Dear faculty colleagues,
As we look ahead to the holidays, we are carefully monitoring the data and metrics about all COVID-19 variants. We will continue to meticulously assess the situation throughout the winter break, working closely with trusted experts and our colleagues at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Please stay safe over winter break and continue to use caution as you spend time with friends, family and others, including the good practice of masking indoors while we learn more about the omicron variant.
We will announce by the first week of January any necessary updates to COVID-19 protocols. This will include an enhanced COVID-19 testing program, as well as clear guidance about implications for your teaching, research, scholarship and creative expression.
I strongly encourage you to obtain a booster shot if you have not done so. Boosters help ensure that our broader university community is as protected as possible as we begin the new semester. Our community’s health is a central priority; correspondingly, members of the campus community who have not received their vaccine or booster will be tested more frequently in the spring semester. You can submit record of your booster to vu.edu/submit-vaccine. The evidence about the omicron variant is still evolving. Preliminary data indicates that a booster provides additional protection against infection and, most importantly, provides significant protection against severe illness.
I know some of you have specific questions and concerns. Please plan to join me for a virtual faculty town hall on Friday, Jan. 7, at 11 a.m., during which I will answer your questions alongside our faculty colleagues Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Tracey George, Associate Vice Chancellor for Health and Wellness Pam Jones and Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program Laboratory Director Isaac Thomsen. You can RSVP for the town hall here. If you have not submitted your questions, you can do so through this online form.
Thank you for your dedication to Vanderbilt’s community and your commitment to these important topics. I look forward to seeing you on Jan. 7. As always, I wish you and your families a healthy, happy and restorative holiday break—it is one that is well deserved.
C. Cybele Raver
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs