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Jan. 14, 2022 – COVID-19 updates for undergraduate students

Posted by on Friday, January 14, 2022 in Community Messages.

Dear students,

As we approach the start of classes next week, we wanted to reach out to you with some updates and reminders since our last communication. First, we want to thank the 1,010 undergraduate students and families who registered for this week’s town hall and asked our panelists important questions. If you haven’t had a chance to watch yet, we encourage you to do so. Questions not addressed in the town hall will be answered on the Health and Safety Protocols website by next week.

While we can’t predict fully what may happen, if our experiences here in Nashville are like those across the globe, we anticipate seeing COVID-19 cases begin to decline by the end of January. Recent data is showing that while the omicron variant is more infectious, its virulence is lower. We are cautiously hopeful this is a signal that we will be able to return to more normal operations during the rest of the semester.

Some of the key takeaways from the town hall and other updates we wanted to share include:

PROTOCOLS

As an investment to help us get through this omicron surge, we will be providing up to three KN95 masks to our campus community members. Students will either receive the masks at their campus residence or at their school’s dean or departmental offices if they live off campus.

Masks are always required indoors on campus, except when actively eating or drinking. Physical distancing should be practiced whenever possible, such as when eating or drinking, and when outdoors.

RETURNING TO CAMPUS 

As a reminder, you must take a COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before arriving on campus (either a PCR or rapid antigen test) and upload the results to this form. At-home tests will be accepted.  

  • If your test result is negative, you can return to campus.
  • If your test result is positive, you must isolate at home consistent with the latest CDC guidance before coming to campus and should notify the Command Center of your positive test result.

If you have tested positive in the last 90 days, you are exempt from a return to campus test and any other required testing for 90 days from your positive test. You must submit proof of your positive test result if you tested outside of the Vanderbilt Testing Center to the Command Center for your exemption to be processed. At the end of 90 days, you will be automatically placed into the appropriate testing pool based on the vaccination record documentation you have submitted at that time.

If you have had difficulties finding a test, you can test at the Testing Center on Monday, Jan. 17, anytime during open hours. You should receive your results by the next morning in time for the start of classes.

Students will participate in our expanded testing program this semester. You can read about the asymptomatic and sentinel testing programs on the Health and Safety Protocols website.

SUPPORT

We know the past two years have been difficult for every member of our community with increased stress, uncertainty and loss. We should acknowledge our feelings and continue to strive to be patient and understanding with ourselves and others. We encourage you to stay connected with others however you can and to practice self-care.

Our data shows we’ve had a 16 percent increase in Student Care Network appointment requests in the past two years, so we have expanded our staff to enhance availability, support and care for our students. We’ve also focused on hiring staff with diverse identities and expanded our specialized care options for students in marginalized communities. During the town hall, we discussed Student Care Network support resources that we wanted to also include here.

If you have any questions or need assistance, we are here to help. We hope you have safe travels and look forward to welcoming you back to campus in the coming days.

G.L. Black
Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Vanessa Beasley
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Residential Faculty

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