All you need to know about faculty COVID-19 testing

As announced on Dec. 30, Vanderbilt is expanding testing programs for the on-campus community during the spring semester to slow the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.

Faculty return-to-campus testing

As a reminder, all faculty must take a COVID-19 test, regardless of your vaccination and booster status. Faculty can test at home (a PCR or rapid antigen test is acceptable), at a community testing center, or at Vanderbilt’s Testing Center. Please do not eat or drink for 60 minutes before taking the test.

If you have tested at the VU Testing Center, you do not need to submit a negative or positive test result, as the Command Center has the record of your test.

Testing programs

The university is expanding the requirements for the existing asymptomatic and sentinel testing programs for faculty, students and on-campus staff. Testing protocols will be as follows:

  • Individuals who have not provided any vaccination documentation will be required to test twice a week. These individuals will not separately be included in the sentinel testing program.
  • Individuals who have provided documentation of completed vaccination but not of a boosterwill be required to test once a week. These individuals will not separately be included in the sentinel testing program.
  • Individuals who have provided documentation of completed vaccination and a booster will be exempt from asymptomatic testing. These individuals will be included in the sentinel testing program.
    • Sentinel, or random sampling, testing will test groups of asymptomatic community members who are on campus on a rotating basis at the Vanderbilt Testing Center, regardless of their vaccination and booster status. Eligible faculty will be notified when it is time for them to test.

Symptomatic testing

Faculty who have symptoms related to COVID-19 can be tested from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Occupational Health Express Care Clinic.

Faculty with symptoms can also call the VUMC COVID-19 hotline at 888-312-0847 daily, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to be assessed and directed to the nearest open testing site. Additional options include the Vanderbilt Health walk-in clinics and the Vanderbilt Health clinics at Walgreens. If options listed above are not open and the symptoms are severe enough, the individual should go to the VUMC emergency department.

An individual awaiting test results should remain at home off campus, minimizing exposure to others, and keep their department chair informed of their status.

Questions about testing should be directed to

Previously positive in last 90 days

Faculty will be exempt from mandatory testing for 90 days as long as their positive test result is recorded by the Command Center. Positive tests from the Vanderbilt Testing Center and Occupational Health are automatically reported to the Command Center. Positive tests from outside those two programs should be reported using the webform.

If the Command Center already has a record of a faculty member’s positive test result, then they do not need to complete a pre-semester test. At the end of 90 days, the faculty member will be automatically placed into the appropriate testing program based on their vaccination at that time.

Vanderbilt public health experts will continue to evaluate all testing protocols based on trends in positivity rate and case counts and will update them as needed to protect health and safety as much as possible.