Vanderbilt to conduct exit testing for undergraduate students, additional optional testing for all students before end of fall in-person classes

As the end of in-person classes on Nov. 20 approaches, and with the interest of protecting public health as students prepare to leave campus and return to the homes of their parents and families, Vanderbilt will conduct mandatory undergraduate student “exit testing” and also will provide a final optional COVID-19 testing opportunity for both undergraduate and graduate and professional students.

Final asymptomatic surveillance testing for graduate and professional students is currently planned for representative subgroups of the school/college cohorts during the week of Monday, Nov. 2, through Saturday, Nov. 7, with the optional testing opportunity available as indicated below from Monday, Nov. 16, to Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Final mandatory asymptomatic exit testing dates for undergraduate students are currently planned for Sunday, Nov. 8, through Tuesday, Nov. 10:

  • For undergraduates, these will be the final mandatory surveillance tests conducted for asymptomatic undergraduate students during the fall semester. The dates are subject to change, and students will be notified about any adjustments. The exit test plan gives undergraduate students the opportunity to test as they prepare to leave campus. Following the test, students should strictly adhere to all COVID-19 safety protocols during the period of time prior to returning home. As with other mandatory tests, undergraduate students are required to report to the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center for the exit test. Undergraduate students will receive further information on their schedule for exit testing later this month.

All students who are symptomatic should continue to contact the Student Health Center for evaluation and potential testing until they depart the campus or the city.

Optional asymptomatic testing dates for all students will be offered on a sign-up basis Monday, Nov. 16, through Wednesday, Nov. 18.

  • Students will have the opportunity to take one test during the optional testing window. Students will receive further information on how to sign up for this optional test later this month. All optional testing will be administered at the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center. Students should anticipate that if their test is positive, or if they are identified as a close contact to a positive case, it may affect their travel plans and they should plan accordingly.

Quarantine and Isolation Options

Student Exit Testing Positive Result Protocol: Undergraduate residential students who test positive for COVID-19 in the exit testing, optional asymptomatic testing or Student Health Center symptomatic testing-or who are identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 positive person prior to their departure date, or before campus housing closes for the semester on Nov. 22-have three options: Option 1) Remain in on-campus quarantine or isolation housing until their completion date is reached and they are released. Students must then immediately leave on-campus housing, unless they have explicit approval to stay during winter break, Option 2) leave on-campus quarantine or isolation housing, and be picked up and driven home by their families Option 3) Leave on-campus qurantine or isolation housing to immediately drive themselves home in a vehicle they have on campus. Off-campus undergraduates, graduate and professional students should follow health guidance and abide by their quarantine and isolation completion dates. Student Health and the Public Health Central Command Center will continue to monitor all students' health through the quarantine and isolation periods.

Students will receive more information later this month about how they will select one of the above options if they test positive.

If a student leaves campus or Nashville before their optional asymptomatic test result is known, and if they test positive, they still must comply with contact tracing and will be responsible for following public health isolation protocols wherever they are then located. Vanderbilt also will notify relevant local public health authorities for any appropriate local contact tracing for travels/activities between the date the test is taken and the date of notification of result. Retesting for potential false positive results will not be conducted for those who leave campus or Nashville.

For more details on the exit testing protocols and policies, review the exit testing FAQ.

Important Reminders

Test results are an indication of the likely health condition of the student relating to COVID-19 at the time of the test. If a student tests negative in their final test, in order to maximize the likelihood of remaining negative, students should be extremely vigilant about following protocols leading up to their departure from campus. As a reminder:

  • Students should follow strictly all safety protocols after their exit test, including practicing physical distancing, wearing face masks/coverings, avoiding gatherings and practicing hand hygiene.
  • After receiving negative test results, students must continue to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols and should be especially observant of all preventive measures during the period of time prior to returning home.
  • A negative test result is only valid at the time of the test and is dependent on the level of the individual’s virus load. If the individual is early in the infectious curve when they test negative, they may still become positive even after a negative test.
  • Students and families should not assume that interactions with a person who tested negative are now “safe” without following all applicable precautions and safety protocols.

Families may choose to have their children who return home enter quarantine for a period of time upon arrival; the recommended period for quarantine is two weeks. Families also may choose to have their children tested upon arrival home at a public health testing site or other provider as available at their home location.

Testing protocols for the spring semester will be announced by Tuesday, Dec. 15.