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Jan. 20, 2021 – Graduate and professional student Return to Campus Update

Posted by on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 in Community Messages.

Many of you may have returned to campus already, or even remained in Nashville over the winter break. We hope you had time to rest and recharge before returning to campus for the new year and spring semester. We want to share updates and reminders about our spring semester plans to support our community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In recent weeks, new infection rates were rising sharply in Nashville and across the U.S. However, there is hope on the horizon as the nation has entered the staged rollout of available vaccinations.

We remain incredibly proud of our successful fall semester, but we know some of our hardest work is ahead of us. As we begin spring with great optimism, we are grateful for your ongoing diligence.

Spring Return to Campus Town Hall

Last week, we  hosted for undergraduate students and families an online town hall to share the latest information on COVID-19 from Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center experts and the university’s plans for the spring semester.

Spring Testing Program and Protocols

A key component of our spring plan entails our  updated  spring  testing program  and quarantine  protocols  for graduate and professional students participating in regular in-person, on-campus, academic-related activities.

Spring Return to Campus Acknowledgment

If you have not completed the  Spring Return to Campus Acknowledgment, this must be  completed in Oracle Learning by Jan. 25.

Safety Protocols

For the spring semester, we must adhere to the safety protocols we developed in the fall. Although some community members are now receiving vaccines,  the virus is still spreading. To help protect public health, we cannot loosen  our  physical  distancing, face mask wearing,  gathering protocols and hand washing. We remain grateful for your ongoing vigilance in this shared effort.

As situations develop throughout the semester, we will rely on public health guidance and keep everyone informed. Once again, we applaud our community for their adaptability and dedication as we achieve excellence in these challenging times.

Gatherings and Activities

Many of you may have been wondering about ways to connect with each other during the pandemic. Here are the guidelines:

  • Small, informal meetups with eight or fewer people are allowed. (Nashville and Vanderbilt currently limit gatherings to that size.)
  • All attendees must be physically distanced and masked.
  • Food and drink must be consumed only while maintaining physical distancing, with masks removed only briefly.
  • Failure to comply with the city’s public health emergency orders can result in criminal penalties. Failure to adhere to the university’s protocols can result in student accountability actions.

The David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center is tentatively scheduled to reopen in early February for students. Though it will reopen in phases and the hours will be limited, we know this resource has been missed by students. We look forward to welcoming you back to it. As more details are finalized, we will share those with you here.

Personal Travel

Communicate with your program advisers in your respective school/college about any request to leave the Nashville area during the semester. Travel will be allowed only under extenuating circumstances, and it must be approved. There also are procedures and practices to follow to mitigate risk of transmission upon return to Nashville.

Other News and Updates

Jan. 7: Update on COVID-19 vaccines
Jan. 8: Message to undergraduate students on spring arrival; launch of Commodores Care period
Jan. 11: Message to undergraduate students on spring semester updates
Jan. 20: Undergraduate student Return to Campus Update
Jan. 20: Faculty Return to Campus Update
Jan. 20: Staff Return to Campus Update 
Jan. 20: Postdoc Return to Campus Update