COVID Updates: Dining, Rec Center, masking, testing

Due to the higher transmissibility of the delta variant, the high rate of infection in the Nashville region, and out of an abundance of caution, Vanderbilt University is providing the following updates and information regarding its COVID-19 protocols as of Monday, Aug. 30. The following updates are effective immediately.

The Vanderbilt University community has a greater than 95 percent vaccination rate, and the remaining less than five percent of the community is in the process of a receiving vaccination or an accommodation or have already been approved for an accommodation. The following guidelines will further reduce transmission risk and, potentially, the need for more drastic measures to address higher infection rates on campus.

The university shares updates and information about COVID-19 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the MyVU newsletter. Vanderbilt’s Health and Safety Protocols website contains detailed information and answers to frequently asked questions and is continuously updated with new information.

Campus Dining

 Seating capacity in dining halls will be reduced to facilitate physical distancing. The community is encouraged to eat outside or in private spaces whenever possible. Tents are available throughout campus for general use by the Vanderbilt community.

David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center

 Vanderbilt community members should physically distance as much as possible, and masks must be worn at all times when exercising inside the recreation and wellness center. Exercising outdoors, to the extent possible, is strongly encouraged.

Masking and Travel between Indoor Spaces

Masks must be worn when traveling in common areas between indoor spaces, such as during class changes and travel between meetings and other indoor activities on campus.


The university is conducting symptomatic testing and asymptomatic testing including the following:

  • Small scale random testing to detect and forecast possible infection trends and hot spots.
  • When needed, immediate targeted testing upon identifying a potential hot spot based on data trends observed by the university’s Public Health Central Command Center.
  • Vaccinated asymptomatic close contact testing through the university’s testing center.
  • The small number of VU community members who remain unvaccinated are required to participate in weekly asymptomatic testing at the university’s testing center – in addition to wearing masks and physical distancing.

Limit Off-campus Activities

The Nashville region, where vaccination rates are significantly lower than at the university, is experiencing a high rate of infection. Campus residents are encouraged to limit off-campus activities to reduce infection risk – particularly for vulnerable populations such as those who are unvaccinated and have an approved accommodation, immunocompromised or children under 12 who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine.

Compliance and Protocol Violations

Students, faculty, staff and postdocs are expected to comply with all university policies and protocols designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection and promote the health and safety of the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities. We encourage members of the campus community to report when there are multiple counts of noncompliance or uncooperative behavior.

  • Student violations of COVID-19 policies and protocols may be referred to the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity.
  • The Vanderbilt Faculty Manual provides that faculty may be disciplined for violations of the university’s standards of conduct. The process for reaching a decision to discipline a faculty member is overseen by the dean in consultation with the provost.
  • The university’s progressive discipline policy states that a staff member can be disciplined for violations of protocols and procedures governing safety. The policy outlines a process for correcting single and repeat episodes of employee failure to comply with rules. Safety violations will be handled under this process.