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Summer 2021 COVID-19 Testing: Undergraduate Students

Posted by on Sunday, May 9, 2021 in .

Vanderbilt University’s ongoing COVID-19 safety model continues to leverage 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. Vanderbilt testing methods are employed in consultation with VUMC experts, and the university will continue to evaluate all testing options and methods moving forward. 

SYMPTOMATIC TESTING 

Students who have symptoms related to COVID-19 should visit  Student Health. 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 an emergency visit, then for the safety of others it is extremely important to avoid all contact with others, wear a face mask/covering and practice strict hand hygiene while awaiting the Student Health Center to open. 

Alternatively, if Student Health is closed, students may call the VUMC COVID-19 hotline at 888-312-0847 for information about after-hours assessment site availability. This number is answered seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time. Student Health will instruct the individual on appropriate next steps. 

ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING – OVERVIEW 

Undergraduate students who are living on campus and/or participating in on-campus activities this summer, including research and work activities, will be required to test as part of the asymptomatic testing program.  Students will be required to test once a week if asymptomatic. If students are symptomatic, they should follow the symptomatic instructions outlined above. 

Summer testing hours begin on May 17.  The testing center will be open:

  • Monday from 7am-3pm
  • Tuesday from 7am-1pm
  • Wednesday from 7am-1pm
  • Thursday from 7am-1pm

The testing center will be closed on Monday, May 31 for Memorial Day.

Testing will be conducted in the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center. Students should download the Safer Community app before visiting the testing center for the first time. 

Learn more about the Safer Community app, the official COVID-19 testing app for Vanderbilt University.

ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING – EXEMPTIONS

Undergraduate students who have been vaccinated will be exempted from the testing program during the summer of 2021 beginning two weeks after their vaccination series is complete or two weeks after the single dose for single dose versions.  The vaccinated person will be exempt from testing beginning from the two week mark ONLY if the person submits their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center. To submit the vaccination record, please visit the following link. A picture or screenshot of the vaccination card, documentation, or an online medical record showing the dates of the vaccine doses will be needed. Email the Command Center at commandcenter@vanderbilt.edu if any problems are encountered submitting vaccination information to the system.

If you have previously been COVID-19 positive, per CDC guidelines you should not partake in COVID-19 testing for 90 days following the date of your test. Please complete the testing exemption form and upload relevant documentation, which will go to the medical professionals in the Public Health Command Center for review. Acceptable documentation to upload would be confirmation of a COVID-19 test in the last 90 days that includes your name, test date and the medical facility that provided the test. Antibody tests are not accepted. Those who tested positive through Vanderbilt on-campus asymptomatic testing or symptomatic testing at Student Health do not need to complete the form as they are already in the university’s system.

If you need to seek a medical exemption for testing, contact Student Access Services.

If a student has an extenuating circumstance and needs to leave Nashville or an emergency situation that means they will be out during all offered testing dates in a given week, please contact vutesting@vanderbilt.edu.

ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING – COMPLIANCE 

Asymptomatic weekly testing is mandatory for all undergraduate students who are authorized to be on campus. By signing the Return to Campus Acknowledgment, students agreed to “submit to regular COVID-19 testing if and when VU requires.” Those who refuse to comply with testing requirements will be referred to the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity. 

It is the student’s responsibility to test weekly.  They will not be given a slotted time to attend.  Students just need to ensure they test once a week. The testing center will be open:

  • Monday from 7am-3pm
  • Tuesday from 7am-1pm
  • Wednesday from 7am-1pm
  • Thursday from 7am-1pm

Students who do not make their weekly tests may receive warning messages or be referred to Student Accountability for multiple missed tests.

ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING – RESULTS 

Students will be notified of their test results via the Safer Community app and email. Students who test negative should continue with their weekly tests. Students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate, even if fully vaccinated, as directed until they are deemed to have recovered and are released to return to on-campus activities, including classes.

Students who are in isolation and quarantine do not report to testing until their quarantine period is over.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate, even if vaccinated, as directed.

The vaccinated person will be exempt from quarantine from the two week mark ONLY if they submit their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center.  To submit the vaccination record, please visit the following link. A picture or screenshot of the vaccination card, documentation, or an online medical record showing the dates of the vaccine doses will be needed. Email the Command Center at commandcenter@vanderbilt.edu if any problems are encountered submitting vaccination information to the system.

POSITIVE CASE AND RECOVERY 

Students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate as directed until they are deemed to have recovered and are released to return to on-campus activities, including classes. Students should create a checklist of all necessary items they may need in the event they are required to move to on-campus quarantine or isolation housing. This list should include items such as medication, computer, phone, chargers, textbooks and items necessary for schoolwork, adequate clothing, personal hygiene products, their own pillow, etc. 

To determine the risk of potential exposure for others on campus, the Vanderbilt Public Health Central Command Center will conduct contact tracing with any student who has tested positive. Please visit the  Contact Tracing page  for more information on contact tracing. 

Positive test results through the asymptomatic testing program are automatically rerun before students receive their result to confirm that they are positive. Therefore, students who test positive through the asymptomatic testing program will not be retested as retesting has already occurred. 

Vanderbilt is following the  CDC’s recommended recovery strategy. If an individual had symptoms and tests positive for COVID-19, recovery status is assigned when: 1) the individual remains fever free without the use of fever reducers for 24 hours, 2) 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 to campus 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. 

ASYMPTOMATIC CLOSE CONTACTS 

The university also has updated its approach to testing of asymptomatic close contacts. Per both the university’s Return to Campus protocol and  CDC guidance, a  close contact  is defined as any individual who was within  6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes  or more over a 24-hour period starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic persons, two days prior to positive test collection) until the time the person is isolated.

If an individual is identified as an asymptomatic close contact, they will now quarantine for a 10-day period. This has been updated from the previous 14-day quarantine period, per CDC guidance, but comes with additional requirements for days 10 to 14.

When the 10-day quarantine period ends, for days 10 to 14 after last exposure,  Vanderbilt community members identified as close contacts must not unmask at any time in public, including in dining locations, and must wear their face mask/covering even in the presence of those in their residence. Individuals should eat alone or complete any activities alone that require removing a face mask/covering in a private space during those four days.

Individuals who have been vaccinated will no longer need to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact and their last exposure to a positive person was later than two weeks after their vaccination (the second of two doses for two-dose vaccines, or the single dose for one-dose vaccines) is complete.  The vaccinated person will be exempt from quarantine from the two week mark ONLY if they submit their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center.  To submit the vaccination record, please visit the following link.

If asymptomatic close contacts develop symptoms, they should visit Student Health for testing. 

More information about our testing vendor can be found on this FAQ.

 REPORT TRAVEL / PROGRAM / ON CAMPUS DATES 

If a student is arriving to campus after the start of the summer testing program on May 17 (their program, research, work has not begun yet) or needs to leave the Nashville area for an extenuating circumstance during summer testing, please complete the following webform.

For those whose program, research or work has not begun yet, please complete the form and enter your program start and end dates.  You can leave the travel portion of the form BLANK.

For those who are traveling, please leave the program dates BLANK and enter your travel dates in the travel date section.

If you have additional information to provide or questions, please write to vutesting@vanderbilt.edu.