Freshman and sophomores can't return to Stanford for winter quarter

There is frustration at the Farm after freshmen and sophomores at Stanford University were told they can no longer move onto campus. They were told days before winter classes start on Monday. Move-in day is January 21.

Plans changed abruptly after the school reported 43 students tested positive for the coronavirus. Students said they understand the school wants to play it safe but they don't understand why a decision was not made sooner.

"We’re paying so much and they are not making it worth it," said Stanford University freshman Alejandra Campillo.

Campillo was so looking forward to moving to campus housing even if classes did not resume in person. At least, the 19-year-old from Phoenix would have some semblance of campus life. However, it came to a sudden halt this weekend.

"I’m frustrated, angry, disappointed," said Campillo. "I feel disheartened."

Less than 48 hours before winter quarter begins, students received an email from the university president that freshmen and sophomores will not be able to return to campus. The email cited the continuing surge in COVID-19 cases, lengthening public health restrictions and how those restrictions likely will affect the on-campus undergrad experience.

Campillo wants more transparency and accountability from the school.

"Our time and energy isn't being respected in a way because if Stanford could have anticipated that cases were going to rise because I know in Santa Clara County cases are rising, why was it we were being repeatedly affirmed we could go on campus," said Campillo.

"I booked a flight, everything," said Stanford University freshman Claire Yu. "I was already packed."

Yu from Illinois has never set foot on campus. She wishes the university took into account students’ mental health.

"It’s hard," said Yu. "You're isolated from the environment. If we were all there, there would be friends, people to talk to."

Right now, on-campus housing is only available to grad students and undergrads with special circumstances. In the last week, the university said 43 students tested positive for the virus which they attribute to students returning to campus from winter break, not community spread.

"Everybody is very worried," said Stanford University Freshman Brian Wu. "Everybody is very anxious. Everyone feels they have so much on their plates because now they have to plan for an entirely different academic quarter."