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March 10, 2021 – Faculty Return to Campus Update

Posted by on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 in Community Messages.

COVID-19 public dashboard update

The COVID-19 asymptomatic positive rate for the week of Feb. 28–March 6 is 0.19 percent, a decrease from the previous week. The Vanderbilt community is strongly encouraged to remain vigilant in following all safety protocols. We continue to conduct contact tracing for each positive case to determine close contacts and to monitor areas of concern.   

Vanderbilt announces increased size limit and new amenities for outdoor official campus gatherings

As spring arrives in Middle Tennessee, we encourage Vanderbilt community members to take advantage of the warmer temperatures and natural beauty of our campus by spending time outdoors. 

Beginning today, March 10, outdoor official campus gatherings may increase from eight to a maximum of 12 people. This update does not change the eight-person rule for indoor campus gatherings or any informal student meetups, on or off campus. Masking and physical distancing protocols remain in place for all gatherings regardless of size or location. 

This change recognizes the continued efforts of the campus community to follow campus health and safety protocols and comes as the university continues to take a cautious and incremental approach to its protocols so the Vanderbilt community can finish the semester strong and while the city increases its gathering size limits. 

In addition, Vanderbilt Student Government’s Campus Life Committee has worked closely with university leaders to develop creative ideas for outdoor activities. As a result, the university will be adding more amenities, such as outdoor furniture and lawn games, in a phased approach over the coming weeks to help facilitate outdoor engagement opportunities.  

Upcoming additions include the following: 

  • The university will reinstate painted circles indicating 6 feet of physical distance on campus lawns starting this week. Stickers will be added to various non-grassy areas to remind students of the requirements for using outdoor spaces. No university-owned furniture may be moved from its current location. 
  • Vanderbilt community members also are encouraged to bring their own camp chairs and hammocks outside. Only one hammock is allowed per post, and camp chairs must be placed at least 6 feet apart. Students should use the lawn circles to determine 6 feet of space when placing their camp chairs outside. 
  • Lawn games will be added in outdoor spaces in the coming weeks. Guidelines will be posted for following campus protocols and for cleaning game equipment after use. 
  • VandyRadio music will be broadcast in the campus tents. 
  • Campus leaders are working to bring a stage to Wilson Lawn for programming. The stage will provide space for individuals to host showcases, musical performances and more. Once ready, the university will share details for reserving the stage and guidelines for its use. 

Read More>>

Update on vaccine distribution phases

As you may be aware, the Nashville Metro Public Health Department began Phase 1c of COVID-19 vaccine scheduling on Monday, March 8. Phase 1c includes individuals 16 years and older who have certain high-risk health conditions.   

Last week faculty and staff received a survey request from Occupational Health about this next phase of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility. We are excited about this progression and want to share some additional information and reminders. As a member of the Vanderbilt community, you have several options for receiving the vaccine, should you meet high-risk conditions or age criteria.  

Learn more in this March 5 message from Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Tracey George and Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for People and Business Services Laura Nairon. >> 

Although Vanderbilt University is not a vaccine distribution site because we are not a health care center, encouraging progress is being made in vaccine availability in our community. 

The Metro Nashville Public Health Department announced yesterday it will host a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination event March 20. The health department plans to distribute doses to 10,000 individuals in phases 1a, 1b and 1c of the state’s vaccination plan, along with residents 65 and older. Online registration for the event is at 

When you are eligible to receive the vaccine, we strongly urge you to explore every option available, including local health departments and other community providers, and get it—not just to protect yourself, but to help achieve a broad level of immunity in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccines, visit the VUMC website.  

Other news and updates

March 10: Undergraduate Return to Campus Update
March 10: Graduate and professional student Return to Campus Update
March 10: Postdoc Return to Campus Update
March 10: Staff Return to Campus Update

–The Return to Campus Team