Vanderbilt lifts most COVID-19 restrictions for fully vaccinated people

As of May 25, Vanderbilt eliminated mask and social distancing restrictions for fully vaccinated people. The university will also require vaccinations for all faculty and staff for the 2021-22 year.

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Josh Rehders

A COVID-19 vaccine card held against a window overlooking Light Hall. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)

Vanderbilt lifted most COVID-19 restrictions for fully-vaccinated individuals on campus as of May 25, per an email sent at approximately 10 a.m. CDT from Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Susan R. Wente and Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain. The email cited recent CDC guidelines as the reason behind the changes. 

The university also announced in the email that they will require all faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows to be fully vaccinated before returning for the 2021-22 school year. 

Fully vaccinated people are not required to wear a mask indoors or outdoors and do not need to social distance from other fully vaccinated individuals, per the email. However, those who are not fully vaccinated should continue mask-wearing and abide by social distancing protocols.

The university expects that many members of our campus community will continue to wear face masks/coverings, and the university supports their choice to do so,” the email read. “People who choose to wear masks should not be questioned about them, nor should they be discouraged or prohibited from wearing them.”

Additionally, outdoor gathering size limits are lifted completely and off campus gatherings can resume. Indoor gatherings can be at the full capacity of the given space and individually packaged food and drink are permitted at all gatherings. 

Students and faculty on campus in the summer are not required to undergo asymptomatic COVID-19 testing if they have submitted their vaccination records. Otherwise, during the summer, students and faculty are required to test weekly and monthly, respectively. 

A university spokesperson said in a message to The Hustler that any changes to COVID-19 asymptomatic testing for Fall 2021 would be disclosed later in the summer.

Wente and Kopstain’s email stated that university-sponsored travel, including study abroad, will align with CDC travel recommendations. More updates about study abroad will be announced in June, per the email.

Per the email, some restrictions regarding on campus visitors remain in place and all visitors are required to abide by the above COVID-19 protocols. Automatically approved guests include families of students, researchers and prospective students. Speakers and performers, among others, are allowed on campus with approval. To receive permission for an unapproved guest, individuals should contact Kopstain and/or the appropriate dean.

Students seeking medical or religious accommodations to the vaccine mandate should contact Student Access. Faculty and staff seeking a workplace accommodation should contact the Equal Opportunity and Access Office 

The university will continue to monitor CDC, Metro Public Health and Vanderbilt University Medical Center guidelines and announce any other changes to COVID-19 protocols before the start of the Fall 2021 semester.

“Thank you for Anchoring Down and Stepping Up over the past year during this unprecedented time,” the email concluded.