Stanford University is packing up student residences to make room for people waiting for COVID-19 test results, healthcare workers and first responders who may need somewhere to spend the night.
Some students received emails on April 4 from Mona Hicks, senior associate vice provost and dean of students, that their room was "identified as a room that we need to pack in our next phase." Stanford is freeing up space on campus at the request of "multiple local agencies," Hicks wrote.
"These needs are very real, and we must help to ensure our entire community has the resources it needs as demand for medical services increases," her email reads.
Stanford did not immediately respond to questions about which agencies requested this, how many rooms have been affected, how they were selected and the timeline for use.
Hicks asked students to report if there are any hazardous items in their rooms, such as weapons and drugs, and said Stanford will "provide amnesty to students who report these items to encourage you to tell us what we need to know to keep our workers safe. Failure to do so could result in a Fundamental Standard violation because your action could harm others."
Students' belongings will be packed and stored on campus by professional movers, with the option to be shipped to students, Hicks said.
The campus remains closed with classes running online for spring quarter. Summer courses will also be online only, and there will be no on-campus residential programs this summer, including for local youth. (Undergraduate students who have been approved to live on campus for the spring quarter will be able to request to stay for the summer, Provost Persis Drell said recently.)
It is unclear when the university will reopen, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said in an April 6 update.
"Many people have asked me when we'll be able to reopen our campus and research labs, and have students, faculty, and staff all back at Stanford. We don't have an answer to that, yet — much will depend on the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic in the coming weeks, and on the guidance of public health officials," he wrote. "For now, we are most focused on safeguarding the health of our community; maintaining our operations as best we can, and contributing to the pandemic response through clinical care and research."
Tessier-Lavigne added that he's convened a "recovery team" that is "focused on how to bring the campus back to a new normal and on longer-term questions about the aftermath of this crisis."
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.