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May 25, 2021 – Vanderbilt University COVID Updates

Posted by on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 in Community Messages.

Dear Vanderbilt University community,  

As we conclude a successful spring semester, we wanted to share a few COVID-19 related updates. Following revised  CDC recommendations  indicating that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or physically distance, we are updating many protocols. Effective immediately, these changes affect masking, gathering size, off-campus activities and campus visits.  

Additionally, consistent with our student vaccine requirement, we are announcing all Vanderbilt University-employed faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 for the 2021–22 academic school year.  

COVID-19 safety protocol changes effective today include: 

  • Fully vaccinated peopleindividuals two weeks past their second dose in a two-dose vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks past their single-dose of Johnson & Johnsonno longer need to wear a face mask/covering in any setting on campus, indoors or outdoors, or maintain physical distancing from other fully vaccinated people.  
  • People who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing from others at all times when indoorsand when outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained. 
  • The university expects that many members of our campus community will continue to wear face masks/coverings, and the university supports their choice to do so. People who choose to wear masks should not be questioned about them, nor should they be discouraged or prohibited from wearing them.  
  • Faculty and staff who believe they require a workplace accommodation in light of this change in protocol are encouraged to contact the Equal Opportunity and Access officeStudents who believe they require an accommodation are encouraged to contact Student Access. 
  • Summer asymptomatic testing will not be required for anyone who has been confirmed as fully vaccinated after submitting their vaccination record. Undergraduate, graduate and professional students who have not been confirmed as vaccinated, and based on their presence on campus, will be required to undertake weekly summer asymptomatic tests. Staff and postdocs who have not been confirmed as fully vaccinated, and based on their presence on campus, will be required to undertake monthly asymptomatic testing. 
  • Staff currently working remotely may continue to do so at this time. Additional guidance and policies related to remote work will be released in June.   
  • Gathering  size limits  will be lifted for  outdoor gatherings. Outdoor areas should be used as community gathering spaces whenever possible. 
  • The university will allow for increased attendance at indoor gatherings. Indoor gatherings may occur at up to the full capacity of a given indoor space, including work, classroom and research spaces. 
  • Off-campus activities may resume. 
  • Individually packaged food and drink is allowed at gatherings. 
  • University-sponsored domestic and international travel is permitted consistent with CDC guidelines.  
  • Vanderbilt will continue to assess study abroad programming and announce plans in June.  
  • Vanderbilt will continue to limit the presence of visitors on campus to protect community members and to curtail the spread of COVID-19, but significant changes have been made. The full visitor policy, including information on approvals needed for specific visitors, can be found on the Health and Safety Protocols  website.  

We continue to monitor public health guidance and rely on experts, including the CDC, Metro Public Health, and our leaders at VUMC and the school of nursing, to shape our plans. We encourage you to submit your  vaccination record to help inform our decision-making. If you encounter issues with uploads, please contact the  Public Health Central Command Center. 

Any additional changes to protocols for the fall semester will be announced this summer.  

Thank you for Anchoring Down and Stepping Up over the past year during this unprecedented time. Have a safe summer. 

Susan R. Wente
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost 

Eric Kopstain
Vice Chancellor for Administration