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Vanderbilt to offer classes in person this fall

Mar. 25, 2021, 1:56 PM

Vanderbilt University this week announced that fall semester classes will be offered in person 

Attending classes in person and having the residential experience are vital as students integrate and immerse themselves in campus life,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “I look forward to applying the lessons learned from the past year as we return to the full in-person learning that is integral to student life and to our educational mission at Vanderbilt.” 

Positive trends related to COVID-19 case counts and vaccinations continue, and recent progress on campus is encouraging—made possible in part through diligent observation of safety protocols.  

While the decision signals a step toward the life we recognize, it was made with an eye to the dynamic reality of the pandemic. The university’s priority remains ensuring the health and safety of students, postdocs, faculty and staff as much as possible, and current COVID-19 testing and safety protocols remain in place. Should the status of the pandemic change dramatically over the spring and summer, or should public health guidance advise against in-person instruction, an alternative option may be required.  

University leaders continue to monitor the pandemic to inform the full fall semester plan, and additional information will be shared in the coming weeks. 

Fall academic calendar

  • In-person, on-campus undergraduate classes will begin Aug. 25 and conclude Dec. 10. Pending updated public health data and travel guidelines in the fall, all undergraduate students will return to campus after the Thanksgiving holiday to complete the final two weeks of classes and take exams in person. The semester will conclude Dec. 18. 
  • Academic calendars for graduate and professional programs will largely follow the undergraduate schedule, beginning Aug. 25 and concluding Dec. 10. Students will return to campus after the Thanksgiving holiday to complete the final two weeks of classes and take exams, if applicable, in person. The semester will conclude Dec. 18. Specific schools may have slight schedule variations. All students will receive additional information from their respective schools with full calendar details. 
  • The university will observe Fall Break Oct. 1415. Information about travel guidance and restrictions during that time will be determined based on updated public health travel guidelines in the fall.   
  • Undergraduate and graduate students will receive an additional reading day Dec. 8 to supplement regular reading days Dec. 1112 during final exams. 
  • Students must request a Leave of Absence through the appropriate school official if they cannot engage in in-person instruction on campus and do not have an approved accommodation. 

Study abroad programming

In anticipation of improved conditions for international travel, the Global Education Office will be offering a limited number of study abroad programs for fall 2021. Vanderbilt’s Global Safety & Security team and GEO will closely monitor identified programs through the spring, and final decisions about whether travel can proceed will be made on a location-by-location basis this summer. Applications are open now; for more information, visit GEO’s website. 

Fall housing

Vanderbilt will welcome as many students back to campus as is possible. The university is a residential campus for undergraduate students, and that experience is an integral part of a Vanderbilt education. Information was shared March 18 about the fall housing assignment process. 

Housing registration for the 202122 academic year will begin April 1 and close April 5 at 6 p.m. CT. All students who plan to enroll in courses at Vanderbilt for the fall 2021 semester must register for the process during this time using the online Housing Portal. 

Students currently authorized to live off campus will be permitted to reside off campus for the 202122 academic year only if they properly register and re-apply between April 1-5. Failure to apply for off-campus authorization will result in a loss of authorization for the 202122 academic year, and the student will be required to reside on campus.  

The  Return to Campus website includes ongoing updates about the university’s pandemic response and protocols. 

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