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Update: COVID-19 Testing and Health Check Requirements

This information applies primarily to graduate and professional students living on or coming to campus frequently in winter quarter.

Dear students,

Welcome to students who are new to campus, and welcome back and a huge thanks to returning students for everything they did during fall quarter to keep the prevalence of COVID-19 low. We are writing today with detailed information on COVID-19 testing and Stanford Health Check requirements, and what happens when a student does not meet these requirements. 

We hope this information will help you to feel as safe as possible on campus. We acknowledge any COVID email could cause anxiety or worry, and this message is coming to you on the very busy and important day of the U.S. presidential inauguration. We want you to know that Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office for Religious and Spiritual Life, and our Residence Deans and GLO Deans are available to help if you are in need. 

We would like to express our gratitude to the ASSU, GSC and the COVID-19 Graduate Student Advisory Committee for their help in reviewing the plans described below. We are working now on implementing an excellent GSAC suggestion for a weekly prize drawing for students who comply in a timely manner with our testing program. We will share more on this soon.  

We know you may have specific questions. Please reach us here with your general suggestions, comments and concerns about this unique year. If you have a personal question, please submit a ServiceNow ticket.


Mona Hicks
Senior Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students

Dr. James R. Jacobs
Vaden Medical Services Executive Director 

Shirley Everett
Senior Associate Vice Provost for Residential & Dining Enterprises 

Updates on our Health Check and COVID-19 testing requirements 

1. Stanford Health Check 

Stanford Health Check is an online tool required daily for all students living on campus or coming to campus frequently. Students coming to campus occasionally should complete Health Check on the day they plan to be here, before they arrive. Stanford Health Check is different from Verily Life Services’ symptom tracker (you’ll find more on Verily under #2 below). 

Stanford Health Check helps track your health daily and identify any symptoms of illness early on, thereby limiting the viral spread of COVID-19. Widespread use of this tool across the university helps us ensure that everybody here is in a safe environment to the greatest extent possible. All information entered is secured and protected. Here is a Health Check FAQ.

On the Health Check homepage, you will see a link to your “onsite access badge.” Students should be prepared to show their badge upon entering any Stanford location, including Stanford Libraries and dining halls. Health Check is available on the university’s official mobile app

The badge color is either green or red. Your badge will be green when you have not reported COVID symptoms and you are in compliance with our COVID testing program as described below. Students with questions or concerns about their Health Check badge can submit a ServiceNow ticket.

Beginning Feb. 1, students will be asked to show their badge at the entry to each of our dining halls and those with a red badge will be directed to pick up meals at a designated area, adjacent to the servery, rather than entering our dining halls. Additional details about dining hall access and the steps we are taking to keep our dining halls as safe as possible are available on the Residential & Dining Enterprises website.

2. COVID-19 testing 

On-campus COVID-19 testing with Verily Life Services is required twice weekly (specifically, every 3 days) for students living on campus or coming to campus frequently. Students who are on campus occasionally are required to take a test on the day they are on campus. We now have two testing locations: McCaw Hall at the Arrillaga Alumni Center and Tresidder Memorial Union. Here are step-by-step instructions for students who are new to campus.

In order to maximize the health and safety of our community, we have put in place a new protocol to support the required testing program.

Beginning Jan. 24, after you miss a test, you will receive an email notification from the university, your Health Check onsite access badge will be red, and you will lose access to Stanford locations that require a green badge for entry. 

As noted above, these locations include Stanford Libraries and dining halls. Beginning Feb. 1, students with red badges will be directed to pick up meals at a designated area rather than entering our dining halls. Your green badge will be restored within 24 hours of taking your next test and completing a Health Check. 

After three missed tests, you will be subject to a Dean of Students administrative review for a Campus Compact violation and you will lose access to Stanford locations that require a key card for entry, except your campus residence. These locations include departmental buildings and labs. Your access will be restored within 24 hours of taking your next test and completing a Health Check.

Students who receive notifications for missed tests will be given a link to submit a ServiceNow ticket in case they believe they received the messages in error (because, for example, they are temporarily away from campus and therefore unable to test with Verily) and/or lost access to campus buildings in error. We are committed to responding in a timely manner during business hours.

We expect few students to lose access to shared spaces; our observation is the vast majority of students are doing everything they can to test on schedule and contribute to the overall health and safety of the university community. Again, we would like to extend our gratitude to all of you for your efforts. 

COVID notifications for building occupants

We know that you value updated information about COVID conditions on campus in order to make informed decisions about your personal safety. Many of you are familiar with Stanford’s COVID dashboards, which we continue to update regularly. In addition, we are providing email notifications to students of any local positive cases.

Close contacts

People known to have been within 6 feet of a positive individual for more than 15 minutes are considered close contacts and are promptly notified directly by medical professionals for further evaluation. Everyone else who may have occupied a building in the same general time period as the positive individual are not close contacts as defined by the CDC, and are not considered as having elevated risk of exposure.

Non-close contacts

Out of an abundance of caution, the university also will be providing notifications to non-close contacts in the following ways: 

Floor-level notifications for on-campus residences with shared restrooms (because students in restrooms remove their face coverings to brush teeth etc.)

Building-level notifications for on-campus residences when 3 or more residents have tested positive within 7 days.

Building-wide notifications for workplaces and instructional spaces. 

More information is available here.

Students who receive these notifications should continue to monitor themselves for COVID symptoms, and if they develop symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, contact Vaden Health Services or their primary health care provider and report this through Health Check.

The outlook for student households, essential visitors, and other in-person gatherings

We are moving ahead with student households and essential visitors, which will be phased in as the quarter progresses as follows: 

Households and essential visitors are permitted now for all graduate and professional students who arrived by Jan. 4.

Households and essential visitors will be permitted on Jan. 25 for all graduate, professional and undergraduate students who arrived by Jan. 10.

Households and essential visitors will be permitted on Feb. 8 for all graduate, professional and undergraduate students who arrive by Jan. 24.

You will hear from the Dean of Students office with further instructions when you are eligible based on your move-in date. Unfortunately, no other in-person student gatherings are allowed at this time, given COVID-19 conditions in the Bay Area, and consistent with state, county and university guidance, as described in President Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Drell’s Jan. 9 update to the campus community

We understand that COVID-19 is presenting very difficult challenges around social isolation. We have developed virtual well-being resources, although we know this cannot replace seeing in person people you know and care about deeply.

Additional opportunities for more in-person gatherings might be allowable later this quarter depending upon the prevalence of COVID among students and the status of state and county guidance. We will most certainly update you as gatherings become allowable and encouraged once again.


Reach us here with your general suggestions, comments and concerns about this unique year. If you have a personal question, please submit a ServiceNow ticket.