Vanderbilt solidifies plans for summer housing and academic sessions; updates protocols for outdoor gatherings

All summer 2021 academic sessions will be held online, and outdoor gathering protocols have been updated to allow a maximum of 12 people per group.


Emery Little

A statue on Vanderbilt’s campus, photographed wearing a mask. (Hustler Multimedia/Emery Little)

Sally Johnson, Staff Writer

In a series of emails sent to students March 10, the university announced its plans for the summer and updates to outdoor gathering policies. 

Summer Sessions and Housing 

In a March 10 email, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Vanessa Beasley, Dean of Students Mark Bandas and Vice Provost for Graduate Education C. André Christie-Mizell informed students of Vanderbilt’s plans for summer housing and academic sessions. 

“All summer sessions for undergraduate and graduate students, including Maymester courses, will be offered online only,” the email said. 

Per the email, the university will not be offering any Maymester courses involving travel or GEO study abroad programs this summer. 

“As an alternative, remote global internships—and funding—for undergraduate students who want to engage internationally are available,” the email said. 

The email also announced that residence halls will be closing for the semester on May 12 at 9 a.m. CST for nongraduating students and May 16 at 1 p.m. CST for graduating students. Any students seeking to remain on campus for the summer were instructed to fill out the summer housing application which opens in the Student Housing Portal on April 1.  

Additionally, students working on Immersion projects or summer research through the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Program (VUSRP) will be allowed to remain on campus for the summer. All students and volunteers participating in faculty-led experiential learning or research on campus will be required to participate in the university’s asymptomatic COVID-19 testing and contact tracing programs, per the email. 

Outdoor Gatherings Update

In the March 10 Return to Campus Update, Vanderbilt updated protocols for outdoor gatherings on campus. According to this email, beginning March 10 “outdoor official campus gatherings may increase from eight to a maximum of 12 people.” Indoor gatherings are still limited to eight people, and students are expected to wear masks and observe six feet of social distancing in all gatherings.

The email also outlined efforts made by VSG’s Campus Life Committee to improve and increase outdoor activities on campus.  

“The university will reinstate painted circles indicating 6 feet of physical distance on campus lawns starting this week,” the update said.

Additionally, lawn games will be placed in outdoor spaces for student use and the VandyRadio station will be broadcast in dining tents. Efforts will also be made to bring a stage to Wilson Lawn.

“The stage will provide space for individuals to host showcases, musical performances, and more,” the update said.