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Health and Safety

 

Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19.

In the face of extreme challenges, our community is resilient. Our students and faculty and staff have stepped up. We adapt. We innovate. We lift each other up. That’s who we are. And we’re not done yet.

Our community and our world need us now more than ever. They need our desire for knowledge. Our tenacity to solve problems. They need our compassion and our care. We are willing to sacrifice for the greater good, to step up and put “we” before “me.” That’s the Vanderbilt Way.

It’s up to each of us to help protect our community. Anchor Down. Step Up. Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19.

YOUR COMMITMENT: MASK UP. BACK UP. WASH UP. CHECK UP.


Find answers to the most asked questions about Return to Campus

For example, type in “move” or “mask” in the search box. The list will filter to show only items that mention those keywords.

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

 

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. The Command Center will communicate with the individual throughout their isolation or quarantine period to monitor any symptoms that develop and ensure they are well-supported.

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. To read more about COVID-19 testing strategies, please visit the undergraduate student testing pagegraduate and professional student testing pagefaculty testing page, staff testing page, or postdoc testing 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
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

A symptom assessment tool has been created within the existing VandySafe app for daily self-monitoring.  You can also access the symptom assessment tool at: http://vu.edu/symptoms. Entering symptoms in the symptom assessment tool is recommended for faculty, staff and post-docs coming to campus (those working remotely do NOT need to enter symptoms in the symptom monitoring tool).

Please note that this symptom assessment tool is to determine if you meet criteria for a medical evaluation for COVID-19.  If you have an underlying medical disease or an ongoing chronic condition that has similar symptoms to COVID-19, then you do not need to record this if your symptoms are unchanged. **Please only record symptoms that are new or worsening in the daily symptom monitoring tool.**

New features of the VandySafe app include:

  • Self-Assessment Tool: users are provided recommended actions based on answers to a series of guided questions
  • Return to Campus Plan
  • Vanderbilt University COVID-19 Updates
  • Report a Concern
  • Support Services

If faculty, staff or postdocs develop new/worsening symptoms, they must call the Vanderbilt Occupational Health Clinic and notify their supervisor/mentor/department chair that they are reviewing their health status prior to the start of any scheduled work period or time on campus; Occupational Health will instruct the individual on appropriate next steps. For staff, time spent in dialogue with Occupational Health is not considered working time.

VandySafe Symptom Monitoring FAQ

How do I login to complete my symptom assessment?

To login to complete your daily symptom assessment, you will use your Vanderbilt email address and password. If you need to reset or change your password, visit the VUIT website for assistance.

Duo multi-factor authentication (MFA) is also required to access the application. Instructions on how to download and enroll in Duo are available on the VUIT website.

What do I do after I log in?

Once on the main menu, tap the ‘hamburger’ icon in the upper left-hand corner and tap ‘Symptom Assessment.’ Then, tap ‘Add Another Assessment’ and follow the prompts.

 

I am receiving a message asking me to “Authenticate.” What do I do?

The following message appears for iPhone users when the application tries to open in Safari:

Go to settings, locate and select Safari, scroll down to Privacy & Security, and toggle off “Private Cross-Site Tracking”. This should allow you to launch the web page.

What do I do if I am experiencing issues with the app?

If you are experiencing technical issues with the application, please email help.backtoschool@vanderbilt.edu between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for assistance.

What if I do not have a cell phone to do the symptom assessment?

You can also access the symptom assessment by going to vu.edu/symptoms from a computer or laptop.

What if I am having issues connecting to the wireless network VUNET?

VUIT updated the wireless networks in early July. Personal smart devices, such as smart phones and tablets or other non-Vanderbilt issued devices, will need to be onboarded to the network by the user. You can onboard your devices by visiting wifi.vanderbilt.edu, clicking “I have a VUnetID,” and selecting “Connect laptop, tablet or smartphone.” It is not required to be on campus to complete this process. For more information about Vanderbilt Wi-Fi networks, visit wifi.vanderbilt.edu.

Why do I have to complete a daily symptom assessment? 

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 the individual’s responsibility to comply. 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.

What should I do if I am experiencing new/worsening symptoms?

If you are faculty, staff, or a postdoc, call Occupational Health .

What if I currently have symptoms from a chronic condition that are similar to COVID-19 symptoms?

This symptom assessment is to determine if you meet criteria for a medical evaluation for COVID-19. If you have an underlying medical disease or an ongoing chronic condition that has similar symptoms to COVID-19, then you do not need to record this if your symptoms are unchanged. Please only record symptoms that are new or worsening in the daily symptom monitoring tool.

What do I do if I accidentally entered symptoms in the app that were incorrect and need the app cleared?  What if I was sick and have talked to Student Health and have been cleared?

Please email help.backtoschool@vanderbilt.edu between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for assistance and they will clear the app for you.

Campuswide approaches to safety and the practice of physical distancing are important because individuals can be without symptoms and still be COVID-19 positive. Individuals who have been authorized to return to campus must conduct symptom monitoring every day before coming to campus or leaving their residence hall room. Daily symptom monitoring is mandatory for students coming to/living on campus (remote only students do NOT need to enter symptoms in the symptom assessment tool) and it is the individual’s responsibility to comply. It is our shared duty as a community to act responsibly. A student who does not live in Vanderbilt housing must be free of ANY symptoms related to COVID-19 to be on campus or participate in activities on campus. A student who lives on campus must be free of ANY symptoms related to COVID-19 to 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
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

A symptom assessment tool has been created within the existing VandySafe app for daily self-monitoring. You can also access the symptom assessment tool at: http://vu.edu/symptoms. The use of this tool is mandatory for students coming to/living on campus (remote only students do NOT need to enter symptoms in the symptom assessment tool) beginning August 10 to prepare for campus arrival. In the event that symptoms are accidentally entered in the app incorrectly or a student has been cleared by student, or if you are experiencing any technical issues, please email help.backtoschool@vanderbilt.edu between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for assistance.

Please note that this symptom assessment tool is to determine if you meet criteria for a medical evaluation for COVID-19.  If you have an underlying medical disease or an ongoing chronic condition that has similar symptoms to COVID-19, then you do not need to record this if your symptoms are unchanged. **Please only record symptoms that are new or worsening in the daily symptom monitoring tool.**

New features of the VandySafe app include:

  • Self-Assessment Tool: Users are provided recommended actions based on answers to a series of guided questions
  • Return to Campus Plan
  • Vanderbilt University COVID-19 Updates
  • Report a Concern
  • Support Services

A student who has any new or worsening symptoms, including a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, should visit Student Health for assessment. 

If Student Health is closed and you need evaluation for COVID-19, you may call the VUMC COVID-19 hotline at (888) 312-0847 for information about after hours assessment site availability. This number is answered seven days a week from 8 am to 5 pm CT. If additional concerns or questions, the Student Health on-call provider can also be reached after hours.  

Anyone tested for COVID-19 must quarantine until testing results are back as directed by the Dean of Students office. The student is also responsible for contacting their instructors if they are in quarantine (awaiting test or had close contact) or isolation (positive test) to alert them that they will miss in-person classes and will be taking classes remotely. If the results are negative, the person may return without any formal clearance.

VandySafe Symptom Monitoring FAQ

How do I login to complete my symptom assessment?

To login to complete your daily symptom assessment, you will use your Vanderbilt email address and password. If you need to reset or change your password, visit the VUIT website for assistance.

As part of Vanderbilt’s continued efforts to keep applications and data secure, duo multi-factor authentication (MFA) is also required to access the application. You will be required to authenticate via MFA every 30 days.

The MFA application you will need to download to log in to the Daily Symptom Assessment Application is called DUO. Please follow the instructions below to download DUO.

Enroll in Duo:

  1. Go to the MFA website
  2. Under Requesting Service, click “Enroll Now”
  3. Sign in and click “Start setup”
  4. Select Mobile Phone and follow the prompts
  5. Install the Duo Mobile application on your mobile phone
  6. In your phone internet browser, click “I have Duo Mobile installed”
  • Click “Take me to Duo Mobile App”
  • You will receive a code in your DUO app – this verifies the successful installation of Duo
  1. Go back to your browser, click “Dismiss and save your preferences”

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the VUIT support number at 615-343-9999 or submit a help request at help.it.vanderbilt.edu.

What do I do after I log in?

Once on the main menu, Click ‘Click here to select assessment’ and click ‘Symptom Assessment’. Then, click ‘Add another assessment’.

 

I am receiving a message asking me to “Authenticate.” What do I do?

The following message appears for iPhone users when the application tries to open in Safari:

Go to settings, locate and select Safari, scroll down to Privacy & Security, and toggle off “Private Cross-Site Tracking”. This should allow you to launch the web page.

What do I do if I am experiencing issues with the app?

If you are experiencing technical issues with the application, please email help.backtoschool@vanderbilt.edu between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for assistance.

What if I do not have a cell phone to do the symptom assessment?

You can also access the symptom assessment by going to vu.edu/symptoms from a computer or laptop.

What if I am having issues connecting to the wireless network VUNET?

VUIT updated the wireless networks in early July. Personal smart devices, such as smart phones and tablets or other non-Vanderbilt issued devices, will need to be onboarded to the network by the user. You can onboard your devices by visiting wifi.vanderbilt.edu, clicking “I have a VUnetID,” and selecting “Connect laptop, tablet or smartphone.” It is not required to be on campus to complete this process. For more information about Vanderbilt Wi-Fi networks, visit wifi.vanderbilt.edu.

Why do I have to complete a daily symptom assessment? 

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 the individual’s responsibility to comply. 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.

What should I do if I am experiencing new/worsening symptoms?

If you are an undergraduate, graduate or professional student, visit the Student Health Center for assessment.

What if I currently have symptoms from a chronic condition that are similar to COVID-19 symptoms?

This symptom assessment is to determine if you meet criteria for a medical evaluation for COVID-19. If you have an underlying medical disease or an ongoing chronic condition that has similar symptoms to COVID-19, then you do not need to record this if your symptoms are unchanged. Please only record symptoms that are new or worsening in the daily symptom monitoring tool.

What do I do if I report symptoms before arriving on campus?

Students who report symptoms before they come to campus should seek care from their healthcare provider in their own communities.

What do I do if I accidentally entered symptoms in the app that were incorrect and need the app cleared?  What if I was sick and have talked to Student Health and have been cleared?

Please email help.backtoschool@vanderbilt.edu between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for assistance and they will clear the app for you.

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.

 

The Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) currently provides access to the following COVID-19 services:

  • Testing. The Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) currently provides access to COVID-19 testing free of charge as long as the test is ordered by a licensed medical provider and FDA authorized. Free access to testing is currently being offered through April 20, 2021.
  • Treatment. Beginning February 1, 2021, deductibles and copays will apply for students seeking COVID-19 treatment from in-network and out-of-network providers. If a student would like assistance finding an in-network provider who accepts the student health insurance plan, they may reach out to SHIP@vanderbilt.edu.
  • Vaccinations. During the national public health emergency period, FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are available at no charge to you, no matter where you get it.

Postdoc Trainee Health Insurance

The Vanderbilt University Health Insurance Plan for Postdoctoral Trainees currently provides access to the following COVID-19 services:

  • Testing. The Vanderbilt University Health Insurance Plan for Postdoctoral Trainees currently provides access to COVID-19 testing free of charge as long as the test is ordered by a licensed medical provider and FDA authorized. Free access to testing is currently being offered through April 20, 2021.
  • Treatment. Beginning February 1, 2021, deductibles and copays will apply for postdoc trainees seeking COVID-19 treatment from in-network and out-of-network providers. If a postdoc trainee would like assistance finding an in-network provider who accepts the Vanderbilt University Health Insurance Plan for Postdoctoral Trainees, they may reach out to opa@vanderbilt.edu.
  • Vaccinations. During the national public health emergency period, FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are available at no charge to you, no matter where you get it.

 

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:

Students coming to campus

For on-campus students requesting accommodations for the first time, or for those students requesting a change to an accommodation, please log into the Commodore Access Portal and make the request.

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

See: Undergraduate Students Not Returning/Opting for Remote-Only

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.

FACULTY ACCOMMODATIONS

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.

Plant Operations, a unit within the Vanderbilt University Facilities Department, will operate in accordance with the increased cleaning and disinfection protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, using Environmental Protection Agency-approved products that are effective against the COVID-19 virus. Throughout the pandemic, Plant Operations has monitored and adopted CDC recommendations.

The CDC’s “Considerations for Institutes of Higher Education,” May 30 updated guidance specifically recommends routine disinfecting and cleaning of surfaces and objects that are frequently touched using the cleaners typically used, according to the directions on the label. The CDC says that most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

At a minimum, there will be twice daily disinfecting of high-touch areas throughout campus. Classrooms will be disinfected daily during routine cleaning. Disinfecting wipes will be provided in classrooms and other spaces for use by the occupants. Facilities is also implementing zone-based disinfectant teams who will be easily identifiable.

Facilities will follow CDC guidelines for cleaning of outdoor areas, which calls for routine cleaning.

Plant Operations staff received cleaning and disinfection protocols training at the onset of the pandemic and will attend future training sessions on the latest protocols. In accordance with CDC and university guidelines, all staff members will wear the required personal protective equipment including face masks/coverings while on campus.

In addition to normal cleaning routines, custodial staff will also disinfect frequently touched surfaces or high-touch points and objects using EPA approved products. Examples of frequently touched surfaces and objects that will receive the minimal twice-daily disinfection are:

  • Tables in common spaces
  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Door handles
  • Hand railings
  • Bathroom stalls
  • Sink handles
  • Grab bars
  • Water fountains

Cleaning services for public/common spaces such as restrooms, lounges, lobbies, and hallways will be increased. Other duties such as emptying trash, vacuuming/cleaning of floors of private offices once per week will continue. Otherwise, cleaning/disinfecting of private offices and work areas will be the responsibility of occupants.

The following will NOT be cleaned by custodial staff.

  • Desks
  • Keyboards
  • Touch screens
  • Remote controls

Disposable wipes will be made available through each school/college’s and department’s building or facilities officer so that commonly used surfaces and objects can be wiped down before use. For soft surfaces such as carpeted floors or fabric in seating areas, guidance indicates to continue cleaning with cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces and disinfecting with appropriate product for the specific surfaces; vacuum carpets as usual.

Hand Sanitizing Products and Touchless Features

  • Hand sanitizing stations will be located at key areas within all campus buildings.
  • Sanitizing products such as hand pumps and wipes will be available at key locations (ingress/egress, elevator lobbies, etc.) and can be obtained through each school/college’s and department’s building or facilities officer.
  • Foot pulls will be installed on doors of high-use areas such as restrooms.
  • Plant Operations will gradually replace hand-operated paper towels and soap dispensers with touchless products in restrooms.

These practices will continue to evolve as the CDC releases new recommendations.

Disinfecting protocols after a known covid-19 positive case

Facilities staff will follow these protocols when disinfecting a space after a known COVID-19 positive case:

  1. If possible wait 24 to 72 hours before cleaning while increasing ventilation in the space (office, suite, floor[s] or building).
  2. Plant Operations personnel entering the space will use the appropriate protective equipment (masks, gloves, etc.).
  3. All personal items (dishes, toothbrush, etc.) will be relocated and contained for later disinfection.
  4. The entire space will be cleaned using EPA-standard approved cleaning products.
  5. High-touch areas will be wiped or sprayed with additional disinfecting products.
  6. The entire space will be fogged using EPA disinfecting products.
  7. Reoccupancy may occur 12 hours after the space has been fogged.
  8. Before occupants are allowed to return, the space will receive a thorough inspection to include (as applicable):
  • Operation of all plumbing fixtures
  • Flushing of the HVAC system
  • Lighting
  • Elevator operation
  • Identification of any nonperforming building systems
HVAC and Ventilation

The Vanderbilt University Facilities Department, in alignment with the guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control concerning building system operations to stop the spread of COVID-19, as well as guidance from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, is committed to providing the safest environment for students, faculty, staff and the entire Vanderbilt community.

The guidance from these sources is very similar and falls into three basic categories:

  • Increasing the amount of outside air being delivered to spaces
  • Using high-efficiency filtration in systems that circulate air around large numbers of spaces
  • Maintaining temperature and humidity levels within spaces

The university is implementing strategies to comply with these guidelines. The Facilities Department is also working to implement an overnight cycle during which buildings are flushed with an increased volume of outside air without exceeding the heating and cooling system capacities.

The Facilities Department will continue to adhere to ASHRAE published guidance for safe and healthy buildings, which emphasizes increased fresh-air ventilation and close management of indoor air quality, temperature and humidity.

To keep the Vanderbilt community as healthy as possible, indoor conditions will be maintained at temperatures ranging from 68 to 76 degrees and relative humidity of 45 to 50 percent.

Although the university is implementing these extra safety measures, it is up to each member of the Vanderbilt community to practice physical distancing, washing or sanitizing hands, and using face masks/coverings in all public spaces on campus to limit the spread of COVID-19, as recommended by the CDC.

In addition to these personal safety practice applying to on campus behaviors, they also apply to students when they are off campus.

FACE MASKS/COVERINGS

Face masks/coverings (e.g., disposable masks or cloth face coverings) must be worn by all individuals on campus at all times in public indoor settings (e.g., common workspaces, public spaces, hallways, stairwells, elevators, meeting rooms, classrooms, break-rooms, restrooms, etc.).

Beginning in January, face shields alone will no longer be allowed while teaching per the university’s updated campus protocols. Faculty must wear face masks/coverings while teaching and while following other classroom protocols.

If physical distancing is possible, individuals working in private offices that do not otherwise require face masks/coverings may remove their face masks/coverings while in such spaces.

Physical distancing must be maintained at all times when outdoors. Face masks/coverings must be worn at all times when outdoors, with the following limited exceptions:

    1. While engaged in vigorous solo outdoor recreation, such as biking or running, or under the supervision of relevant recreation staff or instructors, such as an outdoor fitness class through the Recreation and Wellness Center
    2. While actively engaged in eating/drinking outdoors, so long as physical distancing is maintained

Appropriate use of face masks/coverings is important in minimizing risks to the wearers and those around them according to both CDC and ACHA guidance. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The face mask/covering is not a substitute for physical distancing. This applies to off-site and leased building space, as well as on the main Vanderbilt campus, both indoors and outdoors.

An individual who is having difficulty wearing a face mask/covering should contact Occupational Health (faculty, staff, postdoc) or Student Health (student) for direction. A faculty member, staff member, or postdoc who cannot wear a face mask/covering because of medical or other reasons should contact the Equal Employment Opportunity office for possible accommodation measures.  Students should contact Student Access Services for possible accommodation measures.

Type and Intended Use of Face Masks/Coverings

Each faculty member, staff member, postdoc and student will be provided with one cloth face covering. Individuals and departments can contact their assigned building manager or liaison in their college, school or department to acquire cloth face coverings.

Disposable masks will be provided, if needed. A disposable mask must not be used for more than one day.

Staff face masks/coverings are work attire. Face masks/coverings must be clean, plain and free of writing, logos or images other than those of Vanderbilt University. Departments may have additional face masks/coverings guidelines. 

Based on CDC guidance and recent updated studies, face masks/coverings need to fit the following criteria:

  • Face masks/coverings must adhere to CDC guidance.
  • Cotton face masks are allowed as long as they have multiple layers.
  • Any face mask/covering with a one-way exhalation valve is prohibited. These masks allow the wearer to directly exhale into the air, and do not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others.
  • Neck gaiters are not recommended.  The fabric used in neck gaiters has demonstrated through various studies as not being effective. Many neck gaiters are stretchy knit, synthetics or fleece. Those are the least tightly woven fabrics which are least likely to provide a high filtration efficiency. A mask should have a tight weave and low porosity. Other studies can be found here, here, here and here.
  • Scarves and bandanas are not recommended, as based on studies they do not provide enough layers to be effective.
TypeCloth Face CoveringDisposable MaskMedical-Grade Surgical MaskN95 Respirator
DescriptionHome-made or commercially manufactured face coverings that are washable and help contain wearer’s respiratory emissionsCommercially manufactured masks help contain wearer’s respiratory emissionsFDA-approved masks to protect the wearer from large droplets and splashes; helps contains wearer’s respiratory emissionsProvide effective respiratory protection from airborne particles and aerosols; helps contain wearer’s respiratory emissions
Intended useRequired for campus community use in all settings (common workspaces, public spaces, hallways, stairwells, elevators, meeting rooms, classrooms, breakrooms, campus outdoor spaces, in restrooms, etc.) Not required when working alone and physical distancing is possible.These masks are reserved for healthcare workers and other approved areas with task-specific hazards determined by OESO.

Use and Care of Face Masks/Coverings

Putting on the face mask/covering

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling the face mask/covering.
  • Ensure the face mask/covering fits over the nose and under the chin.
  • Situate the face mask/covering properly with nose wire snug against the nose (where applicable).
  • Tie straps behind the head and neck or loop around the ears.
  • Throughout the process: Avoid touching the front of the face mask/covering.

Taking off the face mask/covering

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing the face mask/covering.
  • When taking off the face mask/covering, loop your finger into the strap and pull the strap away from the ear, or untie the straps.
  • Wash hands immediately after removing.

Disposal of face masks

  • Keep face mask stored in a paper bag when not in use.
  • Disposable face masks must not be used for more than one day and should be placed in a trash receptacle.
  • Dispose of a face mask if it is visibly damaged (e.g., stretched ear loops, torn or punctured materials), dirty or visibly contaminated.

Care, storage and laundering of cloth face coverings

  • Keep face covering stored in a paper bag when not in use.
  • Cloth face coverings may not be used longer than one day at a time and must be washed after use.
  • Disinfecting method: Launder cloth face coverings with regular laundry detergent before first use and after each shift. (Disposable masks are not washable.)
Gloves

Gloves are not necessary for general use and should not replace good hand hygiene. Washing your hands often with soap and water is considered the best practice for common everyday tasks. Please speak with your supervisor to determine if gloves are necessary.

Goggles/Face Shields

Individuals are not required to wear goggles or face shields as part of general activity on campus. Good hand hygiene and avoiding touching your face are generally sufficient for non-health care environments.

PHYSICAL DISTANCING

Maintaining space between you and others is a best practice according to the CDC and is required on the Vanderbilt campus to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 virus and slow its spread. Because people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others whenever possible, even if you have no symptoms. Physical distancing is especially important for people who are at higher risk. Individuals on campus should follow these physical distancing practices:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
  • Do not gather in groups.
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
COUGHING/SNEEZING HYGIENE

For individuals in a private setting and not wearing a face mask/covering, the CDC recommends to always cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or using the inside of their elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

HANDWASHING

The CDC recommends that community members should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after they have been in a public place or used the restroom; after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing; and before and after eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Individuals using hand sanitizer should cover all surfaces of their hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

PERSONAL DISINFECTION

Custodial crews will continue to clean offices and workspaces, classrooms and public spaces based on protocols developed with CDC guidance in mind, and individuals should take additional care to wipe down commonly used surfaces after use. It may not be possible for the university to provide product for personal use, but before you leave any room in which you have been working or eating, it is recommended that you swab down all work or eating areas with EPA-registered disinfectant. This includes a private workspace or any shared-space location or equipment (e.g., computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, copiers, desks and tables, chair arms, light switches, doorknobs, handles, etc.). To the best of your ability, you should clear desk and table surfaces in personal offices and workstations to aid in thorough cleaning. Using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol is also effective after contacting commonly used surfaces.

TIPS FOR TALKING TO OTHERS ABOUT PERSONAL SAFETY PRACTICES

It can be uncomfortable to ask a fellow Commodore to put on their mask or to move 6 feet away. You may feel nervous or embarrassed to confront others—yet you feel compelled because you want to protect yourself and our community.

There are techniques that you can use to encourage compliance by others. The keys to success are to first approach someone with respect and kindness, and not make assumptions about why they are not complying. Here are some tactics or phrases you can use to encourage compliance:

  • Let people know that Public Health AmbassaDores can provide masks.
    Example: “I notice you’re not wearing a mask. Do you need one?”
    Details: There are Public Health AmbassaDores who can provide masks. To find a PHA, contact the AmbassaDore Compliance Hotline at 615-343-1352. It is good to know where your local PHA is located so you can prepare ahead of time. Contact the hotline to find out who is closest to you.
  • Tell them who you mask up for.
    Example: “Could you wear a mask when you are near me? I wear a mask to protect my family.”
  • Let people know how their choices impact you.
    Example: “I feel protected when you wear your mask. Could you put one on?”
  • Provide positive reinforcement that will also encourage others.
    Example: “I really like your mask. Where did you get it?”
  • Kindly encourage people to wear masks correctly for effective protection.
    Example: “Could you please put your mask over your nose and mouth?”
  • If a person is within 6 feet of you, back up and tell them why.
    Example: “I want to be sure I stay 6 feet from you so we both are protected.”
  • If a person continues getting too close to you or others, respectfully request distance.
    Example: “Please take a step back. I think you are too close.”

If a person ignores your concerns or becomes aggressive, leave and call the AmbassaDore Compliance Hotline at 615-343-1352.

In an effort to guide the university community in practicing healthy behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanderbilt has launched the Public Health AmbassaDore program to address questions regarding campus health and safety measures.

The program has been established as an additional resource for the Vanderbilt community to navigate changes on campus. As identified representatives of the university, the Public Health AmbassaDores will help promote social norms to create a safe working and learning environment for all within the Vanderbilt University community. AmbassaDores will model exemplary adherence to all university protocols, serve as peer models and sources of information for individuals on campus, assist with knowledge dissemination and help communicate across specific sub-communities, and more.

The first AmbassaDores selected for the program are VUPS community service officers, and the program will expand prior to the fall semester to include other individuals (e.g., facility/building managers, volunteers among staff, faculty, students).

The Public Health AmbassaDores will receive training, resources, and support to prepare them for the role.

The expectations of a Community PHA are that you are willing to provide community members with masks, sanitizer, or more information as needed about best health practices on campus. This volunteer position is a way for members of the VU Community to have the best available information to keep themselves and this campus healthy and safe.

CDC Website

Oracle Learn PHA Program Training Link

Vanderbilt Return to Campus website

Becoming a Public Health AmbassaDore

You can submit this form yourself with departmental approval or have your department leader or manager submit on your behalf.

Once a form has been submitted you will receive a link to the Oracle Learn training that is mandatory to become a Community PHA.

After the training and quiz has been completed, you will receive a confirmation email that it has been completed.

Finally, a PHA team lead will reach out to you regarding next steps and how to receive PHA supplies.

Thank you for your interest!

FORMS 

Frequently asked questions

What is a Public Health AmbassaDore?

As identified representatives of the university, the Public Health AmbassaDores will help promote social norms to create a safe working and learning environment for all with the Vanderbilt University community. AmbassaDores will model exemplary adherence to all university protocols, serve as peer models and sources of information for individuals on campus, assist with knowledge dissemination and help communicate across specific sub-communities, and more.

Who is eligible to become an AmbassaDore?

Any Vanderbilt faculty and staff can take the training online. However, officially designated Public Health AmbassaDores should seek approval from the supervisor and/or department leader.

How do I apply to become an AmbassaDore?

Those who are interested in becoming an AmbassaDore should fill out the online form above and you will receive a confirmation email with next steps to become an approved AmbassaDore.

If you have additional questions, contact Brittney Whatley in Vanderbilt University Public Safety at brittney.m.whatley@Vanderbilt.edu.

Is there required training to become an AmbassaDore?

Yes. After you or your supervisor/department leader have completed and submitted your information through the form available on the website, you will receive a confirmation email with how to complete the online training through Oracle Learn.

What are the expectations/responsibilities of AmbassaDores?

  • Serving as a source of information to promote the university’s expectations for reopening during COVID-19
  • Assisting with building circulation
  • Encouraging face mask/covering usage
  • Encouraging physical distancing
  • Providing directions to hand sanitizer stations or hand washing locations; and
  • Distributing COVID-19 packets that include masks and hand sanitizer upon request.

Do I need approval to apply?

Yes. To become a designated Public Health AmbassaDore, you will need approval from your supervisor and/or department leader.

Will I be compensated for being and AmbassaDore?

No. This is a voluntary program and AmbassaDores will not receive additional compensation.

How are AmbassaDores identified?

Public Health AmbassaDores will be identifiable with attire and materials made specifically for the program.

What are the time commitments of a Community PHA?

The time commitment as a Community PHA is dependent on your availability and the events of the fall semester. It is important to communicate with your department leader or manager your availability to be able to volunteer as a Community PHA during the week.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

Contact Captain Leshaun Oliver at leshaun.d.oliver@vanderbilt.edu for more information.

What number can I call to ask protocol questions or report a concern?

The PHA hotline number is operated by dispatch. They are able to answer questions regarding COVID-19 safety protocols, return to campus questions or connect you with a Community PHA to deliver masks, sanitizer or other information to you. The hotline number is 615-343-1352.

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 wellbeing. 

ACADEMIC SUPPORT RESOURCES

LIBRARIES

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 20221
Alumni  Hall 20617
Central & Divinity Libraries 2104
Central & Divinity Libraries 21118
Central & Divinity Libraries 21718
Central & Divinity Libraries 22240
Central & Divinity Libraries 4056
Central & Divinity Libraries 40845
Central & Divinity Libraries 41876
Central & Divinity Libraries 500FA1
Central & Divinity Libraries 500FR1
Central & Divinity Libraries 5016
Central & Divinity Libraries 5036
Central & Divinity Libraries 600FA1
Central & Divinity Libraries 600FR1
Central & Divinity Libraries 6026
Central & Divinity Libraries 60516
Central & Divinity Libraries 61276
Central & Divinity Libraries 612A16
Central & Divinity Libraries 612C6
Central & Divinity Libraries 61412
Central & Divinity Libraries 700FA1
Central & Divinity Libraries 700FR4
Central & Divinity Libraries 7016
Central & Divinity Libraries 7036
Central & Divinity Libraries 800BE55
Central & Divinity Libraries 800FA8
Central & Divinity Libraries 80312
Peabody Library 0036
Peabody Library 0042
Peabody Library 00836
Peabody Library 0092
Peabody Library 0102
Peabody Library 0111
Peabody Library 0131
Peabody Library 0142
Peabody Library 1084
Peabody Library 12032
Peabody Library 2026
Peabody Library 20476
Peabody Library 3024
Peabody Library 30415
Peabody Library 3056
Sarratt Student Center 1126
Sarratt Student Center 11515
Sarratt Student Center 18914
Sarratt Student Center 22022
Sarratt Student Center 3616
Sarratt Student Center 3636
Stevenson 3 (Library) 2123
Stevenson 3 (Library) 2389
Sony Building A107635
STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS SUPPORT

To address this reality, we are enhancing support for our students’ health and well-being through 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 theStudent Care Network, a holistic network of wellness services and resources available toallVanderbilt 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.

HELPLINE

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.