Update: Re-entry clarificationFriday, May 22 at 5:30 p.m.

The following applies to the university’s re-entry plan. The Health System is on a separate plan to transition from the Limited Business Model and began resuming clinical operations in early May.

UAB faculty and staff,

Earlier this week, the university announced a gradual, phased approach to campus re-entry detailed at www.uab.edu/reentry.

Phase I, which is set for May 26 through June 15, includes the gradual re-entry of some individuals with clinical or research responsibilities. This time period is a window in which individuals approved to return in this phase will begin campus re-entry; not everyone in Phase I will return May 26.

Before individuals in Phase I (or any future phase) re-enter campus, several steps must be completed:

  1. Supervisors will draft a unit-specific operational re-entry plan and submit it for approval.
  2. Subsequently, you will receive an email from Campus Learning (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; emails from this address are not spam).
  3. When you receive the email from the learning management system, follow the prompts and complete required training.
  4. After you complete the COVID-19: Basic Safety and Awareness Course, you will be prompted to complete UAB HealthCheck, the UAB-specific COVID-19 Assessment Tool for self-reporting symptoms and exposure.
  5. After you complete the required training and health check, your supervisor will be notified that you are approved to return to campus.

No one is permitted to return to campus until they have completed these steps and have clearance for re-entry from their supervisor. When you return, you must follow all safety guidelines. You should not initiate training modules until you receive prompts from Campus Learning by email. This is to verify that UAB personnel have completed their training.

Re-entry checklists are available to guide students, faculty and staff as they prepare for their return to campus and when they are on campus.

At this time, not everyone will know into which re-entry phase they fit and when they will be approved to return. Contact your supervisor with questions about your phase. We will continue to support units in the development of their required operational plans so updates can be provided.

Please be on the lookout for emails from Human Resources (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Campus Learning (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and follow prompts. Emails are sent from these addresses, but these are not email inboxes; please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions.

Sincerely,

Alesia Jones
Chief Human Resources Officer

University Gradual Re-entry to CampusMonday, May 18 at 4:30 p.m.

The following announcement describes the university’s re-entry plan. The Health System is on a separate plan to transition from the Limited Business Model and began resuming clinical operations in early May.

On Tuesday, May 26, UAB will transition from the university’s Limited Business Model into Modified Business Operations. During Modified Business Operations, UAB will begin a gradual, phased approach with some groups/functions returning to campus before others.

It is important to gradually bring individuals back on campus to promote social distancing. This phased approach will also allow us to evaluate strategies for effectiveness and minimize risk.

Only *students, faculty and staff who are part of an approved unit operational plan will be permitted to return to campus during this phase and will be responsible for strictly following safety guidelines and requirements in place to minimize potential risk. Clinical and research personnel will be the first to return to campus following the approval of units’ operational plans.

*Students: Students in clinical areas must receive approval from their program to return to campus. Researchers at post-doctoral and graduate/pre-doctoral levels may continue or initiate studies on site following approved unit operational plans to ensure the safe return to campus. Other trainees engaged in research, such as undergraduate students and volunteers, must request approval through the Office of Research exception process.

UAB is fortunate to have extensive expertise in several disciplines that was utilized on UAB and University of Alabama System task forces to craft well-informed re-entry strategies guided by five principles:

  1. Preserve the health of our university community and Birmingham.
  2. Maintain and deliver on our education, research and community engagement by continuing to recruit and enroll students, teach those students, conduct research, and help stimulate the Alabama economy.
  3. Preserve and maintain university operations necessary to support mission-critical activities, both now and into the future.
  4. Treat students and employees fairly and equitably.
  5. Remain fiscally solvent now and into the future so as to be able to deliver on mission-critical activities for the long term.

Detailed plans and guidance to minimize risk and promote quality outcomes across all mission pillars are available at uab.edu/reentry and cover many areas:

  • Required web-based training (as soon as available; in development)
  • Symptom and exposure tracking and contact tracing (as soon as available; in development)
  • COVID-19 testing
  • Guidance for high-risk individuals
  • Phased staffing plans and staffing options
  • Personal protective equipment (including masks/face coverings, gloves, etc.)
  • Social distancing
  • Hygiene (handwashing, hand sanitizers, cough/sneeze etiquette)
  • Public transportation/Blazer Express
  • Enhanced environmental health and cleaning procedures
  • Protocols in offices, reception areas, elevators, labs, classrooms, outdoor areas, etc.
  • Mental and emotional well-being
  • Enter/Exit control

Guidance and requirements are subject to change and will be updated prior to future phases of re-entry, including a return to in-person instruction.

Anticipated Phased Approach Timeline

We anticipate restrictions and limitations in activities will be in place for the next 12 to 18 months. After evaluating several factors, including the trending numbers of new COVID-19 cases in our community, our testing capability and availability, our ability to monitor the spread of the virus in the campus community, the adequacy of community health care resources, current supply levels of personal protective equipment, and applicable federal, state and local directives, we developed the following color code system to coordinate and integrate operational procedures across UAB.

The active color code will be determined based upon state, local or UA System restrictions and conditions. Changes in the prevailing code will be announced by UAB leadership in response to the changing circumstances. Each level defines a different set of work criteria rules and regulations and operational plans.

RED

Access Severely Limited
(maintenance only, no research or academic activity)

YELLOW

Modified Business Operations
(26% - 74% capacity)

ORANGE

Limited Business Operations
(0% - 25% capacity)

GREEN

Full Access; Limited Public Health Restrictions
(75% - 100% capacity)

Orange

Dates: March 16 - May 25

  • Limited business operations with essential services only
  • Remote learning
  • Suspension of on-campus events and activities
Yellow: Phase 1

Target Dates: May 26 - June 15

  • Continuation of essential services and research support
  • Resumption of research activities as operational plans are approved
  • Clinic openings with operational plans and restricted personnel approved
Yellow: Phase 2

Target Dates: June 1 - June 30

  • Critical administrative and business operations as communicated from university and school leadership
  • Resumption of student clinical experiences following operational plans after approval
  • Continued resumption of research activities as operational plans are approved
Yellow: Phase 3

Target Dates: June 15 - July 19

  • Critical administrative, business operations, academic, student affairs as communicated from university/school leadership based on approved operational plans
Yellow: Phase 4

Target Dates: July 20 - August 10

  • Staggered return to campus of faculty and staff to prepare for resumption of modified fall return
  • All returns to campus will be based on on-site needs and approved operational plans
Yellow: Phase 5

Target Dates: August 10 - January 2021

  • Staggered return to campus for faculty and staff to prepare for resumption of modified fall return
  • Athletes (depending on guidance from the conference)
  • Some faculty, staff and students continue to work remotely
  • Residential and nonresidential students
Green

Target Dates: January - May 2021

  • Faculty, staff and students work on campus

The COVID-19 pandemic is a dynamic situation that continues to evolve, and our response will inevitably evolve as well. We will therefore update these guidelines and the protocols outlined below as necessary to continue to ensure the health and safety of the campus community. As of mid-May, we are working toward implementing guidelines for the Yellow/Modified Business Operations level as research and clinical activities resume.

Productivity in Modified Business Operations

In March, UAB — in partnership with the University of Alabama System — announced a Limited Business Model to slow the spread of COVID-19. In the initial phase of Limited Business, staff in Workgroups A (academic staff) and C (clinical staff) were assigned to one of three sub-groups:

  • Group 1: Needed to continue work in-person
  • Group 2: Needed to continue work but can do so remotely
  • Group 3: Not needed to work during a time of limited business

Note: Workgroup assignments (i.e., A, C, F) can be checked via the UAB Employee Workforce App online. Subgroup assignments (i.e., 1, 2, 3) are determined by an employee’s unit leadership/supervisor.

During the initial eight-week phase of Limited Business, employees — even those who could not work — continued to receive regular compensation while the financial and operational impact of COVID-19 was assessed. As Limited Business was prolonged, we could not continue to pay employees who could not work.

Effective May 10, all staff in Workgroup A Group 3 and a limited number of staff in Workgroup A Group 2 were placed on temporary furlough (May 10-July 31). Furloughed individuals are those who — by the nature of their work — could not do their jobs remotely or who serve in roles for which demand decreased or would decrease to a critical point during the furlough period. Some units exercised discretion and addressed unit-specific budget shortfalls by placing additional staff on furlough status who had worked effectively during the Limited Business model. No UAB Medicine staff in Workgroup C were placed on furlough due to the anticipated return to clinical operations as the hospital and clinics reopen.

As a result of furloughs effective May 10, remaining Workgroup A staff are those who can work effectively during Modified Business Operations according to their supervisor. As such, non-furloughed staff in Workgroup A are expected to maintain a state of full productivity in Modified Business Operations. Employees with questions are encouraged to ask their designated Human Resources representative.

Next Steps

Individuals who have responsibilities described within each of the phases and are anticipated to return to campus, and their supervisors, will be contacted with specific guidance as soon as possible, and updates and information will continue to be added to uab.edu/coronavirus and uab.edu/reentry.