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2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Vanderbilt University officials are actively monitoring the outbreak of the respiratory illness COVID-19 caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

There are no reports of cases involving coronavirus disease COVID-19 on the Vanderbilt campus, and there are no confirmed cases in Tennessee.

The university works closely with infection control experts at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and local and state public health officials, and follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address infectious disease and other public health concerns on campus.

Important Information for Prospective Travelers (University and Personal)

  • Students: University travel to any country with a U.S. Department of State “Do Not Travel” warning (Level 4) or a Center for Disease Control (CDC) “Avoid Nonessential Travel” (Level 3) due to COVID-19 is not permitted.  Thus, university travel to or via China, South Korea, Iran and Italy is prohibited. For more information regarding the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on Study Abroad programs, please see this FAQ .
  • Faculty, Staff, and Postdocs: University travel to any country with a State Department “Do Not Travel” warning (Level 4) or a CDC “Avoid Nonessential Travel” (Level 3) due to COVID-19 requires express pre-approval from the Provost or other Vice Chancellor.  Thus, Provost or other Vice Chancellor approval is required for university travel to or via China, South Korea, Iran  and Italy.
  • Personal Travel: The university also strongly recommends that everyone reconsider even personal travel to any country with a CDC level 3 (“Avoid Nonessential Travel”) or State Department level 3 (“Reconsider Travel”) or 4 (“Do Not Travel”) advisory due to COVID-19.

The list of affected countries and the warning level is dynamic. We encourage you to monitor developments through the State Department and CDC websites.

International travel is more difficult than usual as a result of COVID-19.  Due to public health measures, travelers may encounter delays or other difficulties at the U.S. port of entry or at the port of entry of another country. Travelers should also ensure they have adequate health insurance coverage for the duration of their trip.

Important Information for Returning Travelers (Notice and Self-Isolation)

Any Vanderbilt community member who has been in China, South Korea,  Iran or Italy in the past 14 days or who has otherwise come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 should notify the university in order to receive healthcare monitoring and support and to protect the health and safety of our community.

  • Faculty, staff and postdocs: Vanderbilt Occupational Health has monitoring in place for those who have traveled to China, South Korea,   Iran or Italy or otherwise come in contact with a case of COVID-19 (including a patient). Learn more about the process and self-monitoring REDCap survey here.
  • Students: Vanderbilt Student Health Center has monitoring in place for students who have traveled to China, South Korea,   Iran or Italy within the past 14 days or otherwise come in contact with a case of COVID-19. Individuals can complete the self-report/self-monitoring survey at https://redcap.link/vustudentcovid. Once the initial survey is completed to provide the specifics of your travel (or other potential exposure), you will receive twice-daily symptom surveys.
  • Campus Residents: Campus residents who have traveled to China, South Korea,   Iran or Italy within the past 14 days or otherwise come in contact with a case of COVID-19 should contact the Office of Housing and Residential Experience (615/322-2591, ohare@vanderbilt.edu) at least 72 hours prior to their arrival on campus.

Vanderbilt is asking all community members returning to the United States from mainland China, South Korea,  Iran and Italy to self-isolate for 14 days. Any individual who may have been in contact with someone who has been infected by COVID-19 or who exhibits symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection should also self-isolate. The self-isolation guidance may change quickly, so please stay informed.  For additional information on how to gauge your risk of COVID-19 infection, see the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/risk-assessment.html

What To Do if You Are Sick

The situation is rapidly evolving and recommendations from the CDC and the U.S. Department of State change daily. Members of the Vanderbilt community are encouraged to monitor the CDC and U.S. Department of State websites.

Those who believe they may have been exposed to or infected with the novel coronavirus should seek medical care right away. Before you go to a clinic, doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

 Vanderbilt students should contact the Student Health Center, while faculty and staff should contact the Occupational Health Clinic for further evaluation.

The CDC has issued information regarding symptomsprevention and treatment, as well as a number of other frequently asked questions and answers.

 All Vanderbilt University Medical Center health care providers, including the Student Health Center, will assess patients for potential COVID-19 infection. Those with cough and fever will be asked for a travel history to determine if they are at risk for the newly identified coronavirus. Patients who respond “yes” to these questions will be masked to protect other patients as the cause of their illness is being evaluated.

Preventing Illness

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

Support for the Vanderbilt Community

Services are available to support mental health and wellbeing during this time.