This website provides answers to questions about our response to COVID-19 frequently asked by you and your classmates. This page will be updated regularly with new information, questions and answers as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal is to keep you as safe as possible while providing you the best medical education. For the latest updates and information, continue to check this webpage and your weekly COVID update emails.

Your Medical Education Team

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Vaccines

Are medical students required to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

No, COVID vaccinations are not required for medical students at this time.

Our team in Medical Education is here for you, and we are happy to answer your questions and discuss your concerns about the vaccine as you make your decision. 

What should I do if I haven’t received a vaccine invitation email from Employee Health?

All medical students should have received an email and survey from Employee Health to gather information for those wishing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you haven’t received the initial registration email, please alert a team member in Medical Student Services. Once you complete the survey, it may take several days to receive your appointment email. 

COVID-19 Testing and Healthcheck

Are medical students required to be tested for COVID-19 before coming to campus?

No. As medical students, you were not required to be tested for COVID before returning to campus. You will be required to complete Healthcheck regularly and are encouraged to participate in sentinel testing.

Are medical students required to participate in sentinel testing?

The UA System has modified the student groups required to participate in active sentinel testing this spring; clinical students, including you as medical students, are not required to do so. Medical students training on the Birmingham campus may participate in sentinel testing every other week if they choose to do so now. Students training on our regional campuses may participate in sentinel testing once a platform is available. 

Learn more about sentinel testing on the UAB United website.

How often am I expected to complete Healthcheck? 

Healthcheck is a system in place to monitor symptoms and exposures of all faculty, staff, and students at UAB.  When an individual reports either symptoms of COVID-19 or an exposure to someone with COVID-19, Healthcheck will provide with you immediate guidance about whether to stay at home or whether you are safe to come to campus.

At this time, you are required to complete Healthcheck every day, including weekends and holidays, regardless of your vaccination status.
 Learn more about Healthcheck on the UAB United webpage

What happens if I don’t complete Healthcheck?

We must take your safety, the safety of your peers, and the safety of faculty and staff very seriously.  Failure to complete Healthcheck could result in the inability to participate in on-campus activities.  Failure to complete Healthcheck more than 3 times is considered unprofessional behavior and may be reported on in your Medical Student Performance Evaluation.


COVID-19 Exposure

What do I do if I get sick or if I think I’ve been exposed to COVID-19?

Report your exposure and/or symptoms in Healthcheck immediately and to Dr. Van Wagoner and cc Denise Coston. You are not required to disclose personal health information. If you would rather not state that you have symptoms or an exposure, simply share in the e-mail that you are unable to participate in on-campus learning activities. Dr. Van Wagoner will inform your course directors of your need for absence. After reporting in Healthcheck and making Dr. Van Wagoner aware of your need for excuse from in-person activities, stay home until you receive direction from Student Health. Once you receive guidance from Student Health about how long you are to quarantine/isolate, please inform Dr. Van Wagoner and Ms. Coston; they will then contact your course director and let them know that you are excused from in person activities.

If you are on a clinical rotation, we would also ask that you inform your team of your absence. 


Curriculum and Grading

Will my grades be affected if I report a possible COVID exposure?

Your grades will not be affected, and you will not be penalized for reporting exposure or symptoms.

If I have to miss time on a clerkship, how will I make up the time? 

How you will make up missed time will depend on the amount of time you missed.  You must complete at least 50 percent of clerkships engaged in director patient care.  If you will miss less than 50 percent of a clerkship engaged in direct patient care, you are asked to complete the clerkship by participating in online course lectures and self-learning via completion of the Clerkships Online Curriculum.  If you find yourself in this circumstance, speak with the clerkship director to learn more about your independent learning plan.  If you will miss more than 50 percent of clinical time on a clerkship, you will need to enroll for an additional two weeks in that specialty to ensure that you have crossed the 50 percent requirement.  While you are away, you are asked to participate in online course lectures and the Clerkships Online Curriculum.

If I have to miss time on an elective, how will I make up the time?

If you are quarantined/isolated for 10-14 days of a 4-week elective, you will receive credit instead for a 2-week elective. If you are quarantined/isolated during a 2-week elective, you will need to drop that elective.

If I miss time on an Acting Internship, how will I make up the time?

An Acting Intern has the same number of days off a month as an Intern (4 days) and our school allows for an additional 2 days off for illness, family emergencies or conference presentations. If you are quarantined/isolated during an Acting Internship for more than the maximum 6 days allowed, you will need to make up missed time.

How does quarantine/isolation during a clerkship affect when I take the shelf examination?

While there will always be a need for individualization for unique circumstances, the following general recommendations are made regarding timing of the Clerkship shelf exam completion:

  1. If you miss time due to asymptomatic quarantine/isolation but return before the end of the clerkship, you are expected to take the shelf exam on the expected date.
  2. It you experience and report symptoms that impair your ability to prepare for the exam during time of isolation, you may choose to still take the examination as scheduled for the clerkship or delay the examination.  You will work with the Clerkship leadership on finding a make-up date.
  3. If you are quarantined/isolated at the time of a shelf exam, you will need to delay the shelf exam until a future date.  You will work with the Clerkship leadership to find a make-up date.


Do I have to wear a mask while on campus?

Yes. All students, faculty and staff must wear masks on campus in accordance with UAB policy, along with ordinances passed by the city of Birmingham and the state of Alabama.

Do I still have to wear a mask if I've been vaccinated against COVID-19?

If you have been vaccinated, you must still comply with the UAB policy and with ordiances in effect in Birmingham and Alabama. Even when you’re vaccinated, you could spread COVID-19 to others who have not been vaccinated, so it is still necessary to wear masks, maintain appropriate social distance and wash your hands frequently.

Will the School of Medicine provide masks?

You are responsible for providing a cloth masks that will be worn during learning activities.

Medical students participating in clinical rotations will receive two masks, based on the scope of their training responsibilities. MS3 and MS4 students will also be provided face shields and N95 masks to use in certain situations in the clinical environment.

If I purchase my own N95 mask, can I wear it instead of the school-provided masks? 

Yes. If you want to purchase your own N95 masks, which you are under no obligation to do, you can wear those.


Will we still have 24/7 access to Volker Hall and the anatomy lab?

You will still have access to Volker Hall, though the rooms and spaces throughout the building have been adjusted to accommodate appropriate social distancing. To accommodate necessary to ensure safety, distancing and disinfection protocols, you will not have access to the anatomy lab outside of scheduled activities.

Will Lister Hill and other campus libraries be open?

Yes, though our understanding at this time is that they will not be open until UAB undergraduates return to campus on Aug. 24.