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Voluntary Faculty COVID-19 Surveillance Program available

Aug. 24, 2020, 8:00 AM

As the university previously announced, a campus surveillance testing program will launch this week. The program is mandatory for students, staff and postdocs who come to campus, and also is required for faculty members who are engaged in specific in-person teaching activities with students (for example, voice and wind instrument lessons). Other faculty may opt to participate in the program on a voluntary basis.

Faculty who are interested in participating on a voluntary basis should complete the Voluntary Faculty COVID-19 Surveillance Program webform. Eligible faculty must be VU-employed, working on campus and engaged in in-person activities on campus. Participation in the program is confidential, as are test results, except to the extent that information and advice are coordinated by the Public Health Central Command Center.

University leadership, in coordination with the university’s Public Health Central Command Center and public health officials, will monitor COVID-19 test outcomes and trends to determine if changes are needed to campus operations.

While we hope to continue in-person classes for the entire semester, Vanderbilt University may also choose to transition to virtual or other alternative learning platforms based on the following:

  • Local, state or national shelter-in-place advisories or restrictions that require remote-only learning.
  • Quarantine and isolation capacity for the residential population.
  • A surge in cases coupled with increased severity of illness among campus demographic cohorts.
  • Contact tracing analysis (a surge in cases tied to an event vs. tied to rampant community spread with severe illness may be treated differently, for example).
  • Other factors that indicate that such transition is appropriate.

The university also may decide to “pause” in-person classes on a program-by-program basis for a period of time and move those classes to virtual or other alternative learning platforms.  This could be done, for example, to allow undergraduate students living on campus to remain in their residence hall rooms. Such a suspension period also would be focused on additional actions to contain any potential spread. The university may use this approach with specific populations within the university, such as a specific school, program or course, to allow time for additional contact tracing and testing to be conducted.

Surveillance testing does not and should not replace other testing options:

  • Symptomatic testing: available at Occupational Health or from your primary care physician.
  • Asymptomatic close-contact testing: available from your primary care physician on day 8 after contact.
  • Asymptomatic, no-contact testing: free testing for Davidson County residents at a Metro Community Assessment Center (e.g., Meharry Medical College or Nissan Stadium) or county/state public health testing at sites outside of Davidson County for residents of other counties.

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