Skip to main content

COVID-19 Testing: Undergraduate Student Fall Semester Testing on Campus & Recovery

Posted by on Thursday, June 11, 2020 in .

The following information outlines how COVID-19 testing and recovery will work while on campus during the fall semester. Earlier information on pre-arrival testing can be found on the Pre-arrival Testing page, and information on arrival testing can be found on the Undergraduate Student Arrival Testing page.


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. Vanderbilt is employing testing methods in consultation with VUMC experts and will continue to evaluate all testing options and methods moving forward.

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, 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, 8 am – 5 pm Central time. Student Health will instruct the individual on appropriate next steps.

Periodic Testing

The comprehensive arrival testing program, along with the pre-arrival testing information, will provide data to inform continued decisions for periodic testing throughout the fall. In addition, we have expanded our periodic testing program to include weekly, mandatory testing for all undergraduate students who are authorized to be on campus and are engaged in on-campus, in-person activities—whether they live on campus or off campus.

Weekly testing began on Monday, Aug. 31. Testing will be conducted in the David R. Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., to offer students the greatest flexibility in scheduling their testing block. During the designated time block, students will report to the entrance on the east side of the Recreation and Wellness Center for testing and should follow posted circulation signage and any instructions from staff. Students must bring their Vanderbilt ID and their cell phone to register their test. After arriving, students will be given a test kit at check-in and will be guided by on-site staff to an available testing station. A staff member will supervise the saliva test to ensure it is done properly. Upon completion of the test, students will follow circulation plans within the testing center that guide them to a station where their completed test is dropped off and they scan their VU ID. After dropping off their test and scanning their VU ID, students will follow circulation plans to exit the building through the rear entrance onto Children’s Way. Students will be notified of their test results via email, typically with 48 hours. More details can be found on the On-campus Testing Center page, including maps illustrating entry and exit points.

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.

If you have previously been COVID-19 positive, per CDC guidelines you may be exempt from 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 and test date. Antibody tests are not accepted. Those who tested positive through pre-arrival, arrival and on-campus Vault tests or through testing conducted at Student Health do not need to complete the form as they are already in the university’s system.

Students currently in quarantine or isolation received additional follow-up instructions specific to their current In particular, students who are currently in quarantine should register for a weekly testing time but should not report to weekly testing until their quarantine period is over.


The university has also updated its approach to testing of asymptomatic close contacts. The CDC defines a close contact as any individual who was within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic people who test positive, 2 days prior to positive test collection) until the time the person who tested positive is isolated. Asymptomatic close contacts will be tested during the required quarantine period. This applies specifically to all faculty, staff, post docs, and students who are authorized to be on campus and are participating in on-campus activities.

How test kits for asymptomatic close contacts are delivered will vary slightly based on the individual’s quarantine location. If an individual identified as a close contact is in on-campus quarantine housing, a pre-paid test kit will be delivered to the person’s quarantine location to be completed during their quarantine period. If an individual identified as a close contact lives off-campus, a weblink will be emailed during their quarantine period to order a pre-paid test kit to be delivered to their off-campus location .


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.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate as directed until they have been deemed to have recovered. 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.

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.