Fall 2020 Return to Campus Information


  As of August 3, 2020 PreSpecialty students, Nurse-Midwifery students and ENP students enrolled in N6365 are now required to use the VandySafe app for symptom monitoring. The app is available in the Apple App and Google Play stores.


Change to VandySafe App requirements - 8/14/20

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing is pleased to welcome students, faculty, post-docs and staff back to campus for fall 2020 in-person classes.

In-person education in the COVID-19 era requires extensive planning and adjustments to assure safety for all our community while delivering a world-class educational experience. This page contains the specific and most up-to-date information on Return to Campus for the VUSN community. Please visit it often. Urgent messages will also be delivered via email so check your vanderbilt.edu email frequently.

In order to make our return to campus a success, everyone needs to commit to following CDC and Vanderbilt protocols. Our goal is to assure safety for all members of our community and the greater Vanderbilt community. Information and requirements varies depending upon your role.


Updates from the Dean/administrative team


Vanderbilt University Return to Campus Website

The university’s Return to Campus website is the source for comprehensive information for the overall Vanderbilt community.  


Building changes and adjustments at the School of Nursing



Fall Calendar Dates

  • Start of classes for VUSN PreSpecialty students is August 21, 2020, on campus.
  • Start of classes for VUSN ASN to MSN students is August 21, 2020, virtual.
  • Start of classes for VUSN Specialty students is August 24, 2020. Every specialty has a different schedule. Check your specialty page for its schedule.
  • Start of classes for VUSN DNP students is August 31, 2020. Intensive will be virtual for new and returning DNP students.
  • End date for in-person classes: Friday, November 20, 2020.
  • After Thanksgiving break, all classes will be held virtually. Students will not return to campus until the start of the spring semester.
  • Last day of classes:
  • Final exams (all online): Saturday, December 5-Sunday, December 13


Registration and Compliance

  • Registration for continuing students started June 22, 2020.
  • Registration for new VUSN students started July 1, 2020.
  • Any students having difficulty meeting the compliance requirements should contact  Lisa Boyer, Compliance Officer, 615-343-3294. 



  • All orientation will be conducted virtually. Some modules will be prerecorded so students can complete them at own pace. Others will be conducted via video conferencing to encourage student interaction.
  • The orientation schedule will be posted on VUSN’s Admitted Students webpage on August 1. Students will be required to have completed orientation by August 21.


University Acknowledgement Form   Updated 7/24/20

Fall semester 2020 COVID-19 Return to Campus Acknowledgement 

Before the start of the fall semester, all VUSN students, faculty, staff and post-docs must complete the COVID-19 Return to Campus Acknowledgment. The acknowledgment explains the university’s guiding principles and related plans associated with the return to campus, describes certain guidelines and protocols you will be required to follow, and requests you to confirm that you will cooperate to protect the health and safety of our campus community. At the conclusion of the module, you will be asked to acknowledge that you have been informed of the risks and responsibilities associated with the return to campus and agree to follow all Vanderbilt University guidelines related to reducing the spread of COVID-19 infection.  

The Return to Campus acknowledgement is required for all students, faculty, staff, and post-docs so that it will be in effect when they return to campus.

You must complete the acknowledgement in Oracle Cloud by August 12. 


To access the COVID-19: Return-to-Campus Acknowledgment, use this link.

The link will take you to a sign-on page. Select the single sign-on (SSO) tab (royal blue color), then use your VUNet ID and password. See diagram below. It is very important that you use the Company Single Sign-On button to access the familiar VU sign-on page for the acknowledgement. Three (3) attempts to log-in the “wrong way” will lock you out. Should that occur, email skyvu@vanderbilt.edu for assistance.  

As part of the acknowledgement, you will agree to cooperate with Student Health, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, and other university and public health authorities with regards to campus protocols, including symptom monitoring, testing, contact tracing, and—if necessary—quarantine and self-isolation protocols.  

  • The Return to Campus acknowledgment is required even for those students who will not be participating in on-campus classes this semester. It will be in effect when they do return to campus in the future.
  • As part of these protocols, it is important for the university to have your current contact information, including mobile phone number, as well as the information for your emergency contact person. To update your mobile phone and emergency contact information, please access the Personal Information application in YES. You can refer to the online user guide for instructions on how to update your contact information. Providing these details will assist the university in providing timely information to both you and your emergency contact as may be needed. 
  • If you have not completed your acknowledgement by August 12, a registration hold will be placed on your record prohibiting any further schedule adjustments until the acknowledgment is complete. Any student who has not completed the acknowledgment form prior to the start of the fall term on August 21 will have their registration for the fall 2020 semester canceled.  
  • Please complete your acknowledgement and provide your up-to-date personal and emergency contact information as soon as possible to ensure a smooth return to campus. 
  • As part of the acknowledgement, you will agree to cooperate with Occupational Health, VUSN and other university and public health authorities with regards to campus protocols, including symptom monitoring, testing, contact tracing, and—if necessary—quarantine and self-isolation protocols.   
  • Please complete your acknowledgement (deadline August 12) as soon as possible to ensure a smooth return to campus. 

VUSN students, faculty, staff and post-docs are not required to be tested for COVID-19 to return to classes. Unlike undergraduate students, all of VUSN’s graduate and professional students, post-docs, staff and faculty live off campus (with the limited exception of those involved in the residential program).

Students: https://www.vanderbilt.edu/coronavirus/faqs/graduate-and-professional-student-covid-19-testing/  

Faculty, staff and post-docs: https://www.vanderbilt.edu/coronavirus/faqs/covid-19-testing/ 

Students are asked to monitor their health, and should they have symptoms, are required to call Vanderbilt’s Student Health Center (SHC) at (615) 322-2427. https://www.vanderbilt.edu/coronavirus/faqs/symptom-monitoring/  

Faculty, staff and post-docs are asked to monitor their health, and should they have symptoms, are required to call the Occupational Health Center (OHC) at (615) 936-0955. https://www.vanderbilt.edu/coronavirus/faqs/symptom-monitoring/ 

All individuals must be free of any symptoms related to COVID-19 to participate in activities on campus, including attending in-person classes. Campus-wide approaches to safety and the practice of mask wearing and physical distancing are critical, as individuals can be without symptoms and still be COVID-19 positive. Individuals who have been authorized to return to campus after testing positive must also conduct daily symptom monitoring before coming to campus. It is the individual’s responsibility to comply, and it is our shared duty as a community to act responsibly. 

The VandySafe use policy has changed updated 8/14/20

VUSN students who will be on campus in person this fall are required to download and use the VandySafe app for daily symptom monitoring. These are ENP students enrolled in Course 6365 and PreSpecialty and Nurse-Midwifery students.

Any VUSN students who will not be physically on campus should not use the VandySafe app for symptom monitoring. If you have previously downloaded the app and used it for symptom monitoring, the monitoring section will no longer be available to you. That will help those compiling data to more readily identify potential cases that might impact their in-person classmates and faculty.

Students: Should you test positive for COVID-19 or need to quarantine due to exposure, you will be asked to self-quarantine at home (off-campus or out of town depending on your program). When deemed appropriate after medical evaluations, university health officials will release students from quarantine or isolation in their off-campus residences. Student Health will work with all such students to do regular symptom monitoring and will hospitalize anyone who becomes seriously ill. VUSN’s Nurse Faculty Practice Division will provide counseling and support for any students in isolation and quarantine. 

Faculty, staff and post-docs: Should you test positive for COVID-19 or need to quarantine due to exposure, you will be asked to self-quarantine at home and follow current CDC guidance as directed by the Occupational Health Center until you have recovered. If you had symptoms and a positive COVID-19 test, recovery status (and clearance to return to campus/work) is assigned when: 1) the individual remains fever free without the use of fever reducers for 24 hours, 2) symptoms have improved, and 3) it has been at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared. If you tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms, you can be cleared to return to campus 10 days after the test as long as you do not develop symptoms. If you develop symptoms, then you must follow the recovery strategy for those with symptoms. Notification for return to on-campus activities is directed through Occupational Health. 


Physical Distancing

The successful reopening of Vanderbilt’s campus will require a united effort from all of us and every member of the Vanderbilt community. We will practice CDC-recommended physical distancing, mask wearing, and other requirements for health and safety throughout our buildings and on the Vanderbilt campus.

  • Physical distancing of 6 feet will be implemented resulting in reduced in-person class sizes and/or rescheduling for spaces large enough to support physical distancing.
  • Classroom occupancy has been reduced to conform to recommended group sizes.
  • Dedicated entrances and exits have been designated to minimize congestion during class changes and start/end of the work day.
  • Signage has been posted on campus and at VUSN that directs people to use routes that allow for physical distancing. This includes roundabouts which direct the flow of traffic.


Classroom Protocols

  • Students must wear appropriate face mask/covering while in public spaces on campus, including during class. One (1) face mask/covering will be provided to students.
  • Faculty must wear appropriate face mask/covering while in public spaces on campus and must wear a face mask/covering or face shield during class. Face shields are offered to faculty because 1) instructors may be required to project loudly and may not have access to amplification in all classrooms and 2) there may be students with hearing impairments who rely on being able to see the instructor’s face when speaking. One (1) face shield and one (1) face mask/covering will be provided to faculty and students and faculty must be appropriately physically distanced in the classroom consistent with the university requirement of six feet of separation.
  • At the entrance to each classroom, there will be a hand sanitizing station as well as supplies of sanitizing wipes for students to take to their desks/seats to clean before class (similar to what one would do with gym equipment, but before instead of after use). Ideally, these materials will be located in areas that do not congest entry or exit from the classroom.
  • At or near the instructor’s location there will be sanitizing wipes for faculty use. At the exit of each classroom, there will be trash cans for students to dispose of used sanitizing wipes, and these trash cans will be emptied throughout the day.
  • Each classroom door will have signage indicating suggested maximum capacity to achieve physical distancing.
  • Students are not permitted to eat or drink in classrooms while class is in session.
  • For classrooms where there is more than one door, there will be a circulation plan and ingress/egress clearly marked.
  • When required by hazardous material safety requirements, students must wear gloves in teaching labs. Otherwise, gloves are optional.
  • For instructors teaching in classrooms with an existing wireless mic set-up to amplify the speaker’s voice in the classroom, the university will provide a personal lapel microphone attachment to use with the wireless transmitter in order to avoid sharing of the microphone.

Faculty: Please review additional VU classroom recommendations.

These protocols were established based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leading subject matter experts across our campus, and a range of faculty leaders including John McLean, co-chair of the University Continuity Working Group and Stevenson Professor of Chemistry, as well as the co-chairs of the University Working Group educational continuity subcommittee: André Christie-Mizell, dean of undergraduate education in the College of Arts and Science, and Mavis Schorn, senior associate dean for academics in the School of Nursing. Many of the resulting protocols apply to classrooms across the entire university.

Scientific reasoning for the face mask and face shield requirement with data embedded can be found here.


Mask Wearing

  • Face masks/coverings are required to be worn in all public settings (e.g., common workspaces, public spaces, hallways, stairwells, elevators, meeting rooms, classrooms, break-rooms, campus outdoor spaces, restrooms, etc.). You do not have to wear a mask in your office if you do not share it, but will need to put it on if you have a visitor.
  • This follows CDC, ACHA and VUMC guidance; Vanderbilt continues to closely monitor CDC and ACHA guidance, and working closely with VUMC, and will adapt practices if necessary in the future.
  • Each faculty member, staff member, postdoc and student will be provided with one cloth face covering. Disposable masks will be provided, if needed.
  • Check with VUSN’s assigned building manager, or liaison in your department to acquire cloth face coverings or disposable masks. You also may wear homemade cloth face coverings that adhere to CDC and other public health recommendations. 


Gatherings Protocols 

We all know that the School of Nursing loves gatherings and social events. In this new COVID-19 era, however, we need to be judicious. The university’s protocols with respect to gatherings prioritize core mission activities central to the university’s mission. Gatherings must be conducted in accordance with VU-established guidelines, and some gatherings will be approved. These requirements for in-person gatherings are subject to change based on public health guidance and Vanderbilt protocols. 


  • VU community members only: Attendance must be limited to VU community members (defined as persons with VU identification cards) only.
  • On-campus gatherings only (unless approved): Generally, off-campus gatherings are not permitted if students are in attendance and/or if VU funds will be used. Exceptions to this rule require approval by the Provost or her designee.
  • Maximum “gathering” attendance limit: The number of total/unique attendees may not exceed the maximum number under the university’s phased Return to Campus Plan (i.e., Phase 2 max. = 10; Phase 3 and Phase 4 to be defined), or the VU COVID-modified maximum capacity for the space, whichever is more restrictive. Organizers count as attendees for purposes of the maximum attendance limit.
  • Capacity controls/attendance tracking: Sign-ups and ticket distribution should be managed to maintain a strict maximum number of total/unique attendees. If interest exceeds capacity, develop a clear methodology for determining who will be chosen to attend, and consider using a waitlist or setting up separate pools/pods of attendees that do not overlap. Attendance should be closely tracked to assist in contact tracing, if necessary.
  • Physical distancing: Physical distancing is required. The gathering may be held only if attendees can maintain appropriate physical distance given the nature of the activities contemplated. Consideration should also be given as to whether attendees will be stationary or moving around during the event.
  • Face masks/coverings: By default, all participants must wear a face mask/covering. There may be exceptional circumstances when a face mask/covering can’t be worn (e.g., woodwind performer or singer during a performance); in those cases, approval should be granted only if additional physical distance and/or physical barriers can be used.
  • Food and drinks: Food and drinks may be served in a space where classes are held only on days when no classes are held in the space, and the space must be cleaned before the next class is held. Food and drink (provided in single-serve or grab-and-go type packaging) must be consumed only while maintaining physical distancing. Attendees may remove their face masks/coverings only temporarily to eat and drink as needed.
  • Recognized student organization (RSO) events must be approved.
  • Student social events with alcohol, whether on- or off-campus, are not permitted.

Core mission activities are not gatherings. These events do not require specific approval and are not subject to the VU maximum gathering attendance limit. However, other VU COVID-19 protocols (including physical distancing and face mask/covering requirements) must be followed. Core mission activities include:

  • Campus Public Health Events: On-campus public health/infection prevention and response events (e.g., COVID-19 testing center, Flulapalooza)
  • Academic Courses or Co-curricular Events: Academic courses and co-curricular activities when offered in connection with a VU course
  • Mission-Related Meetings Led by Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Dean, Vice Provost, or Department Chair: Meetings of university personnel convened to meet regarding the university’s academic-, research-, and service-related activities
  • Faculty- or Staff-Led Events in Direct Support of Learning/Discovery: University instructional and research support meetings that directly support learning/discovery and are directed by faculty/staff (e.g., lab meetings, journal clubs, poster sessions, programs of an academic/substantive nature hosted on The Ingram Commons or in a residential college and organized by a faculty head, programs of an academic/substantive nature sponsored by an identity-based center organized with its director, recitals overseen by faculty or staff member)
  • Research Lab Activities: University research lab activities, subject to the VU research ramp-up plan phases
  • Use of Libraries: Use of university libraries as an individual patron
  • Dining in Designated Dining Spaces: Dining in designated on-campus dining spaces (including outdoor spaces/tents) 

Some personal/social events with members of the VU community are considered gatherings and are subject to the guidelines for gatherings while other personal/social events may not be considered gatherings.

These personal/social events with members of the VU community are “gatherings” subject to the guidelines under this policy:

  •  Organized social events with students present alongside faculty/staff: Any organized social event with VU students in attendance
  • VU-sponsored (funded) faculty/staff get-togethers: Any social event with only faculty/staff in attendance, where VU funds are being used

These personal/social events are not “gatherings” and are not subject to the guidelines under this policy:

  • Non-VU-sponsored (funded) faculty/staff get-togethers: VU encourages all attendees of any event type to abide by any applicable public health orders/guidance.
  • Small, informal meet-up of students (10 or fewer, regardless of phased maximum”: Students must comply with VU’s COVID-19 protocols, but these informal meet-ups are not subject to the broader “gatherings” requirements.

In-person events and activities with a primarily enrichment, extra- or co-curricular, or community-building purpose are gatherings that must follow the guidelines under this policy. Such gatherings include:

  • Meetings or events convened by registered student organizations (RSOs), including Greek chapter events
  • Lectures or panels not part of a VU course. For example, Chancellor’s Lecture Series, Crawford Lecture, deans’ lectures, RSO-organized lectures
  • Art, dance, music, and theater performances, including those organized by student organizations and offices
  • Ceremonies and receptions 

gathering decision tree


Cleaning Protocols

  • Staff are cleaning campus following the normal cleaning protocols for each type of space, followed by application of the disinfectant cleaning products Oxivir Five 16, Oxivir 1 Wipes and PURELL Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray. All disinfectants meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s criteria for use against COVID-19.
  • Facilities has designated additional personnel resources to help assist with this enhanced cleaning and disinfecting process.
  • Staff are performing twice-a-day cleaning of high-touch areas, such as doorknobs, handrails, flat surfaces in common spaces, elevator buttons, etc.
  • Classrooms will be disinfected daily during routine cleaning. Disinfecting wipes will be provided in classrooms and other spaces for use by occupants.
  • There are additional free-standing hand sanitizing stations for your frequent use throughout VUSN’s buildings and across campus.


Personal Protocols

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 


Be Proactive in Protecting Yourself & the Community

Vanderbilt has finalized many new important actions for the fall semester to prepare the campus and to protect the health and safety of the Vanderbilt community as much as possible. The four main tenets of its day-to-day plan for preventing the spread of COVID-19 are critically important: 

  1. At all times, wear face coverings/masks 
  2. Physically distance at least 6 feet 
  3. Avoid large gatherings 
  4. Regularly wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer 

It is the actions we each take as individuals—both on campus and off campus—that will have the most immediate and long-lasting impact. 

These are difficult circumstances for all of us to navigate. Please know that the university is listening to feedback from town halls, emails and the working groups charged with further developing plans to ensure a successful fall semester. As always, Vanderbilt is committed to providing the best possible education experience for you, its students. 

Anchor Down Logo

It's up to each of us to help protect our community. Anchor Down. Step Up. Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19.




Faculty, Staff and Post-Docs Specific Information

As yet, we have not set dates for return to campus for faculty and staff. Our return will be phased in; please talk with your supervisor or Senior Associate Dean for specifics for your area.

We are still developing arrangements for those who occupy shared workspaces.

Faculty and staff members who fall into a CDC high risk category or who have other special circumstances should submit a request for COVID-related workplace adjustment. Requests will be evaluated based on an individualized assessment of the basis for the request and the requirements of the individual’s professional position. To initiate a request for a COVID-related accommodation, go to the Equal Employment Opportunity homepage on the Vanderbilt University website and select the COVID-19 Accommodation Request image on the right side of the page. Requests should be submitted to EEO as soon as possible.

All breakrooms—including all shared refrigerators, microwaves, coffee machines and ice machines are closed. In compliance with COVID-19 standards, only single user appliances can be used. Individual refrigerators in offices can still be used. Otherwise, if you need to keep items cool, please bring individual/personal coolers. Microwaving will not be allowed for the time being. Coffee and ice will not be provided. As guidelines and recommendations change, we will reopen these areas.  We know this is an inconvenience, but appreciate everyone’s cooperation as we work to reopen the School of Nursing


VUSN Nurse Faculty Practices Involvement

Vanderbilt’s return to campus is a huge undertaking, but vitally important to the entire Vanderbilt community. The School of Nursing has the opportunity to provide leadership and help make that return successful.

The Faculty Practice Division has been asked to collaborate with the university’s Student Health Center in assuring student health and safety. We want to have Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and RNs from VUSN and Faculty Practices perform contact tracing for COVID-19 positive cases; act as an interface between the university, Student Health and VUMC; provide counseling for any students who are in quarantine and isolation; and provide periodic well checks for all students.

VUSN nursing faculty will obtain the names of those who were in contact with an infected individual. Then they’ll contact them, notify them of their exposure and give them guidance for their own testing and health. Once someone is quarantined, VUSN representatives will be in regular contact to check on them and provide assistance. The contact tracing support will continue during the academic year for as long as needed.

If you are interested in participating in the contact tracing and care check-in processes during the academic year, please email Program Director Megan Sprague to let her know of your interest. We are asking for faculty volunteers—no one is required to participate. Nursing faculty or students do not need to be credentialed by VUMC to participate but must have a current Tennessee RN license. 

We will hold information sessions for those interested to further explain the exact requirements of participation. We can work with faculty to have this activity serve as a percentage of effort in your workload or have it be additional pay, depending on what works best for your schedules.

Contact tracing and care support are important components of Vanderbilt’s Return to Campus. This program provides a valuable opportunity to use our expertise to help the university and is one that only the School of Nursing can provide.


Vanderbilt Return to Campus protocols were developed based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American College Health Association (ACHA), Tennessee Department of Health, School of Nursing and VUMC guidance and input.