Town Hall Live Q&A
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COVID-19 Exposure and Wellness
To mitigate the risk to others of potential exposure and to protect all on campus as much as possible, a Vanderbilt Public Health Central Command Center (Command Center) has been established to manage contact tracing and notifications across VU communities. This Command Center is a collaboration between the Nurse Faculty Practice Division in the School of Nursing, the Vanderbilt Student Health Center (SHC) and the Vanderbilt Occupational Health Center (OHC), and it will conduct contact tracing with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. By launching this robust in-house contact tracing capability, developed in collaboration with experts at VUMC, VUSN and Metro Public Health, Vanderbilt ensures coordinated contact tracing between campus and the Nashville community that is as timely as possible.
Faculty, staff, postdocs and students who live off campus and test positive for COVID-19 must isolate at their home/current residence and follow current CDC guidance as directed until they have recovered. Residential students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate as directed by the Dean of Students until they have recovered.
Contact tracing generally works as follows:
- If an individual develops symptoms and is awaiting a COVID-19 test, receives a positive COVID-19 test result, or is identified as a close contact by contact tracers, then the individual stays home (or in the case of residential students, goes to quarantine space as directed by Dean of Students) until released.
- When a positive COVID-19 test result is identified, a contact tracer will be assigned immediately to the case. The contact tracer will interview the individual and identify all contacts. Close contacts are defined specifically as noted below. Close contacts are entered into a database and notified by phone and email. Information on how to proceed is relayed to each individual who is a close contact.
- The contact tracer will relay information about any non-VU close contacts to the Metro Public Health department.
Please note that during this process the name of the index case will be disclosed to possible contacts, but protected health information will not be disclosed.
Per both Vanderbilt 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 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic persons, 2 days prior to positive test collection) until the time the person is isolated.
Things to Remember:
- Incidental exposure such as walking by someone in the hallway, using the same equipment or the same area/room is not close contact.
- Surface contamination is not a primary pathway of concern per the CDC. Public areas will be frequently disinfected by Facilities/Plant Operations.
Immunity eligibility for students
Students are expected to be forthcoming and honest when providing information to contact tracers. A student who provides information about their prior possession or use of alcohol or other drugs and any resulting intoxication, or prior violation of Vanderbilt’s COVID-19 protocols, during contact tracing will be eligible for immunity from disciplinary action in order to facilitate accurate information reporting. Similarly, a student who provides information in a Title IX investigation about their prior possession or use of alcohol or other drugs and any resulting intoxication or prior violation of Vanderbilt’s COVID-19 protocols, will be eligible for immunity from disciplinary action in order to facilitate accurate information reporting during the investigation. On the other hand, failure to be truthful and forthcoming during contact tracing will result in disciplinary action.
Health and Safety
During this time of uncertainty, Vanderbilt is committed to supporting the overall health and well-being of the entire campus community through resources that offer support, stress management and strategies for resilience across all demographics. Vanderbilt recognizes that COVID-19 has magnified disparities in a number of areas (e.g., housing, technology, finances, access) among and between various populations of students, which can lead to negative effects on personal well–being.
ACADEMIC SUPPORT RESOURCES
Vanderbilt’s Libraries are reopening with card access for the VU community only. The Libraries are following University protocols to enhance safety and promote physical distancing, while delivering excellent services and resources for learning and research. Remote resources and services have been expanded over the course of the last few months as most of the Libraries services will remain remote.
Researchers often need access to original, primary source materials. So far, the library has been able to provide e-texts or scans for 83.2 percent of all requests. The university has invested resources to increase accessibility, and library staff have scanned thousands of items, so that many items that were unavailable previously are now available digitally.
Some library spaces are being used as classrooms, while others are open for individual study—check the Libraries’ webpage for current opening hours.
On the website you will also find tips for using the libraries in “What to Know Before You Visit” and see more information about new services and resources in “Frequently Asked Questions.” Staffing on site has been de-densified, but librarians are fully available via live chat, zoom, email, phone or text. When in doubt, please reach out to our librarians.
The libraries homepage will continue to offer the latest updates to library hours, resources and services.
Learn more about remote teaching, learning and research support available through the Vanderbilt Libraries.
STUDY ROOMS AND OTHER RESOURCES
Central, Science & Engineering and Peabody libraries will be open for undergraduate students living off-campus to use to take their online courses if they need a place on campus. VUID card access is required to enter these buildings. Headphones or earphones will be required when utilizing these spaces. The buildings will open on Aug. 24 and the hours will be:
- Central, Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Peabody, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Science & Engineering, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If more spaces are needed for off-campus student support, updates to students and faculty will be provided through this Return to Campus Update.
In addition, study rooms are available across campus in buildings that include, but are not limited to, libraries. Designated buildings and specific rooms available for study are listed in the searchable chart below and include the room’s capacity. Each room is specifically set up to maintain appropriate physical distance, and students should follow all campus protocols, including wearing a face mask/covering, while using these spaces. Be mindful of following all posted signage, including circulation patterns, and be prepared to change plans in the event a space is at capacity when you arrive.
|Building and Room No.||Capacity|
|Alumni Hall 202||21|
|Alumni Hall 206||17|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 210||4|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 211||18|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 217||18|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 222||40|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 405||6|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 408||45|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 418||76|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 500FA||1|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 500FR||1|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 501||6|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 503||6|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 600FA||1|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 600FR||1|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 602||6|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 605||16|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 612||76|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 612A||16|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 612C||6|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 614||12|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 700FA||1|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 700FR||4|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 701||6|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 703||6|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 800BE||55|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 800FA||8|
|Central & Divinity Libraries 803||12|
|Peabody Library 003||6|
|Peabody Library 004||2|
|Peabody Library 008||36|
|Peabody Library 009||2|
|Peabody Library 010||2|
|Peabody Library 011||1|
|Peabody Library 013||1|
|Peabody Library 014||2|
|Peabody Library 108||4|
|Peabody Library 120||32|
|Peabody Library 202||6|
|Peabody Library 204||76|
|Peabody Library 302||4|
|Peabody Library 304||15|
|Peabody Library 305||6|
|Sarratt Student Center 112||6|
|Sarratt Student Center 115||15|
|Sarratt Student Center 189||14|
|Sarratt Student Center 220||22|
|Sarratt Student Center 361||6|
|Sarratt Student Center 363||6|
|Stevenson 3 (Library) 212||3|
|Stevenson 3 (Library) 238||9|
|Sony Building A1076||35|
STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS SUPPORT
To address this reality, we are enhancing support for our students’ health and well-being through a collaboration with the Nurse Faculty Practice Division in the School of Nursing, which will provide counseling for any students who are in quarantine and isolation. We are also providing new tele-health options and additional programming through the Student Care Network, a holistic network of wellness services and resources available to all Vanderbilt students.
The University Counseling Center provides students with access to professionals who have experience helping specific identity groups. The Provost’s Office for Inclusive Excellence, through its identity centers and identity initiatives, will also continue its commitment to fostering a safe and welcoming community that is inclusive and respectful of differences. Inclusive Excellence is launching identity initiatives this academic year to support international students as well as first-generation students.
Parents and students with questions can call a new dedicated hotline at 615-322-4357 for any question related to the fall. Vanderbilt has expanded capacity to take these calls, and, from this line, calls will be routed to the right unit as/if needed.
Student Care Network will:
- Provide clinical mental health and psychiatric services, well-being and academic coaching, care coordination and follow-up, and other health and wellness services
- Provide access to counselors with expertise for specific identity groups
- Enhance staffing and training
- Increase tele-health/self-directed app options
- Implement targeted programming
- Re-formulate “drop-in” services
- Revise collaborative follow-up models
- Continue financial assistance
- Support virtual community-building efforts
ADDITIONAL CAMPUS SUPPORT
An updated list of the available student services and resources for both our remote student population and for those students who remain on campus is available on the Student Care Network website.
- Office of Housing and Residential Experience
- Campus Connection Program: Launching in late July
- Student Care Network
- Public Health AmbassaDore Program
- Student Access Services
- Office of Inclusive Excellence
- International Student & Scholar Services
We are also offering a dedicated helpline to help answer your questions at 615-322-4357. The help line will be staffed by counselors between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CDT, Monday through Friday.
Faculty, Staff and Postdoc SUPPORT
Vanderbilt is committed to supporting your overall health and well-being. Faculty, staff and postdocs should visit the Vanderbilt health and wellness website for more information and resources that offer support, help manage stress and enhance your resilience.
Vanderbilt community members with children SUPPORT
For parents in the Vanderbilt community who are managing both work and home responsibilities, there are specific university resources available for support.
The Vanderbilt Child and Family Center has a number of resources ranging from family life to baby’s best start to backup care. The center continues to seek input on what working parents need to create pathways to these resources. Two examples that grew out of parents’ expressed interest are:
- The Vanderbilt Caregivers Network online forums continue to be a resource to help facilitate and support collaboration.
- The Art Adventures Enrichment Program was created for children in kindergarten through fifth grade to provide Vanderbilt University parents with respite two to three days per week.The Vanderbilt Child and Family Center has announced that it will extend its Art Adventures Enrichment Program through Dec. 18 to continue to support Vanderbilt University community members with children in kindergarten through fifth grade.The extension comes in response to an announcement from Metro Nashville Public Schools that all Metro students are likely to return to remote learning after the Thanksgiving break due to rising COVID rates.Starting Nov. 30, Art Adventures will be offered Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with the exclusion of university holidays.
The Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center has a number of support initiatives and programming, including three parent groups which are open to parents of all genders. The Parenting Group is for parents and caregivers and meets once each month. Each meeting focuses on a specific topic, with an invited discussion leader. Last month the group connected with Jessika Boles, a Child Life Team Lead at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, who explained how to talk to kids about COVID-19. Pandemic Parenting is a subset of the Parenting Group and meets Oct. 22 and Dec. 4. The Single Parent Group meets once a month. As a support group, the meetings are unprogrammed and offer a space for single parents of all genders to seek help from other parents while a member of the Employee Assistance Program joins.
The Women’s Center also hosts monthly Work-Life Workshops that cover a range of professional development and self-care topics. Future sessions for this fall will focus on mentorship and isms in the workplace. The Women in the Academy series, aimed at graduate students and postdocs but open to all, will have sessions focusing on trust and boundaries in the classroom, parenting and the academy, and interviewing in a virtual world. The monthly Kitchen Table Series is an undergraduate student-run discussion series that addresses a range of gender-related topics, with the Nov. 17 session focusing on women’s roles in the pandemic.
In addition, please be sure to consider our many existing resources, including the support for remote work and employee engagement recently announced by Human Resources, along with the HR Guide to Supporting Leaders and Staff, which encourages flexibility with staff work schedules. For staff, as always, we encourage you to talk to your supervisor or your HR consultant if you have any questions about your particular situation. For faculty, we encourage you to reach out to your department chair or dean. For students and postdocs, we encourage you to talk with your mentor and dean’s office.
In an effort to guide the university community in practicing healthy behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanderbilt has launched the Public Health AmbassaDore program to address questions regarding campus health and safety measures.
The program has been established as an additional resource for the Vanderbilt community to navigate changes on campus. As identified representatives of the university, the Public Health AmbassaDores will help promote social norms to create a safe working and learning environment for all within the Vanderbilt University community. AmbassaDores will model exemplary adherence to all university protocols, serve as peer models and sources of information for individuals on campus, assist with knowledge dissemination and help communicate across specific sub-communities, and more.
The first AmbassaDores selected for the program are VUPS community service officers, and the program will expand prior to the fall semester to include other individuals (e.g., facility/building managers, volunteers among staff, faculty, students).
The Public Health AmbassaDores will receive training, resources, and support to prepare them for the role.
The expectations of a Community PHA are that you are willing to provide community members with masks, sanitizer, or more information as needed about best health practices on campus. This volunteer position is a way for members of the VU Community to have the best available information to keep themselves and this campus healthy and safe.
Becoming a Public Health AmbassaDore
You can submit this form yourself with departmental approval or have your department leader or manager submit on your behalf.
Once a form has been submitted you will receive a link to the Oracle Learn training that is mandatory to become a Community PHA.
After the training and quiz has been completed, you will receive a confirmation email that it has been completed.
Finally, a PHA team lead will reach out to you regarding next steps and how to receive PHA supplies.
Thank you for your interest!
Frequently asked questions
What is a Public Health AmbassaDore?
As identified representatives of the university, the Public Health AmbassaDores will help promote social norms to create a safe working and learning environment for all with the Vanderbilt University community. AmbassaDores will model exemplary adherence to all university protocols, serve as peer models and sources of information for individuals on campus, assist with knowledge dissemination and help communicate across specific sub-communities, and more.
Who is eligible to become an AmbassaDore?
Any Vanderbilt faculty and staff can take the training online. However, officially designated Public Health AmbassaDores should seek approval from the supervisor and/or department leader.
How do I apply to become an AmbassaDore?
Those who are interested in becoming an AmbassaDore should fill out the online form above and you will receive a confirmation email with next steps to become an approved AmbassaDore.
If you have additional questions, contact Brittney Whatley in Vanderbilt University Public Safety at brittney.m.whatley@Vanderbilt.edu.
Is there required training to become an AmbassaDore?
Yes. After you or your supervisor/department leader have completed and submitted your information through the form available on the website, you will receive a confirmation email with how to complete the online training through Oracle Learn.
What are the expectations/responsibilities of AmbassaDores?
- Serving as a source of information to promote the university’s expectations for reopening during COVID-19
- Assisting with building circulation
- Encouraging face mask/covering usage
- Encouraging physical distancing
- Providing directions to hand sanitizer stations or hand washing locations; and
- Distributing COVID-19 packets that include masks and hand sanitizer upon request.
Do I need approval to apply?
Yes. To become a designated Public Health AmbassaDore, you will need approval from your supervisor and/or department leader.
Will I be compensated for being and AmbassaDore?
No. This is a voluntary program and AmbassaDores will not receive additional compensation.
How are AmbassaDores identified?
Public Health AmbassaDores will be identifiable with attire and materials made specifically for the program.
What are the time commitments of a Community PHA?
The time commitment as a Community PHA is dependent on your availability and the events of the fall semester. It is important to communicate with your department leader or manager your availability to be able to volunteer as a Community PHA during the week.
Who can I contact if I have additional questions?
Contact Captain Leshaun Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
What number can I call to ask protocol questions or report a concern?
The PHA hotline number is operated by dispatch. They are able to answer questions regarding COVID-19 safety protocols, return to campus questions or connect you with a Community PHA to deliver masks, sanitizer or other information to you. The hotline number is 615-343-1352.
Policies and Compliance
Vanderbilt is utilizing software and tools to manage the Return to Campus response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The central repository for data will be housed on secure Vanderbilt servers. Special purpose software, Mazikcare, will be fed data from existing university systems as well as from the Public Health Central Command Center (“Command Center”). Along with the data feeds from existing university systems, the Command Center will enter data from Student Health, Occupational Health, results from the university’s COVID-19 testing program (which are made available to the Command Center through a secure web portal), and its own Contact Tracers (collectively “COVID-19 Data”) in an effort to improve safety on campus.
This Privacy Q&A is designed to inform you about how Vanderbilt collects and uses information provided when you or the Command Center use the COVID-19 Data and how Vanderbilt processes your personal information.
How Do We Use Your Information?
Vanderbilt has a legitimate interest in processing your data in order to better ensure the safety of the Vanderbilt community by aggregation and analysis of the data provided by or about each individual community member. The Command Center and other campus partners may use the COVID-19 Data to identify (for example through use of the VandySafe symptom checker) and respond to positive cases, to identify Close Contacts, and to manage quarantine and isolation. Privacy by design principles are imbedded in this process. Information is shared only to the extent necessary to address the risk to a particular individual and to community members with whom the individual may have come in contact.
Who Has Access to Your Information?
Vanderbilt’s guiding principle in the use of this data is to only permit access data to those with an absolute need to know the information. The data is only accessible by Contact Tracers, the Command Center staff and a limited technical support team with explicit permission to access the data and only with the controls of single sign-on and multi factor authentication. These individuals may share individual community members’ information with others (including those with a need to know such as, the Dean of Students, Staff supervisors, PIs, Building managers, et. al.) but only to the extent necessary. This data is only being utilized to ensure a safe campus environment. Vanderbilt does not share your information with third parties for any commercial purpose. (The data stored in the Mazikcare application is not accessible to anybody outside of Vanderbilt’s authorized users.)
How Long Does Vanderbilt Keep Your Information?
Vanderbilt will practice data minimization and only retain your information for as long as necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Does Vanderbilt Protect Your Information?
Vanderbilt takes very seriously its obligation to protect the confidentiality of your personal information and use of such information complies with applicable privacy laws including HIPAA and FERPA as well as non-discrimination laws including the ADA and the FMLA. In addition, Vanderbilt uses a combination of process, technology and physical security controls to help protect your information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. The Mazikcare application, which is the technological hub of Vanderbilt’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is behind the single sign-on. A redundant security control for Mazikcare application is multi-factor authentication. Authorized users are bound by agreement to keep confidential all personal information which they access. These authorized uses have received training specific to their roles including training on privacy (including applicable privacy laws) and cybersecurity.
Students, faculty, staff and postdocs will be expected to comply with all university policies and protocols designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection and promote the health and safety of the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities. We encourage members of the campus community to report when there are multiple counts of noncompliance or uncooperative behavior.
Student violations of COVID-19 policies and protocols may be referred to the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity.
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. The policy outlines a process for correcting single and repeat episodes of employee failure to comply with rules. Safety violations will be handled under this process.