Skip to main content

Visitors and Suppliers

Vanderbilt University deeply values its neighbors, community partners and visitors that make our community so vibrant. However, as part of our comprehensive efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 at Vanderbilt, throughout the city of Nashville and beyond as much as possible, we have made the difficult decision to limit the presence of visitors on campus for the fall 2020 semester, and to impose certain heightened expectations for those visitors who are permitted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Find answers to the most asked questions about Return to Campus

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

Fall 2020 - Academics

Commencement for the Class of 2021 is planned for Friday, May 14, 2021. Diplomas and Commencement programs will be mailed to graduates after Commencement.  Details for the event will be announced once finalized. 

Commencement for the Class of 2020 is being planned. Details for that ceremony will be shared when decisions are finalized. 

Link to this FAQ

Fall 2020 - Campus Life and Housing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Link to this FAQ

Impressed by the diligence of the vast majority of Vanderbilt students in following campus health and safety protocols during the fall, the university community is looking forward to the spring semester.

The university plans to offer more in-person courses in the spring. Students who want to take a greater number of in-person classes are encouraged to work closely with their adviser to develop their class schedule. The university also is applying lessons learned from the fall semester to adjust and enhance its approach to supporting our students academically, socially and emotionally, and protecting their health and safety as much as possible with regard to testing and other COVID-19 protocols.

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

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

Details

Spring semester programming and activities will follow the same guidelines as outlined during the fall semester. 

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

The sponsor from within an academic department (or school/college) can then include or invite registered student organizations and students to participate or support the event. Event sponsors should prioritize holding academic and learning events outside, and all such events must be on campus. Off campus events are not allowed. The authorized sponsor must file a plan and submit it to Events at Vanderbilt at least 14 calendar days in advance of the event. The plan must include in-depth information, including mechanisms to observe and enforce campus protocols.  

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

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

Maximum size and related mechanisms to ensure physical distancing:   

  • The plan must include the maximum number of students and total attendees (students plus staffing) that the sponsor intends to allow to attend, keeping the COVID-19 modified maximum occupancy for any indoor space in mind.   
  • Approval consideration will also take into consideration how the plan addresses the challenges associated with controlling crowds and maintaining physical distance for larger events, including maintaining distance both during the event and ingress/egress before and after the event.   
  • In some circumstances, the university has already taken steps to help maintain distancing and event flow for specific on campus locations.   
  • For example, for outdoor events in the dining tents, there are set table and chair locations. On a lawn, students can be directed to remain in the circles, one person to circle. For an indoor lecture for 50 students, the university may have designed classroom spaces with chair straps in place to signify physical distancing and signage may already be placed to direct proper circulation. If the location for the event already has such measures in place, the plan may specifically refer to and rely on those measures.   
  • If, however, the location does not have such existing measures, the plan must include specific steps that the sponsor will take to maintain physical distancing. Regardless of location, some additional methods to mitigate potential bottlenecks may include ticketed entry and timed entry/dismissals.  
  • The tasks of maintaining physical distance and complying with university protocols become more challenging as event size grows and plans for larger group gatherings will receive significant scrutiny, including whether they are generally consistent with Nashville guidance on gatherings.   
  • Ultimately, wherever an event is located, the sponsors must state the expected mechanisms for following all campus protocols, and also state how the sponsor will enforce those protocols once the event is underway in the required plan.    

Location:  

  • Event sponsors should prioritize holding academic/learning events outside. Many outdoor spaces, like indoor spaces, can be reserved through Events at Vanderbilt. Indoor events must stay within the COVID-19 modified maximum occupancy in a space while maintaining physical distancing as established by the university (e.g., through chair straps).  
  • Physical distancing: All participants, including speakers, must always maintain physical distancing of at least six feet.  
  • Face masking/covering: All participants must always wear a face mask/covering, including any speakers. Attendees must wear a mask when not actively eating or drinking at an event where food or drink has been previously authorized.   
  • Food or drink at event: The default position is that no food or drink will be allowed during any event. Prior authorization may be granted for pre-distributed, pre-placed, and pre-packaged food if the plan explains why food or drink are necessary for the event and how this distribution and placement will be achieved. Even then, three conditions must be met: (a) attendees must wear a mask when not actively eating/drinking; (b) no alcohol is permitted at campus events; and (c) no third-party food servers are permitted.    

Visitors:  

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

Group participation, especially cheering/yelling/singing:  

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

Anchor Link and RSVP system:    

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

Swiping in at events:   

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

Ratios for event staffing and support  

  • For student events, one designated event staff member must be in attendance for every 15 students attending. For the avoidance of doubt, when an event exceeds 15 students, a second staff member must be added (for example, a gathering of 23 students requires two designated staff). When an event exceeds 30 students a third staff member must be added, and this pattern of adding a staff member continues each time the event exceeds a multiple of 15.  
  • Event staff’s primary role is to make sure all attendees are following all above guidelines and to help maintain compliance. Designated event staff must include faculty or staff from the sponsoring department and may also include Resident Advisers or pre-designated student leaders who are aware of this role and responsibilities therein.   
  • Event staff may not be solely students; at least one professional (faculty or staff) must be in attendance at every event. Pre-designated student leaders in these roles should have completed the PHA training. All designated event staff must be counted toward any maximum occupancy limit for the designated event space.   

Link to this FAQ

In order to maintain lower density in residential spaces, students will only have access to their assigned residential building and floor. Students will have access to laundry facilities in their building or a nearby building.

Building access will be limited to only the students assigned to live in that space so students may not have overnight visitors in their room. It is possible that our access regulations may evolve as we move through different phases of the Vanderbilt Return to Campus Plan.

Students are encouraged to socialize outdoors or in commons areas, while practicing physical distancing, with friends who live in other residence halls.

Our residential buildings are open 24/7 and there is no curfew in place for students. Students are encouraged to check the website for the hours of other non-residential buildings on campus.

Link to this FAQ

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.

Link to this FAQ

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.

Link to this FAQ

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

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.

Link to this FAQ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BuildingSignage?
1025 16th Ave S (ISIS Labs) 
1101 19th Avenue
1114 19TH AVE S
1202 18th Ave S 
1207 17TH AVE S  
1207 17TH AVE S GARAGE
17th Ave MUMS Lab 
1810 EDGEHILL
2007 Terrace Place 
2015 TERRACE PL
2304G VANDERBILT PL
2304I VANDERBILT PL
25TH AVE STAFF GARAGE
6 Magnolia (fka Home Ec)
625 CHESTNUT COMMERCIAL
Admissions & Financial Aid 
Alumni Hall 
B Quad: Lupton
B Quad: Scales
B Quad: Stapleton
B Quad: Vaughn
Baker Building 
Baker Garage
Baseball Field House
Benson Old Central 
Benton Chapel
Biomolecular NMR 
Bishop Johnson Center
Blair School of Music 
Blakemore House
Branscomb Market - Dining 
Bryan Building 
Buttrick Hall 
Calhoun Hall 
Carmichael 1 & 2
Center Building 
Center Garage
Central & Divinity Libraries 
Cohen Memorial 
Cole Hall
Commons Dining 
Crawford
Cumberland
Curb Center 
Currey Tennis
Divinity School 
Drug Discovery - Cool Springs 
Dyer Observatory 
Dyer Residence 
E. Bronson Ingram 1st Fl Dining 
E. Bronson Ingram College
E. Bronson Ingram Studio Arts 
East
ELC Annex 
Engineering Science Building (ESB) 
English Language Center 
Eskind Medical Library 
Featheringill-Jacobs Hall 
Frist Hall 
Furman Hall 
Garland Hall 
Gillette
Godchaux Hall 
Godchaux Nursing Annex 
Golf Hitting Bay
Golf Team Lockers
Grins - Dining 
Hank Ingram
Hendrix McGugin - Dining 
Hobbs HDL 
Jesup Psychology 
KC Potter Center
Keck FEL 
KENSINGTON GARAGE
Kirkland Hall 
Kissam Center 
Kissam Market - Dining 
LASIR at MetroCenter 
Law Cafe - Dining 
Law School 
Lewis House
Link Building
Local Java - Dining 
LOT 76 GARAGE
Mayborn
McGill Hall
McGugin Complex 
McTyeire - Dining 
McTyeire Hall
Memorial
Memorial Gym
Moore College
Morgan House
Morgan Market - Dining 
MRB III and Learned Lab 
Murray
Music Rehearsal
Neely Auditorium 
North
Old Gym 
Olin Hall 
One Magnolia Circle 
Owen Garage
Owen Graduate School of Mgmt 
Payne Hall 
Peabody Administration  
Peabody Library 
Pub (Sarratt Third Floor) - Dining 
Rand - Dining 
Rand Hall 
Residence 7
Sarratt Student Center 
SC Chemistry (SC7) 
SC Lecture (SC4) 
SC Library (SC3) 
SC Math (SC1) 
SC Molec Biology (SC2) 
SC Physics & Astronomy (SC6) 
SC Science & Engineering (SC5) 
School of Nursing Addition 
Seigenthaler Center
Sony BMG 
Stambaugh
Station B Post Office 
Student Life Center
Sutherland
Suzie's at Featheringill - Dining 
TERRACE PLACE GARAGE
The Commons Center 
The Hill Center 
The Office for Religious Life
Tolman Hall
Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center
Vaughn Home 
Village Apartments
Warren College
WESLEY PLACE PARKING
West
WEST GARAGE
Wilson Hall 
Women's Center
Wyatt Center 
Zeppos - Dining 
Zeppos College

Link to this FAQ

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

The university will impose significant penalties for violating the university’s Gatherings policy, whether on or off campus, because such gatherings have potential campuswide impacts. Beginning Nov. 23, gatherings are limited to 8 or fewer people, and all must be physically distanced and masked.

The minimum sanction applied by Student Accountability if a student is found responsible for hosting a gathering that violates the policy will be suspension for a minimum of one semester; a first sanction may be as severe as expulsion, depending on the nature of and circumstances surrounding the violation. Attending, participating in, otherwise supporting, and/or concealing a gathering that violates the policy may also result in suspension or expulsion for a first offense. Students living on campus who are suspended or expelled for violating COVID-19 policies and protocols will be required to vacate the residence hall. The university will not issue refunds for tuition, housing costs, or fees.

All university community members also should be aware of Nashville’s guidelines concerning gatherings. Failure to comply with the city’s public health emergency orders can result in criminal penalties.

The Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity may also implement interim restrictions while students await the formal student accountability process if the university has sufficient evidence to conclude that the reported behavior presents a threat to the health and safety of our university community. Those interim restrictions may include but are not limited to: requiring students to sequester in their residence hall room or off-campus accommodation or elsewhere; prohibiting students from attending in-person classes or activities; restricting student access to university buildings; requiring COVID-19 testing.

Faculty and staff should carefully review the below Gatherings policy to ensure they are adhering to the guidelines. The Vanderbilt Faculty Manual provides that faculty may be disciplined for violations of the university’s standards of conduct. The process for reaching a decision to discipline a faculty member is overseen by the dean in consultation with the provost. The university’s progressive discipline policy states that a staff member can be disciplined for violations of protocols and procedures governing safety, and such matters are overseen by Human Resources.

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

  • VU community members only: Attendance must be limited to VU community members (defined as persons with VU identification cards) only.
  • On-campus gatherings only (unless approved): Generally, off-campus gatherings are not permitted if students are in attendance and/or if VU funds will be used. Exceptions to this rule require approval by the Provost or her designee.
  • Maximum “gathering” attendance limit: The number of total/unique attendees may not exceed the maximum number under the university’s phased Return to Campus Plan, or the VU COVID-modified maximum capacity for the space, whichever is more restrictive. Organizers count as attendees for purposes of the maximum attendance limit.
  • Capacity controls/attendance tracking: Sign-ups and ticket distribution should be managed to maintain a strict maximum number of total/unique attendees. If interest exceeds capacity, develop a clear methodology for determining who will be chosen to attend, and consider using a waitlist or setting up separate pools/pods of attendees that do not overlap. Attendance should be closely tracked to assist in contact tracing, if necessary.
  • Physical distancing: Physical distancing is required. The “gathering” may be held only if attendees can maintain appropriate physical distance given the nature of the activities contemplated. Consideration should also be given as to whether attendees will be stationary or moving around during the event.
  • Face masks/coverings: By default, all participants must wear a face mask/covering. There may be exceptional circumstances when a face mask/covering can’t be worn (e.g., woodwind performer or singer during a performance); in those cases, approval should be granted only if additional physical distance and/or physical barriers can be used.
  • Food and drinks: Food and drinks may be served in a space where classes are held only on days when no classes are held in the space, and the space must be cleaned before the next class is held. Food and drink (provided in single-serve or grab-and-go type packaging) must be consumed only while maintaining physical distancing. Attendees may remove their face masks/coverings only temporarily to eat and drink as needed.

WHAT IS A GATHERING?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Non-VU-sponsored (funded) faculty/staff get-togethers: VU encourages all attendees of any event type to abide by any applicable public health orders/guidance.
  • Small, informal meet-up of students (8 or fewer, regardless of phased “maximum”): Students must comply with VU’s COVID-19 protocols, but these informal meet-ups are not subject to the broader “gatherings” requirements.

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

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

All other gatherings and Events

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

What is a gathering decision tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STUDENT ACADEMIC AND LEARNING PROGRAMMING AND ORGANIZATIONS

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

The sponsor from within an academic department (or school/college) can then include or invite registered student organizations and students to participate or support the event. Event sponsors should prioritize holding academic and learning events outside, and all such events must be on campus. Off campus events are not allowed. The authorized sponsor must file a plan and submit it to Events at Vanderbilt at least 14 calendar days in advance of the event. The plan must include in-depth information, including mechanisms to observe and enforce campus protocols. 

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

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

Maximum size and related mechanisms to ensure physical distancing:  

  • The plan must include the maximum number of students and total attendees (students plus staffing) that the sponsor intends to allow to attend, keeping the COVID-19 modified maximum occupancy for any indoor space in mind.  
  • Approval consideration will also take into consideration how the plan addresses the challenges associated with controlling crowds and maintaining physical distance for larger events, including maintaining distance both during the event and ingress/egress before and after the event.  
  • In some circumstances, the university has already taken steps to help maintain distancing and event flow for specific on campus locations.  
  • For example, for outdoor events in the dining tents, there are set table and chair locations. On a lawn, students can be directed to remain in the circles, one person to circle. For an indoor lecture for 50 students, the university may have designed classroom spaces with chair straps in place to signify physical distancing and signage may already be placed to direct proper circulation. If the location for the event already has such measures in place, the plan may specifically refer to and rely on those measures.  
  • If, however, the location does not have such existing measures, the plan must include specific steps that the sponsor will take to maintain physical distancing. Regardless of location, some additional methods to mitigate potential bottlenecks may include ticketed entry and timed entry/dismissals. 
  • The tasks of maintaining physical distance and complying with university protocols become more challenging as event size grows and plans for larger group gatherings will receive significant scrutiny, including whether they are generally consistent with Nashville guidance on gatherings.  
  • Ultimately, wherever an event is located, the sponsors must state the expected mechanisms for following all campus protocols, and also state how the sponsor will enforce those protocols once the event is underway in the required plan.   

Location: 

  • Event sponsors should prioritize holding academic/learning events outside. Many outdoor spaces, like indoor spaces, can be reserved through Events at Vanderbilt. Indoor events must stay within the COVID-19 modified maximum occupancy in a space while maintaining physical distancing as established by the university (e.g., through chair straps). 
  • Physical distancing: All participants, including speakers, must always maintain physical distancing of at least six feet. 
  • Face masking/covering: All participants must always wear a face mask/covering, including any speakers. Attendees must wear a mask when not actively eating or drinking at an event where food or drink has been previously authorized.  
  • Food or drink at event: The default position is that no food or drink will be allowed during any event. Prior authorization may be granted for pre-distributed, pre-placed, and pre-packaged food if the plan explains why food or drink are necessary for the event and how this distribution and placement will be achieved. Even then, three conditions must be met: (a) attendees must wear a mask when not actively eating/drinking; (b) no alcohol is permitted at campus events; and (c) no third-party food servers are permitted.   

Visitors: 

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

Group participation, especially cheering/yelling/singing: 

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

Anchor Link and RSVP system:   

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

Swiping in at events:  

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

Ratios for event staffing and support 

  • For student events, one designated event staff member must be in attendance for every 15 students attending. For the avoidance of doubt, when an event exceeds 15 students, a second staff member must be added (for example, a gathering of 23 students requires two designated staff). When an event exceeds 30 students a third staff member must be added, and this pattern of adding a staff member continues each time the event exceeds a multiple of 15. 
  • Event staff’s primary role is to make sure all attendees are following all above guidelines and to help maintain compliance. Designated event staff must include faculty or staff from the sponsoring department and may also include Resident Advisers or pre-designated student leaders who are aware of this role and responsibilities therein.  
  • Event staff may not be solely students; at least one professional (faculty or staff) must be in attendance at every event. Pre-designated student leaders in these roles should have completed the PHA training. All designated event staff must be counted toward any maximum occupancy limit for the designated event space.  

GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL STUDENT ACADEMIC AND LEARNING EVENTS

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

Guidelines for performing arts student organizations

  • Singing in groups will not be allowed.
  • Instrumental groups restrictions:
    • Instruments that require use of air (Woodwinds, Brass) will not be allowed
    • String and percussion instruments
      • No more than 8 individuals can gather
      • Individuals must be no less than 10 feet apart
      • Individuals must wear masks at all times
  • Dancing in groups will be permitted with the following restrictions:
    • No more than 8 individuals can gather
    • Individuals must be no less than 10 feet apart
    • Individuals must wear masks at all times
  • For groups that do not fall under either singing or dancing categories (VUT, TNC, etc.), the following restrictions will be in place:
    • No more than 8 individuals can gather
    • Individuals must be no less than 10 feet apart
    • Individuals must wear masks at all times
  • All groups that can gather should prioritize outside meeting locations rather than indoor.

Link to this FAQ

Public Transit

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

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

The good news is that emerging research and evidence tracking case clusters in France and Japan found no case outbreaks related to riding transit. Researchers believe that in addition to wearing masks, physical distancing when possible, and improved cleaning and ventilation, the relative short time of exposure and lack of conversations also reduces the risk of infection. If possible, researchers recommend limiting your time of potential exposure (transit and commute trips are inherently shorter than many other activities and tend to average 30 minutes or less) and limit conversations and talking.

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

Carpool, vanpool and other shared rides

If you are traveling in a shared vehicle:

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

Notable articles:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-09/japan-and-france-find-public-transit-seems-safe

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/02/nyregion/nyc-subway-coronavirus-safety.html

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/08/how-to-measure-risk-airborne-coronavirus-your-office-classroom-bus-ride-cvd/?cmpid=org=ngp::mc=crm-email::src=ngp::cmp=editorial::add=SpecialEdition_20200814&rid=CFC580CB34AFAD6078F8F3CDAE6DD1E1

https://www.masstransitmag.com/safety-security/press-release/21145170/regional-transportation-district-rtd-riding-transit-during-covid19-is-safer-than-most-think-when-everyone-follows-basic-safety-guidelines

 

 

Link to this FAQ

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.

Link to this FAQ

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.

Link to this FAQ

Fall 2020 - Health and Safety

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.

Link to this FAQ

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.). Faculty may opt to wear face shields in lieu of masks/coverings while teaching and while following other classroom protocols. 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 solo outdoor recreation, such as biking or running, or under the supervision of relevant recreation staff or instructors, such as an outdoor fitness class through the Recreation and Wellness Center
    2. While actively engaged in eating/drinking outdoors, so long as physical distancing is maintained

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

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

Type and Intended Use of Face Masks/Coverings

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

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

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

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

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

Use and Care of Face Masks/Coverings

Putting on the face mask/covering

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

Taking off the face mask/covering

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

Disposal of face masks

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

Care, storage and laundering of cloth face coverings

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

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

Goggles/Face Shields

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

Link to this FAQ

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.

Link to this FAQ

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.

Link to this FAQ