Faculty are central to the university’s mission to advance research, discovery and creative expression—and to provide an excellent education to every Vanderbilt student. At Vanderbilt, the well-being of faculty is absolutely vital to our continued success.
Vanderbilt University will resume in-person classes, and faculty will resume in-person teaching, with modifications to support the well-being of our people, including physical distancing and other university protocols that are part of the Vanderbilt Return to Campus Plan. As additional plans are developed and made available, your respective schools and colleges will provide more information to you.
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The Return to Campus plan is continually evolving, and some of our planning may change as new information becomes available. We recommend that you return to this website often, in the event that pertinent updates have been communicated.
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Vanderbilt University this week announced that fall semester classes will be offered in person.
Positive trends related to COVID-19 case counts and vaccinations continue, and recent progress on campus is encouraging—made possible in part through diligent observation of safety protocols.
While the decision signals a step toward the life we recognize, it was made with an eye to the dynamic reality of the pandemic. The university’s priority remains ensuring the health and safety of students, postdocs, faculty and staff as much as possible, and current COVID-19 testing and safety protocols remain in place. Should the status of the pandemic change dramatically over the spring and summer, or should public health guidance advise against in-person instruction, an alternative option may be required.
University leaders continue to monitor the pandemic to inform the full fall semester plan, and additional information will be shared in the coming weeks.
Fall academic calendar
- In-person, on-campus undergraduate classes will begin Aug. 25 and conclude Dec. 10. Pending updated public health data and travel guidelines in the fall, all undergraduate students will return to campus after the Thanksgiving holiday to complete the final two weeks of classes and take exams in person. The semester will conclude Dec. 18.
- Academic calendars for graduate and professional programs will largely follow the undergraduate schedule, beginning Aug. 25 and concluding Dec. 10. Students will return to campus after the Thanksgiving holiday to complete the final two weeks of classes and take exams, if applicable, in person. The semester will conclude Dec. 18. Specific schools may have slight schedule variations. All students will receive additional information from their respective schools with full calendar details.
- The university will observe Fall Break Oct. 14–15. Information about travel guidance and restrictions during that time will be determined based on updated public health travel guidelines in the fall.
- Undergraduate and graduate students will receive an additional reading day Dec. 8 to supplement regular reading days Dec. 11–12 during final exams.
- Students must request a Leave of Absence through the appropriate school official if they cannot engage in in-person instruction on campus and do not have an approved accommodation.
Study abroad programming
In anticipation of improved conditions for international travel, the Global Education Office will be offering a limited number of study abroad programs for fall 2021. Vanderbilt’s Global Safety & Security team and GEO will closely monitor identified programs through the spring, and final decisions about whether travel can proceed will be made on a location-by-location basis this summer. Applications are open now; for more information, visit GEO’s website.
Fall housing for Continuing Upper-Division Students
Vanderbilt will welcome as many students back to campus as is possible. The university is a residential campus for undergraduate students, and that experience is an integral part of a Vanderbilt education. Information was shared March 18 about the fall housing assignment process.
Housing registration for the 2021–22 academic year will begin April 1 and close April 5 at 6 p.m. CT. All students who plan to enroll in courses at Vanderbilt for the fall 2021 semester must register for the process during this time using the online Housing Portal.
Students currently authorized to live off campus will be permitted to reside off campus for the 2021–22 academic yearonly if they properly register and re-apply between April 1-5. Failure to apply for off-campus authorization will result in a loss of authorization for the 2021–22 academic year, and the student will be required to reside on campus.
Fall Housing for 2021 First-Year and Transfer Students
Vanderbilt plans to provide on-campus housing to all incoming first-year and transfer students. Additional information will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Return to Campus website includes ongoing updates about the university’s pandemic response and protocols.
Q: Will COVID-19 bi-weekly testing, masking and physical distancing continue?
We will share detailed information about our fall COVID-19 safety protocols as we get closer to the beginning of the semester in order to provide guidance based on the status of the pandemic and the best public health information available at the time.
Other Campus Activities
Q: Will in-person extracurricular activities and events return?
As the pandemic continues to evolve, we are still determining what extracurricular activities and events will look like in the fall. We are hopeful that positive trends in case counts and vaccinations continue, and we are planning for a fall semester closer to a life we recognize. We also are prepared to adjust our plans to ensure as much as possible the ongoing health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. Additional details will be forthcoming.
Q: Can we travel outside the county without approval during the fall?
Unfortunately, we cannot say for certain what guidance will be around travel in the fall. Many factors remain unknown and as the pandemic is evolving, we are prepared to adjust our plans to ensure as much as possible the ongoing health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. Additional details will be forthcoming.
Q: Will the university have quarantine and isolation housing?
We plan to have quarantine and isolation housing available for the fall semester for on-campus residents and are determining our testing protocols based on the evolving pandemic as well as vaccination rates.
Q: I’m a current 2020-2021 transfer student. Do I have to live on campus?
We will welcome as many students to on-campus housing as is possible. Although adjustments were made last year to meet evolving COVID-19 safety protocols, our residential requirement has remained and will continue in the fall. Fall 2021 incoming transfer students will be required to reside on-campus.
Q: Can I request a roommate who has been vaccinated?
As a reminder, information was shared March 18 about the fall housing assignment process. Upper-division student housing registration for the 2021-2022 academic year will begin April 1 and close April 5 at 6 p.m. CT. Roommate requests can be made during the housing assignment process, however, vaccination status, which is considered private health information, will not be a consideration.
In light of the recently revised CDC guidance and updated university COVID-19 protocols for students as well as faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows, the university is sunsetting Vanderbilt University’s research ramp-up review and approval process.
The review and approval process for both on-campus and off-campus in-person research activities, including review and approval through the research ramp-up process of visiting researchers and exceptions for research travel, will cease. As such, all REDCap forms related to the research ramp-up review and approval process will be closed, and any pending reviews and approvals will not be completed. Instead, please refer to the latest university guidance, which can be found on the VU Health and Safety Protocols website. For those engaging in research activities at VUMC, please be sure to refer to the latest VUMC guidance as well.
If you have any questions or concerns about research at Vanderbilt University, please feel free to reach out to the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at email@example.com.
All summer sessions for undergraduate and graduate students, including Maymester courses, will be offered online only. This summer’s course schedule offers a robust selection of options providing students enhanced flexibility.
Professional students can expect information about summer sessions directly from your respective school leadership in the coming weeks.
Experiential Learning and In-person Research Activities for Undergraduates
We will continue to support faculty-directed experiential learning and in-person research activities for undergraduates over the summer, including Immersion Vanderbilt. However, out of an abundance of caution, the university will not be offering Maymester courses that involve travel or GEO’s study abroad programs. As an alternative, remote global internships—and funding—for undergraduate students who want to engage internationally are available.
Currently enrolled Vanderbilt students participating in Immersion Vanderbilt and the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Program (VUSRP) will have the opportunity to work and live on campus this summer. Students who are seeking to conduct in-person research activities on or off campus should discuss their ideas and plans with prospective faculty mentors, who will receive further details in the coming weeks about how to submit new or revise existing Phase II+ plans for in-person research activities in summer 2021 through the existing research ramp-up review and approval process. Further guidance on in-person research activities will also be posted on the Research at Vanderbilt website.
After faculty mentors and their students have received approval for their summer in-person research activities through the research ramp-up review and approval process, students who choose to live on campus this summer may apply for housing through OHARE beginning Thursday, April 1. These students will be required to submit a signed COVID-19 acknowledgment form in order to work and live on campus.
As a reminder, any research activities involving in-person interaction, whether on campus or off campus (e.g., going out into the local community), require advance review and approval through the research ramp-up process. Advance approval is not required for research activities that are strictly remote and involve no in-person interaction. Faculty mentors and their students who are not sure whether their planned research activities require advance approval through the research ramp-up review and approval process should consult the FAQs for Phase 2+ Ramp-Up or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance.
At this time, due to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations against travel, the university will not offer opportunities to conduct nonresearch experiential learning in locations other than on campus and in students’ home communities.
Students who have applied for VUSRP awards can expect to receive further details in late March and early April. Students who receive other forms of university funding to support experiential learning and summer projects should contact the undergraduate associate dean’s office of their home school.
At conclusion of the spring 2021 semester, residence halls will close for the summer:
- May 12 at 9 a.m. for nongraduating students
- May 16 at 1 p.m. for graduating students
In addition to undergraduate students participating in faculty-led experiential learning or in-person research, undergraduate students with verified special circumstances will be eligible to remain on campus during the summer. The summer housing application will be available online Thursday, April 1, and additional information will be provided prior to that time.
SUMMER CAMPS FOR MINORS
Progress is being made as our community continuesto manage the challenges of the pandemic. Yet, we must remain cautious, and it is for that reason Vanderbilt University will not be hosting summer programming for children and adolescents on campus at this time.As an alternative, several programs, including Vanderbilt Summer Academy (VSA) and Summer Academy at Vanderbilt for the Young (SAVY), are offering virtual learning opportunities. We look forward to resuming our on-campus day and overnight programs in 2022.
Note: We’re currently exploring options to host athletics summer camps consistent with NCAA and SEC rules while working with our campus partners and local health officials. This includes opening preliminary registration to accurately determine feasibility and prepare appropriately. All camp dates are tentative and subject to change.
Summer programming for Nashville’s youth is invaluable, providing opportunities to experience something new, discover new interests, advance academic pursuits, hone athletic skills and make new friends. We look forward to a very near future past COVID-19 when we can, once again, come together to support our children through these endeavors.
Continued COVID-19 Protocols
Despite encouraging progress in addressing the pandemic, we must continue to take COVID-19 protocols seriously to help protect the health and safety of our campus and Nashville communities as much as possible.
All Vanderbilt students and non-Vanderbilt students or volunteers participating in faculty-led experiential learning or research on campus this summer will be required to participate in the university’s mandatory asymptomatic COVID-19 testing and contact tracing programs and submit a signed acknowledgment form.
Students will be expected to continue safety protocols, including wearing face masks/coverings and maintaining physical distance.
Campus Life and Housing
Vanderbilt University deeply values the neighbors, community partners and visitors who make the campus community so vibrant. We look forward to welcoming visitors back to campus this summer and in the fall.
COVID-19 safety protocols for visitors include:
- Fully vaccinated people—individuals two weeks past their second dose in a two-dose vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks past their single-dose of Johnson & Johnson—no longer need to wear a face mask/covering in any setting on campus, indoors or outdoors, or maintain physical distancing from other fully vaccinated people.
- People who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing from others at all times when indoors—and when outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- The university expects that many members of our campus community will continue to wear face masks/coverings, and the university supports their choice to do so. People who choose to wear masks should not be questioned about them, nor should they be discouraged or prohibited from wearing them.
- Gathering size limits are lifted for outdoor gatherings. Outdoor areas should be used as community gathering spaces whenever possible.
- The university has allowed for increased attendance at indoor gatherings. Indoor gatherings may occur at up to the full capacity of a given indoor space, including work, classroom and research spaces.
- Individually packaged food and drink is allowed at gatherings.
With the exception of campus tours, buildings are not open to the public in the summer, and access to classroom buildings will be limited outside of hours when classes are held. Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows will have access to buildings using their Vanderbilt card or badge.
Indoor campus dining facilities, including Rand and the Commons, will be restricted to those with an active Vanderbilt meal plan.
Spaces such as the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries, the Fine Arts Gallery and the Wond’ry are closed to the public until further notice. Information about remote events and resources can be found on the websites associated with these buildings and centers.
The university continues to monitor public health guidance and rely on experts, including the CDC, Metro Public Health, and our leaders at VUMC and the school of nursing, to shape our plans. Any additional changes to protocols for the fall semester will be announced this summer.
The David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center will continue with limited capacity and hours for undergraduate, graduate and professional students enrolled in summer classes. Beginning June 1, the facility will welcome University faculty, staff, postdocs and active students not enrolled in summer courses to purchase a summer membership (June and July).
A summer membership provides access to several fitness areas. A membership can be purchased with a debit or credit card at the facility for $20 per month, prorated based on the date of enrollment. Please view our directional map to locate and enter our temporary location.
Students, faculty, staff and postdocs must make an online reservation to utilize the facility. Those utilizing the center must follow university health and safety protocols. For policy information, please visit vu.edu/vandyrec.
Gathering size limits will be lifted for outdoor gatherings. Outdoor areas should be used as community gathering spaces whenever possible.
The university will allow for increased attendance at indoor gatherings. Indoor gatherings may occur at up to the full capacity of a given indoor space, including work, classroom and research spaces.
Off-campus activities may resume.
Individually packaged food and drink, individually plated or single-serve items, or a caterer/staff-served buffet (where servers are masked and gloved) are allowed at gatherings. Self-serve food & beverage options are not permitted at this time.
COVID-19 Exposure, Health and Wellness
SYMPTOMATIC TESTING AND/OR TESTING OUTSIDE OF THE VUMC SYSTEM
Faculty who have symptoms related to COVID-19, have received a positive COVID-19 test result outside the VUMC system, or have been officially notified that they are a close contact to a COVID-19 positive person, must call the Occupational Health Center (OHC) at 615-936-0955 to receive guidance for their symptoms, possible testing, isolation/quarantine period and return to campus criteria.
Faculty with symptoms can also call the VUMC COVID-19 hotline at (888) 312-0847 daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m to be assessed and directed to the nearest open testing site. VU employees can also report to the ePod testing location at Med Center East with their badge to be tested even without checking with OHC first or waiting to hear back from OHC.
If OHC is not open and the symptoms are severe enough, the individual should go to the VUMC emergency department.
An individual awaiting test results must remain at home off campus in quarantine and keep their department chair/supervisor/mentor/lead researcher informed of their return-to-campus status.
If an individual believes they have contracted COVID-19 after exposure to a known COVID-19 positive person on campus and/or while performing job duties, OHC may direct the individual to complete a First Report of Work Injury or Illness.
VU-employed faculty who are interested in participating on a voluntary basis in periodic, asymptomatic testing should complete the Voluntary Faculty COVID-19 Surveillance Program webform to be enrolled in the program. Eligible faculty must be VU-employed, working on campus and engaged in in-person activities on campus. Participation in the program is confidential, as are test results, except to the extent that information and advice are coordinated by the Public Health Central Command Center.
University leadership, in coordination with the university’s Public Health Central Command Center and public health officials, will monitor COVID-19 test outcomes and trends to determine if changes are needed to campus operations.
Faculty enrolled in the program can test up to once a week. Summer testing hours begin on May 17. The testing center will be open:
- Monday from 7am-3pm
- Tuesday from 7am-1pm
- Wednesday from 7am-1pm
- Thursday from 7am-1pm
The testing center will be closed on Monday, May 31 for Memorial Day.
All faculty testing will occur at the Testing Center at the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center. Faculty can walk in to the Testing Center or elect to use a drive-up testing mechanism established at the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center. All faculty testing is on an opt-in basis.
If you have previously been COVID-19 positive, per CDC guidelines you should not partake in COVID-19 testing for 90 days after the date of your test.
Faculty who are a part of the asymptomatic testing program will be notified of their test results. Faculty who test negative can continue to test up to once a week. Faculty who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate as directed until they are deemed to have recovered and are released to return to on-campus activities. Faculty may also receive an inconclusive test result. Inconclusive test results occur in about 1% of COVID-19 tests taken in an asymptomatic periodic testing program. An inconclusive test typically means that a very small amount of viral DNA is present but not enough to test positive. Faculty will be asked to retest as soon as possible at the testing center during open hours. The retest should show whether individuals were just exposed and mounted a minor viral response that does not develop into full blown infection, resulting in a negative retest result, or whether the original test caught the beginning of the infectious cycle and an increased viral load will be present at the retest resulting in a positive retest result. Directions will come from the Command Center on the proper procedures to take.
Faculty should consider downloading the Safer Community app before visiting the testing center for the first time.
ASYMPTOMATIC CLOSE CONTACTS
The university has also updated its approach to testing of asymptomatic close contacts. Per both VU Return to Campus protocol and CDC guidance, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic persons, 2 days prior to positive test collection) until the time the person is isolated.
If an individual is identified as an asymptomatic close contact, they will now quarantine for a 10-day period. This has been updated from the previous 14-day quarantine period, per CDC guidance, but comes with additional requirements for days 10 to 14.
When the 10-day quarantine period ends, for days 10 to 14 after last exposure, Vanderbilt community members identified as close contacts must not unmask at any time in public, including in dining locations, and must wear their mask even in the presence of those in their residence. Individuals should eat alone or complete any activities alone that require removing a mask in a private space during those four days.
Individuals who have been vaccinated will no longer need to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact and their last exposure to a positive person was later than two weeks after their vaccination (the second of two doses for two-dose vaccines, or the single dose for one-dose vaccines) is complete. The vaccinated person will be exempt from quarantine from the two week mark, ONLY, if they submit their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center. To submit the vaccination record, please visit the following link. A picture or screenshot of the vaccination card, documentation, or an online medical record showing the dates of the vaccine doses will be needed. Email the Command Center at email@example.com if any problems are encountered submitting vaccination information to the system.
If asymptomatic close contacts develop symptoms, they should contact Occupational Health.
POSITIVE CASE AND RECOVERY
Faculty who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate at home* and follow current CDC guidance. To help determine the risk of potential exposure to co-workers and others on campus, as part of the Vanderbilt Public Health Central Command Center, Occupational Health will conduct contact tracing with the individual who has tested positive. Those individuals determined to be a potential close contact will be given the name of the individual who tested positive so that their risk can be further assessed. Occupational Health may contact the supervisor/mentor/department chair if further contact tracing information for the COVID-19 positive individual is needed; however, the actual test result (and any other protected health information) will not be disclosed. For more information on contact tracing, please visit the contact tracing page.
Individuals who are defined as a close contact to a COVID-19 positive person are entered into Occupational Health’s symptom monitoring survey that is completed daily. The objective is to closely monitor each individual to ensure that any signs of infection are addressed early.
Vanderbilt is following CDC’s recommended recovery strategy. If an individual had symptoms and a positive COVID-19 test, recovery status (and clearance to return to campus/work) is assigned when: 1) the individual remains fever free without the use of fever reducers for 24 hours, 2) symptoms have improved, and 3) it has been at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared. If the individual tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms, the individual can be cleared to return to campus 10 days after the test as long as the individual does not develop symptoms. If the individual develops symptoms, then the individual must follow the recovery strategy for those with symptoms. Notification for return to on-campus activities is directed through Occupational Health.
*On-campus residential faculty will receive separate guidance from the Office of Academic Affairs and Residential Faculty.
COVID-19 SCENARIOS FOR FACULTY
I HAVE SYMPTOMS
STAY HOME: Notify Occupational Health Center (OHC) for assessment and testing. Notify department chair and/or lead researcher.
PAUSE: Stay off campus and quarantine while awaiting test result.
ALL CLEAR: My test is negative so I can return to campus as long as I am not a close contact.
I HAVE A COVID-19 POSITIVE TEST RESULT
STAY HOME: Notify OHC and fill out Public Health Central Command Center (Command Center) webform on the Return to Campus website. Notify department chair and/or lead researcher. Complete contact tracing with OHC as soon as possible.
PAUSE: Remain off campus for isolation period, usually 10 days but length can vary.
ALL CLEAR: I completed isolation and can return to campus when released by OHC.
I AM A CLOSE CONTACT
STAY HOME: Complete Command Center webform on the Return to Campus website. Notify department chair and/or lead researcher.
PAUSE: Remain off campus for quarantine period, usually 14 days after last contact but length can vary.
ALL CLEAR: I completed quarantine and can return to campus when released by OHC or Command Center as applicable.
To mitigate the risk to others of potential exposure and to protect all on campus as much as possible, a Vanderbilt Public Health Central Command Center (the Command Center) has been established to manage contact tracing and notifications across VU communities. This Vanderbilt Command Center is a collaboration between the Nurse Faculty Practice Division in the School of Nursing, the Vanderbilt Student Health Center (SHC) and the Vanderbilt Occupational Health Center (OHC), and it will conduct contact tracing with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. By launching this robust in-house contact tracing capability, developed in collaboration with experts at VUMC, VUSN and Metro Public Health, Vanderbilt ensures coordinated contact tracing between campus and the Nashville community that is as timely as possible.
Faculty, staff, postdocs and students who live off campus and test positive for COVID-19 must isolate at their home/current residence and follow current CDC guidance as directed until they have recovered. Residential students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate as directed by the Dean of Students until they have recovered.
Contact tracing generally works as follows:
- If an individual develops symptoms and is awaiting a COVID-19 test, receives a positive COVID-19 test result, or is identified as a close contact by contact tracers, then the individual stays home (or in the case of residential students, goes to quarantine space as directed by Dean of Students) until released.
- When a positive COVID-19 test result is identified, a contact tracer will be assigned immediately to the case. The contact tracer will interview the individual and identify all contacts. Close contacts are defined specifically as noted below. Close contacts are entered into a database and notified by phone and email. Information on how to proceed is relayed to each individual who is a close contact, as well as to the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) director.
- The EHS director will coordinate information among entities and activate support from the Office of the General Counsel, Dean of Students, Human Resources, Facilities/Disinfection, VEHS, and Communications.
- The contact tracer will relay information about any non-VU close contacts to the Metro Public Health department.
Please note that during this process the name of the index case will be disclosed to possible contacts, but protected health information will not be disclosed.
Per both VU Return to Campus protocol and CDC guidance, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic persons, 2 days prior to positive test collection) until the time the person is isolated.
Things to Remember:
- Incidental exposure such as walking by someone in the hallway, using the same equipment or the same area/room is not close contact.
- Surface contamination is not a primary pathway of concern per the CDC. Public areas will be frequently disinfected by Facilities/Plant Operations.
Immunity eligibility for students
In the Return to Campus Acknowledgement, students agree to cooperate with Vanderbilt and public health officials’ contact tracing efforts. Students are expected to be forthcoming and honest when providing information to contact tracers. A student who provides information about their prior possession or use of alcohol or other drugs and any resulting intoxication, or prior violation of Vanderbilt’s COVID-19 protocols, during contact tracing will be eligible for immunity from disciplinary action in order to facilitate accurate information reporting. Similarly, a student who provides information in a Title IX investigation about their prior possession or use of alcohol or other drugs and any resulting intoxication or prior violation of Vanderbilt’s COVID-19 protocols, will be eligible for immunity from disciplinary action in order to facilitate accurate information reporting during the investigation. On the other hand, failure to be truthful and forthcoming during contact tracing will result in disciplinary action.
POSITIVE CASE / CLOSE CONTACT WEBFORM
Members of the Vanderbilt community who have received a COVID-19 positive test result or were informed they are a close contact outside of the VUMC system (e.g. Metro Public Health or another public health entity), should complete the following webform*. The webform goes directly to the Command Center to ensure confidentiality and someone will follow-up with you as soon as possible.
Test results of individuals tested by VUMC (Student Health or Occupational Health) or VU’s periodic on-campus testing program also known as “surveillance” testing) are routed automatically.
Individuals will receive direct communication from the Command Center about their isolation (if they tested positive) or quarantine period (if considered a close contact) and will be instructed to contact Student Health or Occupational Health if they develop symptoms.
VACCINATION RECORD SUBMITTAL
Members of the Vanderbilt community can submit their vaccination record at the following link. A picture or screenshot of the vaccination card, documentation, or an online medical record showing the dates of the vaccine doses will be needed. Email the Command Center at firstname.lastname@example.org if any problems are encountered submitting vaccination information to the system.
PUBLIC HEALTH CENTRAL COMMAND CENTER
The Vanderbilt Public Health Central Command Center (Command Center) is a collaboration between the Nurse Faculty Practice Division in the School of Nursing, Division of Administration, Office of the Provost, Vanderbilt Student Health Center (SHC) and Vanderbilt Occupational Health Center (OHC). The Command Center provides support and coordination for university testing strategies. As a part of these efforts, the Command Center conducts contact tracing with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. Along with contact tracing, the Command Center coordinates with supervisors, mentors, leadership and other community members as positive individuals and close contacts are identified, providing support for the workplace, and living and learning communities.
By launching these robust in-house contact tracing, coordination and support capabilities, Vanderbilt has established an organizational and case management structure to ensure timely coordination to protect and support the health and safety of the campus and Nashville community.
To read more about how contact tracing works, please visit the contact tracing page.
Campus-wide approaches to safety and the practice of mask wearing and physical distancing are important as individuals can be without symptoms and still be COVID-19 positive. Individuals who have been authorized to return to campus must also conduct symptom monitoring every day before coming to campus. It is our shared duty as a community to act responsibly. All individuals must be free of ANY symptoms related to COVID-19 to be on campus or participate in activities on campus.
According to the CDC, symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. These symptoms or combinations of symptoms include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Reporting symptoms in a symptom assessment tool is not mandatory. If an individual has symptoms, they should seek assessment at Occupational Health or with their preferred physician.
Health and Safety
Consistent with our student vaccine requirement, all Vanderbilt University-employed faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 for the 2021–22 academic school year.
Faculty vaccination requirement
All full-time and part-time Vanderbilt University-employed faculty are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for the 2021–22 academic school year. All faculty, including those who received their vaccine from Occupational Health, VUMC or a VUMC clinic, must submit their vaccination record using the vaccine tracker submission form by July 31.
Faculty who seek an exemption from the vaccination requirement as a medical or religious accommodation must submit a request for accommodation to the Equal Opportunity and Access office as soon as possible. To support timely processing, accommodation requests should be submitted by June 15.
Faculty who have not submitted confirmation of vaccination and who do not have an approved or in-process request for exemption/accommodation by July 31 will be subject to appropriate Faculty Manual processes, including disciplinary actions.
Staff and postdoctoral fellow vaccination requirement
All Vanderbilt University-employed staff—which includes full time, part time, flex and temporary—and all VU-employed postdocs are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for the 2021–22 academic school year. Staff and postdocs, including those who received their vaccine from Occupational Health, VUMC or a VUMC clinic, must submit their vaccination record using the vaccine tracker submission form by July 31. This requirement applies regardless of whether staff are working on campus or remotely, now or in the future.
Staff and postdocs who decide to seek an exemption from the vaccination requirement as a medical or religious accommodation must submit a request for accommodation to the Equal Opportunity and Access office as soon as possible. To support timely processing, accommodation requests should be submitted by June 15.
Vaccination and submission of vaccination records (or an approved or in-process request for accommodation) by July 31 for staff and postdocs is a condition of employment. Supervisors will be notified of those not in compliance, and the university will take appropriate disciplinary action, which will include termination of employment.
Until the deadline by which all staff, faculty and postdocs must be vaccinated (or have an approved exemption/accommodation), staff and faculty who have not yet been vaccinated should continue following CDC guidance for individuals not fully vaccinated, which includes continued masking and physical distancing from others at all times when indoors—and masking when outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective at preventing infection by the virus, and experts believe getting the vaccine prevents serious illness and reduces potential transmission to others even if you do get infected. The rapid development and expansion of the vaccine is an unprecedented achievement in the history of medicine and is one in which scientists and clinicians at Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center played leading roles. This underscores the power of our university’s relentless pursuit of innovation and our mission to be of service to our community.
Faculty, staff and postdocs who have not yet received their vaccination may visit the free walk-up vaccination clinics taking place on campus in June and July or may find a vaccination site elsewhere in the community.
The on-campus clinics are scheduled for June 9 and 16, 2–4 p.m. at the School of Nursing and June 10 and 17, 7–9 a.m. at the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center for first doses. Second doses are scheduled for July 7 and 14, 2–4 p.m. at the School of Nursing and July 8 and 15, 7–9 a.m. at the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center.
Which vaccines are approved?
All World Health Organization-authorized vaccines are acceptable; Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson are included.
I received a vaccine, but it is not WHO approved. What should I do?
The university is accepting all World Health Organization authorized vaccines. The WHO continues to update decisions on vaccines routinely. We would recommend reviewing the WHO website for information regarding the vaccine you received and if it’s to be approved in the future. If the vaccine you have received may be approved soon, we would recommend waiting to submit your records until such time. Once approved, the vaccine tracker portal will include an option for that vaccine. If the vaccine you have received will not be approved in advance of the vaccine submittal deadline, we would recommend getting a WHO approved vaccine wherever you are located.
Am I required to get vaccinated if I’ve had COVID-19?
Yes. In line with CDC recommendations, Vanderbilt University requires all faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows to be vaccinated, including those who have previously tested positive for COVID-19.
I received my vaccination at VUMC/Student Health/Occupational Health, do I need to submit my record to VU?
Yes, you will still need to submit your record to the university even if you received your vaccination at Student Health, Occupational Health, VUMC or a VUMC clinic. VUMC (which includes Student Health and Occupational Health) does not automatically share your medical record with VU.
How do I submit my vaccination record?
Vanderbilt students, faculty, postdoctoral fellows and staff should submit their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center using a password-protected, self-service portal. To submit a vaccination record, please visit the following link.
What is needed to submit a vaccination record? What if I lost my vaccination card?
A picture or screenshot of the vaccination card, documentation, or an online medical record showing the dates of the vaccine doses is needed. If you were vaccinated at VUMC or another medical provider, we can accept a screenshot of your vaccination record in MyHealth at Vanderbilt or from another medical provider’s online system. Otherwise, you will need to contact the location in which you received your vaccine to obtain some form of documentation that shows your name and dates of the vaccine dose(s).
I am having trouble entering my vaccination information into the tracker/system. (Any questions regarding how they can only enter one dose or can’t upload an image, etc.)
Email the Command Center at email@example.com if any problems are encountered submitting vaccination information to the system. Include a picture or screenshot of the vaccination card, documentation, or an online medical record showing the dates of the vaccine doses and they will assist you behind the scenes.
For VUMC employed postdocs, staff or faculty that say they cannot enter their vaccination records into the vaccine portal.
The VU vaccination tracker system only accepts information for those that are VU employees as it is tied to the VU Oracle/SkyVU system. It does not accept information from those that are VUMC employees. For staff and postdoctoral fellows, the vaccination drawing is also only available to those that are VU employees and not VUMC employees. If you are a VU employee and continue to have trouble with the system, please contact the command center at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Questions regarding submitting vaccine information in other languages and whether that is allowed
A picture or screenshot of the vaccination card, documentation, or an online medical record showing the dates of the vaccine doses is needed. Individuals can submit official documentation of the vaccination in whatever form provided in their country as long as it shows the person’s name clearly in English, the manufacturer and date of each vaccine dose. While records in English are preferred, the Command Center will accept other languages as long as the name is in English and it clearly shows the manufacturer and date of each dose.
Do I need to test in the asymptomatic testing program if vaccinated? (FOR SUMMER 2021 TESTING)
Individuals who have been vaccinated are exempted from the summer testing program beginning two weeks after their vaccination series is complete or two weeks after the single dose for single dose versions — ONLY if the person submits their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center. To submit the vaccination record, please visit the following link. A picture or screenshot of the vaccination card, documentation, or an online medical record showing the dates of the vaccine doses is needed. Email the Command Center at email@example.com if any problems are encountered submitting vaccination information to the system. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear a mask and main physical distancing from others at all times when indoors – and when outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained. This is the case even if the individual is participating in the asymptomatic testing program this summer.
Do I need to quarantine as a close contact if I have been vaccinated?
Individuals who have been vaccinated will no longer need to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact and their last exposure to a positive person was later than two weeks after their vaccination (the second of two doses for two-dose vaccines, or the single dose for one-dose vaccines) is complete. The vaccinated person is exempt from quarantine from the two week mark ONLY if they submit their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center. To submit the vaccination record, please visit the following link. A picture or screenshot of the vaccination card, documentation, or an online medical record showing the dates of the vaccine doses is needed. Email the Command Center at firstname.lastname@example.org if any problems are encountered submitting vaccination information to the system.
What is the deadline for submitting my vaccine record?
The deadline for faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows to submit their full vaccination record is July 31, 2021.
What will happen if I do not submit my vaccination record?
Vaccination and submission of vaccination records (or an approved or in-process request for accommodation) by July 31 for staff and postdocs is a condition of employment. Supervisors will be notified of those not in compliance, and you will be subject to termination of employment.
Faculty who have not submitted confirmation of vaccination and who do not have an approved or in-process request for exemption/accommodation by July 31 will be subject to appropriate Faculty Manual processes including disciplinary actions.
I work off campus (am remote). Do I need to meet the requirement?
This requirement applies regardless of whether staff are working on campus or remotely, now or in the future and/or if you are currently in a leave status.
Can I continue to work from home if I choose not to get vaccinated?
Staff currently working remotely may continue to do so at this time. However, all Vanderbilt University-employed staff, which includes full time, part time, flex, and temporary, are required to be fully vaccinated (or have an approved or in-process request for accommodation) by July 31. This requirement applies regardless of whether staff are working on campus or remotely, now or in the future and/or if you are currently in a leave status. Submission of vaccination records (or an approved or in-process request for accommodation) by July 31 for staff is a condition of employment. Supervisors will be notified of those not in compliance, and you will be subject to termination of employment.
Will new employees have to show a card before they can start?
Proof of full vaccination or an approved accommodation is required before the start of employment in order to work at Vanderbilt University.
How do I submit an accommodation?
Faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows who believe they require an exemption from the vaccination requirement as a medical or religious accommodation must submit a request for accommodation to the Equal Opportunity and Access office.
Following revised CDC recommendations indicating that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or physically distance, we are updating many protocols.
Fully vaccinated people—individuals two weeks past their second dose in a two-dose vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks past their single-dose of Johnson & Johnson—no longer need to wear a face mask/covering in any setting on campus,indoors or outdoors, or maintain physical distancing from other fully vaccinated people.
People who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing from others at all times when indoors—and when outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
The university expects that many members of our campus community will continue to wear face masks/coverings, and the university supports their choice to do so. People who choose to wear masks should not be questioned about them, nor should they be discouraged or prohibited from wearing them.
Faculty and staff who believe they require a workplace accommodation in light of this change in protocol are encouraged to contact the Equal Opportunity and Access office. Students who believe they require an accommodation are encouraged to contact Student Access.
Staff breakrooms and shared eating areas can reopen in keeping with CDC protocols. Those fully vaccinated can eat in shared spaces while those not vaccinated should maintain physical distancing.
The university may issue Shelter in Place Orders to small groups of students who are not positive or identified close contacts, and will require those students to temporarily remain at their residence and switch to online learning for all classes.
The university issues Shelter in Place Orders when it finds, based on the advice of public health experts and assessment of University officials, that developing test results and contact tracing suggest a potential cluster among a concentrated group of students that may present a higher risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission.
If a Shelter in Place Order is issued, the Dean of Students will notify impacted students and provide additional details and instructions.
- Students will be required to sequester in their residence hall room or off-campus residence until the Dean of Students releases them to resume normal activities.
- Students will transition to remote learning during the period they are subject to Shelter in Place Orders and should inform the professor of any in-person courses in which they are enrolled.
- Students on campus will be limited to leaving their rooms to use shared bathrooms and to collect food from central drop-off locations; students off campus may not come to campus, and should only leave sequester for essential activities or as directed by the University, such as testing.
- Students should not invite roommates or others into their room; they should maintain masking even around roommates to prevent potential in-residence spread.
Shelter in Place Orders protect all involved when additional time is needed to complete contact tracing and related analysis to assess the scope of a potential cluster, and are in addition to the isolation and quarantine actions already underway. The university will lift Shelter in Place Orders once the necessary analysis is complete.
Triggers for Return to Online Only
Supporting our students is our utmost priority, and the university is committed to providing options and alternatives that allow all of our students access to a world-renowned education, no matter the instruction mode.
All courses will be prepared to be offered both in person and remotely. This gives us flexibility to adapt to remote instruction only should conditions warrant it.
Vanderbilt University may choose to transition to remote-only learning based on the following:
- Local, state or national shelter-in-place advisories or restrictions that require remote-only learning
- Quarantine and isolation capacity for the residential population
- A surge in cases coupled with increased severity of illness among campus demographic cohorts
- Contact tracing analysis (a surge in cases tied to an event vs. tied to rampant community spread with severe illness may be treated differently, for example)
The decision to begin the semester enrolled in on-campus instruction will be accompanied by an acceptance of responsibility for full payment of tuition, housing costs and relevant fees. No refunds for these costs will be issued if the need to finish the semester fully online arises.
This includes if a student leaves for personal or disciplinary reasons after being on campus, or if the university has to shift to online-only instruction. If the university has to shift to online-only instruction, we hope to be able to allow students to remain in on-campus housing; however, the university reserves the right to require students to vacate campus housing if necessary, including to comply with any applicable government order.
The university may also decide to “pause” in-person classes on a program by program basis for a period of time and move such to virtual/alternative platforms; for example, to allow undergraduate students living on campus to remain in their residence hall rooms. Such a suspension period would also be focused on additional actions to contain any potential spread. The university may also use this approach with specific populations within the University, such as a specific school or program or course, to allow time for additional contact tracing and testing to be conducted.
We know students had many difficult financial and personal decisions to make for the fall semester. To assist with these decisions, we have given students the option to study remotely if it is a better fit for them during this time. We have also allowed upper-division students to choose off-campus housing instead of living in the university’s residential facilities.
In the event of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases that results in a shift to remote learning, Campus Dining will significantly scale back its campus services to match Vanderbilt’s changing needs. Should a ramp down of residential housing occur prior to the scheduled last day of in-person classes (November 20, 2020), Dining will work with Student Accounts on dining adjustments. Meal plan components eligible for adjustments include:
- Meal Money – all unused meal money will be credited in full.
- Meal Plans – Students enrolled in the 21 Plan, 19 Plan, or 14 Plan will receive a credit for the unused portion of their meal plan based on the portion of the term remaining.
The university is using a streamlined process to evaluate an individual’s concerns about how their personal circumstances surrounding COVID-19 may place them at greater risk. That risk may be the result of their own underlying health condition or age, or it may be due to the health condition of a family member for whom the individual provides care. Vanderbilt is taking every appropriate precaution to protect our entire community as we return to campus and classrooms.
Individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk for COVID-19 infection. According to the CDC, people at increased risk include:
- Age 65 years and older
- People with underlying medical conditions
Students coming to campus
Each student will make the decision, based on their personal circumstances, to either return to campus or study remotely. Students should keep in mind that there will be students on campus this fall who may have underlying conditions rendering them more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. It is the responsibility of each community member to fully commit to protecting the Vanderbilt community’s collective health and well-being.
students opting for remote-only instruction
STAFF AND POSTDOC accommodations
Staff and postdocs can submit a request for COVID-related accommodations, and the request will be evaluated based on an individualized assessment of the basis for the request and the requirements of the individual’s professional position. To initiate a request for a COVID-related accommodation, go to the Equal Employment Opportunity homepage on the Vanderbilt University website and select the COVID-19 Accommodation Request image on the right side of the page. Requests should be submitted to EEO as soon as possible to facilitate preparation for fall 2020.
The Roadmap for Reopening Nashville acknowledges higher-risk groups as a specific subpopulation, and Vanderbilt acknowledges that we may need to make special contingency plans for the voluntary return to campus by members of those groups, for example, by allowing members of those groups to continue to work remotely when possible. If members of higher-risk groups return to campus voluntarily even when the Roadmap for Reopening suggests they may be safer at home, we will ask them to acknowledge the risk associated with being on campus.
We all share the goal of protecting, as much as possible, the health and safety of our faculty, their families and all members of our community as we prepare for the start of the fall semester. If you are affected by a situation that increases your health risk (or that of a family member) by your returning to campus, you should submit a Reasonable Accommodation Request Form to the Equal Employment Opportunity Office.
Although medical information is routinely and normally required for the accommodations process, for many of us this is a new experience. It might feel uncomfortable to disclose to the EEO Office personal information about our vulnerabilities or those of our family members. Using the EEO accommodations process is the very best way to ensure your medical information stays separate from those that make decisions about your faculty appointment. The EEO policies and process protect your rights.
The medical details of your request for an accommodation are not a part of your employment history, nor will this medical information ever be shared with your dean. The EEO team, and HR as needed, will keep your personal medical information confidential. The information is only used by the EEO team to evaluate your request for an accommodation and to determine the most appropriate and reasonable accommodation to ensure you are as safe as possible. Your rights, both to privacy and to safety in the workplace, are paramount in this process. If you have any questions at all about how to submit a request, how requests are processed or what resources are available to you, you should reach out to EEO Director Anita Jenious or her staff.
To be clear: The provost and the deans will not have access to your confidential personal medical information.
During this time of uncertainty, Vanderbilt is committed to supporting the overall health and well-being of the entire campus community through resources that offer support, stress management and strategies for resilience across all demographics. Vanderbilt recognizes that COVID-19 has magnified disparities in a number of areas (e.g., housing, technology, finances, access) among and between various populations of students, which can lead to negative effects on personal well–being.
ACADEMIC SUPPORT RESOURCES
Vanderbilt’s Libraries are reopening with card access for the VU community only. The Libraries are following University protocols to enhance safety and promote physical distancing, while delivering excellent services and resources for learning and research. Remote resources and services have been expanded over the course of the last few months as most of the Libraries services will remain remote.
Researchers often need access to original, primary source materials. So far, the library has been able to provide e-texts or scans for 83.2 percent of all requests. The university has invested resources to increase accessibility, and library staff have scanned thousands of items, so that many items that were unavailable previously are now available digitally.
Some library spaces are being used as classrooms, while others are open for individual study—check the Libraries’ webpage for current opening hours.
On the website you will also find tips for using the libraries in “What to Know Before You Visit” and see more information about new services and resources in “Frequently Asked Questions.” Staffing on site has been de-densified, but librarians are fully available via live chat, zoom, email, phone or text. When in doubt, please reach out to our librarians.
The libraries homepage will continue to offer the latest updates to library hours, resources and services.
Learn more about remote teaching, learning and research support available through the Vanderbilt Libraries.
STUDY ROOMS AND OTHER RESOURCES
Central, Science & Engineering and Peabody libraries will be open for undergraduate students living off-campus to use to take their online courses if they need a place on campus. VUID card access is required to enter these buildings. Headphones or earphones will be required when utilizing these spaces. The buildings will open on Aug. 24 and the hours will be:
- Central, Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Peabody, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Science & Engineering, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If more spaces are needed for off-campus student support, updates to students and faculty will be provided through this Return to Campus Update.
In addition, study rooms are available across campus in buildings that include, but are not limited to, libraries. Designated buildings and specific rooms available for study are listed in the searchable chart below and include the room’s capacity. Each room is specifically set up to maintain appropriate physical distance, and students should follow all campus protocols, including wearing a face mask/covering, while using these spaces. Be mindful of following all posted signage, including circulation patterns, and be prepared to change plans in the event a space is at capacity when you arrive.
|Building and Room No.||Capacity|
|Alumni Hall 202||21|
|Alumni Hall 206||17|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 210||4|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 211||18|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 217||18|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 222||40|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 405||6|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 408||45|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 418||76|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 500FA||1|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 500FR||1|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 501||6|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 503||6|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 600FA||1|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 600FR||1|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 602||6|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 605||16|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 612||76|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 612A||16|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 612C||6|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 614||12|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 700FA||1|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 700FR||4|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 701||6|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 703||6|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 800BE||55|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 800FA||8|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 803||12|
|Peabody Library 003||6|
|Peabody Library 004||2|
|Peabody Library 008||36|
|Peabody Library 009||2|
|Peabody Library 010||2|
|Peabody Library 011||1|
|Peabody Library 013||1|
|Peabody Library 014||2|
|Peabody Library 108||4|
|Peabody Library 120||32|
|Peabody Library 202||6|
|Peabody Library 204||76|
|Peabody Library 302||4|
|Peabody Library 304||15|
|Peabody Library 305||6|
|Sarratt Student Center 112||6|
|Sarratt Student Center 115||15|
|Sarratt Student Center 189||14|
|Sarratt Student Center 220||22|
|Sarratt Student Center 361||6|
|Sarratt Student Center 363||6|
|Stevenson 3 (Library) 212||3|
|Stevenson 3 (Library) 238||9|
|Sony Building A1076||35|
STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS SUPPORT
To address this reality, we are enhancing support for our students’ health and well-being through a collaboration with the Nurse Faculty Practice Division in the School of Nursing, which will provide counseling for any students who are in quarantine and isolation. We are also providing new tele-health options and additional programming through the Student Care Network, a holistic network of wellness services and resources available to all Vanderbilt students.
The University Counseling Center provides students with access to professionals who have experience helping specific identity groups. The Provost’s Office for Inclusive Excellence, through its identity centers and identity initiatives, will also continue its commitment to fostering a safe and welcoming community that is inclusive and respectful of differences. Inclusive Excellence is launching identity initiatives this academic year to support international students as well as first-generation students.
Parents and students with questions can call a new dedicated hotline at 615-322-4357 for any question related to the fall. Vanderbilt has expanded capacity to take these calls, and, from this line, calls will be routed to the right unit as/if needed.
Student Care Network will:
- Provide clinical mental health and psychiatric services, well-being and academic coaching, care coordination and follow-up, and other health and wellness services
- Provide access to counselors with expertise for specific identity groups
- Enhance staffing and training
- Increase tele-health/self-directed app options
- Implement targeted programming
- Re-formulate “drop-in” services
- Revise collaborative follow-up models
- Continue financial assistance
- Support virtual community-building efforts
ADDITIONAL CAMPUS SUPPORT
An updated list of the available student services and resources for both our remote student population and for those students who remain on campus is available on the Student Care Network website.
- Office of Housing and Residential Experience
- Campus Connection Program: Launching in late July
- Student Care Network
- Public Health AmbassaDore Program
- Student Access Services
- Office of Inclusive Excellence
- International Student & Scholar Services
We are also offering a dedicated helpline to help answer your questions at 615-322-4357. The help line will be staffed by counselors between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CDT, Monday through Friday.
Faculty, Staff and Postdoc SUPPORT
Vanderbilt is committed to supporting your overall health and well-being. Faculty, staff and postdocs should visit the Vanderbilt health and wellness website for more information and resources that offer support, help manage stress and enhance your resilience.
Vanderbilt community members with children SUPPORT
For parents in the Vanderbilt community who are managing both work and home responsibilities, there are specific university resources available for support.
The Vanderbilt Child and Family Center has a number of resources ranging from family life to baby’s best start to backup care. The center continues to seek input on what working parents need to create pathways to these resources. Two examples that grew out of parents’ expressed interest are:
- The Vanderbilt Caregivers Network online forums continue to be a resource to help facilitate and support collaboration.
- The Art Adventures Enrichment Program was created for children in kindergarten through fifth grade to provide Vanderbilt University parents with respite two to three days per week.The Vanderbilt Child and Family Center has announced that it will extend its Art Adventures Enrichment Program through Dec. 18 to continue to support Vanderbilt University community members with children in kindergarten through fifth grade.The extension comes in response to an announcement from Metro Nashville Public Schools that all Metro students are likely to return to remote learning after the Thanksgiving break due to rising COVID rates.Starting Nov. 30, Art Adventures will be offered Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with the exclusion of university holidays.
The Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center has a number of support initiatives and programming, including three parent groups which are open to parents of all genders. The Parenting Group is for parents and caregivers and meets once each month. Each meeting focuses on a specific topic, with an invited discussion leader. Last month the group connected with Jessika Boles, a Child Life Team Lead at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, who explained how to talk to kids about COVID-19. Pandemic Parenting is a subset of the Parenting Group and meets Oct. 22 and Dec. 4. The Single Parent Group meets once a month. As a support group, the meetings are unprogrammed and offer a space for single parents of all genders to seek help from other parents while a member of the Employee Assistance Program joins.
The Women’s Center also hosts monthly Work-Life Workshops that cover a range of professional development and self-care topics. Future sessions for this fall will focus on mentorship and isms in the workplace. The Women in the Academy series, aimed at graduate students and postdocs but open to all, will have sessions focusing on trust and boundaries in the classroom, parenting and the academy, and interviewing in a virtual world. The monthly Kitchen Table Series is an undergraduate student-run discussion series that addresses a range of gender-related topics, with the Nov. 17 session focusing on women’s roles in the pandemic.
In addition, please be sure to consider our many existing resources, including the support for remote work and employee engagement recently announced by Human Resources, along with the HR Guide to Supporting Leaders and Staff, which encourages flexibility with staff work schedules. For staff, as always, we encourage you to talk to your supervisor or your HR consultant if you have any questions about your particular situation. For faculty, we encourage you to reach out to your department chair or dean. For students and postdocs, we encourage you to talk with your mentor and dean’s office.
Policies and Compliance
Vanderbilt is utilizing software and tools to manage the Return to Campus response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The central repository for data will be housed on secure Vanderbilt servers. Special purpose software, Mazikcare, will be fed data from existing university systems as well as from the Public Health Central Command Center (“Command Center”). Along with the data feeds from existing university systems, the Command Center will enter data from Student Health, Occupational Health, results from the university’s COVID-19 testing program (which are made available to the Command Center through a secure web portal), and its own Contact Tracers (collectively “COVID-19 Data”) in an effort to improve safety on campus.
This Privacy Q&A is designed to inform you about how Vanderbilt collects and uses information provided when you or the Command Center use the COVID-19 Data and how Vanderbilt processes your personal information.
How Do We Use Your Information?
Vanderbilt has a legitimate interest in processing your data in order to better ensure the safety of the Vanderbilt community by aggregation and analysis of the data provided by or about each individual community member. The Command Center and other campus partners may use the COVID-19 Data to identify (for example through use of the VandySafe symptom checker) and respond to positive cases, to identify Close Contacts, and to manage quarantine and isolation. Privacy by design principles are imbedded in this process. Information is shared only to the extent necessary to address the risk to a particular individual and to community members with whom the individual may have come in contact.
Who Has Access to Your Information?
Vanderbilt’s guiding principle in the use of this data is to only permit access data to those with an absolute need to know the information. The data is only accessible by Contact Tracers, the Command Center staff and a limited technical support team with explicit permission to access the data and only with the controls of single sign-on and multi factor authentication. These individuals may share individual community members’ information with others (including those with a need to know such as, the Dean of Students, Staff supervisors, PIs, Building managers, et. al.) but only to the extent necessary. This data is only being utilized to ensure a safe campus environment. Vanderbilt does not share your information with third parties for any commercial purpose. (The data stored in the Mazikcare application is not accessible to anybody outside of Vanderbilt’s authorized users.)
How Long Does Vanderbilt Keep Your Information?
Vanderbilt will practice data minimization and only retain your information for as long as necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Does Vanderbilt Protect Your Information?
Vanderbilt takes very seriously its obligation to protect the confidentiality of your personal information and use of such information complies with applicable privacy laws including HIPAA and FERPA as well as non-discrimination laws including the ADA and the FMLA. In addition, Vanderbilt uses a combination of process, technology and physical security controls to help protect your information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. The Mazikcare application, which is the technological hub of Vanderbilt’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is behind the single sign-on. A redundant security control for Mazikcare application is multi-factor authentication. Authorized users are bound by agreement to keep confidential all personal information which they access. These authorized uses have received training specific to their roles including training on privacy (including applicable privacy laws) and cybersecurity.
Vanderbilt’s Return to Campus Plan follows a phased and data-driven approach and considers the city of Nashville’s phases, adapting them to be applicable to a college campus.
Compliance serves as an important aspect of the Return to Campus Plan, reminding campus community members of their responsibilities in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19. With the understanding that campus life will look very different with compliance in place, guidelines have been developed to promote the health and safety of the campus community as much as possible.
Students, faculty, staff and postdocs will be expected to comply with all university policies and protocols designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection and promote the health and safety of the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities.
Any intentional, significant, pervasive, or repeated violations of COVID-19 policies and protocols, including requirements related to face mask/coverings, physical distancing, travel, and the maximum gathering size, will be addressed through the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity.
The potential campus-wide impact of violating the University’s Gatherings policy, either on- or off- campus is severe. The presumptive sanction applied by Student Accountability if a student is found responsible for hosting a gathering that violates the policy will be suspension for a minimum of one semester; a first sanction may be as severe as expulsion, depending on the nature of and circumstances surrounding the violation. Attending, participating in or otherwise supporting, and/or concealing a gathering that violates the policy may also result in suspension or expulsion for a first offense. Additionally, failure to comply with the Gatherings policy may result in a restriction from campus for the remainder of the academic year.
Students also should take note of Nashville’s guidelines surrounding gatherings. Failure to comply with the city’s public health emergency orders can result in criminal penalties.
The Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity may also implement interim restrictions while students await the formal student accountability process if the university has sufficient evidence to conclude that the reported behavior presents a threat to the health and safety of our university community. Those interim restrictions may include but are not limited to: requiring students to sequester in their residence hall room or off-campus accommodation or elsewhere; prohibiting students from attending in-person classes or activities; restricting student access to university buildings; requiring COVID-19 testing.
Students living on-campus who are suspended or expelled for violating COVID-19 policies and protocols will be required to vacate the residence hall. No refund for tuition, housing costs, or relevant fees will be issued.
The Vanderbilt Faculty Manual provides that faculty may be disciplined for violations of the university’s standards of conduct. The process for reaching a decision to discipline a faculty member is overseen by the dean in consultation with the provost.
The university’s progressive discipline policy states that a staff member can be disciplined for violations of protocols and procedures governing safety. The policy outlines a process for correcting single and repeat episodes of employee failure to comply with rules. Safety violations will be handled under this process.
- Office of Faculty Affairs – Information and resources for faculty on adaptive learning
- Vanderbilt Libraries – Enhanced support for faculty for remote and hybrid teaching
- Equal Employment Opportunity Office – Information about how faculty and staff can request COVID-related accommodations
- Research Ramp-up Protocols – Information about on-campus research
- Information about how faculty not currently working on campus can return to campus in the Vanderbilt Return to Campus Plan
- Pandemic Travel Guidance