Skip to main content

Campus Life and Housing

NEW Campus Services and Building Hours During the Intersession Period

NEW Interim Housing for Break

NEW Spring semester Campus Visitors Policy

Spring semester housing

Details surrounding whether those switching to in-person classes will have access to on-campus housing and details of the housing assignment process for the spring semester will be shared on this FAQ and in the Return to Campus Update as those decisions are finalized.

Housing guidelines will remain the same for the spring semester.

  • In order to maintain lower density in residential spaces, students will only have access to their assigned residential building and floor. Students will have access to laundry facilities in their building or a nearby building.
  • Students are prohibited from hosting “small, informal meet-ups” of any size and having guests (unaffiliated visitors or Vanderbilt students) in their assigned residential units, including in individual rooms and common spaces within suites, apartments, and lodges.
  • Students are encouraged to socialize outdoors or in commons areas, while practicing physical distancing, with friends who live in other residence halls.
  • Our residential buildings are open 24/7 and there is no curfew in place for students. Students are encouraged to check the website for the hours of other non-residential buildings on campus.
  • Common area spaces in the residence halls like study spaces and lounges are open. We have rearranged furniture in those spaces so that it is set in accordance with physical distancing guidelines.
  • Students are expected to abide by physical distancing protocols when in commons spaces. To assist students with distancing, we have reduced and rearranged furniture in commons spaces. Students should follow posted guidelines that will help identify ways to yield to others and outline maximum capacity in various space. The success of our Return to Campus Plan will hinge on all of us working together to follow posted guidelines and practice healthy behaviors like wearing a mask in public spaces.
  • Due to challenges with appropriately sanitizing these spaces, shared kitchen spaces in residence halls will be closed.
  • In residential bathrooms, students should practice physical distancing and follow any additional posted guidelines for use.

The university has implemented several practices to support the health and wellness of residential students. These practices include enhanced cleaning and sanitization and physical distancing guidelines for commons spaces:

  • High touch areas like door handles and elevator buttons will be cleaned throughout the day. We are installing foot pulls or arm pulls on many doors within the residential building. Hand sanitizer stations will be posted at all building entrances, exits, and near elevators.
  • Common area bathrooms will be cleaned twice a day. Bathrooms will have a standard cleaning in the morning and a deeper cleaning and sanitization in the evenings.
  • Common area spaces in the residence halls like study spaces and lounges will be open; to encourage physical distancing, we have rearranged furniture in those spaces. Students should follow posted guidelines that will help identify ways to yield to others and outline maximum capacity in various space.
  • Students will be expected to wear face masks in public spaces like hallways and common areas. In residential bathrooms, students should practice physical distancing and follow any additional posted guidelines for use.

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 Campus Visitor Policy for the spring semester will remain the same as outlined during the fall semester. 

Vanderbilt University deeply values its neighbors, community partners and visitors that make our community so vibrant. However, as part of our comprehensive efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 at Vanderbilt, throughout the city of Nashville and beyond as much as possible, we have made the difficult decision to limit the presence of visitors on campus for this academic year, and to impose certain heightened expectations for those visitors who are permitted. 

In an effort to de-densify our public spaces, individuals including prospective students, faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows, non-Vanderbilt interns and observers, recruiters and family members of students, faculty and staff—among others—will regrettably not be permitted in campus buildings until further notice, unless specific permission has been granted in advance by the appropriate university office, dean or vice chancellor. 

In certain cases, exceptions may be made for approved users of VU Core Facilities, research participants, visiting researchers, suppliers, contractors, vendors, safety inspectors and others based on individual circumstances. Comprehensive details regarding limitations and possible exceptions can be found in our Visitor Policy Fall 2020. 

Before coming to campus, visitors must review the Campus Visitors Return to Campus Acknowledgement. 

Spaces that normally welcome community visitors, including the Jean & Alexander Heard Libraries, the Fine Arts Gallery, the Wond’ry at the Innovation Pavilion and other spaces, as well as other campus buildings, will not be open to the general public. Exterior doors for administrative and lab buildings will be locked, and access to classroom buildings will be limited to those with a Vanderbilt card/badge. No decision has been made about attendance at fall athletic events. 

In-person campus tours remain suspended for the time being. We encourage prospective students to explore the online resources available through Vanderbilt Admissions and through individual graduate and professional programs. These resources include virtual visit options, webinars, information panels with current students and other opportunities to connect. 

It is important to note that anyone who is on the Vanderbilt University campus for any reason must wear a face mask/covering at all times. These requirements are consistent with our existing requirements for students, faculty, staff and postdocs who have returned to campus in recent months. 

Until we are able to safely welcome the public again in person, we hope all community members will utilize our many virtual resources, which include information about groundbreaking research and innovation in the fight against COVID-19 and enhanced online library services. 

We are grateful to parents and family members, friends and prospective students, and our fellow Nashville residents—as well as anyone else who had planned to visit our beautiful campus in the coming months—for your patience and understanding as we work together to slow the spread of COVID-19. As we navigate these challenging times, we will continue to find new ways to collaborate and engage with our community and our city. 

Suppliers must submit the Supplier Return to Campus Acknowledgement prior to being granted permission to be on campus. 

Every patron visiting the bookstore located at 2525 West End Avenue is required to wear a face mask/covering. Follow directional signage and stand on decals signifying 6 feet of distance from the person in front and behind while in line.

Every patron visiting Station B to collect or send package(s)/mail will be required to wear a face mask/covering. The entrance to the operation is through the Rand door, while exit will be accommodated via the fire lane side facing Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center. While standing in line, stand on decals signifying six feet of distance from the person in front and behind.


Campus buildings and exterior spaces will include

Vanderbilt students practice healthy behaviors as they mask up and social distance themselves between classes around campus.

signage that should be followed by community members at all times. This includes directional and physical distancing signage signifying flow and where people should stand, as well as informational signage regarding protocols in the Return to Campus Plan.

Examples of the signage community members will see on campus are outlined below.


Accessible Route Signage


Accessible route signage

Accessible Route: Sidewalk stickers that signify accessible routes around campus




Left turn arrow

Left turn:
Sidewalk stickers showing when you should turn left.



Right turn arrow

Right turn:
Sidewalk stickers showing when you should turn right.





Sidewalk stickers showing when you should walk counterclockwise to maintain physical distancing.


Exterior Signage


Dismount and walk your bike signage

Dismount & Walk:
Sandwich boards and yard signs showing when you should dismount and walk your bike or scooter


General etiquette and protocols


General Etiquette:
Sandwich boards and yard signs showing general etiquette and safety protocols



Lawn etiquette and protocols

Lawn Etiquette:
Sandwich boards and yard signs showing lawn etiquette and safety protocols


6 foot distance signage

6” Distance:
Sidewalk stickers marking 6” distance between two points



One way signage

One Way Only:
Sidewalk stickers and sandwich boards showing one way routes


Entry/Exit Building Signage


Entrance only signage

Entrance Only:
Building signs showing entrances to buildings


Exit only signage

Exit Only:
Building signs showing exits to buildings



 No entry sign

No Entry:
Building signs showing areas where you should NOT enter


Yield to others sign

Sandwich boards and building signs reminding individuals to yield and maintain 6’ distance from others


General Signage


General break space protocols

Break Space Guidelines:
Posters outlining main break space protocols


Disinfection Guidelines:
Posters outlining disinfection protocols for both public and private spaces



Elevator Guidelines:
Posters outlining elevator protocols that will be placed outside and inside elevators


Face mask/covering protocols

Face Mask/Covering Guidelines:
Posters outlining protocols for face masks/coverings



Meeting and conference room protocols

Meeting/Conference Room Guidelines:
Posters outlining meeting and conference room protocols


General guidelines to slow COVID-19 spread

Help Slow the Spread:
Posters reminding the general public how to slow the spread



Restroom guidelines

Restroom Guidelines:
Posters outlining restroom protocols that will be placed near restrooms.



Signage specific for research spaces on campus can be found on the Research at VU website.

Entry/Exit Control, Building Access

Entry to buildings will be regulated and monitored in alignment with ACHA guidance. Where applicable, your Vanderbilt card/badge is required for entry to all buildings, and you may not hold or prop open exterior doors for any other person. After entering a building, sanitize your hands at the nearest sanitizer station and follow signage and all physical distancing guidelines outlined herein.

As is always the case, exterior building doors that require card access should not be held or propped open for any other person. Access to academic buildings, or buildings in which in-person instruction is taking place, will generally be open between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and will not require a Vanderbilt card/badge during those hours. Access will be restricted on the weekends.

All residence halls and administrative buildings will require a Vanderbilt card/badge and appropriate access permissions for entry at all times. After entering a building, sanitize your hands at the nearest sanitizer station and follow all posted signage, keeping in mind that directional signage may be posted on the floor, as well as on walls and doors. Building maps, searchable by building name, and additional information on access to buildings on campus, are available on the Return to Campus website.

The university will identify suitable building access points. In alignment with CDC employer guidance, where appropriate, departments and building coordinators should attempt to coordinate arrival and departure times of faculty, staff, postdocs and students to reduce congestion during typical “rush hours” of a day’s schedule. For example, staff arrival and departures should be scheduled in 15-minute increments to reduce personal interactions at building access points, hallways, stairs/elevators, etc. Staggered schedules should be considered for lunch and break times.

Once you have been authorized to return to campus, you should arrive and depart campus through the designated building access points. Staff should also report at the designated time, where applicable, to limit the number of people entering and exiting buildings at any one time.

Building entrance and exit points are being mapped for every building on campus, including ADA accessible circulation. In alignment with CDC and ACHA guidance, buildings will include signage and visual markers, including directional signage signifying flow, physical distancing signage showing where people should stand (in certain buildings), and informational signage regarding protocols in the Return to Campus Plan. Be mindful of following the directional signage, and be prepared to change your daily routine to adhere to the new circulation patterns. As building maps are finalized, they will be added to the list below.

Buildings in which signage and visual markers have been installed will also be noted in the list below with this symbol .

Please contact your building manager or facility officer with any questions or feedback on these plans.

1025 16th Ave S (ISIS Labs) 
1101 19th Avenue
1114 19TH AVE S
1202 18th Ave S 
1207 17TH AVE S  
17th Ave MUMS Lab 
2007 Terrace Place 
6 Magnolia (fka Home Ec)
Admissions & Financial Aid 
Alumni Hall 
B Quad: Lupton
B Quad: Scales
B Quad: Stapleton
B Quad: Vaughn
Baker Building 
Baker Garage
Baseball Field House
Benson Old Central 
Benton Chapel
Biomolecular NMR 
Bishop Johnson Center
Blair School of Music 
Blakemore House
Branscomb Market - Dining 
Bryan Building 
Buttrick Hall 
Calhoun Hall 
Carmichael 1 & 2
Center Building 
Center Garage
Central & Divinity Libraries 
Cohen Memorial 
Cole Hall
Commons Dining 
Curb Center 
Currey Tennis
Divinity School 
Drug Discovery - Cool Springs 
Dyer Observatory 
Dyer Residence 
E. Bronson Ingram 1st Fl Dining 
E. Bronson Ingram College
E. Bronson Ingram Studio Arts 
ELC Annex 
Engineering Science Building (ESB) 
English Language Center 
Eskind Medical Library 
Featheringill-Jacobs Hall 
Frist Hall 
Furman Hall 
Garland Hall 
Godchaux Hall 
Godchaux Nursing Annex 
Golf Hitting Bay
Golf Team Lockers
Grins - Dining 
Hank Ingram
Hendrix McGugin - Dining 
Hobbs HDL 
Jesup Psychology 
KC Potter Center
Keck FEL 
Kirkland Hall 
Kissam Center 
Kissam Market - Dining 
LASIR at MetroCenter 
Law Cafe - Dining 
Law School 
Lewis House
Link Building
Local Java - Dining 
McGill Hall
McGugin Complex 
McTyeire - Dining 
McTyeire Hall
Memorial Gym
Moore College
Morgan House
Morgan Market - Dining 
MRB III and Learned Lab 
Music Rehearsal
Neely Auditorium 
Old Gym 
Olin Hall 
One Magnolia Circle 
Owen Garage
Owen Graduate School of Mgmt 
Payne Hall 
Peabody Administration  
Peabody Library 
Pub (Sarratt Third Floor) - Dining 
Rand - Dining 
Rand Hall 
Residence 7
Sarratt Student Center 
SC Chemistry (SC7) 
SC Lecture (SC4) 
SC Library (SC3) 
SC Math (SC1) 
SC Molec Biology (SC2) 
SC Physics & Astronomy (SC6) 
SC Science & Engineering (SC5) 
School of Nursing Addition 
Seigenthaler Center
Sony BMG 
Station B Post Office 
Student Life Center
Suzie's at Featheringill - Dining 
The Commons Center 
The Hill Center 
The Office for Religious Life
Tolman Hall
Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center
Vaughn Home 
Village Apartments
Warren College
Wilson Hall 
Women's Center
Wyatt Center 
Zeppos - Dining 
Zeppos College

Sidewalks, Campus Pathways and Outdoor Amenities

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 and face mask/covering wearing is especially important for people who are at higher risk.

Everyone on campus should follow these physical distancing practices:

Students around campus practice healthy behaviors.

Physical distancing practices and face mask/covering wearing should be followed in all outdoor spaces. Appropriate use of face masks/coverings is important in minimizing risk to the wearer and those around them. A face mask/covering is not a substitute for physical distancing.

In the interest of creating a culture where health and safety are promoted and realized, face masks/coverings must be worn by all individuals on campus in public indoor settings (e.g., common workspaces, hallways, stairwells, elevators, meeting rooms, classrooms, break-rooms, restrooms, etc.).

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 outdoor recreation, such as biking or running, so long as physical distancing is maintained at all times including with those walking on campus paved paths, sidewalks, plazas
  2. While actively engaged in eating/drinking outdoors, so long as physical distancing is maintained

Goals for outdoor spaces on campus include:

  • Creating an environment that maximizes safety and legibility while moving through campus
  • Making it possible on major routes to maintain a 6-foot distance while moving through campus
  • Using minimally invasive, maximally effective techniques
  • Designing all indoor and outdoor circulation plans with accessibility and mobility needs in mind

Wayfinding will be phased in aligned with the Vanderbilt Return to Campus phases. This allows for the university to observe and adjust. The university is aiming to give people room and give people time to react.

The “Gold Path” network is a planning concept Vanderbilt is using to focus its wayfinding and signage efforts and coordinate with similar efforts within buildings. Paths designated as part of the “Gold Path” represent commonly used pedestrian paths. As the community continues to return to campus, the university will place its signage and monitoring efforts on these corridors.

Signage has been prepared aligned with CDC and ACHA guidance and will be placed along the “Gold Path” network. Be mindful to follow the directional signage and be prepared to change your daily routine to adhere to the new circulation patterns.

The following map shows the “Gold Path” network for the current university Phase II and II+.  Parking locations are noted with non-colored circles and popular destinations with colored circles. Major circulation routes are noted in gold.













Outdoor tents will be open for use beginning Monday, Jan. 25. During the Commodores Care period (Jan. 25 – Feb. 3), tents will be open at half capacity for dining. We anticipate tents will open at full capacity beginning Thursday, Feb. 4. While the reservation system will be open beginning Jan. 25, the earliest available reservations will begin on Feb. 4.

In preparing for the colder and more inclement weather in late winter and early spring—as well as incorporating lessons learned over the course of the fall—the three large tents previously occupying space on campus have been replaced with five tents that are smaller in size, heated, and lighted with several electrical outlets and wireless access. The new tents also include spaces specifically designated for non-dining purposes, with a number of layouts available that are compliant with campus protocol requirements for physical distancing.

New tents include:

  • Alumni Lawn Dining Tent
  • Alumni Lawn Programming Tent
  • Commons Dining Tent
  • Commons Programming Tent
  • Library Lawn Academic Tent*

Toward the end of the fall semester, outdoor tents became integrated into the VU online reservation system, and the programming tents for the spring semester will be available through the same process for university-approved events.

* The Library Lawn Academic Tent is available solely for academic, non-classroom purposes, including faculty office hours, department meetings or other small gatherings and events. These spaces can only be reserved by faculty and faculty will be provided additional instructions by their department chair or appropriate associate dean.

Map of five tent locations for Spring semester 2021.
Dining and programming tent locations across campus include (1) Alumni Lawn Dining Tent, (2) Alumni Lawn Programming Tent, (3)Commons Dining Tent, (4) Commons Programming Tent, and (5) Library Lawn Academic Tent.

All campus protocols must be followed in and around all tent locations, including physical distancing of at least six feet and wearing a mask or face covering at all times, except when actively eating or drinking. Eating and drinking is allowed inside all tents except the Library Lawn Academic Tent. Signage will be posted throughout tent areas to direct circulation and provide protocol reminders, which must be adhered to at all times.

As with last semester, the comprehensive plans for the use of outdoor tents include information regarding fire code compliance and safety; severe weather communication, evacuation, and sheltering; and general safety and security. Occupants of tented areas should follow the instructions provided by tent staff in the event that any enhanced safety or security measures are needed, particularly evacuation for severe weather.

In addition to tents, other outdoor spaces will continue to be updated with painted circles and other markers throughout campus to identify physically distanced locations for use by individuals, including for outdoor dining, studying, leisure and other activities. Due to mowing and lawn maintenance, circle patterns and distribution may vary over the course of the semester.

The university also is applying lessons learned from the fall semester to adjust and enhance its approach to supporting our students academically, socially and emotionally, and protecting their health and safety as much as possible with regard to testing and other COVID-19 protocols.

Building on fall programming, physically distant social activities and virtual opportunities, such as concerts, game nights, crafting sessions, outdoor fitness classes, multiple speaker series and film watch events, also are being planned for students.

COVID-19 has presented new challenges for everyone, and the university is committed to supporting students as they progress toward degree completion. Vanderbilt will continue to provide a robust educational experience for all students—whether they are in person or have been approved for remote study.

The health and safety of the university community are foundational to our efforts in responding to COVID-19. VU’s protocols with respect to “gatherings” prioritize core mission activities central to the university’s mission. “Gatherings” must be conducted in accordance with VU-established guidelines, and some “gatherings” must be approved. .

Beginning Wednesday, March 10, outdoor official campus gatherings may increase from eight to a maximum of 12 people. This update does not change the eight-person rule for indoor campus gatherings or any informal student meetups, on or off campus. Masking and physical distancing protocols remain in place for all gatherings regardless of size or location.

This change recognizes the continued efforts of the campus community to follow campus health and safety protocols and comes as the university continues to take a cautious and incremental approach to its protocols so the Vanderbilt community can finish the semester strong and while the city increases its gathering size limits.

In addition, Vanderbilt Student Government’s Campus Life Committee has worked closely with university leaders to develop creative ideas for outdoor activities. As a result, the university will be adding more amenities, such as outdoor furniture and lawn games, in a phased approach over the coming weeks to help facilitate outdoor engagement opportunities.

Upcoming additions include the following:

  • The university will reinstate painted circles indicating 6 feet of physical distance on campus lawns starting this week. Stickers will be added to various non-grassy areas to remind students of the requirements for using outdoor spaces. No university-owned furniture may be moved from its current location.
  • Vanderbilt community members also are encouraged to bring their own camp chairs and hammocks outside. Only one hammock is allowed per post, and camp chairs must be placed at least 6 feet apart. Students should use the lawn circles to determine 6 feet of space when placing their camp chairs outside.
  • Lawn games will be added in outdoor spaces in the coming weeks. Guidelines will be posted for following campus protocols and for cleaning game equipment after use.
  • VandyRadio music will be broadcast in the campus tents.
  • Campus leaders are working to bring a stage to Wilson Lawn for programming. The stage will provide space for individuals to host showcases, musical performances and more. Once ready, the university will share details for reserving the stage and guidelines for its use.

The university will impose significant penalties for violating the university’s Gatherings policy, whether on or off campus, because such gatherings have potential campus-wide impacts. 

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, 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.

All university community members also should be aware of Nashville’s guidelines concerning 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. The university will not issue refunds for tuition, housing costs, or fees.

As outlined in the Student Handbook, students are responsible for what occurs in their rooms and residences both on and off campus. To that end, if a student is living in a residence (on or off campus) with one or more other students or non-students and the residence is found by the university to be in violation of the Gatherings policy, all Vanderbilt students who are residents may be subject to corrective action as hosts through the university’s accountability process, even if the conduct of an individual resident cannot be specifically identified.

Faculty and staff should carefully review the below Gatherings policy to ensure they are adhering to the guidelines. 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, and such matters are overseen by Human Resources.

These requirements for in-person “gatherings” are subject to change based on public health guidance and Vanderbilt protocols.

  • VU community members only: Attendance must be limited to VU community members (defined as persons with VU identification cards) only.
  • On-campus gatherings only (unless approved): Generally, off-campus gatherings are not permitted if students are in attendance and/or if VU funds will be used. Exceptions to this rule require approval by the Provost or her designee.
  • Maximum “gathering” attendance limit: The number of total/unique attendees may not exceed the maximum number under the university’s phased Return to Campus Plan, or the VU COVID-modified maximum capacity for the space, whichever is more restrictive. Organizers count as attendees for purposes of the maximum attendance limit.
  • Capacity controls/attendance tracking: Sign-ups and ticket distribution should be managed to maintain a strict maximum number of total/unique attendees. If interest exceeds capacity, develop a clear methodology for determining who will be chosen to attend, and consider using a waitlist or setting up separate pools/pods of attendees that do not overlap. Attendance should be closely tracked to assist in contact tracing, if necessary.
  • Physical distancing: Physical distancing is required. The “gathering” may be held only if attendees can maintain appropriate physical distance given the nature of the activities contemplated. Consideration should also be given as to whether attendees will be stationary or moving around during the event.
  • Face masks/coverings: By default, all participants must wear a face mask/covering. There may be exceptional circumstances when a face mask/covering can’t be worn; in those cases, approval should be granted only if additional physical distance and/or physical barriers can be used.


Core mission activities are not “gatherings.” These events do not require specific approval and are not subject to the VU maximum “gathering” attendance limit. However, other VU COVID-19 protocols (including physical distancing and face mask/covering requirements) must be followed. Core mission activities include:

  • Campus Public Health Events: On-campus public health/infection prevention and response events (e.g., COVID-19 testing center, Flulapalooza)
  • Academic Courses or Co-curricular Events: Academic courses and co-curricular activities when offered in connection with a VU course
  • Mission-Related Meetings Led by Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Dean, Vice Provost, or Department Chair: Meetings of university personnel convened to meet regarding the university’s academic-, research-, and service-related activities
  • Faculty- or Staff-Led Events in Direct Support of Learning/Discovery: University instructional and research support meetings that directly support learning/discovery and are directed by faculty/staff (e.g., lab meetings, journal clubs, poster sessions, programs of an academic/substantive nature hosted on The Ingram Commons or in a residential college and organized by a faculty head, programs of an academic/substantive nature sponsored by an identity-based center organized with its director, recitals overseen by faculty or staff member)
  • Research Lab Activities: University research lab activities, subject to the VU research ramp-up plan phases
  • Use of Libraries: Use of university libraries as an individual patron
  • Dining in Designated Dining Spaces: Dining in designated on-campus dining spaces (including outdoor spaces/tents)

Some personal/social events with members of the VU community are considered “gatherings” and are subject to the guidelines for gatherings while other personal/social events may not be considered “gatherings”:

These personal/social events with members of the VU community are “gatherings” subject to the guidelines under this policy:

  • Organized social events with students present alongside faculty/staff: Any organized social event with VU students in attendance
  • VU-sponsored (funded) faculty/staff get-togethers: Any social event with only faculty/staff in attendance, where VU funds are being used

These personal/social events are not “gatherings” and are not subject to the guidelines under this policy:

  • Non-VU-sponsored (funded) faculty/staff get-togethers: VU encourages all attendees of any event type to abide by any applicable public health orders/guidance.
  • Small, informal meet-up of students (8 or fewer, regardless of phased “maximum”): All individuals reasonably determined to be present at a single address or within a residential unit, including hosts, individuals in different rooms or spaces, and non-Vanderbilt affiliated individuals, count as attendees for purposes of the maximum attendance limit. Attendees must comply with VU’s COVID-19 protocols and applicable public health orders/guidance at “informal meet-ups,” including but not limited to:
    • Physical distancing is required. The “informal meet-up” may be held only if attendees can maintain appropriate physical distance given the nature of the activities contemplated.
    • Face masks/coverings are required. By default, all participants must wear a face mask/covering.
    • Food and drink must be consumed only while maintaining physical distancing. Attendees may remove their face masks/coverings only temporarily to eat and drink as needed.

Students are prohibited from “small, informal meet-ups” of any size in their assigned on-campus residential units, including in individual rooms and common spaces within suites, apartments, and lodges.

In-person events and activities with a primarily enrichment, extra- or co-curricular, or community-building purpose are “gatherings” that must follow the guidelines under this policy. Such “gatherings” include:

  • Meetings or events convened by registered student organizations (RSOs): Including Greek chapter events
  • Lectures or panels not part of a VU course: For example, Chancellor’s Lecture Series, Crawford Lecture, deans’ lectures, RSO-organized lectures
  • Art, dance, music, and theater performances: Including those organized by student organizations and offices
  • Ceremonies and receptions


As described above, small, informal meet-ups of members of Vanderbilt community, whether on- or off-campus, are limited to 8 or fewer people and all individuals must be physically distanced and masked at all times. A student, as an individual, may attend, participate in, or engage with an off-campus service, activity or event that is not hosted, managed, organized or sponsored by Vanderbilt University or Vanderbilt community members. While attending, participating in, or engaging with such services, activities or events, Vanderbilt community members are required to follow Vanderbilt University safety and gathering protocols (including masking and physical distancing from others). This means that if several members of the Vanderbilt community attend the same service, activity or event in the greater Nashville community they must not congregate in a masked, physically distanced group larger than 8.

What is a gathering decision tree























The university wants to provide students with academic and learning opportunities outside of the classroom while following all protocols for campus health and safety. To do so, all student academic or learning events must have an authorized sponsor from an academic department (or school/college) who submits a required plan through Events at Vanderbilt. 

Event sponsors should prioritize holding academic and learning events outside, and all such events must be on campus. Off campus events are not allowed. The authorized sponsor must file a plan and submit it to Events at Vanderbilt at least 14 calendar days in advance of the event. The plan must include in-depth information, including mechanisms to observe and enforce campus protocols. 

Following the university’s campus visitor policy, no non-VU attendees are allowed at such student events. During the event, there must be at least one faculty or staff member from the sponsoring department in attendance; the number required depends on the number of attendees. Their primary role is to ensure all attendees are following all University requirements during the event.

Graduate and professional student events will follow these same guidelines and also continue to be overseen by school and college deans.

Maximum size and related mechanisms to ensure physical distancing:  

  • At this time, the maximum number of total attendees (students plus staffing) will be 25 regardless of the capacity of the space in which the program will be held. This limit may be increased during the course of the semester to, for example, the COVID-19 modified maximum occupancy of the space reserved, or to align with changing Nashville guidance on gatherings, which requires permits for certain-sized gatherings.
  • Approval will take into consideration how the sponsor’s plan addresses maintaining physical both during the event and ingress/egress before and after the event.
  • In some circumstances, the university has already taken steps to help maintain distancing and event flow for specific on campus locations.  
  • For example, for outdoor events in the dining tents, there are set table and chair locations. On a lawn, students can be directed to remain in the circles, one person to circle.  For an indoor lecture, the university may have designed classroom spaces with chair straps in place to signify physical distancing and signage may already be placed to direct proper circulation. If the location for the event already has such measures in place, the plan may specifically refer to and rely on those measures. 
  • If, however, the location does not have such existing measures, the plan must include specific steps that the sponsor will take to maintain physical distancing. Regardless of location, some additional methods to mitigate potential bottlenecks may include ticketed entry and timed entry/dismissals.
  • The tasks of maintaining physical distance and complying with university protocols become more challenging as event size grows and plans for larger group gatherings, if allowed, will receive significant scrutiny, including whether they are generally consistent with Nashville guidance on gatherings. 
  • Ultimately, wherever an event is located, the sponsors must state the expected mechanisms for following all campus protocols, and also state how the sponsor will enforce those protocols once the event is underway in the required plan.   


  • Event sponsors should prioritize holding academic/learning events outside. Many outdoor spaces, like indoor spaces, can be reserved through Events at Vanderbilt. 
  • Physical distancing: All participants, including speakers, must always maintain physical distancing of at least six feet. 
  • Face masking/covering: All participants must always wear a face mask/covering, including any speakers. Attendees must wear a mask when not actively eating or drinking at an event where food or drink has been previously authorized.  
  • Food or drink at event: The default position is that no food or drink will be allowed during any event. Prior authorization may be granted for pre-distributed, pre-placed, and pre-packaged food if the plan explains why food or drink are necessary for the event and how this distribution and placement will be achieved. Even then, three conditions must be met: (a) attendees must wear a mask when not actively eating/drinking; (b) no alcohol is permitted at campus events; and (c) no third-party food servers are permitted.   


  • Consistent with the campus visitor policy, no non-VU attendees are allowed at student events. The only exceptions are guests invited by the sponsor to provide content for the event (such as a speaker or instructor). Any guest must complete all required paperwork (e.g., Acknowledgments) and be approved by the Provost’s office to come to campus. Refer to the Campus Visitors policy on the Return to Campus website for requirements about how food and drink must distributed/arranged for campus visitors, noting the role of Campus Dining. 

Group participation, especially cheering/yelling/singing: 

  • Attendees should avoid activities that might require people to yell, raise their voice, or project their voice, given recent research about how talking loudly can lead to more large droplets/aerosols that spread the virus. 

Anchor Link and RSVP system:   

  • The sponsor must enter events into Anchor Link and use the RSVP feature to ensure that the event does not exceed the stated maximum number of attendees in the plan. All attendees must RSVP at least 48 hours in advance of the event so that appropriate vetting of attendees can occur.  

Swiping in at events:  

  • All attendees at university events (including faculty, students, and staff) must swipe in at every event in to aid in contact tracing efforts if needed. If the event must use a different sign-in approach due to a technological issue, the sponsor must ensure appropriate sanitization between uses for pens/stylus/papers/iPads, or whatever other materials are used.   

Ratios for event staffing and support 

  • For student events, one designated event staff member must be in attendance for every 15 students attending. For the avoidance of doubt, when an event exceeds 15 students, a second staff member must be added (for example, a gathering of 20 students requires two designated staff). 
  • Event staff’s primary role is to make sure all attendees are following all above guidelines and to help maintain compliance. Designated event staff must include faculty or staff from the sponsoring department and may also include Resident Advisers or pre-designated student leaders who are aware of this role and responsibilities therein.  
  • Event staff may not be solely students; at least one professional (faculty or staff) must be in attendance at every event. All designated event staff must be counted toward any maximum occupancy limit for the designated event space.  


  • Graduate and professional student academic and learning events held within buildings specific to the school or college should be carefully reviewed by the dean for compliance. The dean can approve the events but must ensure the following:
    • Attendance must be tracked and be instantly available in the event contact tracing is needed
    • Events must be registered in Anchorlink for DOS tracking
  • Graduate and professional student academic and learning events proposed to be held outside of their specific buildings must be reviewed and approved by the Office of the Dean of Students through the Events at Vanderbilt space reservation process or by otherwise emailing

Guidelines for performing arts student organizations

  • Signing in groups will be permitted with the following restrictions:
    • No more than 12 individuals can gather
    • Singing must take place outdoors (outdoor reservation required)
    • Singers must wear masks at all times
    • There must be 12 feet between people and/or a physical barrier between singers
  • Instrumental groups restrictions:
    • Instruments that require use of air (Woodwinds, Brass) will not be allowed
    • String and percussion instruments
      • No more than 12 individuals can gather
      • Individuals must be no less than 10 feet apart
      • Individuals must wear masks at all times
  • Dancing in groups will be permitted with the following restrictions:
    • No more than 12 individuals can gather
    • Individuals must be no less than 10 feet apart
    • Individuals must wear masks at all times
  • For groups that do not fall under either singing or dancing categories (VUT, TNC, etc.), the following restrictions will be in place:
    • No more than 12 individuals can gather
    • Individuals must be no less than 10 feet apart
    • Individuals must wear masks at all times
  • All groups that can gather should prioritize outside meeting locations rather than indoor.

We are balancing the health, safety and comfort of our constituencies and our community with providing meaningful experiences for students traditionally associated with Vanderbilt. These are temporary measures to deal with the challenging circumstances in which we find ourselves. 

No guests will be allowed within residence hall rooms. Although first-year students will be assigned a single room, we expect that they will make friends on their residence hall floors, sitting in their doorways talking late into the night, or lounging on one of our various campus outdoor areas while physically distancing. Students will also be able to interact with their virtual roommates and other friends in person throughout the academic year, while still following the university’s protocols. 

We hope that community members will be active participants and bystanders in keeping the community healthy, safe, and accountable.  

Students around campus practice healthy behaviors.


Vanderbilt will continue to provide strong support to our incoming transfer students even as they live in off-campus residences. Through our transfer orientation program, students will interact with others through informational sessions and small-group discussions that will help them navigate your academic program, campus resources and student life on Vanderbilt’s campus. Through TSO, they’ll also have the opportunity to connect with Transfer Student Leaders (sophomores, juniors, and seniors who transferred to Vanderbilt themselves) and other incoming transfer students.

Additionally, the new Campus Connection Program will provide undergraduate students with personalized support and guidance as they navigate the various experiential learning and campus services that are part of their collegiate experience at Vanderbilt. The program will engage Campus Connectors, professional staff from Academic Affairs, to serve as liaisons who directly support personal and professional development for their cohort of students from enrollment to graduation.

Working in Office Environments

If you work in an open environment, be sure to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from any others. Based on CDC employer and ACHA guidance, consider staggering chairs or desks to achieve 6 feet of distance. You should wear a face mask/covering at all times while in a shared workspace/room. You should use your own computer, phone, headset and equipment, and not use colleagues’ equipment.

Based on CDC employer and ACHA guidance, departments should assess open work environments and meeting rooms to institute measures to physically separate and increase distance between employees and other co-workers such as:

  • Placing visual cues such as floor decals, colored tape or signs to indicate where people should stand while waiting
  • Placing one-way directional signage for large open workspaces with multiple through-ways to increase distance between employees moving through the space
  • Removing shared resources (e.g., community pen holders and pens, magazines in main office areas, etc.)

If you work in a personal office, no more than one person should be in the office unless the required six feet of distance can be consistently maintained. If more than one person is in a room, face masks/coverings should be worn at all times.

Face masks/coverings must be worn by every person in a reception/receiving area. Face masks/coverings protocols should be followed at all times.


Based on CDC college and university and ACHA guidance, convening in groups carries a high risk of viral transmission. Gathering sizes are governed by university restrictions determined at each phase. Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or in part using online collaboration tools (e.g., Zoom). When allowed, in-person meetings are limited to the restrictions of gathering sizes, assuming individuals can still maintain six feet of separation for physical distancing requirements. Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables (e.g., consider staggering seats) or add visual cue marks in meeting rooms to support physical distancing practices between attendees. During your time on site, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, Skype messenger, telephone or other technology. You can also use a range of available collaboration tools (e.g., Zoom).

Break Room Food

If obtaining food from dining sites on campus, you should wear your face mask/covering when picking it up. In alignment with ACHA guidance, if you are eating in your work environment (break room, office, etc.), maintain six feet of distance between yourself and others. Individuals should not sit facing one another. Eating alone is encouraged. Observe occupancy limits, and avoid crowding of break rooms. Remove your face mask/covering only in order to eat, then put it back on. Wipe down the table and chair you used once you are done. Common break room food and beverage items should not be used (e.g., shared coffee pots, shared water pitchers, etc.). Reusable kitchenware (e.g., forks, plates) should not be used and should be replaced with disposable options.

Using Campus Elevators

Based on CDC employer guidance, elevator usage should ensure physical distancing is achieved. Using stairs whenever possible will assist vertical circulation given that elevator capacities may be challenged. If you are using the elevator, wear your face mask/covering and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol upon departing the elevator. Custodial crews will be wiping down elevator buttons more frequently during the day.

Using Campus Restrooms

Restroom usage should ensure physical distancing is achieved. This may require the use of signage to indicate when a restroom is occupied.

  • Wear a face mask/covering.
  • Wait outside the restroom in a physically distanced line until physical distancing inside the restroom can be achieved.
  • Avoid touching your face after touching door handles.
  • Wash with soap or sanitize your hands after using the restroom.



If you drive to and park on campus, you will be required to have a parking permit; violations are subject to fines and towing. Sophomores, juniors and seniors can purchase an annual parking permit online. In an effort to provide more flexibility for residential and off-campus students, students with F, G, J, VK, and GT permits can park in any of the parking facilities on the expanded list on the Parking Services website. Faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate and professional students who are authorized to return to campus have more options for parking on campus this year including the traditional annual parking permit with the ability to park in any zone, $5 per day hangtags or a new daily parking option (piloted with a limited number of commuters). Once you exit your car, please follow physical distancing and face mask/covering guidelines; view the CDC transportation guidance on protecting yourself when using transportation. Learn about additional transportation options available to you on the MoveVU website.


VandyRide service will return to campus starting Jan. 19 with two shuttles, one on the Gold Route and one on the Black Route, and one or more shuttles designated for Point-to-Point service. Service will run from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. There may be longer wait times for riders due to capacity restrictions related to COVID-19 safety during this time.

To access VandyRide routes in real time, download the VandySafe app and go to the “Maps & VandyRide” section or visit the website. Once users are inside the app, they can select “route” in the drop-down menu in the upper left-hand corner and select all routes to see the routes on the map.

VandyRide Point to Point Service

Undergraduate students living within a half-mile from campus this semester can get a free ride home with VandyRide’s new Point to Point service.

Point to Point allows students who live off campus and are registered with the Dean of Students Office to get a shuttle ride from a campus VandyRide stop or designated ridehail pickup location to their residence within a half-mile of the university. The service, available from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. seven days per week, is one-way and designed to deliver students safely to their off-campus residences. The program is being piloted this semester and is subject to change based on demand and available resources.

The free shuttles will not transport students to locations other than their registered off-campus residences, and they will not pick up students and bring them to campus. In addition, Point to Point shuttles will not transport students who live on campus—all passengers must be confirmed as living at an off-campus address prior to boarding a shuttle.

To use the Point to Point service, follow these steps:

  • Students should contact VUPS Communications at 615-322-2745 to request a ride to an off-campus residence.
  • VUPS will verify the student’s name, address and that it is within the Point to Point service area with the Dean of Students Office.
  • Once confirmed, the student will be instructed to proceed to the nearest VandyRide stop or designated ridehail pickup location and wait for a shuttle. Students may track their assigned shuttle using the VandyRide app.
  • Once the shuttle arrives, students must identify themselves by name and address before boarding the shuttle.

Please note that shuttles may transport more than one passenger to more than one location per trip. A maximum of seven passengers will be allowed on each shuttle. All passengers must wear face masks and practice physical distancing.

Students should expect an approximately 15-minute wait from when they request a shuttle to its arrival at a VandyRide stop or ridehail location. In addition, the university is exploring more options to augment its VandyRide program.

VandyRide Safety Protocols

The university has also implemented enhanced safety protocols including:

  • Vehicles: Vehicles are inspected, and high touch areas cleaned and sanitized at the start of each shift and between every trip or as needed, in addition to biweekly cleaning/sanitizing with steam. Vehicles are equipped with signage on wearing masks and other health and safety protocols. All vehicles will operate at 50 percent capacity.
  • Drivers: All drivers are required to wear masks and have their temperatures screened daily. COVID-19 sanitization kits are carried by all drivers.
  • Riders: All riders must wear masks and maintain physical distancing while boarding and riding on the shuttles.

In an effort to de-densify campus for health and safety, the university will continue to implement a campus-wide electric scooter no-ride/dismount zone for the spring semester. We are working with scooter companies to ensure that scooters are not staged on campus and to implement a geofence that turns campus into a no-ride zone. Bikes are a great transportation option to use in place of e-scooters. Bicyclists must follow the circulation patterns on campus, yield to pedestrians in order to maintain physical distance, walk their bikes in dismount zones noted on campus such as the 21st Ave pedestrian bridges, Rand wall and Medical Center Plaza, and park responsibly at bike racks.


Based on CDC transportation guidance, if you must take public transportation, wear a face mask/covering before entering the bus or train, space out as much as possible, and avoid touching surfaces with your hands. Upon disembarking, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol as soon as possible. Stay up to date on changes to service and procedures; view WeGo Public Transit’s enhanced modified service plan at

WeGo Public Transit is collaborating with the Metro Nashville Health Department to ensure that all of its practices are in line with recommended efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19, general influenza and other viruses. Since the start of the pandemic, the agency has increased the frequency of its vehicle and facility disinfecting program, with a greater focus on surfaces touched most frequently by riders and employees. It also is working with its regional bus and train service providers to ensure they are increasing cleaning efforts as well.

Researchers believe that in addition to wearing masks, physical distancing when possible, and improved cleaning and ventilation, the relative short time of exposure and lack of conversations also reduces the risk of infection. If possible, researchers recommend limiting your time of potential exposure (transit and commute trips are inherently shorter than many other activities and tend to average 30 minutes or less) and limit conversations and talking.

As a reminder, through Vanderbilt’s recently expanded EasyRide program, full-time and part-time faculty, staff and students are eligible for free rides on all WeGo Public Transit local and regional buses and the WeGo Star train. Swipe your Vanderbilt ID card to ride on buses and show your ID card on the train.

Carpool, vanpool and other shared rides

If you are traveling in a shared vehicle:

  • Wear a face mask/covering at all times.
  • Limit the number of passengers in the vehicle to only those necessary and space out as much as possible. Avoid pooled rides or rides where multiple passengers are picked up who are not in the same household.
  • Avoid touching surfaces (door frame and handles, windows and other vehicle parts) with your hands.
  • Avoid accepting offers of free water bottles and other items that may be provided for free to passengers.
  • Improve ventilation by opening the windows or setting the air ventilation/air conditioning on non-recirculation mode.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol as soon as possible.