The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

BREAKING: Spring 2022 semester postponed and extended, COVID-19 protocols updated

Undergraduate students are now expected to return to campus a week later and stay a week longer for final examinations. All students who have not received boosters will participate in weekly asymptomatic testing.
trees nearly covering the baseball field billboard with a covid-19 message on it
Alex Venero
A COVID-19 sign at Hawkins Field, as photographed on Aug. 27, 2020. (Hustler Multimedia/Alex Venero)

UPDATED: This story was updated at 7:30 p.m. CST on Jan. 8 to include information on how the protocols will impact Vanderbilt Athletics. 

UPDATED: This story was updated at 10 p.m. CST to include information regarding the academic calendar and the extension of the Spring 2022 semester. 

UPDATED: This story was updated at 4 p.m. CST to include information regarding early move-in and Panhellenic recruitment schedule changes. 

The start of the spring semester has been pushed back a week, from Jan. 10 to Jan. 17, due to the spread of the omicron variant, per an email sent at approximately 12 p.m. CST by Chancellor Daniel Diermeier, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs C. Cybele Raver and Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain. Given that Jan. 17 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, classes will not be held until Jan. 18.

“Campus residence halls and Greek houses will open on Saturday, Jan. 15, and regular, in-person classes will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 18,” a follow-up email sent 40 minutes later from Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students G.L. Black and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Residential Faculty Vanessa Beasley specified.

A student housing form has been made available for students with extenuating circumstances that might require them to move in before Jan. 15. Students are able to select from three reasons that necessitate a move-in as early as Jan. 7: Domestic flight availability, international flights and internship/student teaching obligations. Students moving in early are subjected to Commodore Cares period rules.

Despite the calendar changes for the start of the semester, the email notes that spring break (March 5-13) and Commencement (May 13) dates remain unchanged. While these dates remain unchanged, the semester has been extended; final examinations were previously to be held from April 27-May 5, but were pushed to May 2-May 9.

As the university continues to make decisions regarding COVID-19 policies for the Spring 2022 semester, they encourage students to receive their booster shots and upload proof to inform their decisions.

Enhanced COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming semester include an updated testing program, continued enforcement of masking indoors, as well as a Commodores Cares period. During this period that will last until at least Jan. 24, students can not “engage in in-person social interactions” with anyone other than their roommate(s). They are only allowed to leave their rooms to attend in-person classes, pick up food or supplies, seek medical attention and engage in outdoor activities without close contact.

“Campus Dining will operate in a ‘to-go’ format during this period,” the second email reads. “Students are encouraged to eat either outside if weather permits or in their residential space. Libraries and residential common areas will not be open during this time frame.”

Additionally, during this period students are not permitted to attend athletic events on campus. Therefore, students can not attend mens’ and womens’ basketball games the week of Jan. 3, Jan, 10 or Jan. 17. The full sports schedule can be found here, and students are encouraged to watch the games on broadcasting networks.

In addition to the reinstatement of the Commodores Care period, all students will be required to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of returning to campus in order to move in. Furthermore, effective Jan. 18, unless students and employees have provided proof of receiving a booster shot or have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, they will be required to participate in asymptomatic testing. 

“Those who register their boosters will be exempt from quarantine in accordance with new CDC guidelines and subject to fewer testing requirements,” the first email reads.

Those who have not received any vaccination or booster will be required to test twice a week, whereas those who have been vaccinated but not boostered will be required to test once per week. Students who are fully vaccinated and boostered will be required to participate in the ongoing sentinel testing program.

“The sample size of the sentinel testing program will be evaluated based on the number of individuals already in the required asymptomatic testing program,” the Health and Safety Protocols read. “If the number is relatively low, the sample size of the sentinel testing program may need to be higher.”

Students with symptoms are encouraged to visit the Student Health Center and should shelter in place if they are not moved to quarantine housing while they await test results, per the guidelines. Symptomatic faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows should go to the Occupational Health Express Care Clinic for testing.

Changes have been made to Panhellenic recruitment, which was originally scheduled to start on Jan. 8 and take place in person, per an email sent from the Assistant Director of Greek Life Destiny Savage. Orientation and three out of the four rounds will now be virtual, with a tentative in-person final round and Bid Day.

A Town Hall will be held for undergraduate students on Jan. 11 at 5 p.m. CDT and will give more information and feature a Q&A portion. Those interested in attending should register and submit questions in advance. Black and Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion André L. Churchwell are included on the panel.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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About the Contributors
Charlotte Mauger
Charlotte Mauger, Staff Writer
Charlotte Mauger ('24) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in public policy with a minor in French. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her on FaceTime with her cats, watching movies or exploring all Nashville has to offer. You can reach her at [email protected].
Alex Venero
Alex Venero, Former Multimedia Director
Alex Venero (‘23) is from Rumson, NJ. She is majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in World Politics. When not shooting for The Hustler, she can be found at almost any Vanderbilt Athletics event or exploring the food and coffee of Nashville. She can be reached at [email protected].    
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