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Fall 2020: Health and Safety

 

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

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

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

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


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


Find answers to the most asked questions about Return to Campus

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Vanderbilt is employing the best practice, gold standard testing model as recommended by VUMC experts and will continue to evaluate all testing options moving forward recognizing options are continually evolving. At this point in time, antibody tests are not recommended by health experts at VUMC.

Faculty are not expected to monitor symptoms of students. 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.

More details on student symptom monitoring can be found on the Student Symptom Monitoring FAQ. Faculty, staff and post-doc symptom monitoring details can be found on the Faculty, Staff, Post-Doc Symptom Monitoring FAQ.

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.

Public Health Ambassa’Dores will be available to answer questions regarding campus health and safety measures as well as provide masks to those in need of them.

We are also working to develop signage around the perimeters of campus reminding visitors of our university guidelines.

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

Student testing for undergraduate students and local graduate/professional students will be conducted at a testing center on campus and results will be available to the clinical team providing contact tracing. 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.

Vanderbilt is attempting to minimize and mitigate risk where possible, but we recognize that the university cannot eliminate risk entirely. Faculty who believe that they or their household members may be at heightened risk are encouraged to consider seeking an accommodation, or as appropriate to request paid Medical Leave (Illness or Other Incapacities of Short Duration) available under the Faculty Manual.

All individuals on campus are required to follow posted signage. Signage will communicate important information including, but not limited to:

  • Protocol reminders, e.g., mask-wearing, physical distancing and personal hygiene
  • Building entrance and exit points
  • Circulation guidance, e.g., one-way circulation, both indoors and outdoors
  • Floor decals denoting six feet of distance for wait areas and lines
  • Occupancy limits
  • Occupancy or vacancy of shared spaces, such as restrooms
  • Building-specific instructions, such as for laboratory work

The university will also regularly communicate with campus community members about protocols and other changes through emails, MyVU, website posts and updates to the COVID-19 website FAQs and Return to Campus portal.

We do not have an answer to this question at this time; however, we will update our compliance guidelines as more decisions are made prior to the start of the fall semester.

Regardless of whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Office determines that a reasonable accommodation is medically indicated, Deans are able to consider granting accommodations in light of age and/or other special circumstances (e.g., needs of a household member). Deans also may be able to grant other requests to teach remotely based on the school’s schedule and needs.

Following CDC, ACHA  and VUMC guidance, Vanderbilt is requiring face masks/coverings in all public settings (e.g., common workspaces, public spaces, hallways, stairwells, elevators, meeting rooms, classrooms, break-rooms, campus outdoor spaces, restrooms, etc.), as well as physical distancing requirements.  We are closely monitoring CDC and ACHA guidance, and working closely with VUMC, and will adapt practices if necessary in the future.

All symptomatic individuals will be tested through VUMC. Extensive capacity for testing asymptomatic individuals will be established at the VU testing center. This capacity will be maintained throughout the semester and will be expanded if needed.

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.

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. More details can be found on the Face Masks/Coverings FAQ.

We are currently exploring ways to make the Vanderbilt logo mask available in retail locations and exploring options for campus departmental ordering.

This question was asked multiple times

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. More details can be found on the  Face Masks/Coverings FAQ.

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 those protocols. This includes examining the use of face shields, Plexiglas and more. Deans will share additional details by July 1.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, several changes to benefit offerings have been instituted to support faculty and staff. A detailed list of items is available on the Human Resources website.

Some enhanced health/pharmacy benefits services include:

  • Faculty and Staff on VU health insurance who are tested for COVID-19 have not been charged for the test, the university is subsidizing the cost of the test.
  • For those identified as having COVID-19, Aetna will send a Healing Better COVID-19 kit the member’s home within 1-3 days of Aetna receiving notification of diagnosis. Members diagnosed with COVID-19 will be identified using inpatient hospitalizations and by self-reports. Note: This could change depending upon the numbers of identified members.
  • VUMC has made telehealth visits available for all VUMC clinicians via My Health at Vanderbilt.
  • VUMC also has a dedicated hotline to conduct phone screening for those who think they may be exhibiting symptoms associated with the coronavirus, such as fever, cough and shortness of breath. The hotline number is (888) 312-0847.
  • Use of the Vanderbilt Mail Order Pharmacy saves time and keeps you safe during the COVID-19 Safer at Home order. Mail order is an easy way to purchase a 90-day medication supply delivered directly to your door. Prescriptions can also be picked up at the Vanderbilt Pharmacy of your choice.

Student Health Insurance Plan

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.

The Student Care Network typically provides coordinates satellite services for a number of other offices in various spaces across campus. These are strategically placed in locations to provide convenient access for various student populations. Whether we will be providing these in-person or as virtual drop-in opportunities will depend on what phase we are in, what physical distancing and safety protocols are in place, and what spaces are available and can accommodate us in light of those protocols. For example, the University Counseling Center has been holding virtual drop-in hours this spring and summer. More information will be provided about support services as details are finalized.

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. Individuals who do 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.

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

If faculty, staff or postdocs develop any symptoms, they should call the Vanderbilt Occupational Health Clinic and notify their supervisor/department chair that they are reviewing their health status prior to the start of any scheduled work period or time on campus; Occupational Health will instruct the individual on appropriate next steps (medical appointment, self-isolation, clearance to report, etc.). For staff, time spent in dialogue with Occupational Health is not considered working time.

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

Faculty, staff, or postdocs who have any symptoms must present to a VUMC COVID-19 assessment site.

For those who work in a higher-risk environment for infection with COVID-19 (e.g., some research facilities, VUPS, dining, child care, etc.), your department may require temperature  and symptom screening upon arrival to work. Your supervisor will advise you on this requirement prior to your return to campus and on where to report when you arrive for screening. Temperature screening on campus allows the university to know immediately if someone is symptomatic so that they can be directed to the VUMC COVID Hotline at 888-312-0847 for coordination of testing. As with all other absences, the faculty/staff/postdoc is responsible for informing their supervisor/mentor/dean. All persons conducting temperature screening will be trained in advance and will be required to wear personal protective equipment as appropriate.

In order to ensure compliance with privacy laws, records of temperature screenings or symptom assessments should not be maintained by departments. Departments may note that a staff member was not able to work on a given day(s) because they could not be cleared to work. Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate until testing results are back. If the results are negative, the person may return to campus without any formal clearance.

Any questions regarding the assessment process can be directed to Occupational Health (615-936-0955).

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).

TESTING

ALL 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.

UNDERGRADUATE 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 testing, as well as rigorous contact tracing and symptom management that are in alignment with recommendations from the CDC and the ACHA. We are partnering closely with the experts at VUMC and our School of Nursing to deploy their best practices in these areas.

PRIOR TO CAMPUS ARRIVAL

To identify asymptomatic, currently infected students before they arrive on campus, all undergraduate students will be required to complete pre-arrival testing within 14 days before coming to campus for the first time. Students can obtain the COVID-19 PCR test wherever they wish (local medical provider, local public health department, local mass testing station, etc.).

If a student cannot obtain a COVID-19 PCR test, direct guidance and support will be provided by Vanderbilt University, the Student Health Center and the Student Care Network.

If a student tests positive, that student should remain in self-isolation at home. If student tested positive for COVID-19 and had symptoms, clearance to come to campus 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 student 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.

Details on pre-arrival testing (where and when to submit, types of tests, etc.) will be shared by July 15.

UPON ARRIVAL

Members of the School of Nursing Nurse Faculty Practice Division, in conjunction with Student Health and VUMC, will perform symptom screens and nasal swab tests for all arriving undergraduate students. More details to be provided by July 15.

Vanderbilt is employing the best practice, gold standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing method as recommended by VUMC experts and will continue to evaluate all testing options and methods moving forward recognizing options are continually evolving. 

WHILE ON CAMPUS

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.

VU will set up a testing center in partnership with VUMC and the School of Nursing that will offer testing to asymptomatic individuals who meet testing criteria developed in partnership with VUMC infectious disease experts.  These capabilities will be in place before students return to campus.  The criteria for asymptomatic testing will be reviewed and revised as conditions on campus and in the community change.

More details regarding that testing will be provided by July 15.

TESTING DETAILS

Vanderbilt is currently evaluating manufacturers for best-in-class options for large-scale asymptomatic testing and will be partnering with VUMC for testing of any student exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

Vanderbilt is currently evaluating testing labs for best-in-class turnaround time for large-scale asymptomatic testing and will be partnering with VUMC for testing of any student exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 for the most rapid turnaround time possible. The time frame for results depends on a large number of factors including current volume being processed by a testing lab at any given time so is difficult to predict.

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.

UNDERGRADUATE 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.

Our plan for Vanderbilt-controlled housing for the 2020–2021 academic year is student focused. COVID-19 conditions mean we needed to identify quarantine and isolation locations for our undergraduate residential community and to de-densify residential spaces to provide housing that is as safe as possible.

The CDC defines isolation as separating sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick and quarantine as separating and restricting the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Blakemore House, Chaffin Place, OHARE at the Village at Vanderbilt Townhouses and South Tower and Scarritt Bennett Center (an off-campus property operated by the university and located in close proximity to campus) will be used for campus resident isolation and quarantine space.

University health officials will make medical determinations and assign campus residents to either diagnostic quarantine or COVID-positive isolation to sites specifically designated for these purposes. University health officials will make medical evaluations and release campus residents from quarantine or isolation to return to their campus residence hall room when deemed medically appropriate.

For students living off campus, we cannot offer isolation space on campus due to resource constraints. Public health guidance suggests that we treat students residing together off campus like a family unit; students should isolate in their off campus residence and handle isolation as family would. Furthermore, university health officials will make medical determinations and direct students to quarantine or isolate at their off-campus residences. When deemed appropriate after medical evaluations, university health officials will release students from quarantine or isolation in their off-campus residences.

Student Health will work with all such students to do regular symptom monitoring and will hospitalize anyone who becomes seriously ill.

As a core component of our preventive measures, the university will have requirements for COVID-19 testing, as well as rigorous contact tracing and symptom management that are in alignment with recommendations from the CDC and the ACHA. We are partnering closely with experts at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and our School of Nursing to deploy their best practices in these areas.

Additionally, we are enhancing support for our students’ health and well-being through a collaboration with the Nurse Advanced Faculty Practice Division in the School of Nursing, through which they will provide counseling and support for any students who are in isolation and quarantine. We are also providing new tele-health options and additional programming through the Student Care Network, a holistic network of wellness services and resources available to all Vanderbilt students. Students will also be fully supported by the Dean of Students office as well as Campus Dining Services.

COVID-19 TESTING

Faculty, staff and postdocs who have symptoms related to COVID-19 or determine that they need to be tested based on potential exposure are encouraged to call Occupational Health at 615-936-0955. Individuals who need emergency care should contact 911 for ambulance transport to the nearest Emergency Department.

Individuals who have symptoms or may have been exposed and are off campus may contact Occupational Health or may also contact their primary care provider for COVID-19 testing locations in their area.

If a faculty member, staff member, or postdoc believes they have contracted COVID-19 after exposure to a known COVID-positive person on campus and/or while performing job duties, health care professionals may direct the individual to complete a First Report of Work Injury or Illness. The individual who has been exposed must stop work immediately and leave campus, even if the individual is not showing symptoms. The individual is required to notify their supervisor that they are leaving and notify Occupational Health that they have been exposed and/or developed symptoms. An individual awaiting test results must remain at home in self-isolation and keep their supervisor/mentor/dean informed of their return-to-campus status.

At the current time, asymptomatic testing is not routinely recommended by either CDC and the ACHA for faculty, staff, or post-docs 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.

Insurance provider Aetna is taking significant steps in response to COVID-19. Effective immediately, Aetna will waive co-pays and member cost share for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19. This will cover the test kit for patients who meet CDC guidelines for testing, which can be performed in any approved laboratory location.

Learn more on the Aetna website, or contact HR at human.resources@vanderbilt.edu. 

Positive Case and Contact Tracing

Faculty, staff, postdocs who test positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate at home and follow current CDC guidance. To help determine the risk of potential exposure to co-workers and others on campus, Occupational Health 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. Occupational Health may contact the supervisor if further contact tracing of the COVID-19 positive individual is needed; however, the actual test result (and any other protected health information) will not be disclosed.

Individuals who have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive person are entered into Occupational Health’s symptom monitoring survey that is completed daily. The objective is to inform individuals of known exposures and to closely monitor each individual to ensure that any signs of infection are addressed early.

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

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.

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

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.

 

Vanderbilt is committed to supporting your overall health and well-being. Faculty, staff and postdocs should visit the Vanderbilt health and wellness website for more information and resources that offer support, help manage stress and enhance your resilience.

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 enhanced 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 compounds the negative effects on well-being.

We are enhancing support for our students’ health and well-being by enhancing Student Health’s ability to best serve the student population through collaboration with the Nurse Faculty Practice Division in the School of Nursing. We also are providing new telehealth options, additional programming and more through the Student Care Network, a holistic network of wellness services and resources available to all  Vanderbilt students.

The University Counseling Center provides access to professionals with experience helping specific identity groups. The Provost’s Office for Inclusive Excellence, through its identity centers and identity initiatives, will continue its commitment to fostering a safe and welcoming community that is inclusive and respectful of differences. The office is launching identity initiatives this academic year to support international students as well as first-generation students.