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Jan. 8, 2021 – Your Spring Semester Arrival, Launch of Commodores Care

Posted by on Friday, January 8, 2021 in Community Messages.

Dear undergraduate students,

As we prepare for another semester, I think back to all that was accomplished last fall. It was difficult and we faced many challenges, but you were resilient and you persevered. Though we still have a way to go, progress is being made to eradicate the virus that causes COVID-19. As we all work together to keep each other as safe and healthy as possible this semester, let’s keep the finish line in mind while Anchoring Down and Stepping Up.

I write today to share a number of important details that will help you prepare for arrival back to Nashville and campus. We are officially 14 days from the start of move-in and just over two weeks away from the start of classes. Campus residence halls and Greek houses will open on Friday, Jan. 22.

Testing and Safety Protocol Reminders

We want students to return to campus as healthy as possible and free of the COVID-19 virus. Before arrival, all students must follow CDC guidance on gatherings and travel. Students are required to prepare by sheltering in place, checking for symptoms, adhering to safety protocols and minimizing in-person interaction for 10 days before arrival on campus.

As a reminder, there will be no pre-arrival testing by the university. Based on the lessons we learned last fall, we expect students’ highest risk activities prior to returning to campus are likely to be traveling to campus and engaging in social activities before classes begin, so efforts will focus on arrival testing and a shelter in place protocol.

As a precaution, you may decide to arrange for a COVID-19 test from a provider in your local area so that if you are COVID-19 positive, you can isolate at home before returning to Nashville and campus.

Arrival Testing

All returning students are required to participate in arrival testing the week of Jan. 20-24 at the Testing Center. You are required to follow the instructions that will be sent by Thursday, Jan. 14, from the Registrar’s Office to schedule arrival testing appointments. After taking your arrival test, you can expect to receive those results in approximately 36 hours.

Until you receive a negative arrival test result, you must shelter in place. This includes:

  • You must not attend in-person classes.
  • Interpersonal interactions must be virtual. You should not participate in in-person gatherings or social interactions.
  • You must remain in your residences, primarily in your own rooms, leaving only to pick up food or for medical appointments.
  • If you reside off-campus, you must also follow these shelter in place guidelines. You should not come to campus during this time except for medical appointments.

The arrival tests from Jan. 20-24 are designed to identify students who are positive upon arrival and therefore had most likely contracted COVID-19 before returning to campus.

All undergraduate students will also be tested during the three-day period of Jan. 26-28. This test is designed to identify students who contracted COVID-19 during their return to campus travel or shortly after arrival.

New this semester: Twice-weekly mandatory testing

  • Vanderbilt has moved to mandatory, twice-weekly testing for undergraduates attending classes on campus for the spring semester beginning Jan. 31. If conditions change, we may adjust this requirement.
  • Testing will be conducted in the Testing Center Sunday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • You will receive an email from the Office of the University Registrar to sign up for twice-weekly testing time slots at the Testing Center.
  • You will be expected to register for two consistent weekly testing time slots for the spring semester. The first weekly test will be conducted on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, and the second will be on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.
  • If you choose a Sunday time slot for your first weekly test, your second weekly test will be on Wednesday. If you choose a Monday time slot for your first weekly test, your second weekly test will be on a Thursday. If you choose a Tuesday time slot for your first weekly test, your second weekly test will be on a Friday.
  • This cadence of twice-weekly undergraduate testing will maximize the likelihood of detecting positive cases.

Please remember that even with increased testing, you must still follow protocols to protect your health and safety and that of others as much as possible.

More information about undergraduate testing requirements can be found on the Return to Campus website.

New: Commodores Care period

All undergraduate students returning to campus for in-person learning for the spring semester, including students living in residence halls or Greek houses or in off-campus locations, will be required to participate in the newly launched Commodores Care period, intended to support the health of our community and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

During the “quiet” Commodores Care period, from Monday, Jan. 25, through Wednesday, Feb. 3, students with negative test results and without symptoms may:

  • Leave their residences to attend in-person classes,
  • Pick up to-go food or supplies,
  • Seek medical attention,
  • Perform essential work for the university, and
  • Engage in outdoor activities that do not involve close contact, such as walking, hiking or running.

Students with positive test results or with symptoms must follow the university’s quarantine and isolation requirements.

During this period, all other university programming and student organization activities will be virtual. Student interactions should also be virtual during this timeframe. You must not participate in gatherings or engage in in-person social interactions. Students are always required to follow safety protocols, including wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance.

Additional in-person activities may resume on Thursday, Feb. 4, unless students are otherwise notified by the university.

In the coming days and weeks, you will hear more details regarding spring semester. I hope you have safe travels as you make your way back to campus.

Mark Bandas
Dean of Students

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