Specialty Block Update 12/14/20

Dear students,

As we have since March, the School of Nursing leadership has been closely monitoring the status of area COVID-19 cases and local, state and national recommendations for in-person gatherings. As of December, cases in the Middle Tennessee region are rising and it is expected that they will continue to do so into January. Currently, most of Tennessee is classified as a red zone—the most severe level—by the White House Task Force.

Because of this, we regretfully have made the difficult decision not to hold in-person block classes in January and February. We are very sorry. This means you will not need to travel or come to campus for block classes as planned We are working one-on-one with your specialty director to revise the schedule. You will hear from him or her soon with a new schedule; changes will also be posted on the schedule linked to your program’s webpage. Because each specialty has different needs and structure, each will have block changes specific to that specialty.

We know that this may be a disappointment, but we believe it is the most prudent course to protect your health and safety, as well as that of the rest of the VUSN community and your families and friends.

If there’s one thing we’ve all learned, it is that living and learning in our COVID-19 world require flexibility and solutions when faced with unprecedented circumstances. You and your education are VUSN’s top priorities. We are dedicated to educating and supporting you with excellence and providing knowledge regardless of class format.

Despite rising cases necessitating no gatherings, there are reasons for hope. Vaccines for COVID-19 are being approved and rolled out. Discussions regarding vaccinations for health care students are underway, not just at Vanderbilt but state and national levels. As yet, we do not have complete  information regarding when and how students will be vaccinated nor where they fall in prioritization for the rollout of the vaccine. We will let you know as soon as we have more information.

None of us has a crystal ball that will let us see what the status of the pandemic will be early 2021. We sincerely hope that case counts will be low and that in-person gatherings will be possible. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that will be the situation, which is why we have made the block change decision now to allow you to plan your schedules.

As fall semester wraps up, we’d like to take the opportunity to thank you for your flexibility, understanding and dedication. Despite experiencing the most challenging year many of us have ever had, you have continued your studies and advanced your education. We are proud of you and of how you represent VUSN.

We wish you happy holidays and a safe and restful winter break.


Senior Associate Dean for Academics

Brian Widmar, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, CCRN, CNE, FAANP
Assistant Dean for Academics, Advanced Nursing Practice