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Vanderbilt Phase II continues with readiness for further on-campus activities

Posted by on Monday, August 3, 2020 in Community Messages.

Vanderbilt University has continued successful implementation of Phase II of its Return to Campus Plan, and as of August 10 will have the criteria and systems in place to begin on-campus classes on August 24 for all undergraduates and many graduate and professional students (some graduate and professional programs will have started before that date).

This next step, termed Phase II+, is based on the ramp up of education and research activities since Phase II launched on June 18 and includes the implementation of extensive protocols to protect the health and well-being of the university community as much as possible. Vanderbilt’s Phase II+ includes health and safety guidelines that are stricter than those in Metro Nashville’s modified Phase 2 plan and has been designed with the university’s unique residential education and research environment in mind.

“Vanderbilt’s overall data-driven decision-making process and phased ramp-up framework has allowed the university to continually refine plans. We have undertaken a range of options to further de-densify campus activities and to implement new research-informed protective protocols as they become available. The success of these efforts to date is what has enabled us to be ready to take this next step,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente said.

Vanderbilt Phase II+ indicates that the university is ready for on-campus residential living, activities and education under its current Phase II guidelines, which will include a mix of in-person and adaptive course delivery options. Undergraduate and many graduate and professional classes will begin August 24, with some commencing earlier in August. Undergraduate residential students will begin to move in August 17.

The university community will continue to adhere to face cloths/masks, physical distancing, gathering size limits and other key prevention measures. If there are high-priority research needs that cannot be advanced at the currently approved Phase II capacities, research operations will have the opportunity to request an increase up to 70% capacity with stringent approvals and appropriate COVID-19 safety precautions.

“In preparing for next steps during Vanderbilt’s Phase II, we have continued to closely monitor our current activities in preventing the spread of COVID-19 on campus, the latest data in Nashville and across Tennessee, and best practices and guidance from public health experts, university committees and working groups,” Wente said.

“It is crucial that we all remain vigilant and nimble as we move forward. We will be ready to make updates, changes and adjustments based on new information,” she added. “And, every member of our community must do their part to keep one another as safe as possible to ensure a continued successful return to campus.”

The university used the following criteria to determine its readiness for continued Phase II activities and updates for Phase II+ beginning August 10:

  • Broad Vanderbilt community adherence to Return to Campus protocols.
  • Sufficient testing and tracing services will be available to accommodate all Phase II+ activities by August 10.
  • Testing and tracing incident command structure and contact tracing and symptom monitoring system will launch August 10. That system will include symptom monitoring, follow-up with those students who do not complete mandatory daily symptom monitoring (symptom monitoring is required of all undergraduates and some professional students), and tracking and follow up with those who report symptoms.
  • Building certifications and circulation plans will be complete for all Phase II+ facilities by August 10.
  • Detailed plans will be submitted, reviewed and endorsed for all Phase II+ activities by August 10.
  • Gatherings continue to be limited to 10 people while abiding by the university’s physical distancing requirement.
  • University-sponsored international travel to any country, and university-sponsored domestic travel, remains restricted under Phase II+. The university strongly recommends that everyone reconsider personal travel. All students are discouraged from traveling out of the Nashville area during the semester.

“Looking ahead, the university is taking a cautious, measured and data-driven approach to next steps and phases for on-campus activities. A specific set of ‘triggering’ criteria will guide decision making about allowable on-campus activities, preventive measures and safety protocols,” Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain said.

Ongoing criteria for university actions that will be considered include new public health guidance, VUMC and SON expert input, local, state or national restrictions, utilization of quarantine and isolation space for residential students, contact tracing analysis implications for community spread as well as medical acuity, and other new factors as available.

Visit the university’s Return to Campus website for detailed information and extensive FAQs about the Return to Campus plan.