High percentage of Vanderbilt community fully vaccinated; updated health and safety protocols announced

The Vanderbilt community is stepping up to keep campus as safe as possible from the spread of the COVID-19 infection. More than 94 percent of students, faculty, staff and postdocs are entering the school year fully vaccinated. 

(Susan Urmy/Vanderbilt University)

Vaccination, made possible in part by significant medical and scientific contributions here at Vanderbilt, is the very best protection against this virus. That is why Vanderbilt required new and returning undergraduate, graduate and professional students, as well as all on-campus faculty and staff, to be fully vaccinated for the 202122 school year. 

“Because of our high vaccination rate, we are looking forward to an academic year that will offer fewer campus restrictions than last year. That said, we will take appropriate precautions in response to recent infection increases and expert guidance related to the delta variant,” said Chancellor Daniel Diermeier in a recent message to the campus community. “We collaborate with medical leaders at VUMC to understand emerging data, and our policies reflect the best and most recent scientific guidance available.” 


A student shows a mask they made in a special event at the Wond’ry.

We know today that the delta variant has fueled a rise in infections in Nashville and beyond and that vaccinated people infected with the variant are, in some cases, able to transmit the virus. However, we also know that vaccinated people are robustly protected against the disease. Breakthrough infections among the vaccinated are rare and, in most cases, produce only mild symptoms. Unfortunately, due to insufficient vaccination rates in the region, we have seen a significant increase in infections and hospitalizations, which are almost entirely limited to unvaccinated individuals.  

To do our part in improving the situation, we are temporarily adjusting on-campus guidance, as outlined below. 

Current mask requirements

  • Masks are required indoors on campus, unless noted below. Masks are also required indoors whenever minors are present and at all indoor, off-campus Vanderbilt-hosted events. We will monitor cases and guidance to decide when we may lift this masking protocol. 
  • As of Aug. 2, all visitors are required to wear masks in all indoor spaces on campus. 
  • All campus community members and all visitors, including family members and loved ones, will be required to mask during move-in on Aug. 21–22. More detailed information about additional move-in protocols will be shared soon.

No masks required

  • Individual residence hall rooms or suites 
  • Private offices 
  • Shared work spaces, classrooms or labs where individuals can stay at least six feet apart. Instructors when lecturing do not have to wear a mask if the instructor can maintain at least six feet of physical distancing from all students at all times.

Vanderbilt’s public health command center continues to lead contact tracing and other response efforts. Changes in safety protocols can be made quickly as experts analyze new information and data. 

Additional COVID-19 health and safety resources

Read the latest COVID-19 updates from the university. 
Learn more about Vanderbilt’s response to the pandemic through research and support.