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Graduate and Professional Students

We understand the stress and disappointment in having changes made to when and how classes are held and the cancellation of university events and gatherings. Please know that we are making decisions based on our desire to protect the health and safety of our community from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Following is important information to assist you as we seek to respond to this unprecedented public health issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Academics

Email the title page and abstract to your entire committee for approval and copy etdadmin@vanderbilt.edu. Instruct your committee members to REPLY ALL with their approval or disapproval. Once all committee members respond, combine the title page, abstract, and all email responses into a single PDF and upload to your VIREO submission as an Administrative file.

The impact of COVID-19 on campus events after April 30 has yet to be determined. The best plan of action at this time would be to schedule your defense remotely. Start a conversation now with your advisor and committee chair to coordinate the details of your defense plans.   

Whether you are a first-year student, a senior writing an honors thesis or a graduate student in the final phases of your dissertation, the Writing Studio is still here to support you via videoconference appointments.

Schedule an appointment today by visiting vanderbilt.edu/writing.

All undergraduate classes for Summer 2020, including those offered in Maymester, will be offered through online instruction. We are updating the summer class schedule to reflect this information and any other changes to class offerings for the summer term. The updated Summer 2020 undergraduate class schedule will be published in YES on Sunday, March 29. Due to the changes to the summer class schedule, we encourage you to check the schedule frequently as we expect there may be additional classes added to the schedule over the next weeks.

Registration for undergraduate students for the Summer 2020 term will begin on Monday, March 30. Your registration information in YES has been updated to reflect the opening of summer registration on March 30.

Please be in contact with your academic adviser or your school's Office of Academic Services if you have questions about how specific classes will count toward your degree requirements.  

Vanderbilt launched online/remote classes on Monday, March 16. Assignments and assessment resumed that week. Faculty are aware of the difficulties many students are facing as they move off-campus or cope with other significant changes in their lives resulting from the current crisis. Faculty too are trying to manage many challenges, and we are asking students to be patient as faculty work to continue to teach.

We take great pride in our residential living-learning model, which provides invaluable connections, camaraderie and support. Although this is one of Vanderbilt’s great strengths, we also recognize that these are extraordinary times that require exceptional measures to deal with a health risk that affects us all. Beginning Monday, March 16, the university is suspending all in-person classes and is moving to online and other alternative learning options for the remainder of the semester. Students will hear directly from their respective deans and/or faculty instructor regarding any specific instructions. Again, faculty will communicate with students through their usual methods of communications, such as the course webpage on Brightspace or by email. Starting Monday, March 16th, all coursework will be handled using methods other than in-person, on-campus instruction. Each course and each instructor will make a decision about the appropriate means in light of the nature of the course. Please monitor your Vanderbilt email and your course webpages for details. Students who find themselves with limited internet or computer access during this period of alternative instruction are encouraged to let their dean’s office know so that we can provide support.
We made the decision to cancel classes on Monday, March 9, because several students returned to campus who have since reported being exposed to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. The individual who tested positive is being treated at home and did not return to campus. Based on our desire to protect the health and safety of our community from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), all university classes are canceled March 10-13. Out of an abundance of caution and based on public health recommendations and best practices, we will move fully to online and alternative learning for the remainder of the semester. Online and alternative learning will launch Monday, March 16, for undergraduate, graduate and professional students.

Tutoring Services is open and is ready to offer all one-on-one tutoring appointments as well as group learning support opportunities via videoconference. Courses supported include many introductory and intermediate level courses in Biological Sciences, Chemistry (General & Organic), Economics, Mathematics, and Physics. Appointments can be made online by visiting vanderbilt.edu/tutoring.

 Whether you are a first-year student or a senior writing an honors thesis, the Writing Studio is still here to support you via videoconference appointments. Schedule an appointment today by visiting vanderbilt.edu/writing.

  • Vanderbilt Libraries' physical spaces are closed.
  • Please visit the Libraries website to see all the ways the libraries are supporting our students and faculty with remote resources and services.

Adjustments and Student Hardship Fund

While all classroom coursework is now being taught via various alternative learning methods, tuition and fees remain the same for the Spring 2020 term. Vanderbilt University’s move to online courses was done in a manner that preserves the same academic rigor and course objectives as when the courses are delivered on campus, and all online coursework meets the academic standards for their respective college or school. The faculty effort and resources required to deliver the coursework are the same, and in some cases, greater, when they are delivered online as when they are delivered in person. In addition, historically, Vanderbilt programs that are offered both virtually and on-campus, including programs at the School of Engineering, the School of Nursing and Peabody College for education and human development, have the same tuition. Because of these factors, tuition rates will not be discounted or adjusted due to the current situation.
Due to the disruption that the COVID-19 virus has had on our students, there is a tremendous financial need to provide emergency assistance to undergraduate, graduate and professional students with demonstrated financial need.
Any student (undergraduate, graduate and professional) with demonstrated need who is currently enrolled and attended in-person classes can apply for assistance.
The following includes examples of expenses that will be considered:
  • Extraordinary expenses due to having to move because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Additional food expenses incurred due to moving off-campus or home with parents and/or relatives.
  • Additional transportation costs due to changing an airline ticket or purchasing a new ticket at the last minute.
  • The cost of paying for an internet hotspot if reliable WiFi is not available.
  • Other expenses associated with your cost of attending Vanderbilt.
Yes, there is a $500 limit per student in this Hardship Fund.
The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships will request additional documentation as needed. You should keep copies of all receipts in the event these are needed.
Yes, you must have demonstrated need to qualify for these funds.
Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships staff will review requests on a daily basis. The estimated response time will be based upon volume, but we anticipate we will answer each request within 3 business days.  
The program is limited to students with demonstrated need. Please feel free to either call the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships at 615.322.3591 or email us at finaid@vanderbilt.edu if you have questions as to what type of other assistance for which you may qualify.

Campus and General Questions

The university has suspended all university-sponsored non-Athletics events and gatherings, including events sponsored by any registered student organizations, through April 30th. This policy is based on current best-practices regarding social distancing as a prevention strategy for disease transmission. We say “suspended” because there may be decision points, going forward and prior to April 30, at which we could consider holding events and gathering again. Or we may have to extend the time frame for cancellations beyond April 30. We cannot say at this time. As of today, however, all university-sponsored, non-Athletics events and gatherings through March 30 should be cancelled, and you may have others from March 31 to April 30 that also should be cancelled now to be respectful of the planning needed and participants. See further guidance regarding events/gatherings and administrative meetings on campus.
  The Office of the Dean of Students is working with students to track students who are going to reside in on-campus housing and those students who will depart campus.     
Dining will operate in Rand Hall only for current Vanderbilt students, on-campus staff, residential faculty and the immediate family of residential faculty. Due to enhanced safety precautions, Campus Dining will be open for grab & go everyday during the following hours:
  • Breakfast 8am-9:30am
  • Lunch 11:30am-1:30pm
  • Dinner 4:30pm-6:30pm
For up-to-the-minute changes in Campus Dining service offerings, please follow Dining on Instagram (@VandyCampusDining) or visit the Campus Dining website. 

Note: If you are a current undergraduate student residing in the Commons or Highland areas, and are concerned about traveling across campus, Campus Dining has implemented a meal delivery program. Students can text “VUdining” to 55744, and select the next day’s meals. Orders must be placed by midnight for delivery the following day. Drop off times and locations will be listed in the ordering platform. Vegetarian and allergy-friendly options are available

Camus Dining has implemented new safety protocols to promote social distancing for dining and food delivery on campus.

Read more about the safety protocols Campus Dining has implemented.

Due to the current status of the University concerning the COVID-19 virus, the VandyRides service is suspended as of March 14, 2020. The health and safety of our students is our top priority; therefore, VUPS will continue to provide an on-call medical transportation service. If you are feeling ill, contact Student Health at (615) 322-2427. If you require transportation to due to your health status, contact VUPS dispatch at (615) 322-2745 for transportation to Student Health (M-F, 8 AM to 4:30 PM) or Vanderbilt University Medical Center (after-hours). Please advise the dispatcher of your location and a driver will get to you as quickly as possible. Drivers will be using golf carts for transportation and will inform you of transportation protocols upon arrival at your location.

  • The Southeastern Conference has announced that all athletics activities, including competitions, team and individual practices, meetings and other organized gatherings, will be suspended through at least April 15, due to continuing developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • SEC athletics programs will cease practices, individual and team workouts effective the end of the day Friday, March 13. Team meetings shall conclude no later than 5 pm local time on Monday, March 16.
  • SEC member institutions will continue to provide their student-athletes with care and support to meet needs in areas including academics, medical care, mental health and wellness, nutrition and housing as needed.
  • The program schedules impacted by this announcement are those of baseball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, and track and field. Events involving two Vanderbilt programs affiliated with other conferences—bowling (Southern Bowling League) and lacrosse (American Athletic Conference)—are suspended.
  • Vanderbilt Athletics has suspended numerous activities. View an ongoing list of what actions have been taken.

COVID-19 Exposure, Health and Wellness

  • Those who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should self-isolate per doctor's guidelines.If someone has come in contact with individuals who are known positives and the individual displays symptoms of COVID-19, they should immediately seek medical testing.
  • Students on campus should contact the Student Health Center, while faculty, staff and postdocs on campus should contact the Occupational Health Clinic for further evaluation.
  • The CDC has issued information regarding symptomsprevention and treatment, as well as a number of other frequently asked questions and answers.
If the person is a student, encourage them to consult with the Student Health Center. If they are a faculty or staff member, or a postdoc, they should consult with Occupational Health. The CDC also advises that many of the same precautions recommended when protecting oneself against the flu, can help prevent COVID-19 infection.

Students

  • Vanderbilt Student Health Center has monitoring in place for students who have traveled internationally within the past 14 days or otherwise come in contact with a case of COVID-19. Student Health will extend its hours on an as-needed basis and notify the student body through email communications.
  • Students should complete the self-report/self-monitoring survey at https://redcap.link/vustudentcovid if they have been exposed to COVID or have travelled internationally

  • Students who have left the Nashville metro area should contact their local health care provider.

Campus Residents

  • Campus residents who have traveled to or through any country outside of the United States within the past 14 days should self-isolate with their families in the USA.

  • Campus residents who do not have a family home in the USA or who have otherwise come in contact with a case of COVID-19 should contact the Office of Housing and Residential Experience (615/322-2591, ohare@vanderbilt.edu) at least 72 hours prior to their arrival on campus.

  • Any student not complying with Vanderbilt’s notification and self-isolation practices would be subject to immediate disciplinary procedures through Student Accountability.

  • Any student with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection (cough, fever or shortness of breath) should be tested.  Any student who has traveled to a CDC Level-3 country within the past 14 days or has had contact with someone who has been infected with COVID-19 is expected to self-report by completing the self-report/self-monitoring survey at https://redcap.link/vustudentcovid and abide by self-isolation practices.
  • Students who believe other students have failed to comply with self-notification and self-isolation practices should report their concerns to the Office of Student Accountability or the Office of the Dean of Students.
The Office of the Provost is working with students to minimize disruptions to their academic progress during the isolation period. Staff should contact their HR consultant to discuss how to find the appropriate solution so that they can self-isolate. Staff can find their HR consultant here: https://hr.vanderbilt.edu/hrconsulting. Faculty should contact their dean to seek assistance while they must remain away from work. Postdocs should be in touch with their faculty advisor for assistance.
A team of university officials, including Vanderbilt’s Global Safety and Security Manager and Vanderbilt Incident Response for Travel (VIRT) team, is monitoring the outbreak of the respiratory illness COVID-19 worldwide. Since this crisis first began, the university has been working closely with infection control experts at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and local and state public health officials, and has been reviewing all guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as it does with all public health concerns. We are in regular communication with the Vanderbilt community regarding travel restrictions, policies and recommendations. Information has been shared with students, faculty, staff, postdocs and parents, including specific considerations and guidance for international students and scholars. We have developed protocols to limit potential exposure, working with officials in Student and Occupational Health to provide information to returning travelers regarding self-isolation and health care monitoring procedures. The university is also working continues to prevent the spread of illness through enhanced cleaning and disinfection. Staff are cleaning these areas following the normal cleaning protocols for each type of space, followed by application of the disinfectant cleaning products Oxivir Five 16, Oxivir 1 Wipes and PURELL Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray. All disinfectants meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s criteria for use against COVID-19. Facilities has designated additional personnel resources to help assist with this enhanced cleaning and disinfecting process. The university has identified the following priority spaces that are being cleaned and disinfected more frequently due to being located in high-traffic areas:
  • Restrooms, locker rooms and showers
  • Lobbies, lounges, break rooms and hallways
  • Classrooms, conference rooms, lecture halls, dining sitting areas and libraries sitting areas (spaces where large groups of people congregate)
  • Private offices
Certain areas in these locations are receiving increased attention twice a day, including high-touch points such as door handles, light switches, handrails, interior doors, door push plates and the flat surfaces in common spaces. Staff also have begun to power wash restrooms in common areas, locker room showers and multiple-use shower rooms throughout campus. Campus early childhood care and education facilities and athletic facilities locker rooms and showers are being deep cleaned and then electrostatic fogged using a disinfectant product. The university is working with vendors and contractors to maintain these products and services to continue this cleaning schedule moving forward. Free-standing hand sanitizing stations have also been installed across campus. In addition, campus-wide changes include:
  • All classes moved fully to online and alternative learning for the remainder of the semester.
  • All undergraduate residential students were required to move out by Sunday, March 15.
  • Any remaining students who were granted an extension due to extenuating circumstances must stay in their residences as much as possible, avoid congregating in common spaces, and practice social distancing.
  • The university restricted access to dining facilities and implemented new safety protocols to promote social distancing for all remaining dining and food delivery on campus.
  • Vanderbilt instituted an initial remote work period for staff and faculty and recommended they work remotely following their manager’s and/or department chair/dean’s instructions.
  • On-campus university research laboratories are transitioning to only essential activities by Wednesday, March 18, at the latest.
  • VandyRide service has been suspended. Vanderbilt University Public Safety will continue to provide an on-call medical transportation service.
  • The David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center is closed until further notice.
Vanderbilt is committed to creating and sustaining a safe and inclusive campus community. Students should not hesitate to contact the Title IX & Student Discrimination Office. Faculty, staff and students should contact the Equal Employment Opportunity office to file a report about such conduct.

General Information about COVID-19

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

Move Out

If the vehicle is registered under a current VU parking permit and parked in a legitimate marked parking space in an area that corresponds to their respective permit, then it will not be ticketed or towed unless the vehicle needs to be relocated to facilitate maintenance or another service in that area.

NOTE: Just like the normal school year, Vanderbilt University is not responsible for theft of or theft from vehicles or damage to any vehicles parked in a Vanderbilt parking area.

If a student is considering leaving their vehicle on campus we ask that they contact the Parking and Transportation Services Office at 615-322-2554 first to review their permit, our regulations and possible solutions to help. 

All undergraduate residential students should make plans to move out by March 15. We are actively working on plans to assist undergraduate residential students with move out and are evaluating an approach to address on-campus housing and dining fees for the remaining month of classes. We will send details about those plans to the students and families. Students who need to remain on campus beyond this date will receive further information.

Research

Study Abroad

  • Vanderbilt recommends study abroad students return to their homes. This recommendation is based on the unpredictable nature of the global COVID-19 pandemic, where cases can spike quickly in any region, as described by the World Health Organization and within the CDC Global COVID-19 Outbreak Notice. This unpredictability also puts stress on existing health systems in regions with COVID-19 cases, which may make obtaining other medical care much more difficult. Likewise, the university aware that local and international travel is increasingly challenging due to transportation disruptions or cancellations as well as rapidly changing immigration regulations and border restrictions.
  • With these factors in mind, the university strongly believes that our students are better able to navigate the pandemic at their homes or permanent residences. At home, they will be within their personal networks, in a familiar health system, and in a place where they are less susceptible to future immigration and transportation disruptions.
  • Students receiving financial aid to support study abroad who have questions should contact the Financial Aid office at finaid@vanderbilt.edu.
  • Students who have previously indicated an interest in remaining abroad by submitting a form to SARAC will be contacted by Vanderbilt’s global safety and security manager regarding next steps.

You are likely aware of this evening’s announcement that the federal government is restricting travel from Europe to the United States for the foreseeable future, starting Friday, March 13.

Like you, we are also working to understand the details of the announcement.

It appears this development does not apply to United States citizens or legal permanent residents, according to a presidential proclamation issued by President Trump

We understand these are unprecedented times and stand by to assist you to the extent that we can as this situation continues to rapidly evolve.

Vanderbilt recommends study abroad students return to their homes. This recommendation is based on the unpredictable nature of the global COVID-19 pandemic, where cases can spike quickly in any region, as described by the World Health Organization and within the CDC Global COVID-19 Outbreak Notice. This unpredictability also puts stress on existing health systems in regions with COVID-19 cases, which may make obtaining other medical care much more difficult. Likewise, we are aware that local and international travel is increasingly challenging due to transportation disruptions or cancellations as well as rapidly changing immigration regulations and border restrictions.

We will work with our partners to try to support students' completion of their work with study abroad programs, but awarding of academic credit will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and is not guaranteed.

We are recommending students return to their homes. This recommendation is based on the unpredictable nature of the global COVID-19 pandemic, where cases can spike quickly in any region, as described by the World Health Organization and within the CDC Global COVID-19 Outbreak Notice. This unpredictability also puts stress on existing health systems in regions with COVID-19 cases, which may make obtaining other medical care much more difficult. Likewise, we are aware that local and international travel is increasingly challenging due to transportation disruptions or cancellations as well as rapidly changing immigration regulations and border restrictions. The university will work with students to minimize disruptions to their academic progress during the isolation period.
Vanderbilt will directly contact students abroad with updates. Vanderbilt reaches out to students’ designated emergency contacts only in very specific situations, such as when a student has been incapacitated or when we cannot reach the student. All members of the Vanderbilt community can find updates at vu.edu/coronavirus.
Vanderbilt takes guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the US Department of State, and our international security provider. When making decisions about specific programs, we also consider local conditions as well as input from peer institutions and our overseas partners. To assess risks related to study abroad travel, the university uses a number of resources, including governmental agencies, news reports, reports from Vanderbilt’s international security provider, professional health and security organizations, and more.
Vanderbilt works closely with our academic partners who provide study abroad programs with the goal of mitigating potential impacts on students’ academic progress. For information on a specific program, please email the Global Education Office at geo@vanderbilt.edu.

Vanderbilt understands that personal tolerance for risk may vary, and that final decisions will be made between students and their families. If students choose to leave a program and return home, we respect that decision. Students should contact the Global Education Office for coordination assistance as soon as a decision has been made, and we would recommend they notify their academic adviser of their choice as well. We will work with our partners to try to support students' completion of their work with study abroad programs. Awarding of academic credit from overseas partners will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and is not guaranteed. However, Vanderbilt will also help students complete their academic work already in progress through online and alternative learning provided by Vanderbilt University faculty.

Travel

No new visitors should be hosted on campus during the remote work period that lasts until April 11, 2020.  Once visitors are allowed back on campus, any visitor who has traveled abroad within the past 14 days must self-isolate for a total of 14 days before coming to campus.

No. However, the university strongly recommends that everyone reconsider even personal travel abroad at this time.  Anyone returning from international travel will be required to self-isolate for 14 days before returning campus.
Before booking new travel, please reach out to the meeting planner and/or conference organization to see if the meeting is still scheduled to occur or being postponed to a later date. Travelers should not book reservations too far in advance.
Standard travel insurance policies will not cover flight cancelations and delays due to coronavirus unless it is specifically written into the policy. Travel insurance is not reimbursable for university business travel.
Consistent with CDC guidance, Vanderbilt is instructing those community members to self-isolate for 14 days. Those who need to self-isolate are being instructed to notify the university in order to receive healthcare monitoring and support and to protect the health and safety of our community.

Any individual returning from international travel (either university-sponsored or personal) must self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus and gain approval from your supervisor for working remotely.

University-sponsored travel includes any travel covered by or reimbursable from university funds or extramural grant funds.  This includes travel by faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, students or visitors.

For travel cancelations, please contact travel@vanderbilt.edu For expense reimbursement questions, please contact paymentcardsexp@vanderbilt.edu
According to the VU Travel & Expense Policy (pg. 3), situations like this that result in airline, hotel & car rental imposed penalties for changes to an airline ticket for business reasons or circumstances beyond the traveler’s control are reimbursable.

 

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