Graduate and Professional Students
After close consultation with experts at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, our School of Nursing, and national, state and local public health officials, we are proud to welcome students to campus for in-person studies. We are committed to providing a robust educational experience for all of our students.
At Vanderbilt, connections and collaborative relationships push our scholarship, research, leadership and creative expression even further. The graduate and professional student experience at Vanderbilt not only allows students to connect with faculty experts in their chosen field, but also develop friendships and professional networks with their fellow students.
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COVID-19 Exposure and Wellness
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 requiring quarantine 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.
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 from an entity other than Student Health or Occupational Health, regardless of vaccination status, should complete the following webform. This includes those who utilize a VUMC walk in clinic other than Student Health or Occupational Health. The webform goes directly to the Command Center to ensure confidentiality.
Test results of individuals tested by Student Health and Occupational Health are routed automatically.
Individuals will receive 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 Submission
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.
Vaccine distribution is managed by each state, and in Tennessee, the state’s plan is coordinated by the Tennessee Department of Health in cooperation with each county health department.
Vanderbilt students can contact Student Health to schedule a vaccine if interested. Faculty, staff and post docs who are VUMC patients can obtain a vaccine at VUMC and should contact their primary care physician, can schedule through the myHealth app and/or find more information here. Individuals can also look into options to be vaccinated in the local Nashville community.
Submit Your Vaccination Record
Vanderbilt students, faculty, postdoctoral fellows and staff can submit their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center using a password-protected, self-service portal. These records will be maintained and treated as confidential by the command center. 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.
Click on the vaccine tracker/submission form. (You will be asked to upload a copy of your vaccination card.)
- Tennessee Department of Health – COVID-19 Vaccines
- Metro Public Health Department – Nashville/Davidson County
- Vanderbilt University Medical Center Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Employees and Patients
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 and is unvaccinated, 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 tracing survey will be sent to the individual who tested positive. The individual who is positive must complete the survey which determines all of the necessary information for contact tracing. A contact tracer will review the information submitted and contact the individual who is positive if further information is required.
- Vaccinated close contacts will receive notification and instructions by email.
- Unvaccinated close contacts will be called by a contact tracer, interviewed and given instructions for quarantine.
- 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 Vanderbilt 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.
Members of the Vanderbilt community who have received a COVID-19 positive test result from an entity other than Student Health or Occupational Health, regardless of vaccination status, should complete the following webform. More information can be found on the Command Center FAQ.
Individuals will receive direct communication from the Command Center about their isolation. If you have a positive test result:
- You remain in isolation for 5 days after your symptoms started or tested positive, whichever came first. You can return to campus activities after 5 days of isolation if symptoms have improved or you remain asymptomatic.
- You are required to monitor symptoms and wear a tight-fitting mask for 5 additional days.
- If living on-campus, email firstname.lastname@example.org for isolation housing instructions.
Members of the Vanderbilt community who have been informed they are a close contact from sources external from the university, regardless of vaccination status, should complete the following webform. More information can be found on the Command Center FAQ.
If you are a close contact:
- You should continue participating in on-campus activities provided you are vaccinated and do not have COVID-19 symptoms. You must monitor symptoms and wear a tight-fitting mask at all times for 10 days.
- If you are unvaccinated, then you should quarantine for 5 days from the last exposure to the positive person and we recommend you test at day 5.
If you develop any covid symptoms, you should get tested as soon as possible and shelter in place until you get a negative test result. For more information on testing, please visit the COVID-19 Testing FAQ.
Officials with the university’s Public Health Central Command Center will continue to make determinations of quarantine periods for unvaccinated close contacts. Close contacts who reside on-campus and need to quarantine will move to quarantine housing. Close contacts who reside off-campus and need to quarantine will quarantine at their residences.
Students in quarantine and isolation should contact their instructors to discuss a plan to access class material and make up missed work. Faculty will work with students as they do other times when a student misses class due to a medical condition.
Immunity eligibility for students
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.
As of May 16, 2022, the VU COVID-19 Testing Center at David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center will close operations for the summer. Testing options available for the Vanderbilt community are outlined below.
COVID-19 Testing Information
Symptomatic testing is available at the following locations:
- Student Health is open Mondays to Fridays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for students. Travel testing for students is also available through SHC. Please consult their website for more information.
- Occupational Health Express Care is open Mondays to Fridays 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for VU faculty, staff or postdocs. Location is Suite 112 on the 1st Floor of the Medical Arts Building. Work-related travel testing is also available at OHC; contact OHC for information.
- Vanderbilt Health Walk-In Clinics noted here and the Vanderbilt Health Clinics at Walgreens noted here offer COVID-19 testing.
- More information on testing options through VUMC can be found here.
Individuals who need tests for personal travel or would like to seek testing options outside of Vanderbilt have the following options:
- Metro-Nashville has testing locations open.
- In addition, there are additional testing sites in Tennessee and Kentucky.
Free rapid antigen at-home kits are available for the Vanderbilt community (students, faculty, staff, post-docs) for pick-up at the following location on campus:
- Sarratt 310: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays.
Rapid tests that you can do at home may also be available at retail locations and are partially-covered by Vanderbilt insurance.
Testing Protocols & Reporting Test Results
As of May 16, 2022, asymptomatic testing requirements for Vanderbilt community members are suspended. Individuals who are unvaccinated are no longer required to test twice a week. Individuals who are identified as close contacts or would like to periodically test asymptomatically, can pick up rapid antigen tests as outlined above. Individuals with symptoms should test at SHC, OHC, VUMC or their medical provider. Testing protocols will continually be evaluated based on trends in positivity rate and case counts and are subject to change.
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 outside of Student Health or Occupation Health, must report their positive test result to the Vanderbilt Command Center. Individuals should immediately notify the Vanderbilt Command Center through this webform.
Symptomatic Individuals Waiting on Test Results
A student who lives on campus awaiting test results from symptomatic testing should shelter in place in their room. Students who live off campus should remain at home off campus minimizing exposure to others and keep their instructors/department chair/supervisor/mentor/lead researcher informed of their return-to-campus status. Once a negative test result is received, the student should return to campus work, research, classes, and other activities. If a positive test result is received and the student tested at a facility other than Student Health, then the individual should remain in quarantine and immediately notify the Vanderbilt Command Center through this webform. If the student lives on campus, then they should also immediately notify email@example.com.
Faculty, staff and post-docs awaiting test results from symptomatic testing should remain at home, off campus minimizing exposure to others and keep their department chair/supervisor/mentor/lead researcher informed of their return-to-campus status. Once a negative test result is received, the individual should return to campus work, research, classes, and other activities. If a positive test result is received, then the individual should remain off campus and immediately notify the Vanderbilt Command Center through this webform.
Masking and Physical Distancing
Vanderbilt University will lift its temporary masking requirement beginning Friday, June 24, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lowered Davidson County’s COVID community level to “medium.”
Throughout the pandemic, the university has followed the latest scientific updates and developed its plans in close consultation with experts at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, as well as national, state and local public health officials.
In the medium level, the CDC recommends:
- If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions
- Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
- Get tested if you have symptoms
Gatherings and Activities
Gathering size limits are lifted for gatherings. Outdoor areas should be used as community gathering spaces whenever possible. Indoor gatherings may occur at up to the full capacity of a given indoor space, including work, classroom and research spaces.
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.
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