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COVID Omicron Surge: Stanford Restricts Indoor Athletic Events To Athletes' Families Only; Distancing At Outdoor Events

STANFORD (CBS SF) – Athletics officials announced Tuesday that spectators are no longer allowed at indoor events at Stanford University this winter, including home games for the defending National Championship women's basketball team, and must be socially distanced at outdoor events amid rising COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant.

Under the new policy announced Tuesday, attendance at indoor athletic events will be restricted to the families of student-athletes, effective immediately. Meanwhile, spectators at outdoor events will be socially distanced and mask wearing is required.

"Cardinal student-athletes are fortunate to experience tremendous support at our home events. However, after thorough consultation with medical advisors and University leadership, it became very clear that implementing these measures is the right thing to do to protect our community at this time," university athletic director Bernard Muir announced in a statement.

Basketball is among the sports impacted, including the women's basketball team, who are currently ranked no. 2 in the country. Other impacted sports include swimming and diving, gymnastics, along with baseball and softball, which are set to begin in February.

While the campus remains open, Stanford is in the midst of starting its quarter under online learning due to omicron variant concerns. Students are also required to receive vaccine booster shots or be granted an exemption by the end of the month.

As of Monday afternoon, 146 students were isolating in student housing after testing positive for COVID following winter break, according to an email from Associate Vice Provost of Environmental Health & Safety Russell Furr.

"We are monitoring the situation closely and will keep you informed of any changes in campus protocols that may become necessary," Furr wrote according to the Stanford Daily.

In-person learning is set to resume after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

The university said full spectator attendance at athletic events would resume "as soon as appropriate."

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