply to employee-testing programs, including Stanford’s. Attempts to add a dependent now 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.

Effective August 2 at midnight, all Stanford employees, students and visitors – regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status – will be required to wear face coverings while indoors on campus.

This decision is based on guidance from the Santa Clara and San Mateo counties’ August 2 public health orders, requiring face coverings indoors for all individuals regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status. While vaccination is the most effective step we can take to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and the highly transmissible Delta variant, masking provides an extra level of protection and helps keep our community safe.

As per federal and state agencies, physical distancing is no longer required in most circumstances. Please see Health Alerts for more information.

Information on the exposure notification process has been updated on Health Alerts under Symptoms, Exposure, Testing Positive.

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.

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.

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.

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.

As of 6/21/2021, events are no longer required to register with EH&S except those that have 500 or more individuals ( Modified guidelines for events/gatherings are detailed on Health Alerts.

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.

During an evacuation, you should be mindful of Covid precautions but not allow that to prevent you from taking life saving actions. If the fire alarm is ringing, a person should grab their personal belongings which in this case would include their personal mask if they have one, put it on, and evacuate. You should not delay evacuating a building due to social distancing ie. waiting until the stairwell is clear of other occupants evacuating. You should not avoid climbing under a desk during an earthquake because you might be less than 6’ from another person already under the desk. You protect yourself from immediate harm and then worry about other issues later. With the universal masking mandate currently in place, there really should be no practical reason why a person is indoors without a face covering either on or in very close proximity to their person.

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.

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, hourly, daily, 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