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Feb, 23, 2022 – Updates to our COVID-19 protocols

Posted by on Wednesday, February 23, 2022 in Community Messages.

Dear Vanderbilt community,

After consultation with our public health experts, we are shifting our campus COVID-19 policies to align with the health trends we have been monitoring across our city and the country.

Beginning Monday, March 14, the university will move to a mask-optional status if six feet of physical distance can be maintained. This decision comes backed by science—positive cases of COVID-19 at Vanderbilt dropped 60 percent between the week of Feb. 7 and Feb. 14, and continuing discussions with leading public health experts have guided our decision making through the course of the pandemic.

  • Masks will be optional for students, faculty, staff and postdocs while indoors, including in classrooms, lab spaces and common areas, if six feet of distance can be maintained. If six feet of distance cannot be maintained, a mask must be worn.
  • “Mask optional” means it is an individual’s choice whether to wear a mask. The university will continue to support those who want to wear a mask at any time for any reason. We expect all members of the Vanderbilt community to respect others’ choices regarding masking.

Information regarding masking and capacity protocols within VUMC buildings can be found on the VUMC website.

We have also reduced our asymptomatic testing requirements in accordance with the number of cases on campus; however, testing for asymptomatic individuals continues to be available for all members of our community at the Vanderbilt Testing Center in the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center. Individuals do not need to schedule an appointment in advance, and details on hours can be found on the Testing Protocols page. Symptomatic individuals are encouraged to continue utilizing the Student Health Center and Occupational Health Center.

Effective now, asymptomatic testing protocols for faculty, staff, students and postdocs are as follows:

  • Individuals who have not provided any vaccination documentation  are required to  test twice a week. These individuals are not separately included in the sentinel testing program.
  • Individuals who have provided documentation of completed vaccination but not of a booster  will be part of the university’s sentinel testing program. Individuals will be notified directly at their Vanderbilt email address when it is their time to test as part of the sentinel program. Booster eligibility is based on CDC guidelines.
  • Individuals who have provided documentation of completed vaccination and a booster  will be exempt from mandatory testing.

All testing protocols will continually be evaluated based on trends in positivity rate and case counts and are subject to change.

We encourage anyone who requires additional accommodations inside the classroom with the changes to protocols to submit a request to Student Access or Equal Opportunity and Access.

As always, we will continue to monitor trends and work with our public health experts to update our policies if needed.

Thank you,

Eric Kopstain
Vice Chancellor for Administration