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Oct. 7, 2020 – Our Plan for the Spring Semester (Undergraduate Students and Families)

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

UPDATES: University housing for the fall semester will close on November 22. Various categories of students, such as student-athletes in competition, international students, homeless students and Peabody College students pursuing teaching licensure, may apply to remain in housing over the break by applying in the Student Housing Portal beginning October 15.

Undergraduate students, excluding transfer students, who currently are enrolled for remote study or are on a leave of absence this fall and plan to return to on-campus instruction for spring semester must apply for on-campus housing.

Dear Vanderbilt students, parents and families,

At the beginning of the academic year we asked all students—whether studying on campus or remotely—to Anchor Down, Step Up. And our Vanderbilt community has done just that. You have shown that Vanderbilt students can handle difficult challenges and find new ways to thrive amid limitations. You have proven the doubters wrong.

Because of your efforts, 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. 

All students in good standing are welcome to return to campus regardless of their on-campus or remote status for the fall semester. For those who have personal circumstances that necessitate remote study in the spring semester, we will continue to offer that option through virtual/alternative platforms.

Our academic calendar for this spring, as detailed below, is designed to sustain the momentum our community has 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 and that of public health officials. As always, our success hinges entirely on your continued dedication and accountability in the weeks and months to come.

  • The first day of classes will be Monday, January 25. Instruction will conclude on Friday, April 30.
  • On-campus housing will reopen on Friday, January 22, for students with on-campus housing assignments (more details on housing are below). Vanderbilt Housing and Residential Experience (OHARE) will manage the move-in schedule.
  • 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 for the Class of 2021 is planned for Friday, May 14.
  • Graduate and professional school/college calendars for the spring also will be released this week. Some may differ from the general university academic calendar.

Remote study

For the purposes of course registration, the classification of “remote study” applies to those students who are living outside of Davidson County with their family and/or have a medical condition that presents a contraindication for returning to campus. Students who choose remote study:

  • Take all academic courses through virtual and/or alternative platforms;
  • Pay tuition and Student Services Fee;
  • Are prepared to take classes that are offered synchronously on Central Time;
  • Have no access to campus or any university-controlled buildings;
  • Are not required to participate in mandatory COVID-19 testing program for undergraduates because they are not living in Davidson County and have affirmed that they are not coming to campus and are not interacting with other students.
If you are currently studying remotely for the fall semester but wish to change and study in person in spring 2021:

Students who are studying remotely this fall but wish to begin/return to on-campus instruction this spring must register this intent on or before November 20.

  • Students awaiting travel authorization from abroad should contact International Student and Scholar Services for assistance in determining options regarding the spring 2021 semester.
  • All students who currently are enrolled for remote study or are on a leave of absence this fall and plan to return to on-campus instruction for spring semester must apply for on-campus housing. Applications will open October 15 and close November 23. Detailed information about how to apply for on-campus housing will be shared soon.
    • Vanderbilt’s Residential Requirement, established by the Board of Trust in 1959, states that “All unmarried undergraduate students are required to live in residence halls on campus during the academic year, May session, and summer sessions. Authorization to live elsewhere is granted at the discretion of the Director of Housing Assignments in special situations, or when space is unavailable on campus.”
  • Students will be assigned on-campus housing on a space-available basis. If on-campus housing space fills, students may apply for off-campus housing authorization.
  • Move-in for students with on-campus housing assignments will begin on January 22, three days prior to the start of undergraduate classes. Further details on move-in scheduling will be released soon.
If you are currently studying remotely for the fall semester and wish to continue remote for spring 2021:

A student’s fall semester status as remote does not automatically carry forward; it must be approved by the university for the spring semester. Students who wish to continue remote study in spring 2021 must:

  • Re-declare this intent based on the above definition; and
  • Certify that they meet the requirements on or before November 20, which is the last day of regular spring course registration for undergraduates. Details on how to re-declare remote status for spring 2021 will be communicated through the Office of the University Registrar in the coming weeks.
If you are studying on campus for the fall semester but wish to change to remote study for spring 2021:

Students who wish to begin remote study in spring 2021 must indicate this intent and affirm that they meet the definition above before November 20. This deadline applies regardless of whether or not the student is currently living on campus or off campus.

  • Details on how to declare remote status for spring 2021 will be communicated through the Office of the University Registrar in the coming weeks.
  • Students switching from on-campus housing and study to remote study must check out of and completely vacate their rooms by November 22. Detailed check-out procedures will be announced later in the semester. Students who fail to check out of and completely vacate residential spaces before November 22 will be charged the full rate for spring semester housing.

All students:

University housing for the fall semester will close on November 22. Various categories of students, such as student-athletes in competition, international students, homeless students and Peabody College students pursuing teaching licensure, may apply to remain in housing over the break by contacting OHARE. Students remaining in housing over the break will be charged a daily rate.

All students are strongly encouraged to get a flu shot as flu season approaches. Free flu shots are available to all students at the Student Health Center, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on a drop-in basis, with student ID. The SHC also will offer free flu shots to students on Saturday, October 17, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Additional information can be found on the Vanderbilt Return to Campus website. We also will continue to share responses to frequently asked questions and additional details on the website 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. Whether you have learned and engaged on campus or remotely, your efforts have been instrumental to our promising start to the fall semester. As always, your personal actions and responsibility are the most powerful tools in our fight against the pandemic. We are counting on you to remain vigilant and to take action to protect yourselves and our One Vanderbilt community.

We have been incredibly heartened by and proud of how you have 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.

Sincerely,

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

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