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Outdoor Spaces: Sidewalks, Campus Pathways and Outdoor Amenities

Posted by on Thursday, June 11, 2020 in .

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

Maintaining space between you and others is a best practice according to the CDC and is required on the Vanderbilt campus to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 virus and slow its spread. Because people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others whenever possible, even if you have no symptoms. Physical distancing and face mask/covering wearing is especially important for people who are at higher risk.

Everyone on campus should follow these physical distancing practices:

Students around campus practice healthy behaviors.

Physical distancing practices and face mask/covering wearing should be followed in all outdoor spaces. Appropriate use of face masks/coverings is important in minimizing risk to the wearer and those around them. A face mask/covering is not a substitute for physical distancing.

In the interest of creating a culture where health and safety are promoted and realized, face masks/coverings must be worn by all individuals on campus in public indoor settings (e.g., common workspaces, hallways, stairwells, elevators, meeting rooms, classrooms, break-rooms, restrooms, etc.).

Physical distancing must be maintained at all times when outdoors. Face masks/coverings must be worn at all times when outdoors, with the following limited exceptions:

  1. While engaged in vigorous outdoor recreation, such as biking or running, so long as physical distancing is maintained at all times including with those walking on campus paved paths, sidewalks, plazas
  2. While actively engaged in eating/drinking outdoors, so long as physical distancing is maintained

Goals for outdoor spaces on campus include:

  • Creating an environment that maximizes safety and legibility while moving through campus
  • Making it possible on major routes to maintain a 6-foot distance while moving through campus
  • Using minimally invasive, maximally effective techniques
  • Designing all indoor and outdoor circulation plans with accessibility and mobility needs in mind

Wayfinding will be phased in aligned with the Vanderbilt Return to Campus phases. This allows for the university to observe and adjust. The university is aiming to give people room and give people time to react.

The “Gold Path” network is a planning concept Vanderbilt is using to focus its wayfinding and signage efforts and coordinate with similar efforts within buildings. Paths designated as part of the “Gold Path” represent commonly used pedestrian paths. As the community continues to return to campus, the university will place its signage and monitoring efforts on these corridors.

Signage has been prepared aligned with CDC and ACHA guidance and will be placed along the “Gold Path” network. Be mindful to follow the directional signage and be prepared to change your daily routine to adhere to the new circulation patterns.

The following map shows the “Gold Path” network for the current university Phase II and II+.  Parking locations are noted with non-colored circles and popular destinations with colored circles. Major circulation routes are noted in gold.













Three large tents have been installed at Alumni Lawn, Library Lawn and Peabody Esplanade to serve as dining locations for the campus community. Capacity at each tent will be managed by on-site Campus Dining staff and dining tents are available to all members of the VU community, regardless of whether the meal to be eaten was purchased from a Campus Dining location.

Additional tents may be installed to support particular buildings or programs on campus over time.

Information about how to use the dining tents can be found on the Campus Dining FAQ.>>

All campus protocols must be followed in and around all tent locations, including physical distancing of at least six feet and wearing a mask or face covering at all times, except when eating or drinking. Signage will be posted throughout tent areas to direct circulation and provide protocol reminders, which must be adhered to at all times. The comprehensive plans for the use of outdoor tents this fall include information regarding fire code compliance and safety; severe weather communication, evacuation, and sheltering; and general safety and security. Occupants of tented areas should follow the instructions provided by tent staff in the event that any enhanced safety or security measures are needed, particularly evacuation for inclement or severe weather.

In addition to tents, other outdoor spaces are being updated with painted circles on lawns throughout campus to identify physically distanced locations for use by the individuals, including for outdoor dining, studying, leisure and other activities.

Examples of these circle locations are shown in the maps below. These are current concept maps and as such are illustrative and not precise. Due to mowing and lawn maintenance, circle patterns and distribution may vary over the course of the semester.