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March 24, 2021 – Staff Return to Campus Update

Posted by on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 in Community Messages.

COVID-19 public dashboard  update

The COVID-19 asymptomatic positive rate for the week of March 14–20 is 0.32 percent, an increase 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. 

Vaccine eligibility expands to 55+ and Phase 2a/2b

The Tennessee Department of Health continues to move steadily through vaccine phases. Individuals 55 and older are now eligible, along with those in phase 2a and 2b. In addition, Gov. Bill Lee announced that all Tennesseans 16 and older will be eligible for a vaccine no later than April 5.  

Although Vanderbilt University is not a vaccine distribution site because we are not a health care center, we strongly urge you to explore every option available, including the local health department and other community providers, to get vaccinated—not just to protect yourself, but to help achieve a broad level of immunity in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. Learn more about your options for vaccinations. 

Staff leave policy for COVID-19 vaccinations

The anticipation of greater availability of COVID-19 vaccines and expanded eligibility for vaccination is a bright spot on the near horizon. Vanderbilt University strongly encourages our community members to explore every option available for vaccination, including your physician, your local health department and other providers to protect yourself and to help achieve a broad level of immunity to help control the spread of COVID-19. As additional opportunities become available for vaccination via Occupational Health, we will communicate these via email. 

The COVID-19 Leave Bank and COVID-19 Vaccination Policy provides time off to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination or to recover from side effects following a vaccination. As noted in the policy, it is preferred that staff provide three days of notice to request Vaccination Leave, to support continuity of operations. However, we understand that there may be opportunities for same or next-day vaccination and want to support these to the greatest extent possible. Leaders are asked to make every effort to allow the opportunity for staff to receive the vaccination. 

Our collective partnership as staff and leaders to obtain and support vaccinations demonstrates our care and our commitment to the well-being of Vanderbilt’s students, staff, faculty and our Nashville community. 

Vanderbilt launches vaccine tracker/submission form

Vanderbilt students, faculty, postdoctoral fellows and staff can now submit their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center using a password-protected, self-service portal. These records will be maintained and treated as confidential by the Command Center. We strongly encourage members of the Vanderbilt community to submit their vaccine records so we can develop a broad understanding of the vaccine status of our community. This information, in conjunction with CDC and public health guidance from VUMC, will inform decision-making about campus protocols. 

Click on the vaccine tracker/submission form. (You will be required to upload a copy of your vaccination card.) You can also find a link to this form in the Return to Campus website vaccine FAQ. 

Asymptomatic testing and quarantine guidelines revised for staff who participate in the asymptomatic testing program

  • Staff who have been vaccinated will no longer need to participate in the asymptomatic testing program if they submit their vaccination records to the command center using the self-service portal above. This includes uploading a copy of their vaccination card. 
  • The vaccinated person will be exempt from asymptomatic testing beginning from the two-week mark until 90 days after vaccination ONLY IF the person submits their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center. 
  • Additionally, staff who have been vaccinated and are identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive will no longer need to quarantine from the two-week mark until 90 days after their vaccination ONLY IF they submit their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center.

Read the COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ for additional information.

Read today’s other Return to Campus Updates.