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Dec. 15, 2020 – Staff: 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 dedicated support of our mission. 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 staff and postdoc spring testing program include:

  • All staff and postdocs who are coming to campus with regularity, which is defined as three days a week or more, and who interact regularly in person with students, faculty and/or staff as part of their on-campus activity, will be included in the spring testing program. Based on this definition, each dean or vice chancellor will determine:
    • Who will be required to complete testing;
    • Who will not be included based on their roles.
  • Staff and postdocs in the testing program will be tested on a monthly basis, with 25 percent of the identified staff and postdoc population tested each week.
  • All staff and postdoc testing will occur at the Testing Center inside the Recreation Center.
  • Testing coordinators for each work area will communicate specifics about testing registration and compliance activities to those individuals included in the spring testing program.
  • Testing coordinators will also manage compliance and will field questions from their staff and postdoc populations.
  • Positive test samples will now 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 following 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