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VUSN spring 2022 semester starts Jan. 4; new health and safety protocols announced

Following Vanderbilt University’s announcement that undergraduate and most graduate schools would postpone the start of the spring 2022 semester until January. 17, Dean Pamela Jeffries provided specific information for the School of Nursing. Highlights included the information that VUSN classes would start January 4 as previously scheduled, that most staff would work remotely until January 18, and that most specialty program classes would start in hybrid/remote formats for the first few weeks of 2022. Read her message:

December 30, 2021

Dear VUSN students, faculty and staff,

As you know from the email sent earlier today from Chancellor Diermeier and Provost Raver, Vanderbilt University has postponed the start of the spring 2022 semester until January 17 for undergraduates and most graduate students.

The postponement does not apply to the School of Nursing, School of Medicine or Owen Graduate School of Management. Classes for VUSN will start as planned on January 4. In-person classes for PreSpecialty and Nurse-Midwifery students will not be modified. Block classes for specialty students and DNP students will also start as planned but will be held in a hybrid or remote format to accommodate those students who have had travel issues and/or are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19 transmission. Students will receive specific information regarding their classes from their specialty or program director.

Except for staff designated as essential by their supervisors, staff members will work remotely until January 18 (as January 17 is the Martin Luther King holiday). Faculty are asked to work remotely until January 18 if possible. Offices and the school buildings will be accessible for those who need to be on campus. On January 18, the school will return to the hybrid schedule that was in place in fall 2021.

Please know that the health of our students and all the VUSN community is our top priority. These decisions were not made lightly. The safety of all is our utmost concern and we will do everything possible to ensure educational continuity and accommodate accreditation and licensure requirements.

Vanderbilt continues to monitor the surge in COVID-19 cases locally and throughout the nation. The surge is due in part to the spread of the omicron variant, which is more easily transmissible than the delta variant. So far, it has resulted mainly in mild to moderate symptoms among vaccinated individuals.

Vanderbilt’s COVID-19 Command Center, co-led by Pam Jones, Associate Vice Chancellor for Health and Wellness, is continually monitoring COVID-19 transmission data and consulting with VUMC and public health leaders. Vanderbilt’s robust testing program will continue to operate, and testing will be required of everyone physically returning to campus as outlined below:

  • On-campus Faculty:   Test January 3-7
  • Staff Testing: To be announced but will be on a rolling basis
  • Students who will be on campus the week of January 4 are strongly encouraged to test (and receive negative results) before coming to campus.
  • Students coming to campus January 10 or later need to have test results available 48 hours prior to coming to campus.
  • Students who test positive must report to Student Health. Student Health will instruct them on appropriate next steps.

Other health and safety protocols include:

  • the launch of an expanded regular asymptomatic testing program that includes everyone who is not fully vaccinated and boosted,
  • the restart of random testing,
  • a universal indoor mask mandate, and
  • the CDC-based requirements for isolation and quarantining.

Additional information will be forthcoming. Please continue to monitor your email for updates and information. Links to messages from VU regarding testing, procedures and staff information are below. For the most complete and up-to-date information, please visit

The move to hybrid/remote means that the VUSN Dean’s Diversity Lecture scheduled for January 11 will now be conducted virtually, as will the VUMC Nursing Research Day on January 12. We’ll send separate information on those events next week.

If you have not yet received a booster, I strongly encourage you to get one. Preliminary data indicate that those who have received a booster vaccination have far greater numbers of antibodies and are less likely to be infected or have severe illness with either delta or omicron.

Thank you for your patience and adaptability as we make this small adjustment to the start of the semester for the safety of our community. I look forward to seeing our students, faculty and staff in person later this semester, and wish you and yours a happy and healthy New Year.


Pamela R. Jeffries, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF, FSSH
Dean, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
Valere Potter Distinguished Professor of Nursing
RWJF Nurse Executive Fellow Alumna

Chancellor Diermeier & Provost Raver letter/update to the Vanderbilt community

Message for Vanderbilt faculty

Message for Vanderbilt graduate and professional students (general)

Message for Vanderbilt post-doctoral fellows

Message for Vanderbilt staff