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Graduate and Professional Students

As part of the Vanderbilt Return to Campus Plan, we are welcoming all students back to in-person classes in the fall. By resuming in-person classes for students and faculty, we have the chance to be together on campus under the new conditions that the pandemic requires.

At Vanderbilt, connections and collaborative relationships push our scholarship, research, leadership and creative expression even further. The graduate and professional student experience at Vanderbilt not only allows students to connect with faculty experts in their chosen field, but also develop friendships and professional networks with their fellow students.

Each school and college will share detailed information with their respective students as soon as those details become available.

Three Things You Need to Know
  • The Graduate School calendar follows the undergraduate calendar, with most classes starting on August 24. Many professional programs will follow the same schedule, but some are further tailored to programs’ unique curriculums. View individual school calendars.
  • Courses will be a hybrid of online and in-person learning and other approaches. Depending on the nature of the program, faculty will have options for delivery through virtual and alternative platforms to provide for students who cannot return to campus because of travel restrictions (see school-specific information below).
  • The university is taking actions—such as enhanced cleaning and classroom protocols, changes to foot-traffic flow through buildings and on campus pathways, and much more—to ensure all campus spaces and buildings support the health and safety of the entire Vanderbilt community.

The fall plan is continually evolving, and some of our planning may change as new information becomes available. We recommend that you return to this website often, in the event that pertinent updates have been communicated.

Student/Family Town HallS

June 17, 2020

June 20, 2020


Find answers to the most asked questions about Return to Campus

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Fall 2020

Consistent with CDC guidance, Vanderbilt is instructing those community members who are returning to campus after international travel to self-quarantine for 14 days before arriving back on campus.

Those who need to self-isolate due to being sick or testing positive for COVID-19 are being instructed to notify the university in order to receive healthcare monitoring and support and to protect the health and safety of our community as much as possible.

International Students Returning to Campus

Per CDC guidance and Vanderbilt policy, international students returning to campus who plan to live off campus must self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus.

Residential undergraduates returning from abroad will need to self-quarantine off campus before arriving back on campus for the start of the fall semester.

Fall 2020 - Academics

Details regarding the academic calendars for individual graduate and professional schools—some of which are further tailored to programs’ unique curriculums—are available on the Office of the University Registrar website.

  • Orientation events for most programs will occur remotely prior to the start of classes. See school-specific info below for detailed information. 
  • The academic calendar for graduate Ph.D. programs will align with the undergraduate calendar. The calendar has these notable changes from previous years:
    • Classes will start on August 24 (two days earlier than planned).
    • In-person classes will end before Thanksgiving break, and remaining course content will be delivered via alternative platforms.
    • Breaks are eliminated to reduce travel and minimize risk of increased exposure to COVID-19.
    • Many professional degree programs will have these same or similar modifications but may vary based on the unique nature of each program (see school and college websites for these specifics).

Expect to see a variety of approaches to final exams this fall. Some instructors will replace their final exam with a final project; some will give “open book” exams in which students can use textbooks and other resources; some will provide extra time for exam completion; and some will give timed, closed book exams similar to their usual exams. All final exams, however, will be administered online, often through the Brightspace Quiz tool. 

Check with your instructor for details, and visit this page for things to keep in mind when taking a quiz or exam on Brightspace: https://www.vanderbilt.edu/brightspace/preparation-for-taking-a-quiz-in-brightspace/.

The COVID-19 Student Hardship Relief Fund is available for students who need technology to support online learning.

Due to the disruption that the COVID-19 virus has had on our students, there is a tremendous financial need to provide emergency assistance to undergraduate, graduate and professional students with demonstrated financial need. There is a $500 limit per student in this Hardship Fund.

The application is available on the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships website.

Classes

Instruction will take place as a hybrid of online and in-person courses and is largely dependent on classroom constraints and faculty accommodations.

Professional remote-only request: Students should contact the director of graduate studies in their respective departments.

Orientation

Orientation will be provided through the Graduate School. This year the orientation will take place in advance of the semester’s starting and will be online.

Contact

Questions can be directed to department chairs or program directors or Director of Graduate Studies David Wright.

 

Classes

The IGP and QCB will begin earlier than other graduate programs. Orientation will occur in person on Aug 17 and classes will begin on Aug 20. Until Nov 20, instruction for the IGP and QCB will be in person. Then, the IGP and QCB fall semester courses will move to a virtual format.

All other classes for PhD students in the SOM will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual. The locations are still being planned.

Professional remote-only requests: The policy is being developed in collaboration with the graduate school and will be handled by the Biomedical Research Education and Training (BRET) Office in School of Medicine Basic Sciences.

Orientation

Planning is underway but will likely consist of a mix of in-person, distance, and some in-classroom.

Contact

Questions can be directed to the Biomedical Research Education and Training (BRET) office.

CLASSES

VDS will deliver classes either by online or by the hy-flex model (whereby the instructor of record will be in a classroom delivering in-person instruction with each session being broadcast simultaneously via Zoom). Students who wish to request to have their classes online, because of pre-existing medical condition(s) or fall into any of the high risk categories, travel restrictions, or needing to self-isolate or quarantine if exposed to or contract the coronavirus during the semester, will be given an opportunity to state this preference in YES. The application for the Divinity School will be launched after June 26. Please be in touch with Dean Judge (victor.judge@vanderbilt.edu) after that time. The Divinity School will continue to follow the calendar for Arts and Science. 

ORIENTATION

New student orientation will take place virtually, Aug. 19-21, with advising taking place from Aug. 17-20. Registration begins on Aug. 21. All newly admitted students will receive detailed information directly via email. For more information on orientation, please contact divinity-admissions@vanderbilt.edu.

CONTACT

Any additional questions may be directed to the Office of the Deans via Marie McEntire, Assistant to the Deans. Email: marie.mcentire@Vanderbilt.Edu

Classes

The vast majority of classes will be offered in person, though each in-person class will also include an online section for students who wish to take a class remotely.

Professional remote-only request: Contact Dean Chris Meyers at chris.meyers@vanderbilt.edu.

Orientation

Orientation will be delivered remotely and will include synchronous and asynchronous content, including our Life of the Law course.

Contact

Questions can be directed to Dean Chris Meyers at chris.meyers@vanderbilt.edu.

 

Classes

Instruction will be both remote and in-person. In-person courses will have options for delivery via virtual platforms for students who are unable to be in the classroom.

Orientation

Orientation will be largely remote; the team is planning a few opportunities for small, physically distant activities.

Contact

Questions can be directed to the Office of the Dean at owen.officeofthedean@vanderbilt.edu or individual program directors.

 

Classes

Courses will be a hybrid of online and in-person courses and other approaches. All courses will have options for delivery through virtual and alternative platforms to provide for students who cannot return to campus because of travel restrictions.

The Peabody dean’s office will contact professional students on June 22 with details on how students may apply to study remotely, should circumstances require them to do so. We ask all professional students who wish to request this option to communicate with us by July 1.

Orientation

Prior to the start of classes, new graduate and professional students will take part in online orientation. Additional information about orientation will be forthcoming from the Peabody dean’s office.

Contact

Contact the Peabody Office of Academic Services with registration questions. For other questions, professional students should contact Associate Dean Catherine Gavin Loss, and graduate students should contact Associate Dean Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez.

 

Classes

Classes will take place as a hybrid of online and in-person courses.

Orientation

All orientation will be provided through the Graduate School. This year the orientation will take place in advance of the semester’s starting and will be online.

Contact

Questions should be directed to Duco Jansen, Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Faculty Affairs.

 

Classes

Predominately in-person, with the exception of MSCI and MPH, which will be remote with in-person  research and experiential components, and MSACI, which is a remote program traditionally.

Orientation

Combination of in-person and online. See the SOM website for details.

Contact

Questions should be directed to Donna Rosenstiel, Assistant Dean for Health Sciences Education (donna.rosenstiel@vanderbilt.edu) or to program directors.

 

Classes

Combination of in-person and online. Please see the School of Nursing website for specifics related to each program.

In the academic programs for advanced nursing practice (M.S.N., Post-Master’s Certificate, and B.S.N.-to-D.N.P.), clinical experiential learning is required to meet accreditation standards. Therefore, students must be present on campus for certain components of the clinical learning sessions and must participate in direct patient care in a clinical setting. There is no option for remote-only instruction.

If students need accommodation for health purposes, they must register with Student Access Services.

Orientation

All orientation will be conducted virtually. There will be several prerecorded modules that students can access online at their convenience. Other sessions will be conducted via video conferencing to encourage student participation. Students will be required to have completed orientation by the start of their classes.

Contact

Visit the Admitted and Current Students sections of the School of Nursing website for more specific information. For questions not addressed online, contact Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Sarah Ramsey, (615) 343-3334.

 

Dates have not been confirmed for the spring semester. A working group is being assembled to make those plans now, now that we have our fall plan. As soon as the information is available, we will share it with you.

Classes will look and operate differently from the way they have in the past. For example, faculty, staff, students and postdoctoral fellows will practice CDC-recommended physical distancing and follow other requirements for health and safety in each classroom, which means students will sit at least six feet apart and will be wearing masks or face coverings. Faculty and teaching assistants will also be adopting appropriate public health safety methods. 

  • High-touch areas, including in academic buildings, will be disinfected at least twice per day. Classrooms will be disinfected daily during routine cleaning. Disinfecting wipes will be provided in classrooms and other spaces for use by the occupants.
  • Physical distancing of 6 feet will be implemented resulting in reduced in-person class sizes and/or rescheduling for spaces large enough to support physical distancing. We are exploring other classroom hygiene approaches, but all will have restrictions on distance between the lecturer and the audience.
  • Class scheduling will be adjusted to allow for more time for students and faculty to travel from one class to another.
  • When feasible, dedicated entrances and exits will be designated to minimize congestion during class changes.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed at entrance and exit points for buildings on campus, as well as near elevators.
  • Doors will be automated, where possible.

Each faculty member, staff member, postdoc and student will be provided a cloth face covering. Disposable masks will be provided, if needed. Individuals and departments can contact their assigned facilities officer or liaison in their college, school or department to acquire cloth face coverings or disposable masks. You may also wear homemade cloth face coverings that adhere to CDC and other public health recommendations.

A number of classroom protocols are being finalized through careful study and close consultation with experts at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and our School of Nursing, as well as national, state and local public health officials. Academic leaders, faculty and students are all contributing to determining those protocols.

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.

Vanderbilt Libraries will follow university guidelines and current CDC public health recommendations in order to create the safest space possible for library staff and patrons.

Gradual reopening of in-person library services

Phase 1: A small group of library staff returned to the Central Library, and pick-up started on June 1, limited to the Central and Divinity libraries.

Phase 2: We will be expanding the number of pick-up and drop-off locations for faculty who are unable to access materials digitally. We will increase staff in order to 1) get items processed for the end of the fiscal year; 2) check in and shelve items returned to the various departmental libraries; 3) prepare for special collections users in Phase 3; 4) begin to scan and digitize more items; 5) work on reserves requests; and 6) generally get ready for the fall semester. We will also start preparing for user access which will start in Phase 3.

Phase 3: We will allow access to researchers. Also, the library directors are currently working to ensure that each library building has an approved circulation pattern and that user areas are set up to ensure social distancing protocols are followed. We are also working to reconfigure space in the libraries to use as additional classroom and instructional space.

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.

Fall 2020 - Campus Life and Housing

Specific guidelines for all campus visitors, including parents, are being developed to ensure the safety of our campus community. The situation with COVID-19 is changing rapidly and we want those guidelines to reflect the best practices in place once students have returned to campus.

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

The David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center and Outdoor Recreation Program is instituting a number of programming changes in order to manage the situation brought on by the global pandemic and ensure the health and safety of the Vanderbilt community. In time, we hope to bring many of our in-person programs back to full capacity, informed by guidance from public health officials and experts at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Each fall, the university welcomes a diverse cohort of more than 1,800 new undergraduate students, inviting them to join the Vanderbilt family by providing support in the transition process and showcasing the vast network of resources available to ensure success. All new undergraduates—first-year and transfer—participate in new student orientation and receive support from the Vanderbilt community.

Orientation for first-year and transfer students will be held virtually prior to arrival on campus and the start of fall classes. More information and an orientation schedule are forthcoming.

GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS

Orientation planning for graduate and professional students is underway, but we anticipate that orientations will be provided in a remote format in advance of campus arrival. More information will be shared directly by the dean and/or program director for each specific graduate or professional degree program.

Student life on campus is an important part of the college experience. There is no denying that the ways in which we live, learn, interact and study will continue to evolve and change in the coming months. Many of these experiences will be new for all of us, and we fully understand that the dynamics of the fall semester may not be what any of us would desire or expect. We share in the feeling that there is a long road of uncertainty ahead, but the collaborative and caring culture of Vanderbilt positions us well to thoughtfully travel it together.

The Office of the Dean of Students will use the parameters and protocols set forth as a part of the university’s Return to Campus Plan as a basis for guidelines for student life on campus and will determine how staff and students will engage in various activities and programs.

STUDENT PROGRAMMING AND ORGANIZATIONS

With distancing measures in place, student life professionals across campus are engaging directly with students to receive input on the best ways to build virtual communities and implement programming for students. Several ideas that are in development are virtual sing-a-longs, board game tournaments, watch parties and meals. The university is also asking student organizations to come up with creative engagement plans that accommodate safety and other health-based protocols. Our current approach is designed to create living-learning environments that allow Vanderbilt’s values to thrive under COVID-19 conditions.

We continue to define what a gathering can look in the fall. We anticipate coming up with some guidelines specifically for performing groups that would allow for some rehearsals and performances, even if no audience can be present. We will strongly recommend that all events, even those that allow in-person attendance, livestream or provide some form of virtual viewing (Facebook Live, Zoom, YouTube, etc.). Our Production Services staff is gearing up to be able to do remote livestreaming of student organization events, allowing students who are not comfortable attending or who may be doing remote learning to still be able to watch.

Student Involvement Fair

We are currently evaluating how we will execute the student involvement fair. We will have some form of fair, but are still collecting input and feedback from students about how best to execute this event. In addition, we are looking more broadly about how we can introduce incoming first-year and transfer students to the many opportunities for involvement on campus. 

Reserving Space

Student organizations will be able to reserve space, but we anticipate those spaces to be more limited. As soon as we have a better understanding of which rooms will be used as classrooms, we will be able to open reservations for student organizations. We will have specific physical distancing set-ups for all spaces and will follow all university guidelines.

RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS

We hope to be able to provide some in-person gatherings in the fall for all student organizations, but would be subject to broader university guidelines and greater Davidson County guidelines. We will certainly work with our religious organizations to help facilitate any special needs they have if possible. For example, we will work with religious life leaders to find creative ways and alternative spaces to observe religious rituals (e.g. coordinating a larger meeting space to allow for physical distancing).  

MEETINGS AND SOCIAL EVENTS

Vanderbilt will follow a phased approach with restrictions on in-person meetings
and social events on or off campus. Each of Vanderbilt’s phases will outline specific guidance on the protocols for face masks/coverings, physical distancing, symptom monitoring and testing, event allowances, occupation of student centers and residential housing, student engagement, the Student Care Network and the Project Safe Center.

Student life on and off campus will be subject to limitations on gatherings and residential programming will be modified to alternative/virtual formats. Student organizations will modify operations for service/work. Common area access will be restricted and cleaning protocols will be put in place.

Student organizations will be able to reserve space, but we anticipate those spaces to be more limited. As soon as we have a better understanding of which rooms will be used as classrooms, we will be able to open reservations for student organizations. 

Vanderbilt currently allows gatherings of up to 10 people with physical distancing. As guidelines change, we will work closely with student organizations to plan events and activities accordingly. Meanwhile, we will work with student leaders to come up with creative ways to engage their organizations and broader university community virtually through various platforms. A best practices guide for operating virtually is being developed for student organizations and will be publicized as we get closer to the start of the fall semester.

COMPLIANCE

Student Accountability will oversee compliance. Students are expected to comply with all university policies and protocols designed to facilitate physical distancing, reduce the spread of COVID-19 and promote the health and safety as much as possible of the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities. Any intentional or reckless disregard for these policies and protocols will be addressed through the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity, using the existing sanctioning considerations found in the Student Handbook, including a review of the potential impact based on the nature and severity of the incident, which may support an enhanced sanction. This also applies to both unofficial on- and off-campus parties.

SPRING EVENTS

Vanderbilt will follow a phased approach with restrictions on in-person meetings and social events. Guidelines for the spring will be dependent on the success of the fall semester and subject to broader university guidelines and greater Davidson County guidelines at that time.

Vanderbilt University’s policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic will be rooted in safety for staff, faculty, students, invited guests (e.g., contractors), and the public with whom we interact. The health and well-being of our community are critical.

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY PUBLIC SAFETY

Vanderbilt University Public Safety (VUPS) is committed to the safety of students, faculty and staff. The people within VUPS work diligently to maintain a safe and secure campus, and they are committed to doing so with the utmost care and compassion and under the highest standards of conduct.

More than 300 staff serve in the department, which includes 100 police officers, 135 community service officers and 80 security personnel. The department also continues to protect members of our campus community during the pandemic.

CORE Committee

The Community Oriented Result and Expectation (CORE) Committee continues to meet to make recommendations to the Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD) regarding safety and security on campus. The committee discusses issues including suspected bias, VUPD’s ongoing community relations efforts, police accountability and transparency, pedestrian and bicycle safety and other traffic concerns, and the handling of significant events and incidents on campus while addressing concerns and planning solutions for those issues. 

Representation on this committee includes the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the Multicultural Leadership Council, the Graduate Student Council, Vanderbilt Student Government, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, the Office of Residential Education, the Faculty Senate, the Project Safe Center for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response, the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, the Office of LGBTQI Life, Athletics, International Student and Scholar Services, a community/neighborhood representative, the University Staff Advisory Council (USAC), the Division of Communications, the Office of Risk and Insurance Management, and the Office of the General Counsel.

Vanderbilt Athletics’ plan for returning to campus is guided by the university’s Return to Campus and Return to Classes Plans. The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff are paramount. Athletics will follow a staged approach that relies on a diversity of expertise and broad collaboration with the NCAA, SEC, university leadership, health experts and others, and will adhere to local public health guidelines and protocols, as well as university specific mandates.

Student-athletes will return to campus in stages to allow for a transition period for medical clearance, accommodation of new protocols, and adequate time for education and reinforcement of new norms. We will use data to inform next steps. The plan is flexible and allows for sport-specific adaptation.

The Return to Campus Plan for Vanderbilt Athletics includes:

  • COVID-19 testing and pre-participation physicals
  • Daily screening and symptom monitoring
  • Enhanced disinfecting protocols
  • Locker rooms closed
  • Virtual team meetings
  • Face mask/covering and physical distancing protocols

Athletics Return to Campus Stage A:

  • Football will be the first sport to return to campus.
  • Football players will begin voluntary workouts in June with limited Athletics staff on site (SEC regulations permit voluntary workouts starting June 8), in alignment with Vanderbilt’s Phase 2 launch.
  • Activities will ramp up throughout the summer, and on-site coaching and staffing will expand as allowed by the university guidelines.
  • Preseason practice is expected to begin in early August.

This plan is flexible, and adjustments will be made as necessary, based on data.

Every patron visiting the Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt 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.

PHASE 2 (CURRENT) DINING OPERATIONS

During Phase 2, Rand walk-in dining has ended and has switched to online ordering/meal delivery only. Meals must be ordered the day before via the GET app. Residential student pick-up location is at Highland Quad. Faculty and staff pick-up location is at Rand. Follow directional and physical distancing signage during pick-up to ensure paths do not cross and physical distancing is always maintained.

Students

  • Pre-ordered breakfast pick-up times: Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
  • Pre-ordered lunch pick-up times: Monday–Friday from noon to 12:15 p.m.
  • Pre-ordered dinner pick-up times: Monday–Sunday from 4:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
  • Pre-ordered brunch pick up times: Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m.

Faculty and Staff

  • Pre-ordered lunch pick-up times: Monday–Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.

FALL SEMESTER DINING

Campus Dining is adapting its operations to the new reality of physical distancing, enhanced sanitization protocols, and modified service style. While our dining facilities may look different, know that our focus on the safety and well-being of the Vanderbilt community has never been stronger.

Despite the myriad challenges posed by this public health event, Campus Dining is fully committed to providing a wide variety of healthy and nutritious meal options to the Vanderbilt community. In addition to a network of residential dining halls, retail markets, and cafes, we are proud to announce the following enhancements to our dining program for the 2020-2021 academic year:

  • The Nicholas S. Zeppos College dining hall will be opening in August 2020 and adds another option to the Vanderbilt West End neighborhood.
  • Broad expansion of mobile ordering options, including all Munchie Mart convenience stores and Suzie’s Cafes. Students will have the option to use meals or meal money in these locations. Options include a rotating menu of chef-inspired sandwiches, wraps, and healthy bowls, in addition to market and convenience items.
  • To further support physical distancing efforts, and to reduce congestion in high-traffic dining halls, Campus Dining Pick-up Spots will be located in key places across campus; students can order meals online, then pick up at a convenient location.
  • Students can use their Meal Money or Commodore Cash to purchase food at any one of the Taste of Nashville partner restaurants, all located near campus. In addition, Campus Dining will host a rotation of food trucks on a daily basis, further adding value and variety to a student’s Meal Money or Commodore Cash.

Ranked #7 Best Campus Food, 2020 by the Princeton Review, Vanderbilt Campus Dining serves up a globally-inspired menu, with exciting new cuisines and healthy options that support a diverse array of dietary preferences and restrictions. Our award-winning chefs are proud to offer a comprehensive meal plan that supports community, sustainability and healthy living.

Meal plans are available to all undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff. All Vanderbilt students living on campus are required to participate in a meal plan based on their cohort year. See below for meal plan components and rates for the 13-week semester between August 24 and November 20.

FIRST-YEARSSOPHOMORESJUNIORSSENIORS
The 21 PlanThe 19 PlanThe 19 PlanThe 14 Plan
21 on-campus meals per week19 on-campus meals per week19 on-campus meals per week14 on-campus meals per week
$ 225 Meal Money per semester$ 275 Meal Money per semester$ 275 Meal Money per semester$ 325 Meal Money per semester
$ 2,686 per semester$ 2,666 per semester$ 2,666 per semester$ 2,385 per semester

Nonresidential students, including undergraduates opting out of on-campus housing, will have the ability to purchase any of the above meal plans, but will not be required to do so. In addition, nonresidential students, faculty, and staff have the option to purchase flex meals which are prepaid blocks of meals, redeemable at any Campus Dining location.

These are unprecedented times, and terms such as “physical distancing” and “the new normal” have become part of our everyday lexicon. Vanderbilt, like most institutions, has adapted in significant and profound ways. What won’t change, however, is our commitment to clean, safe dining facilities, convenient dining options, and excellent-quality food. As an integral component of campus life, Campus Dining takes pride in fueling our students’ academic pursuits, and we look forward to serving you soon.

Campus Dining is committed to meeting the dining needs of all residential students, regardless of disability or dietary restrictions/allergies. With limited exceptions due to physical distancing requirements and modified circulation plans, our dining halls will remain accessible for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

To maintain maximum physical distancing, the initial phase of Campus Dining’s reopening plan does not include seating in dining halls. Meals will be served to-go style, to be eaten in academic or residential areas. In close collaboration with campus partners, Campus Dining is currently exploring alternate seating models utilizing flexible outdoor spaces.

FOOD PICKUP TIMES

Students will preorder and specify a 15 minute pickup window, convenient to their unique class schedule. This is similar to how mobile ordering functions at The Pub and Local Java under normal circumstances. Campus Dining is currently working through details on timing for ordering food. More details will be shared in the coming weeks.

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 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

 

GENERAL ROUTE SIGNAGE

 

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.

 


 

Roundabout

 

Roundabout:
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

Yield:
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.

 

RESEARCH Signage

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

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.

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.


BuildingSignage?
1025 16th Ave S (ISIS Labs)
1202 18th Ave S
1207 17th Ave S
17th Ave MUMS Lab
Admissions & Financial Aid
Baker Building
Benson Old Central
Biomolecular NMR
Branscomb Market - Dining
Buttrick Hall
Calhoun Hall
Center Building
Central & Divinity Libraries
Commons Dining
Cohen Memorial
Crawford
Divinity School
Drug Discovery - Cool Springs
East
E. Bronson Ingram 1st Fl Dining
E. Bronson Ingram Studio Arts
Engineering Science Building (ESB)
Eskind Medical Library
Featheringill-Jacobs Hall
Furman Hall
Garland Hall
Gillette
Godchaux Hall
Godchaux Nursing Annex
Hank Ingram
Hobbs HDL
Jesup Psychology
Keck FEL
Kirkland Hall
Kissam Market - Dining
Kissam Center
LASIR at MetroCenter
Law Cafe - Dining
Law School
Memorial
Moore College
MRB III and Learned Lab
Murray
Old Gym
Olin Hall
One Magnolia Circle
Owen Graduate School of Management
Payne Hall
Peabody Administration
Peabody Library
Sony BMG
Stevenson Center Complex
The Commons Center
The Hill Center
Warren College
Wilson Hall
Wyatt Center
Vaughn Home

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:

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
  3. While outdoors and sitting in one spot, 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 2.  Parking locations are noted with non-colored circles and popular destinations with colored circles. Major circulation routes are noted in gold.

 

We are following developments in decision making regarding local public schools and childcare facilities closely and will develop contingency plans around different potential outcomes. On Monday, June 8, the State of Tennessee Department of Education issued guidance on reopening schools. On Tuesday, June 9, Metro Nashville Public Schools issued its plan for the upcoming academic year.

In response, we plan to convene a group of faculty and staff to determine how we need to inform our approaches as local school leaders formulate plans for the upcoming school year. This is now one of our top priorities. Vanderbilt Child and Family Center Executive Director Kathleen Seabolt and incoming Faculty Senate vice chair Ben Harris will lead a working group on this topic.

If you have been impacted by the closing of schools and childcare facilities, please share with us your feedback or concerns by completing this form. We welcome engagement from faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate/professional students.

MEETINGS

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 6 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).

GATHERINGS

Vanderbilt is currently in phase 2 of its ramp-up, and gatherings up to 10 people are allowed as long as CDC-recommended physical distancing can be maintained, and safety protocols (e.g., face masks/coverings) are followed. Changes to gathering size restrictions will be communicated as the university continues to ramp up operations and prior to the start of the fall semester. Changes will be evaluated based on state, city and health guidance.

A definition of gatherings will be available in July.

If you drive to and park on campus, you will be required to have a parking permit; violations are subject to fines and towing. If you need to purchase a campus parking permit, please contact Parking Services. Learn about additional transportation options available to you on the MoveVU website. Once you exit your car, please follow physical distancing and face mask/covering guidelines.

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. 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 ID card to ride on buses and show your ID card on train. View WeGo’s enhanced modified service plan at WeGoTransit.com.

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.

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.

We are considering VandyRide options for the upcoming academic year that will allow us to provide late night transportation service to students following safety protocols. Plans will be finalized by August 24.

Fall 2020 - Health and Safety

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. Free access to testing is currently being offered through July 24, 2020. The Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) also provides access to COVID-19 treatment free of charge through July 24, 2020. After July 24, 2020, the student’s insurance benefits as outlined in their insurance brochure, including their deductible and copays, will apply. Students on the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) should reach out to Vanderbilt’s on campus insurance liaison, Kristy Miller, at 615-343-4688 or Kristina.miller@vumc.org with questions.

If the institution moves to remote learning mid semester, refunds will not be issued for the Student Health Insurance Plan premium. The Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) is an annual plan offering global coverage from August 12, 2020 through August 11, 2021. Your student health insurance will continue to offer high quality coverage regardless of where you are studying.

TESTING

GRADUATE/PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS NOW

Students who are on campus now who have symptoms related to COVID-19 or determine that they need to be tested based on potential exposure are encouraged to contact Student Health (615-322-2427). Individuals who need emergency care should contact 911 for ambulance transport to the nearest Emergency Department.

GRADUATE/PROFESSIONAL STUDENT FUTURE

Vanderbilt University is establishing its COVID-19 safety model by leveraging collaboration and partnership with the world-class Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt University School of Nursing to support and protect the Vanderbilt University community as much as possible.

As a core component of our preventive measures, we will have requirements for COVID-19 safety such as offering on-campus testing, rigorous contact tracing and symptom management. We are partnering closely with the experts at VUMC and our School of Nursing to deploy their best practices in these areas. Additional details about the university’s plans to implement these best practices, as well as the varying testing requirements for different groups of students—which may include testing prior to arriving on, upon return to, or during their time on campus—will be shared by July 15.

At the current time, asymptomatic testing is not routinely recommended by either CDC and the ACHA for faculty, staff, or graduate and professional students who live in apartment-style housing or single-family homes instead of residence halls.  The Metro Nashville Public Health Department is offering free asymptomatic testing to anyone who wants it at their testing sites available at asafenashville.org.

WHILE ON CAMPUS

Graduate and professional students who have symptoms related to COVID-19 should contact Student Health (615-322-2427). Individuals who need emergency care should contact 911 for ambulance transport to the nearest Emergency Department. Students who determine they need to be tested based on potential exposure but do not have any symptoms will receive testing, and more details regarding that testing will be provided by July 15.

POSITIVE CASE AND CONTACT TRACING

ALL STUDENTS NOW

Students who test positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate as directed by the dean of students until they have recovered. To help determine the risk of potential exposure to others on campus, Student Health or Public Health officials will conduct contact tracing with the individual who has tested positive. Exposed individuals will be given the name of the individual who tested positive so that their risk can be assessed.

Vanderbilt is following the CDC’s recommended recovery strategy. If an individual had symptoms, recovery status is assigned when: 1) the individual remains fever free without the use of fever reducers for 72 hours, 2) respiratory symptoms have improved, and 3) it has been at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared. If an individual tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms, the individual can be cleared to return 10 days after the test, as long as the individual does not develop symptoms. If the individual develops symptoms, then the individual must follow the recovery strategy for those with symptoms. Notification for return to on-campus activities is directed through Student Health.

GRADUATE/PROFESSIONAL STUDENT FUTURE

To help determine the risk of potential exposure to others on campus, the School of Nursing Nurse Faculty Practice Division in partnership with Student Health will conduct contact tracing with any student who has tested positive. Vanderbilt will have robust in-house contact tracing capabilities developed as a collaboration with experts at VUMC, VUSN and Metro Public Health to coordinate timely contact tracing between campus and the Nashville community. More details to be provided by July 15.

Campuswide approaches to safety and the practice of 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 conduct symptom monitoring every day before coming to campus or leaving their residence hall room. 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

STUDENTS NOW AND IN FUTURE

During Phase 1 and 2, if students authorized to be on campus have any symptoms, they should contact the Vanderbilt Student Health Center and notify their trainer, mentor, course director or dean that they are reviewing their health status; Student Health will instruct the individual on appropriate next steps. Additional information will be provided by July 15 about enhanced student and community support when students return in the fall.

While a symptom monitoring app is not mandatory at this time, a symptom monitoring tool has been created within the existing VandySafe app for daily self-monitoring.

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 symptoms, including a fever of 100 degrees or greater, must call Student Health (615-322-2427) for assessment and COVID-19 testing. If Student Health is not open and symptoms are severe enough, the student should go to the VUMC emergency department. If symptoms are not severe enough to require the ED, then, for the safety of others, it is extremely important to avoid all contact with others, wear a mask, and practice strict hand hygiene while awaiting SHC to open and receive testing.

Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate until the testing results are back as directed by the Dean of Students. If the results are negative, the person may return without any formal clearance.

Any questions regarding the assessment process can be directed to Student Health (615-322-2427).

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.

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 self-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)

(6/25/2020 update) In the event that Vanderbilt has to make the switch to fully remote instruction, we will likely need to more drastically de-densify campus. Residence halls may have to close; special arrangements may be made for international students who cannot travel and for other students with special circumstances.

The decision to begin the semester enrolled in on-campus instruction will be accompanied by acknowledgment of responsibility for full payment of tuition, housing costs and relevant fees. No refunds will be issued if the need arises to finish the semester remotely.

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 to ensure students receive fair compensation for unused meal plan funds. 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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.). If physical distancing is possible, individuals working in private offices or laboratory environments 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 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
    3. While outdoors and sitting in one spot, 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.

Each faculty member, staff member, postdoc and student will be provided with one cloth face covering. Disposable masks will be provided, if needed. Individuals and departments can contact their assigned building manager or liaison in their college, school or department to acquire cloth face coverings or disposable masks. You also may wear homemade cloth face coverings that adhere to CDC and other public health recommendations. This will help Vanderbilt reduce the need to purchase additional masks, which are in short supply. A disposable mask must not be used for more than one day. See details regarding face mask/covering use and care below.

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

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.

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.

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.

In an effort to guide the university community in practicing healthy behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanderbilt has launched the Public Health Ambassa’Dores 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 Ambassa’Dores will help promote social norms to create a safe working and learning environment for all within the Vanderbilt University community. Ambassa’Dores 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 ambassadors 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 Ambassa’Dores will receive training, resources and support to prepare them for the role.

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. 

STUDENT 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

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.

 

Fall 2020 - Policies and Compliance

Before returning to campus, faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students will be asked to sign the COVID-19 Return to Campus Acknowledgment. The Acknowledgment explains risks and responsibilities associated with the return to campus.

Vanderbilt’s Return to Campus Plan follows a phased and data-driven approach and considers the city of Nashville’s phases, adapting them to be applicable to a college campus.

Compliance serves as an important aspect of the Return to Campus Plan, reminding campus community members of their responsibilities in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19. With the understanding that campus life will look very different with compliance in place, guidelines have been developed to promote the health and safety of the campus community as much as possible.

ADDRESSING NONCOMPLIANCE

Students, faculty, staff and postdocs will be expected to comply with all university policies and protocols designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection and promote the health and safety of the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities.

Intentional or reckless disregard for these policies and protocols by students will be addressed through the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity, using the existing sanctioning considerations found in the Student Handbook, including by reviewing the potential impact on the community in the evaluation of the nature and severity of the incident, which may support an enhanced sanction.

The Vanderbilt Faculty Manual provides that faculty may be disciplined for violations of the university’s standards of conduct. The process for reaching a decision to discipline a faculty member is overseen by the dean in consultation with the provost.

The university’s progressive discipline policy states that a staff member can be disciplined for violations of protocols and procedures governing safety. The policy outlines a process for correcting single and repeat episodes of employee failure to comply with rules. Safety violations will be handled under this process.

Return to Campus Plan

Vanderbilt University’s policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are rooted in safety for staff, faculty, students, invited guests (e.g., contractors), and the public with whom we interact. The health and well-being of our community are critical. Protecting the health of the Vanderbilt community will require long-term effort and commitment, cooperation, teamwork and understanding — all values that our community has shown in a multitude of ways in recent months.

As we confront this health crisis, Vanderbilt University will remain steadfast in the constant pursuit of our mission and ideals outlined in the Academic Strategic Plan. Therefore, the university will ramp up in phases with primary mission activities at the heart of all decision making. Mission-centric activities are any required on-campus activities that fulfill Vanderbilt’s core mission of teaching and research.

Radically different ways of deploying VU campus resources, including physical spaces, will be necessary as part of establishing a new normal. As we move forward, flexibility will be critical. Vanderbilt University’s return to learning and discovering on campus will occur in phases of increased activity and will involve the careful evaluation of data, models and public health recommendations. Protocols will be pragmatic and will evolve over time.

Vanderbilt University’s plans for expanding operations and increasing the presence of faculty, staff and students will be guided by the following criteria:

  • The intentional effort by all faculty, staff and students to exercise both personal and community responsibility. The combined efforts by all members of the Vanderbilt community will create a culture that sustains a healthy and safe on-campus environment.
  • Existing and projected government restrictions (e.g., safer-at-home orders, masking requirements, physical distancing, gatherings, etc.).
  • Public health status: recommendations from the federal government (recently released Opening Guidelines), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
  • Resource availability, including personal protective equipment for students, faculty and staff.
  • Contact tracing and case management protocols.
  • Physical distancing strategies.
  • Financial feasibility.
  • Alignment with Vanderbilt’s strategic framework that the ramp-up of on-campus activities will support primary mission objectives of the institution (on-campus research, on-campus teaching and instruction, on-campus residential living and learning).

Vanderbilt University’s plans will also take into account local orders and ordinances of the City of Nashville, Davidson County and the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), as well as the State of Tennessee’s “Tennessee Pledge: Reopening Tennessee Responsibly.”

The Roadmap for Reopening Nashville follows a four-phase approach. The Vanderbilt University Return to Campus Plan acknowledges the triggers and phases of ramp-up for the city in which Vanderbilt is located and identifies which activities ramp up on campus and when. The Vanderbilt University activities that will ramp up are identified below in each corresponding phase. Vanderbilt’s ramp-up may lag the Nashville ramp-up and will be tailored to our own unique density, operations, and other considerations as a residential education institution. The university will communicate with the VU community in advance of each phase. If metrics of COVID-19 transmission and health system capacity change significantly, and Metro Nashville returns to a prior phase, Vanderbilt may also return to a prior phase and re-impose restrictions on activities.

  • On-campus research ramp-up to no more than 33% capacity, subject to minimum 6 feet of physical distancing and other safety protocols (e.g., face masks/coverings)
  • Graduate and professional student field-based training/learning allowed as informed by on-campus research activities phased opening and/or clinic/occupational site authorization.
  • Graduate and professional instruction online and preparation for on-campus activity continues.
  • Undergraduate instruction online and preparation for on-campus activity continues.
  • On-campus residential education preparing for on-campus activity continues.
  • Staff recalled to campus when needed on campus to directly support research, instruction and residential living. Others working remotely.
  • Staff who are to be recalled to campus will be notified by their supervisors, and only those who need to be on campus to directly support activity ramp-up will be requested to return to campus. Others will continue working remotely.
  • All those on campus must abide by the protocols outlined on this site
    (e.g., symptom monitoring, face masks/coverings, physical distancing, etc.).
  • No gatherings allowed
  • On-campus research ramp-up to no more than 50% capacity, subject to minimum 6 feet of physical distancing and other safety protocols (e.g., face masks/coverings)
  • Graduate and professional student field-based training/learning allowed as informed by on-campus research activities phased opening and/or clinic/occupational site authorization.
  • Graduate and professional instruction online and preparation for on-campus activity continues.
  • Undergraduate instruction online and preparation for on-campus activity continues.
  • On-campus residential education preparation for on-campus activity continues.
  • Staff recalled to campus when needed on campus to directly support research, instruction and residential living. Others working remotely.
  • Staff who are to be recalled to campus will be notified by their supervisors, and only those who need to be on campus to directly support activity ramp-up will be requested to return to campus. Others will continue working remotely.
  • All those on campus must abide by the protocols outlined on this site
    (e.g., symptom monitoring, face masks/coverings, physical distancing, etc.).
  • Gatherings up to 10 as long as physical distancing can be maintained and safety protocols (e.g., face masks/coverings) are followed.
  • On-campus research ramp-up to no more than 70% capacity, subject to minimum 6 feet of physical distancing and other safety protocols (e.g., face masks/coverings)
  • Graduate and professional student field-based training/learning allowed as informed by on-campus research activities phased opening and/or clinic/occupational site authorization.
  • Graduate and professional instruction ready for on-campus activity and/or enhanced virtual/alternative platforms.
  • Undergraduate instruction ready for on-campus activity and/or enhanced virtual/alternative platforms.
  • On-campus residential education ready for on-campus activity and/or enhanced virtual/alternative platforms.
  • Staff recalled to campus when needed on campus to directly support research, instruction and residential living. Others will continue working remotely.
  • Staff who are to be recalled to campus will be notified by their supervisors, and only those who need to be on campus to directly support activity ramp-up will be requested to return to campus. Others will remain remote.
  • All those on campus must abide by the protocols outlined on this site
    (e.g., symptom monitoring, face masks/coverings, physical distancing, etc.).
  • May change gathering guidelines. Gathering size restrictions will be communicated as we ramp up.
  • On-campus research nearing maximum capacity subject to minimum 6 feet of physical distancing and other safety protocols (e.g., face masks/coverings)
  • Graduate and professional student field-based training/learning allowed as informed by on-campus research activities phased opening and/or clinic/occupational site authorization.
  • Graduate and professional instruction ready for on-campus activity and/or enhanced virtual/alternative platforms.
  • Undergraduate instruction ready for on-campus activity and/or enhanced virtual/alternative platforms.
  • On-campus residential education ready for on-campus activity and/or enhanced virtual/alternative platforms.
  • Staff recalled to campus when needed on campus to directly support research, instruction and residential living. Others will continue working remotely.
  • Staff who are to be recalled to campus will be notified by their supervisors, and only those who need to be on campus to directly support activity ramp-up will be requested to return to campus. Others will remain remote.
  • All those on campus must abide by the protocols outlined on this site
    (e.g., symptom monitoring, face masks/coverings, physical distancing, etc.).
  • May change gathering guidelines. Gathering size restrictions will be communicated as we ramp up.

Travel

Study Abroad

Vanderbilt has suspended participation in all Global Education Office study abroad programs for fall 2020. Many factors make study abroad challenging at this time, including the continued restrictions on entry to all countries in which GEO offers programming, travel restrictions within and among countries, lack of visa processing, and the difficulty of predicting specifics of the health and safety situation for our students. Given the pandemic and ongoing need for measures including quarantines and physical distancing, we are also mindful that study abroad experiences in the coming months likely would not look like the study abroad you’ve imagined.

Personal Travel

We ask that students stay in the Nashville area and not travel away from campus for weekend trips through the end of in-person classes on Friday, November 20. 

In addition, there will not be any University-sponsored travel during the fall semester, including for registered student organizations.

Undergraduate residential students who are able to do so will leave campus for the Thanksgiving holiday and will not return to campus until the start of the spring semester. We are adopting this plan based on current public health guidance regarding risks associated with coming and going to and from campus, and models suggesting a potential resurgence of COVID-19 cases with the onset of influenza season.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS