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Temporary campus zones program ends on June 16

As public health conditions improve and state regulations are relaxed, the university is restoring access to outdoor campus spaces for the Stanford community and visitors. A careful focus will remain on indoor facility access to safely support the continued resumption of onsite teaching, research and other work.

Last September, in response to state public health requirements, Stanford took the unusual but necessary step of restricting access to outdoor spaces in parts of its main and Redwood City campuses. Now, as pandemic conditions improve and the state’s color-coded tier system for reopening is slated to end, the university is simultaneously ending the temporary campus zones program and welcoming the Stanford community and visitors back to outdoor areas across both campuses.

The zones program will conclude and the access restrictions will be lifted on June 16, the day after the statewide tier system ends.

As restrictions on outdoor spaces are eased, access to buildings and other facilities will continue to be carefully controlled. This focus is necessary as more faculty, staff, students and postdocs return to both campuses for on-site teaching, research and other work, and as visitors are allowed to enter more areas.

The campus zones program currently divides the main campus into five different types of zones:

  • The Academic Campus Zone in the center of campus, which includes many academic buildings, the Main Quad and the Oval
  • The Campus Zones on the east and west sides of campus, where student housing and academic facilities are located
  • The Athletics Zone, which includes varsity athletic facilities
  • The Campus Arts Zone covers the Arts District
  • The Community Zones, encompassing the Arboretum, the Dish area, Stanford Golf Course and Stanford Golf Learning Center & Driving Range, and the Sand Hill Fields

The Community Zones remained open to the public throughout the pandemic, and access restrictions were lifted in the Campus Arts Zone and the Athletics Zone in April. The remaining Academic Campus Zone and Campus Zones will now reopen, along with the Campus Zone on the Stanford Redwood City campus.

“We deeply appreciate how the Stanford community and our neighbors adjusted to the campus zones program so we could safely and gradually bring back more in-person teaching and research activities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. “It is encouraging that public health conditions have improved sufficiently that we can now welcome more people back to our campuses, and we look forward to a continued increase in on-campus activities.”

Invited guests with credentials who are visiting campus for Commencement festivities taking place prior to June 16 will be allowed to enter the Academic Campus Zone and Campus Zones. Individuals designated by students to assist with moving out of residential facilities will also be allowed in the restricted zones during move-out appointments.

Separately in terms of campus COVID-19 protocols, the university is continuing to evaluate evolving guidance from Cal/OSHA (the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health), which could result in changes to requirements for face coverings, physical distancing and density for the campus community. Current university guidance is available on the Health Alerts website.

New tool supports building occupants

More people are expected on the main campus as the university works toward an autumn quarter that is as close to normal as possible, and as the number of visitors increases with the resumption of in-person events and activities. This influx during the improving, but still ongoing, pandemic requires that access to many facilities remain limited in order to maintain appropriate health and safety precautions.

Land, Buildings and Real Estate (LBRE) has created a new tool to help people navigate building access restrictions and obtain information about the steps being taken to keep indoor spaces safe.

The MyBuilding tool transparently displays information about health and safety features and safeguards, as well as any access restrictions, for every building on the main and Redwood City campuses. Users can find information about cleaning procedures, ventilation, air filtration and signage, among other building features. MyBuilding can be easily accessed through the searchable main campus map, unique QR codes being added to kiosks at building entrances and via Health Check access badges.

While MyBuilding is currently focused on pandemic recovery, over time, LBRE anticipates adding more features like announcements from building managers, events, planned maintenance and other important information for building occupants.

Safety Greeter and Safety Ambassador programs also ending

Two visible programs developed in response to changes in campus operations – the Safety Ambassadors and Safety Greeters – are being phased out as operational conditions for outdoor spaces normalize.

The Safety Ambassador program ended on May 24 and the personnel assigned to those roles have transitioned back to their normal positions in Event Services. The Safety Greeters, currently stationed at popular areas across the main campus, will remain through June 15, after which their presence will be limited to only a few of the highest-traffic spots through the end of the month. Similar to their current responsibilities, the greeters will focus on welcoming people to campus and answering questions.

“We are so grateful to the Safety Ambassadors and Safety Greeters for their service to Stanford during such a difficult and operationally complex period in the university’s history,” said Ray Purpur, deputy athletic director, who is overseeing the Safety Greeter program. “They did an incredible job building trust with the Stanford community and our neighbors, providing important and accurate health and safety information during often-confusing circumstances and assisting our efforts to comply with frequently changing public health requirements.”

Parking and signage changes

The end of the campus zones program also means a return to more normal parking operations on the main campus.

A rendering of a campus zones sign that will be repurposed to welcome students to campus. (Image credit: Land, Buildings and Real Estate)

Starting June 16, parking at the main campus will no longer be enforced 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Stanford will return to weekday enforcement for commuter and visitor parking.

Visitor parking will again be available in all parts of the main campus, including in the Academic Campus Zone. Hourly visitor parking permits will continue to be available for purchase through the ParkMobile app or website.

After the zones program ends, most commuter spaces will be enforced between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m., while most visitor spaces will be enforced from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays or according to posted signage. Enforcement hours at Stanford Redwood City have continued to be from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. Stanford Transportation provides details about returning to weekday commuter and visitor parking enforcement, including links to purchase parking.

Stanford Transportation has also published resources to help Stanford commuters plan for their return to campus, including a description of commute programs and options and how they have been affected by the pandemic; the COVID-19: Featured Topics page with frequently asked questions; the status of transportation programs and a page dedicated to explaining the various modes of commuting to Stanford’s campuses.

In addition to parking signage, the campus zones program introduced a variety of new signage across the campus, most of which will be retired along with the program. The large map signs showing the locations of the different zones will be replaced with welcoming messages. Other hotspot and “lollipop” signs describing access restrictions and safety precautions will be removed, as will the large banners located at entry points to zones.

Normal traffic flow returns to the Dish area

There is also good news for visitors to the Dish area. The one-way traffic flow introduced along the main loop path during the pandemic to facilitate physical distancing will be removed and users will again be able to walk or jog along the path in either direction beginning on June 16. Face coverings are still required when six feet of distance cannot be maintained between members of different households, and people should continue staying to the right of the path unless passing. The drinking fountain will remain turned off and visitors are encouraged to bring their own water. More information about visiting the Dish area is available here.