Our plan for Vanderbilt-controlled housing is student focused. Given COVID-19 conditions, this means we will de-densify residential spaces to provide housing that is as safe as possible. We are also identifying isolation and quarantine locations for members of our residential community.
To meet these goals, we have customized plans for three cohorts of students with different on-campus living needs: first-year students, returning upper-division students, and student-athletes. We are deploying a mix of new approaches, including authorizing more upper-division students to live off campus and securing additional Vanderbilt-controlled housing options near campus.
Public health guidance recommends students reside either in single rooms or in a family-unit model (roommates and suite mates considered a family unit are exempt from physical distancing) with bathroom considerations such as the student-to-fixture ratio and enhanced cleaning schedules.
Some rooms that we are reducing occupancy for will have two sets of furniture. We are not removing the excess furniture. Students should not bring their own furniture.
Details regarding specific housing options and room assignment procedures will be communicated to students prior to the resumption of the housing assignment process, which will begin on July 5, 2020. We anticipate multiple move-in days this fall. Move-in dates will also be announced in July.
First-year students will be assigned one student per room and will be housed in The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, Branscomb Quadrangle and Carmichael Towers East using a random assignment process. Requests for specific residence halls will not be considered. All first-year students will be housed in single rooms in order to reduce the density in our residence halls.
First-year students will switch housing assignments at the transition between fall and spring semester, so all first-year students are able to live on The Commons for part of the year. In the fall semester, half of the first-year students will reside on the Ingram Commons and the other half will reside in Branscomb Quadrangle or Carmichael Towers East. In the spring, their assignments will be reversed.
Regardless of where they live in the fall, all first-year students will be assigned a Commons house affiliation and Faculty Head of House. All students will also be supported by Residential Experience Area Coordinators, Graduate Area Coordinators and Resident Advisers.
Additionally, students will be assigned a “virtual roommate” (e.g., a student living on The Commons will be paired with a student living in Branscomb Quadrangle or Carmichael Towers East). Virtual roommates allow students to connect with another person across campus to create a larger sense of community for new students. It also gives them an opportunity to connect with that person before arriving on campus and throughout the first year, as students begin to build their network at Vanderbilt.
RETURNING UPPER-DIVISION STUDENTS
Returning upper-division students who do not already have a room assignment, and who are seeking on-campus housing, will receive an assignment through the Housing Assignment Process. Pending space availability, students will be assigned as individuals to traditional singles or as groups—per the family unit model—to traditional doubles and apartments.
In response to the need for distancing and reduction of density, the university is lowering the number of occupants in Morgan and Lewis house, allowing family-unit models if students select and acquiring additional VU-controlled properties.
Upper-division residence halls for the 2020-2021 academic year will include Warren and Moore Colleges, Zeppos College, Carmichael Towers I, E. Bronson Ingram College, Cole, Tolman, McGill, McTyeire, Morgan, Lewis and Mayfield.
An updated Guide to the Housing Assignment Process, which details specific housing options and room assignment procedures, is available on the OHARE website.
Student-athletes (first year and upper division) will be housed together in Morgan House and Lewis House on Highland Quad per the family unit model, sharing rooms with teammates and classmates (e.g., first-year students with first-year students and upper-division students with upper-division students). First-year students will also be assigned an Ingram Commons house affiliation.
Incoming transfer students seeking off-campus housing and roommates can use the Off-Campus Housing Service. We will also provide programming to ensure transfer students are fully connected to and integrated with our community.
QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION
Our plan for Vanderbilt-controlled housing for the 2020–21 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 student living off campus, 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.
SUPPORT FOR RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS
We are developing a robust virtual programming/community building model lead by Residential Experience. Resident Advisers will do regular one-on-one communication with residents and provide resources to assist them. All first-year students will spend at least one semester on the Ingram Commons and will be assigned a Faculty Head when they live in either Branscomb or Towers. All first year students will also be assigned a virtual roommate. Additionally, our Student Care Network will be providing support if we receive information that a student is struggling with adjustment to these challenging times.
The university is implementing a number of practices to support the health and wellness of residential students. These practices include enhanced cleaning and sanitization, physical distancing guidelines for commons spaces, the de-densification of residence halls and the development of virtual programming models:
- In order to maintain lower density in residential spaces, students will only have access to their assigned residential building and floor; students are encouraged to socialize outdoors or in commons areas, while practicing physical distancing.
- High touch areas like door handles and elevator buttons will be cleaned throughout the day. We are installing foot pulls or arm pulls on many doors within the residential building. Hand sanitizer stations will be posted at all building entrances, exits, and near elevators.
- Common area bathrooms will be cleaned twice a day. Bathrooms will have a standard cleaning in the morning and a deeper cleaning and sanitization in the evenings.
- Common area spaces in the residence halls like study spaces and lounges will be open; to encourage physical distancing, we have rearranged furniture in those spaces. Students should follow posted guidelines that will help identify ways to yield to others and outline maximum capacity in various space.
- Students will be expected to wear face masks in public spaces like hallways and common areas. In residential bathrooms, students should practice physical distancing and follow any additional posted guidelines for use.
- We are developing a robust virtual programming/community building model lead by Residential Experience. Resident Advisers will do regular one-on-one communication with residents and provide resources to assist them.