Message from Dr. Stuart R. Bell, UA President, to the campus and community:
COVID-19 presents serious public health concerns. The University of Alabama is committed to slowing the spread of the coronavirus, while maintaining our mission of teaching, research, and service.
Social distancing is a key barrier to the spread of the virus. To assist with this national task of social distancing, and in keeping with UA system policies, the following actions are in effect until further notice.
As you consider these measures, I call upon each of you – faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and supporters – to model the creativity and strength of the campus community we have come to expect.
Remote Teaching and Learning
After tomorrow, classes will be canceled until March 30 to allow additional time for UA to transition – to the maximum extent possible – to alternative and remote learning. Faculty will determine how to best use existing technology, such as Blackboard and Zoom, to support students as they work to complete their educational requirements for the semester. Teaching will resume March 30 via these new methods.
Students should not return to campus when classes resume, and will continue their course work via distance learning subject to the following limited exceptions: (a) international or other students who do not have alternative accommodations; (b) students from areas without high-speed internet or other means of receiving remote instruction; and (c) students with exceptional hardships, or academic, employment, clinical or research requirements that should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Arrangements will be made to ensure any students who must remain on campus have access to essential services. A move out plan will be communicated at a later date.
Domestic and International Travel
In addition to previously announced travel limitations, all university-funded travel, both foreign and domestic, is suspended. Travel sponsors can apply for exceptions to this restriction by completing a form that will be posted at healthinfo.ua.edu.
All non-essential University meetings, gatherings and events are canceled until March 30. Any exceptions must be specifically requested and approved via a form that will be posted on healthinfo.ua.edu
Other University Business
Due to these changes, a number of essential personnel will be required to work over spring break. Supervisors will be in contact about those schedules. Other University operations will continue as originally planned, with employees returning from spring break March 23. Thereafter, there is a potential for flexible work arrangements in alignment with our focus on social distancing. Supervisors should work directly with employees to make any necessary changes.
Education Abroad has created a list of FAQs on the coronavirus, international.ua.edu/educationabroad/prepare/health-safety/coronavirus-faqs/.
Exposed or Sick Individuals
Do not return to campus if you meet the following criteria:
- If you have traveled to a CDC COVID-19 Level 2 or 3 country (on personal or University business) or come in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, you are required to contact the Alabama Department of Public Health
- If you have the symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, contact your healthcare provider. You may also call the Student Health Center prior to visiting at (205) 348-3854 or after hours at (205) 348-0386. If you are an employee and have concerning symptoms, please call the University Medical Center at (205) 348-4696 or (205) 348-1770 before visiting.
Assistance with Remote Teaching and Learning Technology
We will examine how to best support employees and students who have special health or other needs impacted by these decisions. Faculty may call upon a specialized IT team to assist with online teaching. More information on IT assistance will be posted on healthinfo.ua.edu, as it becomes available.
I know this is not how we expected to begin spring break. Please take preventive measures to protect yourself and those around you. Exercise extra caution when traveling and interacting. This includes washing your hands frequently with soap and water and avoiding shaking hands and other physical contact.
Together we will overcome this challenge. Please monitor healthinfo.ua.edu for updates and additional information, in this rapidly evolving situation.
Stuart R. Bell