Vanderbilt offers reminders about COVID-19 safety during the holidays

The Thanksgiving and winter holidays are traditionally a time of gathering with family and friends. However, as with all aspects of life in a pandemic, best safety practices require us to adjust our expectations and behaviors. 

During the break, members of the Vanderbilt community can take steps to protect themselves and others by following key CDC recommendations around safer ways to celebrate the holidays.  

  • Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination, such as young children, by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated. 
  • Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated. 
  • Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission. 
  • Outdoors is safer than indoors. 
  • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces. 
  • If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering. 
  • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19. 

If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit the CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated. 

Special considerations: 

  • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated and have received an additional dose. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their health care provider. 
  • You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease or is unvaccinated. 
  • If you are gathering with a group of people from multiple households and potentially from different parts of the country, you could consider additional precautions (e.g., avoiding crowded indoor spaces before travel, taking a test) in advance of gathering to further reduce risk. 
  • Do not put a mask on children younger than 2 years old. 

As a reminder, all individuals arriving in the United States after international travel and unvaccinated individuals arriving from domestic travel should mask, physically distance, and only do essential activities for seven days after travel and take a COVID-19 test within three to five days of arriving regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not. All individuals returning from travel are encouraged to visit the asymptomatic testing center on campus to take a COVID-19 test three to five days after their arrival or may test at a location convenient to them off campus.