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Oct. 7, 2020 – Our Plan for the Spring Semester (Staff)

Posted by on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 in Community Messages.

Dear colleagues,

At the beginning of the academic year, we asked all members of the Vanderbilt community to work diligently to protect one another’s safety, to uphold Vanderbilt’s mission, and to keep the long-term view in mind. We asked everyone to Anchor Down, Step Up and put the well-being of our community first. With determination, innovation and persistence, you have done so.

Because of your efforts and those of our entire community, we are off to a promising start, but this pandemic is not over. We are writing today to share Vanderbilt’s plans for the spring semester, wherein we will continue to offer in-person, on-campus classes—governed by our current safety protocols—in addition to offering a remote study option through virtual/alternative platforms.

As always, our plans will hinge entirely on the continued dedication and accountability of our faculty, students and staff in the weeks and months to come and will remain nimble to adapt to any new developments related to the pandemic.

Our general university academic calendar for this spring, as detailed below, is designed to sustain the momentum we all have worked so hard to establish, while also taking into account the most recent data and guidance from our colleagues at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the School of Nursing as well as that of public health officials. Moreover, we will be vigilant and flexible should the COVID-19 pandemic conditions bring unexpected changes.

  • The first day of classes will be Monday, January 25. Instruction will conclude on Friday, April 30.
  • Staff who are currently working remotely will continue to do so for the time being. Any changes will be discussed directly at the departmental level.
  • There will be no spring break this year, in a continued effort to limit travel-associated disease transmission. In addition, we ask that students stay in the Nashville area and not travel away from campus for weekend trips through the end of in-person classes and finals.
  • Four reading days and six exam days will follow the last day of classes April 30. Exams will conclude May 10.
  • Commencement ceremonies for 2021 are planned for Friday, May 14.
  • Some individual graduate and professional schools, colleges and programs may have their own calendars, whereas others will follow the above. The deans will communicate with their students, faculty and staff accordingly.

Additional information, including responses to frequently asked questions, can be found on the Vanderbilt Return to Campus website. We will continue to share additional details there as soon as they are finalized.

While at no point has this semester been easy or familiar, the return to campus this fall has positioned Vanderbilt well for the future. Your professionalism and dedication to our mission and our community have been instrumental to our success. And each of us is responsible for continuing to sustain that success.

We have been incredibly heartened by and proud of how our community has come together for one another and in support of our academic mission, a mission of education and discovery that is more important than ever to our world. Together, we can keep this progress going and further establish Vanderbilt as a place in which we can all take pride for many years to come.


Daniel Diermeier, Chancellor
Susan R. Wente, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

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