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Dec. 15, 2020 – Faculty: an update on our spring semester COVID-19 testing

Posted by on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 in Community Messages.

Dear colleagues,

We want to thank you again for a successful fall semester—one that could not have happened without your willingness to follow health and safety protocols and your dedication to continuing the meaningful education of our students. Your voluntary participation in our rigorous testing program, as well as physical distancing, mask wearing, following our gatherings policy, washing hands and more helped us slow the spread of COVID-19.

Guided by the lessons we learned this fall, we are updating our spring semester testing program and adjusting our quarantine guidelines based on new CDC guidance.

Some key components of the optional faculty spring testing program include:

  • Testing will continue to be available on an opt-in basis to all VU-employed faculty who are regularly conducting in-person, on-campus activity, such as teaching or researching, with others.
  • Faculty who would like to opt in can do so by registering on the Return to Campus website.
  • Faculty who opted in during the fall semester must opt in again for the spring if they would like to continue in the program.
  • All faculty who opt in can be tested up to once per week beginning no earlier than Jan. 10.
  • UPDATED: Blair faculty members who are teaching an instrument, voice, or ensemble that involves aerosol production will be required to test on a weekly basis beginning the week of Jan. 17.
  • All faculty testing will occur at the Testing Center, located in the David Williams II Recreation Center, through a walk-in or drive-through format. Faculty may choose the option they would like to use for testing.
  • As faculty testing is on an opt-in basis, with the exception of the Blair subgroup, the only compliance checks that will be conducted are to ensure that faculty are not testing more frequently than once per week.
  • Positive test samples will be retested automatically, before you get your test results back, to confirm the positive result. There will no longer be a separate retesting program.

If you have symptoms: You should continue to contact Occupational Health or be tested through your health care provider. If testing off campus, you should submit a positive COVID-19 test result through RedCap to begin contact tracing efforts.

Asymptomatic close contacts will now quarantine for 10 days. This has been updated from the previous 14-day quarantine, per CDC guidance, but comes with additional requirements for days 10 to 14 after exposure.

  • For days 10 to 14 after last exposure, Vanderbilt community members identified as close contacts must not unmask at any time in public, including in dining locations, and must wear their mask even in the presence of those in their residence.
  • Individuals should eat alone or complete any activities alone that require removing a mask in a private space during those four days.

As a reminder, all individuals should do the following at all times to help slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Perform daily self-monitoring for symptoms using the VandySafe app.
  • Immediately self-isolate and contact the Student Health Center for assessment and testing if you develop symptoms.
  • Wear a mask, stay at least six feet from others, wash your hands, avoid crowds and off campus high-risk venues, follow the gathering protocols, and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For more information about our spring semester testing, quarantine and isolation protocols, visit the Return to Campus website.

Have a wonderful winter break. We are looking forward to the spring semester.

Susan R. Wente, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Eric Kopstain, Vice Chancellor of the Division of Administration