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2021 Spring Return to Campus at VLS

Anchor Down. Step Up. campaign graphics For the Spring 2021 semester, Vanderbilt University will continue on-campus, in-person classes with the option for remote learning. All students in good standing are welcome to return to campus for the semester regardless of their on-campus or remote status in the fall semester.

The health and safety of our Vanderbilt community are our highest priority. The success of this approach requires a joint effort from every member of our community. Vanderbilt community members are expected to abide by university protocols at all times, whether on or off campus. For a comprehensive guide to the policies and procedures of the university, see Vanderbilt University's page for a comprehensive guide for Returning to Campus.

COVID-19 concern? Call the Public Health Ambassadore Hotline at 615-343-1352

Page last updated Thursday, April 9, 2021 at 8:31 p.m.


  • Mask Up: Wear a face mask/covering in public settings
  • Back Up: Maintain six feet of physical distance from others
  • Wash Up: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Check Up: Monitor yourself daily for COVID-19 symptoms

Remember to follow the safety guidelines listed in Anchor Down. Step Up .  These protocols are just as important off campus and in your personal life as they are on campus and in your educational activities. We ask you to remain committed to responsible behaviors both on and off campus that will keep you and others as safe as possible.

Wearing a mask continues to be one of the most important ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and the CDC has issued new recommendations on proper mask fit and numbers of layers for ultimate fit, filtration and effectiveness:  Improve How Your Mask Protects You .


Because the CDC does not currently require a 14-day quarantine period for travelers to the United States from abroad, Vanderbilt will not require this for students who are abroad during the winter break and plan to arrive for in-person on-campus activities for the spring semester. However, a quarantine is required if the person was exposed to the virus during travel. If the CDC or other local guidelines change for travelers from abroad before students' return, the university will implement those changes.

All faculty, staff, students and VU-employed postdocs must complete a Spring Return to Campus Acknowledgment by Jan. 25 .

Watch the video to the right to see changes in the law school and for a comprehensive guide on how to navigate the building.

Details for Faculty

Details for Staff

Details for Graduate and Professional Students



First Day of Classes  January 19
Spring Break None
Last Day of Classes   April 19
Reading Period April 20-22
Final Exams April 23-May3
(including April 24-25 and May 1-2)
Commencement* May 1-2, May 15-16
Vanderbilt in Venice May 17-June 11

*Commencement for the Class of 2021 will be held in-person on Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at Rec Center Field 3.

  Commencement for the Class of 2020 will be held in-person on Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. at Rec Center Field 1.

  All details available are accessible on the Vanderbilt Commencement website.

Image of a squirrel wearing a face mask



Individuals who have been authorized to return to campus must also conduct symptom monitoring every day before coming to campus using the VandySafe app. It is the individual’s responsibility to comply. It is our shared duty as a community to act responsibly. All individuals must be free of ANY symptoms related to COVID-19  to be on campus or participate in activities on campus.


Members of the Vanderbilt community, including staff who are authorized to be on campus and are engaged in on-campus, in-person activities, may be included in the institution’s COVID-19 periodic on-campus testing program. This includes staff who are coming to campus with regularity, which is defined as three days a week or more, and who interact regularly with students, faculty and/or staff as part of their on-campus activities.

  • No pre-arrival testing will be required.
  • All graduate and professional students have been tested upon arrival prior to the start of the spring semester.
  • Students who have symptoms related to COVID-19 during the semester should visit Student Health. If Student Health is not open, and if symptoms are severe enough, the student should visit the VUMC emergency department. Alternatively, students may call the VUMC COVID-19 hotline at (888) 312-0847 (open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week) and inquire about after-hours assessment site availability.
  • All in-person students must register for a weekly testing slot in YES and get tested weekly at the David R. Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center. The center will be open for testing Sunday-Friday from 7:00a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Students are considered out of compliance if they are "in-person" and have not had any VU COVID test from Sun-Fri without prior approval.

For full details on testing and what to do if you are positive or a close contact, visit the Graduate and Professional Student Testing Overview page.


By default, if you are taking all remote classes, we will categorize you as a remote student. If you are categorized as a remote student, you are not permitted to participate in on-campus activities and should stay off campus and away from in-person members of the VU community.

Remote students living locally who wish to participate in on-campus activities or utilize campus facilities, including the library, may do so by making themselves "in-person" students. Remote students can "register" as in-person by e-mailing the assistant dean for student affairs. Please note that if you are registered for any in-person classes, you are defaulted to in-person and do not need to send an email. In-person students (even those taking all remote classes) are subject to all in-person student policies including, but not limited to, travel, gatherings and testing.

All community members: Steps to take if symptomatic, have a positive test or are designated a close contact

COVID-19 PUBLIC DASHBOARD - Positive Cases Among On-Campus Vanderbilt Community Members, updated every Wednesday. 


If a faculty member, staff member, postdoc, graduate student or professional student is instructed by university health officials or public health officials to quarantine or isolate, they should do so in their off-campus residence and follow all instructions from health officials. For the convenience of the VU community, the university has negotiated special rates with the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt—a Vanderbilt-preferred hotel—for use by members of the VU community who live off campus and due to their personal circumstances want an alternative short-term residence.


Gatherings - In addition to wearing masks and keeping at least 6 feet distance from others, please note the following guidelines:

  • All law school-sponsored events, whether on or off campus, are limited to 10 or fewer people including a faculty member or administrator, and attendance must be tracked.
  • In-person gatherings are permitted only when the space being used is not being used for any other purpose for the rest of that day.
  • We strongly encourage outdoor vs. indoor events wherever possible.
  • Food is not permitted at any event at this time.

Classrooms -

  • Every member of the Vanderbilt community must wear appropriate face mask/covering while in public spaces on campus, including during class. Beginning in January, face shields alone will no longer be allowed while teaching per the university’s updated campus protocols. Faculty must wear face masks/coverings while teaching and while following other classroom protocols.
  • Students are not permitted to eat or drink in classrooms while class is in session.
  • Law school room capacity levels
  • Law building COVID layout and traffic patterns

Campus Visitors - Before coming to campus, visitors must review the  Campus Visitors Return to Campus Acknowledgement .


COVID-19 PROTOCOLS AND LIFE AT VLS, a three-part video series which outlines the expectations of Vanderbilt community members.

PART I: Introduction, Masking, Social Distancing, and Signage

PART II: Gatherings

PART III: Consequences and Shared Responsibility



Vaccine distribution in Tennessee is determined by the Tennessee Department of Health. Information about the state’s vaccination plan can be found on the  Tennessee Department of Health website . Vanderbilt University is currently not eligible to become a distribution site for the vaccine because we are not a health care organization.

Nashville is moving steadily through vaccine phases and  individuals 55 and older are now eligible , along with those in phase 2a and 2b. In addition, all Tennesseans 16 and older will be eligible for a vaccine no later than April 5, 2021.


  • You will receive additional information from Occupational Health with options for scheduling your vaccination. All information will be confidential. Note: Active staff, faculty and postdocs do not need to be Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) patients to receive a vaccination through the Occupational Health Clinic.
  • If you have been seen at VUMC and meet the criteria, you will receive a system-generated My Health At Vanderbilt (MHAV) message with instructions on how to schedule your vaccination. If you do not have a MHAV account, please visit and create an account. It is also helpful to download the MHAV mobile app and enable notifications. Scheduled invitations are determined by VUMC and are based on vaccine supply and a centralized risk stratification process.

COVID-19 Leave Bank and COVID-19 Vaccination Policy


COVID-19 Scenarios for Symptom Monitoring    COVID-19 Scenarios for Symptom Monitoring FACULTY COVID-19 Scenarios for Symptom Monitoring Staff

Avoid the Flu poster with information about how VU employees and students can obtain their free flu shot for the 2020-21 season.BE HEALTHY, STAY HEALTHY 

While symptom monitoring and testing are important parts of the university's "Anchor Down. Step Up" campaign, the overall well-being of the entire community is paramount. During this time the university encourages all Commodores to check up not only on themselves, but also on their friends, classmates and colleagues. All should be encouraged to connect with the many available resources when in need. Flu vaccinations are strongly encouraged in support of the health and safety of the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities.

Student Health Resources

  • Free flu shots for students are available while supplies last. No appointment is necessary; bring your student ID.
  • The Office of Student Care Coordination at Vanderbilt is the central and first point of contact for all students who may have an academic, personal, emotional, medical and/or other concern.
  • Free access to Headspace (everyday mindfulness and meditation for stress, anxiety, sleep, focus, fitness, and more) for all Vanderbilt students.
  • Other self-directed tools for reducing stress and anxiety with free access to several.
  • The Center for Student Wellbeing provides academic, well-being, and alcohol and other drug-related support. Coaching appointments by phone, email or Zoom.
  • The University Counseling Center offers telemental health services. and drop-in consultations.
  • Vanderbilt Recovery Support Collegiate Recovery Program provides caring and encouraging support services to assist students who are in recovery from substance use issues.
  • MySSP provides counseling support for remote-only students.
  • The Vanderbilt Writers' Accountability Group provides a [Zoom] space once a month to enable graduate and professional students to support each other through the writing process.
  • Graduate Life Coach supports graduate and professional students through individual coaching and group programming around effective time and stress management, resilience, conflict resolution, navigating academic relationships, and juggling work/life responsibilities.

Faculty, Staff and Postdocs Health Resources


  • Create and maintain a routine.
  • Engage in mindful awareness practices.
  • Maintain exercise and physical activity.
  • Balance nutrition.
  • Set boundaries for media consumption.
  • Physically distance yourself, but connect emotionally.
  • Continue nurturing your mental well-being.
  • Find ways to stay accountable.


VU & VLS Return to Campus Communications

April 7, 2021 - VU Return to Campus Update

March 24, 2021 - VU Return to Campus Update

March 23, 2021 - VU Vaccine Eligibility Update

March 17, 2021 - VU Return to Campus Update

March 10, 2021 - VU Return to Campus Update

March 5, 2021 - Email from Vice Provost Tracey George on Vaccinations

March 3, 2021 - VU Return to Campus Update

Feb. 24, 2021 - VU Return to Campus Update

Feb. 17, 2021 - VU Return to Campus Update

Feb. 3, 2021 - VU Return to Campus Update

January: Open Dore Newsletter : Lessons Learned from the Fall 2020 Semester

Jan. 27, 2021 - VU Return to Campus Update

Jan. 20, 2021 - VU Return to Campus Update

Jan. 7, 2021 - Update on COVID-19 vaccines

Jan. 4, 2021 - Law Student Testing and In-person/Remote Information

Dec. 15, 2020 - An update on our spring semester COVID-19 testing