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Graduate School E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

November 20, 2020

Have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving

While we may be focused on some much needed down time to relax and rejuvenate next week, there is still much to be done as the semester winds down. The Spring 2021 registration window closes today, November 20. Didactic courses transition to online formats after today for the remainder of the semester. The deadline for requesting accommodations or remote-only study exceptions for spring is December 2.

As you continue to plan for winter break and prepare for Thanksgiving next week, here are a few campus resources you may find helpful.

Global@Vanderbilt. Travel during a pandemic isn’t as simple as hopping on a plane to your favorite destination. Many states have travel-related restrictions. Global@Vanderbilt has compiled a list of domestic entry requirements by state with links to corresponding departments of health for additional information. Requirements vary by state and range from proof of negative testing to 14-day quarantines.  Global@Vanderbilt has also hosted a Traveling During COVID-19: Preparing to Leave Campus webinar. Refer to this presentation for a summary of COVID-19 requirements at BNA, TSA changes, airline health and safety protocols, and international travel considerations.

Student Care Network.  Health risks associated with traveling is one of  many reasons why graduate students may choose to not leave Nashville during the upcoming breaks, but being unable to engage in traditional activities with distant family and friends can complicate an already challenging year. Your mental health and well-being are important. For your continued support, some offices within the Student Care Network will continue to offer services and resources during the break. These services are accessible virtually, regardless of your location.

  • University Counseling Center Urgent Care is available on holidays and after hours. Students can call the UCC at 615-322-2571 and be connected to a licensed counselor.
  • Students needing assistance from the Student Health Center should call 615-322-2427 or message their provider using MyHealth At Vanderbilt. SHC emergency consultation services are available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are staffed by on-call professionals.
  • HealthiestYou is a Telehealth platform offering free access to board-certified physicians, licensed therapist and psychiatrists. Students on the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) can schedule a counseling appointment by phone or video and prescriptions can be sent to a student’s preferred pharmacy.

Additional details on well-being support options are summarized in the MyVU article, Students encouraged to practice distance but not disconnection over extended winter break.

If you choose to gather with loved ones, please remember to protect yourself by following key CDC guidelines for Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings. I’m proud of how well you all have committed to university and public health guidelines this semester, enabling us to finish the semester as planned.  However, we may be facing the riskiest period yet as cases mount, pandemic fatigue sets in and guard drops when seeing familiar faces.  It’s not over. Be especially persistent with wearing masks, physical distancing, and limit gatherings to eight people or less, in order to minimize your risk of exposure while socializing.

Travel cautiously, celebrate safely, and be sure to take some time to relax next week.


Bunmi Olatunji
Interim Dean of the Graduate School



Cartoon of Vandy squirrels wearing masks with the captions Your Mental Health Is Important and Check In and Check Up, Vandy.


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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