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Graduate School E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

November 11, 2020

Key Updates and Reminders for November

Dear graduate students,

On campus, in-person classes conclude on November 20, though there will be two additional weeks of remote classes and exams after Thanksgiving. As we progress through the semester, there are important decisions to be made.  Be sure to keep these in mind as you plan for the upcoming break and spring semester.

Travel Plans.  Communicate your plans with your advisor and check with your associate dean to identify any requirements from your school for plans to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 when you return to campus. If interested, you can reserve a spot to participate in the optional asymptomatic testing program before you travel.  Register by November 11 to select a time slot on Monday, November 16 or Tuesday, November 17.  Read more about travel guidelines and recommendations in the November 9 Return to Campus Update and personal travel in the FAQs.

Requesting Accommodations or Remote-Only Study Exceptions.  The deadline to request an accommodation for health reasons or a remote-only study exception for other personal circumstances is December 2.  Apply for accommodations through the Commodore Access Portal on the Student Access Services website. Contact your school’s associate dean to request remote-only study exceptions.  In either instance, students with accommodations or exceptions will not have access to on-campus facilities or spaces at any time, with the exception of attending appointments at the Student Health Center.   For full details, including the policy, refer to my recent message on accommodations and exceptions.

Spring Registration. The spring schedule is available and the registration window is open now through November 20.  See the Graduate School Academic Calendar for important dates and deadlines that may affect you.

Student Health Insurance Plan and COVID-19 Testing & Treatment.  If you have not visited the Return to Campus website or reviewed the FAQs recently, note that the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) provides access to COVID-19 testing free of charge as long as the test is ordered by a licensed medical provider and FDA authorized.  Free access to testing is offered through January 20, 2021, and access to COVID-19 treatment is free of charge from in-network providers through December 31, 2020.  See the new FAQ on Student Health Insurance for additional details and contact information if you have questions.

Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise. Over the course of the next few weeks, exercise vigilance in protecting yourself and others from COVID-19 exposure, even more so if you plan to travel.  As Anchor Down, Step Up reminds us:

Now and during the upcoming break, follow key CDC guidelines to protect yourself, especially when socializing.  We want you to relax and enjoy this time, while being safe in the process.


Bunmi Olatunji
Interim Dean of the Graduate School


icons illustrating Anchor Down Step Up: figure wearing mask, figures 6 feet apart, handwashing, thermometer, person with shield

A list of all messages from Interim Dean Bunmi Olatunji is available on the Graduate School website.

Need assistance?  Send us an email if you need support or would like guidance on identifying available university resources.

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Stay informed:  visit the Return to Campus websiteFAQ page for graduate studentsResearch@Vanderbilt and the COVID-19 Dashboard for current updates on the Vanderbilt community. Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19—learn more at Anchor Down, Step Up.

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