Dear members of our Stanford community,

I am writing to provide further information and background on Stanford’s response to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, and the precautions we are taking to guard the safety and well-being of our entire community.

An emergency operations team involving professionals from across campus, including individuals with expertise in crisis management, has been working in close consultation with faculty, students and staff to assess the current risk to our community and to recommend actions the university should take in response to this pressing issue. You have already received three communications this week from the team’s leader, Russell Furr, Associate Vice Provost for Environmental Health & Safety, detailing specific recommendations and actions (these are available at You will continue to get more updates and guidance from Russell as the situation evolves. You may also hear directly from other members of Stanford’s leadership team who are in communication with particular subsets of our community on specific matters that affect them closely. I am grateful to Russell for his leadership, and to the entire team for their work.

I know that it can be alarming to follow the news of COVID-19 spreading around the globe and in California. There is still much unknown about the virus, but we are working with the best information available to guide our decision-making. As the situation evolves, we remain focused on balancing two imperatives: ensuring that we take prudent precautions to protect our community and communities beyond our campus, while continuing our daily education and research activities in ways that are appropriate under the circumstances. Every action we have taken in recent days has been with this balance in mind. If circumstances change, we are prepared to take even stricter steps, if needed, while striving to maintain this important balance.

Our hospitals and clinics on campus provide essential health care for the people of our region. Stanford Medicine is currently caring for a few patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and is following CDC and county reporting regulations. I want to emphasize that Stanford Medicine continues to follow protocols to ensure the safety of patients and health care workers. We encourage anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to contact their health care provider.

I also want to express my firm commitment to every member of our community, including the students and scholars who have come to Stanford from all over the world. It is essential, now more than ever, that we extend kindness and respect to all members of our Stanford family, regardless of race, ethnicity or national origin. The strength of our community comes from embracing our diversity and working together to ensure that our campus is a respectful and inclusive environment for work and study. We must all stand together in tackling the threat of COVID-19.

As we continue to monitor the situation, we will provide frequent updates on, as well as by email when appropriate. I thank every member of our community for your ongoing support and partnership as we continue to assess the effects of COVID-19 and determine our path forward.

Best wishes,