On Campus Health and Safety

Vanderbilt University is continuing on-campus, in-person classes for the fall 2021 semester.

In keeping with the university’s health and safety protocols, Vanderbilt School of Nursing is pleased to welcome students, staff, faculty, postdocs and visitors back to campus.

On August 12, Vanderbilt University announced updated COVID-19 guidance and protocols. Please read them here. As of August 20, FAQs have been updated. 


  • More than 95% of the Vanderbilt community has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Because of the high vaccination rate, this academic year will offer fewer campus restrictions than last year.
  • Effective Monday, August 16, masks are required indoors on campus, with the exception of these cases:
    • Masks are not required in individual residence hall rooms or suites, in private offices, or in shared workspaces, classrooms or labs where individuals can stay at least six feet apart.
    • When teaching, vaccinated faculty do not have to wear masks if they can maintain at least six feet of physical distancing from all students at all times.
    • Guest speakers & lecturers do not have to wear masks if they have been vaccinated and can maintain at least six feet of physical distancing from the audience/class at all times.
  • Visitors coming to campus must wear a mask indoors, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated.
  • People who choose to wear masks should not be questioned about them, nor should they be discouraged or prohibited from wearing them.
  • Individuals who have received approved vaccine accommodations are required to wear masks at all times and practice social distancing of six feet. They also must participate in weekly COVID-19 testing (see details below).


VUSN Specifics

The School of Nursing is committed to creating a safe, welcoming and collaborative environment for its entire community. Due to the unique teaching requirements in our nursing programs, here are some specific details for the School of Nursing:

  • At VUSN, faculty and students are often in close spaces due to hands-on learning activity.
  • In those situations, all participants will wear masks.
  • Our Simulation Lab is considered clinical space; therefore all participants wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks.

What to Do If You Feel Ill

As nurses and nursing students, you understand how important it is to monitor your health and avoid spreading infection. Because even vaccinated people can get COVID-19, it is important to know what to do if you feel ill.

  • Please pay attention to your health. Know and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If you have any symptoms, do not come to campus or go to clinicals.
  • Seek testing ASAP and isolate until you get the test results.
  • Students who have symptoms related to COVID-19 should contact  Student Health.
  • Faculty and staff who have symptoms should contact Occupational Health or see their choice of a provider.

Find symptoms’ list and details. 

Find testing details.­

Close Contact

The VU Public Health Central Command Center needs to know about all positive cases and close contacts so that it may manage isolation and quarantine for the Vanderbilt University community. If you are a close contact of someone who is positive, get tested ASAP and shelter in place until the test results are returned.

  • If you are tested at the testing center on campus, Student Health or Occupational Health, your results will automatically be sent to the Command Center.
  • If you are tested off campus, report your test to the Command Center.
  • Even if you are fully vaccinated, you need to report being a close contact to the Command Center.
  • You will receive further instruction after your test results are reported.
  • Further information is available.

Helpful Links

VUSN Guest Speaker Attestation

We are delighted to have you joining us to speak at VUSN.   For the protection of you and of the campus community, Vanderbilt University (VU) is currently requiring all visitors to mask indoors regardless of their vaccination status.  All visitors who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask and physically distance at all times when indoors and when outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained. 

Given your role as a guest speaker/instructor, and in light of safety precautions that the university has put in place for instructors, if you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 you may go without a mask indoors while lecturing if you so choose so long as you are able to maintain at least six feet of physical distancing from all students at all times. 

VU has requested that each school develop a process for guest speaker/instructor attestation.  A very quick RedCap  survey for guest speakers/instructors has been developed for this purpose. We greatly appreciate your completion of this brief attestation prior to your on campus visit with the School of Nursing.  

Specifics for individuals with vaccine accommodations

Any Vanderbilt community member—faculty, staff, postdoc or student—who has an approved vaccine accommodation is required to test weekly at the campus testing center (location and hours). Testing, like masking, is a condition of the accommodation.

  • Mandatory testing is done at the campus testing center.
  • No appointments are necessary.
  • The test is a quick saliva-based test that is painless and free.
  • The center has a limited number of drive-up testing spots to be used for those with mobility issues or for whom entering the testing center would be a risk (such as a chronic condition).
  • Hourly staff will be paid for the time it takes to get tested, as testing is a condition of employment.
  • Exempt staff should also go during their work hours.
  • Results will be mailed to the individual and Command Center.

Positive Testing Results
Individuals with accommodations will be required to start isolation.

  • Vanderbilt will contact trace them using its normal processes.

More information on the asymptomatic testing program.

Future Updates

As we have learned, we may need to change quickly to adapt to new information, and the university has proven that it is prepared to do so. Vanderbilt’s public health command center remains operational to lead contact tracing and other response efforts (which are a national model). They monitor the available data and analyze cases to identify trends and respond quickly.

For complete details on the university’s plans and protocols, as well as updates, please visit https://www.vanderbilt.edu/coronavirus/