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Stanford Won't Bring Students Back to Campus This Fall

August 14, 2020

Reversing course, Stanford University on Thursday announced that it would not bring students back to its physical campus this fall and would provide virtually all of its instruction remotely.

Stanford had originally planned to bring freshman, sophomore and new transfer undergraduate students to campus in the fall, followed by juniors and seniors in the spring, and to deliver a meaningful proportion of its instruction in person and in a hybrid format. Now only a limited number of students with "special circumstances" will be on campus.

The university's announcement, which cited worsening public health conditions in northern California involving COVID-19, came two days after its athletics conference, the Pac-12, postponed sports competition this fall. The Pac-12 and the Big Ten Conference stand alone so far among the Power Five conferences to punt on the fall.

Stanford joins numerous other major universities in going fully online, but it is the first institution that plays in a Power Five conference to do so.

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Doug Lederman

Doug Lederman is editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed. He helps lead the news organization's editorial operations, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Doug speaks widely about higher education, including on C-Span and National Public Radio and at meetings and on campuses around the country, and his work has appeared in The New York Times and USA Today, among other publications. Doug was managing editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education from 1999 to 2003. Before that, Doug had worked at The Chronicle since 1986 in a variety of roles, first as an athletics reporter and editor. He has won three National Awards for Education Reporting from the Education Writers Association, including one in 2009 for a series of Inside Higher Ed articles he co-wrote on college rankings. He began his career as a news clerk at The New York Times. He grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and graduated in 1984 from Princeton University. Doug lives with his wife, Kate Scharff, in Bethesda, Md.

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