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COVID-19 & Disability

Two students walking with masks on

Stanford University's Health Alerts website provides comprehensive COVID-19 news and resources. Stanford community members should educate themselves on the current policies and status of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Cardinal Recovery as it relates to the phased approach of re-opening the campus. Below is information describing the policies, protocols, and guidance that may be of particular importance to students, faculty, staff, and the broader Stanford community with disabilities. 

Campus Zones & Stay Safe Signage

Public Health requirements issued by the State of California call for colleges and universities to “limit, to the greatest extent permitted by law, external community members from entering the site (campus grounds) and using campus resources, as the number of additional people onsite and/or intermixing with students, faculty, and staff increases the risk of virus transmission.” Standardization of university-wide communications will clarify expectations for faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Existing signage on University buildings includes social distancing protocols compliant with state and local regulations, and expectations for everyone entering the building. Signage is placarded on main entrances to buildings. Additional signage is located within the building providing guidance about occupancy limits in interior spaces, limited access of common use areas, etc. More information on campus zones and how they affect members of the Stanford community can be found here. A written description of the campus zones and Stay Safe signage can be found here.

Gatherings & Social Distancing

To reduce the transmission of the novel coronavirus, both indoor and outdoor gatherings are generally prohibited currently at Stanford. Some limited exceptions to the general prohibition on gatherings can be found here.

Face Coverings

Face coverings are required whenever inside any Stanford building or outdoors with other people. Stanford's current policy on face coverings can be found hereNote: A face covering is not required when a person is in a personal office (a single room) as long as the public does not regularly visit the room and the door is closed. Instances in which face coverings may not be required include:

  • People who cannot wear a face covering for health reasons, including:
  • Anyone who has been advised by a medical professional not to wear a face covering;
  • Anyone who has a breathing and/or respiratory impairment which limit their ability to wear and/or remove a face covering without assistance;
  • Any employee to the extent wearing a face covering creates a safety hazard at work under established health and safety guidelines;
  • While eating or drinking; or
  • Children 2 years old or younger

For clarity, although wearing a face covering is one tool for reducing the spread of the virus, doing so is not a substitute for physical distancing of at least 6 feet and frequent hand-washing. 

COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Institutions of Higher Education publication advises that, "If a worker who would otherwise be required to wear a face covering because of frequent contact with others cannot wear one due to a medical condition, the individual should be provided with a nonrestrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape attached to the bottom edge, if feasible, and if the medical condition permits it." Clear facing coverings are also available upon request. The process for requesting an exemption to the face covering policy or requesting an alternative face covering is outlined below.

Students Requesting COVID-19-Related Accommodations

Students needing an exemption to the face covering policy or an alternative face covering should contact the Office of Accessible Education. Additionally, students should consult with their disability advisor and/or register with the OAE if they need any COVID-19-related academic and/or housing accommodations. If a disability is not obvious, the OAE will require documentation from a licensed health care provider. Updates about OAE's response to COVID-19 can be found here. Note: clear face masks are available upon request and as needed for disability-related purposes.

Employees Requesting COVID-19-Related Accommodations

Employees needing an exemption to the face covering policy or an alternative face covering should first review the Administrative Guide Policy: 2.2.7 Requesting Workplace Accommodations for Employees With Disabilities, and then contact their supervisor or human resources manager (HRM). This policy outlines the process for requesting a workplace accommodation, including the type of documentation that may be required, the evaluation of the request and how to resolve disagreements related to the request. Note: clear face masks are available upon request and as needed for disability-related purposes. As a reminder, the primary source of COVID-19 transmission continues to be person-to-person. Households/pods do not apply to the work environment and at least 6 feet social distancing is required in all instances (some exceptions may apply for essential workers as it related to their primary job functions). Lastly, frequent hand-washing is advised. Additional prevention and self-care information can be found here

Visitors Requesting COVID-19-Related Accommodations

Nonessential visitors to campus are currently limited under the campus zones program. Public events, performances and exhibitions are not occurring in person. Certain essential visitors (including spouses/partners and minor dependents) are allowed in student residences. New appointments of visitors, including visiting scholars, visiting postdocs, visiting student researchers and others, are restricted. If you are enrolled in any continuing education course as a non-matriculated student and/or attending an online event or activity and need a disability-related accommodation please contact the Diversity & Access Office

Reporting COVID-19-Related Concerns

Members of the Stanford community should submit concerns to the Ethics and Compliance HelplineFor non-emergency situations for which a response is requested, contact the Stanford University Department of Public Safety at 650-329-2413. For emergencies, call 911 (9-911 from a university phone).