July 07, 2020

Returning undergraduate student town hall: Your questions answered

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More than 550 questions were submitted before and during the virtual town hall for returning undergraduate students and parents on June 29, 2020. Many of these questions were addressed by UAB leaders during the event. (Watch the full returning undergraduate town hall below and note that a town hall for incoming freshmen will be held on July 8 at 6 p.m. and a town hall for graduate students will be held on July 15 at 6 p.m.)




All questions addressed by UAB leaders during the town hall — and those questions submitted for the town hall that could not be answered due to time constraints — are listed below.

Scroll down to see all questions or use the links below to jump to specific categories

Academics

            Labs and other specific course questions

Campus services and activities

Computer/internet

Dining

Disability Support Services accommodations

Housing

Parking/transportation

Pre-semester events

Scholarships

Student employment

Student health, re-entry and testing

Tuition/fees/refunds

 

 


Academics

 

What will classes look like in the fall?

Question answered by Provost Pam Benoit: There are actually four kinds of classes in terms of delivery method that you could be experiencing.

  • There will be some in-person face-to-face classes. These are typically courses that are discussion sections or they might be labs or performance-based courses that are small in size where we can socially distance and allow for a safe quality education.
  • Secondly there are hybrid courses. What that means is that a course will have a combination of in-person instruction as well as remote instruction. So for example if you are taking a Tuesday/Thursday class, they would alternate. On Tuesday you might be in class and half of the class will be in that class remotely. And on Thursday it switches around and the other half comes to class in the location on campus and you might be in the remote location at that point of time. So we're exploring very creative options to make sure particularly to socially distance students within the classroom, having half of those students in the classroom at a time allows us to be able to accomplish that in many of our classrooms and in fact we anticipate that a significant number of the classes will be in this hybrid format.
  • The third possibility is remote instruction. This is where a course is entirely delivered remotely. These are typically going to be classes, for example, that might be large lecture courses where we can't appropriately social distance. Usually a remote class is very synchronous, meaning at the same time all the students and the instructors are available and hearing the information.
  • And then the last option is online courses, known as Q courses. Some of you may have registered for some of those in the past. These are courses that were designed to be entirely online and they tend to be primarily asynchronous so that you are not necessarily in the same location — same place at the same time.
Get the latest information on UAB re-entry requirements and procedures at uab.edu/reentry.

So those four options give us a lot of flexibility in order to continue to deliver really great instruction for you in the fall. We're so looking forward to being able to do that.


For the mixed online-live classes, how is it going to be decided which students will be in the online session versus the live days? Will it be possible for students to express a preference based on their schedules?

Question answered by Provost Benoit: Okay so this would not be online. It would be a hybrid course — a combination of in-person and remote instruction. Remote, remember, is really focusing more on synchronous kinds of learning, as opposed to online, which focuses on asynchronous learning. We are continuing to work out the process for identifying which students will be on campus on which days. What we're trying to do here is to limit the number of in-person exposure hours any given student has. We're trying to work through that process currently.


I'm currently a UAB student. I wanted to know if there is an option to take classes that you've registered for online if you do not feel fully comfortable attending in-person classes in August?

Question answered by Provost Benoit: As I said earlier, there are multiple options. There are remote courses. There are also online courses. If you have a medical reason that you cannot be in class, then we would encourage you to reach out to Disability Support Services. I would also suggest that you look in the schedule to see how classes are being offered. Particularly for some classes, it's very difficult to offer them entirely remote or online. For example, classes that have labs, although we've been very creative about different kinds of options that are available. So look in the schedule. We're currently working with each one of the schools to have the schedules up fairly soon to let you know how each class will be offered in the fall semester.


Will tuition still be the same price if some classes have moved to online? I asked this as we will not be using all the campus resources.

Question answered by Provost Benoit: There's a distinction between remote courses and online courses. Online courses are the Q courses. Those were designed to be offered online and the pricing reflects that. It's asynchronous kind of delivery. Remote courses, if you happen to have a remote course, will be offered at the regular rate just as we did in the spring.

Find the latest updates on UAB's response to coronavirus as it relates to undergraduate students.

I would also comment about the resources, actually there are an incredible amount of resources going into converting courses to either a remote or a hybrid format. It is quite expensive for us to do this. We're also installing cameras into the classrooms so that if you are in the section at this point in time where you're not in class you still can see the instructor and interact with the instructor and participate in the conversation. So there are a lot of additional expenses to being able to continue to offer instruction in this way. If I can also add I will remind the folks on the call that we recommended and our Board of Trustees approved no increase in tuition, so tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state students will remain flat, the same as they were for the last academic year.


My daughter is out-of-state. When classes go online, will out-of-state students get the online rate?

Question answered by Provost Benoit: If it is a remote course, they will continue to pay the out-of-state tuition rate. It’s a really good question and I'm not surprised that it gets asked a lot. Out-of-state students pay an increased tuition rate and that's done not because of the delivery format but it's done because out-of-state students and their parents do not pay state taxes within Alabama, and those state taxes help to support the courses that we are able to offer. This is a way of compensating for that.


How will students exactly know which type of class they are registered for? Hybrid, remote, etc.?

Question answered by Provost Benoit: Currently we're gathering that information from each one of the deans for each of the schools that you might be taking classes in. That will appear on the schedule when we have a chance to load it. So we're hoping by the end of this week we'll have all that data in and then we'll start the process of identifying: Is it a face-to-face class? Is it a hybrid class? Is it a remote class? Online classes are already identified in the schedule because they carry the Q designation. So if you register for one of those you already know what kind of class that will be. But we'll be modifying the schedule to reflect that information.

I'll also say one of the things that we needed to do is in some cases the classroom that a course was originally scheduled for can't accommodate the number of students that are in that class and do it in a socially distant way. There will be some location changes as well and that will also appear on the schedule as we do these modifications. We're trying to provide as much information to you so that you can look and see what kind of course each one of these classes will end up being.


Could you explain the protocol about how classrooms and common areas will be cleaned?

Question answered by Chief Facilities Officer Greg Parsons: The emphasis we will be placing is on those commonly touched items: doorknobs, restrooms — commonly touched surfaces where hand-to-hand transmission could occur. We also intend to provide hand sanitizer, wipes and spray disinfectant in the rooms. We have some large-scale, heavy-duty cleaning apparatus that we would use a couple of times a day in the classrooms. But just due to the current class schedule, the number of people, we will use what we're referring to as wiping in and wiping out. You clean your desk and workstation as you go in and you clean it as you leave. We're going to provide the supplies to make that available to everyone and then we'll also add additional cleaning regimens in between.


 

The following questions were submitted during the town hall but time did not permit answering during the event. The answers below have been provided by UAB leadership.

 

Will Fall 2020 also have a pass/fail option?

We anticipate that the same adjustments that were made for the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters as a result of COVID-19 for grading (student option to choose pass/fail grading in most courses), course withdrawals and Incomplete grades will continue for the Fall 2020 semester.


How will we ensure that students that do test positive during the course of the semester are given time to recover without falling so far behind on their schoolwork that a medical drop would be necessary?

Students in this situation should register for COVID-19-related academic adjustments through Disability Support Services. Faculty will be flexible in offering students time away from class when they are ill and time to make up work. Of course, just like with any other illness, faculty may ask for documentation. We anticipate that the same adjustments that were made for the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters as a result of COVID-19 for grading (student option to choose pass/fail grading in most courses), course withdrawals and Incomplete grades will continue for the Fall 2020 semester.


If you test positive, how will you still be able to do schoolwork in courses that cannot be completed remotely, such as lab courses?

Faculty are providing flexibility in completing coursework in the case of illness. Students in this situation should register for COVID-19-related academic adjustments through Disability Support Services.


If you get COVID-19 and your grades drop because of it, will it affect your scholarships or will there be an exemption for this year?

The Office of Undergraduate Scholarships will review each case on an individual basis.


How will professors be directed to handle situations when students are sick and are unable to come to class? In the past, professors have counted excused absences towards our total number of allowed absences each semester. Will that change with the extra precautions we are taking in light of COVID-19?

Students in this situation should register with Disability Support Services. All COVID-19-related illnesses will be excused.


Will professors be permitted to take an attendance grade?

Yes, but all COVID-19-related illnesses will be excused. Students concerned about their attendance as a result of COVID-19 should register with Disability Support Services.


What are students expected to do if they have back-to-back hybrid classes and are supposed to be in person for the first class, then online for the second class?

Students who foresee a pattern of difficulties in arriving to class on time should consult with their instructors to see if the hybrid delivery model can offer solutions. For instance, a student with back-to-back classes in different buildings might opt to do the first class synchronously on Tuesday and the second one synchronously on Thursday. (In a situation such as this one, an instructor and student might need to communicate with another instructor to resolve issues.)


Will the add/drop deadline for classes be extended considering the circumstances?

Yes, we anticipate making the same sort of adjustments for these deadlines as we made for the Summer 2020 semester.


If a course is listed as in-person can an instructor choose to make their class fully online?

That course will be hybrid, and there will be varying degrees of remote vs. face-to-face course activities, depending on the course.


Will there be a way to anonymously report issues with classes and professors as a result of the new hybrid class model?

Students who believe that they cannot report their concerns to their instructors should discuss their situations with their academic advisors. Students can also report their concerns to One Stop.


Will the original curriculum for each major change in any way to accommodate the semester changes?

There are no plans to alter curriculum requirements for majors, but students are urged to consult with their advisors about alternative courses if they are concerned about taking particular courses this semester.


How does a student sign up for a semester off and return in the spring?

By contacting the Registrar’s Office in consultation with their adviser.


Are we able to transfer in a course grade of P from another institution that the equivalency was already approved for?

Yes.


What actions are you taking towards having an actual graduation ceremony for the fall and spring semesters?

We have not made a decision yet on Fall 2020 commencement, but in-person ceremonies are unlikely inasmuch as there will be no return to campus after Thanksgiving. No decision has been made on Spring 2021 commencement. We are permitting students to walk in future in-person ceremonies.


Is there any circumstance under which you would shut down in-person classes in the fall? If so, what are those conditions?

As we were this past spring, we are ready to remove to all remote classes if that were to become necessary.


If protests continue into the fall semester, how will UAB balance encouraging students' right to protest and keeping our campus safe?

UAB will continue to put the health and safety of our students first and work with student groups on safe demonstrations and events, offering alternatives for any campus-related activity.


 

Labs and other specific course questions

 

How will our labs work?

Labs will be able to take place with safety measures in place. There may be some virtual lab activities as well.


Will lab courses transition to remote instruction after Thanksgiving?

Yes.


Dr. Eric Mackie released the plan for Alabama public schools this past Friday. How will this affect those of us who will be student teaching this upcoming fall semester?

How will students in the School of Education or in UABTeach get their requirements in for city school visits?

The School of Education is consulting with partners and peer institutions about proceeding in the fall. More information will be shared as it is available.


Will language classes be in person or hybrid?

We anticipate that most of them will be hybrid, but some may be entirely in-person and some might be offered in a fully remote format. Please check course listings for each specific class to confirm.


How will wearing masks affect students in the Department of Music?

The department chair is working with faculty to develop a creative learning environment while still adhering to safety regulations.


What extra precautions will be taken within the music department, i.e. the shared keyboards for class piano?

A number of extra precautions will be taken and communicated to students in the department before classes begin.


Will exercise courses happen?

Yes, in a hybrid format.


What about the classes that require students to get service hours? How will those work?

The Office of Service Learning and Undergraduate Research is developing a plan for safe service work.


[back to category list]


Campus services and activities


Will campus buildings like the Rec Center, the libraries and the Student Center be open?

Question answered by Chief Facilities Officer Greg Parsons: Yes. Social distancing will still be practiced, but the libraries will be open and in such arrangements,  they can use the facilities at a safe distance. We will continue to clean those facilities as we do others.

Question answered by Rebecca Kennedy, assistant vice president for Student Health and Wellbeing: We haven't determined yet exactly when the Rec Center will open, but we are going to work as quickly as we can to do that safely. As the experts let us know that it is safe for us to go ahead and do that in a socially distanced way then we will get that set up and squared away. We’ll start notifying our members and our students as soon as we have a plan for that.


How will student organizations work this fall?

Question answered by Mary Wallace, assistant vice president for Student Experience: We are working on a plan right now to communicate with our registered student organizations a way in which they can keep their programs virtual, or keep the tenets and parameters we have for social distancing — including the six feet of distance between all participants, making sure that all events are registered through Engage, following the facility guidelines that will be put out there for each facility and keeping indoor events to 10 or less participants. We really expect that most things for registered student organizations will still be virtual, much like we are doing with our departments through the Division of Student Affairs to offer services and programming virtually for the fall semester. But we will be working with you through the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership.


Will Athletics be making announcements soon on how student athletes will be impacted?

Question answered by Dan Carlson, senior associate athletics director for administration: Many of our football student-athletes have already returned to campus and have been working out in the weight room. On July 15 they will start actual fall practice and workout sessions. So that is already in place. We have a testing policy — as soon as those student-athletes returned to campus, they all were tested immediately and quarantined until we found out what their test results were. If they cleared then they were able to start working out and so all those things have been in place.

As far as it goes for our facilities, come fall we are optimistic that we will be playing this fall at Legion Field. For our home football games we have already put together a model of social distancing at the games. We'll be working with the City of Birmingham, the state of Alabama and obviously the NCAA and follow the practices and regulations we will need to follow at that point. We already have the model in place to make sure everybody is properly social distanced, masks are being worn, all the same things we've talked about so far on this video will already be in place for our games as well. Everything from that standpoint is moving forward until we hear otherwise but we're still exactly two months before kickoff so at that time we'll have a better idea of where everything stands.


The following questions were submitted during the town hall but time did not permit answering during the event. The answers below have been provided by UAB leadership.


When will students be able to get their One Card?

The university is determining the best process for students to access their One Cards. Once a final plan is ready, details will be posted on the One Stop website.


Will students still be able to attend office hours and tutoring (writing center)?

Staff at the University Writing Center are working full hours through virtual sessions. Students can arrange for feedback through a live Zoom session or the center staff can record feedback and send it to them. The writing center is not booking in-person sessions at this time.


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Computer/internet


The following questions were submitted during the town hall but time did not permit answering during the event. The answers below have been provided by UAB leadership.


Has the university increased the internet bandwidth in order to accommodate the increased internet usage?

Campus has sufficient bandwidth to cover internal and external internet demand. Changes were made this spring to improve VPN bandwidth to accommodate increased remote access demand. Changes were also made to improve connectivity from local ISPs (AT&T).


Will some type of guidance be provided to students regarding specific or recommended technology they will need for classes? For example laptop vs chrome book. Some students may not know what they need to do remote learning.

A smart device or laptop will work for viewing and engaging in class presentations. Some classes will have proctored exams; these classes will have additional requirements, provided here — generally, Windows or Mac computers with lockdown browser capabilities.

The university is developing a computer loan program, including establishing precise criteria for who can access these loaner devices.


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Dining

Mark Booker, executive director of Student Housing and Dining, shared the following dining changes related to COVID-19: We are in the process of reviewing and modifying rates for Fall meal plans. We anticipate having most of our food venues open, but final decisions are still being made with regard to which venues will be open. We are going to do our best to provide safe and quick service and will require students to wear face masks, remain socially distanced and plan their meals around their schedules to spread out our peak demand times throughout the day. We will provide touchless payment options with all card currencies as we are going cashless for the fall. We are also working on a plan to extend contact free pickup and delivery at all locations. If you have questions regarding dining or concerns please contact us at uabdining@uab.edu.


What are the rules for social distancing within the Commons and other places for eating?

We're going to reduce the amount of furniture in most of our areas where students congregate. That will include the dining locations, lobbies, the lounges within the residence halls. We really want students to adhere to our guideline of no more than 10 students in a gathering at one time. In addition to that we're also going to be enforcing wearing face masks. If you're in line for dining, remaining six feet apart while you're waiting on food. There will be no self-service of food, so all food will be prepared behind stations. And then grab and go will also be another option, so that if there aren't tables available you can grab your stuff, leave the Hill Center or the Commons and eat on the Green and enjoy some fresh air.


The following questions were submitted during the town hall but time did not permit answering during the event. The answers below have been provided by UAB leadership.


Will UAB be requiring a meal plan? I know students like myself may not feel comfortable going to The Hill and The Commons where there will be an influx of students?

Yes, a meal plan will be required. Most locations will be take-out only. As we move to a more relaxed dining model, take-out will remain available throughout the year. The best way to order take-out is with the Grubhub app. You can order from campus restaurants and pay with your meal plan — and skip the line. The Commons will also have take-out, but pre-order will not be available.


For dining plans, will the $250 be required still?

The dining fee ($225, not $250) is still required for undergraduate students who take 12 hours or more, OR live on campus.


Will all campus dining locations be listed on Grubhub to limit contact?

We are working to have all locations listed with Grubhub with the exception of the Dining Commons.


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Disability Support Services accommodations


Since we are having hybrid classes, how will DSS accommodations be affected?

Question answered by Allison Solomon, director of Disability Support Services: One of the things that's important for students to know, especially students who are already registered with Disability Support Services, as well as any students who think they need to register with DSS, the process for receiving accommodations will be the same.

So if you're registered with DSS our system is set up so that you receive accommodation letters by using the portal and so that will work the same way that it worked in spring and the way that it's working for summer.

For those who have taken classes this summer, you're going to follow that same process. If there are specific questions, we would definitely encourage you to contact us at dss@uab.edu.

One of the things we want to make sure that students are aware of is that we have created an application process [now live on the DSS website at this link] on the Disability Support Services webpage for students who have a COVID-19 positive result and for students that are categorized in that higher risk category that the CDC has outlined. If you live with someone who is impacted by COVID in that way, we're happy to work with you. We'll be happy to answer any questions that you have related to that, so we would just encourage you to contact DSS directly at dss@uab.edu if you're impacted by COVID-19.


How do you qualify for DSS? What kind of documentation do you need to provide?

Question answered by Allison Solomon, director of Disability Support Services: That's one of the things that we're in the process of developing right now. So one of the things that will be on the website is indicating specifically depending the category that you fall into, what you will be required to provide to Disability Support Services to coordinate accommodations. Again I would stress please contact DSS specifically regarding your situation at dss@uab.edu. We'll be happy to answer your questions.

 

The following questions were submitted during the town hall but time did not permit answering during the event. The answers below have been provided by UAB leadership.

 

If you have a DSS accommodation saying that you can record lectures, will you still be able to do that with all types of classes?

All approved accommodations should be provided when reasonable, regardless of course format. For inquiries regarding how an accommodation will apply to a specific course, students are encouraged to contact Disability Support Services directly at dss@uab.edu.


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Housing

 

When will move-in take place?

Question answered by Mark Booker, executive director of Student Housing and Dining: Move-in will take place over five days in August, from the 19th through the 23rd. More details will follow with specifics and you will be allowed to pick a time on those days to bring your gear to campus. So please begin making plans now to bring a limited amount of your belongings.


For the residence halls like Camp Hall and Blazer Hall is there going to be one person per dorm room?

Question answered by Mark Booker, executive director of Student Housing and Dining: No, the plan will be to have full occupancy. For those rooms designed for two there will be two persons in each room.


Will housing rates be adjusted for this semester?

Question answered by Mark Booker, executive director of Student Housing and Dining: We are going to be adjusting our rates for housing in coordination with the reduced fall semester. More details will follow about those rates soon.


When will room assignments be shared?

Question answered by Mark Booker, executive director of Student Housing and Dining: We will begin sharing room and roommate assignments the third week of July. If you have questions or concerns please email us directly at studenthousing@uab.edu.


When it says no visitation in the dorms, does it mean not even UAB students can visit each other in their dorm rooms or does it mean no non-UAB people can visit?

Question answered by Mark Booker, executive director of Student Housing and Dining: Initially even if you're a UAB student and live in another residence hall we are going to ask students to stay in their assigned hall versus visiting one another. We want to do everything we can to minimize the spread. As the semester goes forward and we get into the spring maybe then we can reevaluate that practice.


In the housing email sent out recently we were told we could bring limited personal items. What does this mean? If we are going to be taking some classes online, that’s spending lots of time in the dorm. Shouldn't we be able to make it home?

Question answered by Mark Booker, executive director of Student Housing and Dining: Absolutely, it is your home and we want you to feel at home. Again the guideline is more a general rule of thumb to promote an ability that in the event the circumstances change or you decide to leave on the 20th of November and take some of your gear with you, that it's just easier for you to do that. So it's just a planning tool to try to help students plan, again knowing that not every student on our Zoom tonight is going to be living on campus. Just stay tuned for what those specific recommendations will be. I won't bore all of our audience members with an exhaustive list, but we will be giving guidelines in the very near future.


The following questions were submitted during the town hall but time did not permit answering during the event. The answers below have been provided by UAB leadership.


As of right now, we haven’t heard about when we will know our housing assignments on campus. Will the day to get our housing refund, should we decide to not live on campus, be moved until after we find out our assignments? Currently, it is set for July 1, and we have yet to receive word about housing.

We will offer partial prepayment refunds for students who cancel their contract based on their assignment.


Will housing assignments be released before roommate assignments? A 3-week period between roommate assignments and the beginning of the school year is not enough time for out-of-state students to find off campus housing.

Assignments will be sent beginning July 15.


Will UAB consider extending its deadline for cancellation of the housing contract? We would like to have some more transparency before making a definite decision!

The deadline has been extended 30 days at this time. We will offer partial prepayment refunds for late cancellations.


Has the decision on mandatory campus residence for freshmen been made?

Freshmen are still required to live on campus for Fall 2020. Exemption requests may be submitted by visiting the Housing site and clicking on the Exemption Form button. 


Can I bring my own small refrigerator?

Practically speaking, we would not advise students to bring their own appliances (or additional pieces of furniture and other large items) this fall. Students will have limited time to move in and with the requirements of social distancing, additional appliances will take up needed space.


If freshmen live within 50 miles of campus, can they live at home and keep their scholarships?

It depends on the type of scholarship. Please contact the scholarship office for specifics pertaining to your student’s award.


Will a hierarchy of which students will get housing priority be released prior to housing assignments so that students with a lower priority (such as seniors) may have additional time to find off-campus housing?

Returning Student priority is based on participation in the Fall 2020 Housing Survey conducted last November and when application was submitted, not classification. Upperclassmen have an equal opportunity to be assigned based on these factors.


Will there be an application in which after the first weeks of school you can change your roommate, or will our assigned roommate be unchangeable?

We have not determined how room changes will be handled for fall, as we are currently anticipating being 100% full on campus.


Last year, for housing my son was assigned a room with two other students. however, it was a two-person room. Will this continue to be the practice — assigning three persons to a two-person room?

We will not be assigning three people to double rooms this year.


Will everyone who registered for housing be accommodated on campus?

At the present time – given the current plan related to COVID-safe practices – we anticipate being able to accommodate all students with current contracts on campus this fall.


If a student isn't comfortable having a roommate because of COVID-19 is it possible for them to still pay for a single room?

Given the excess demand for housing on campus, we are not able to offer single spaces under this condition. Students who request and receive an accommodation through Disability Support Services (discomfort with roommate excepted) may be assigned a single space if there is excess capacity to do so.


Should you wait until you receive your dorm assignment (later in July) before you purchase your parking pass?

It is up to you whether to wait or go ahead and purchase a parking decal. Under certain conditions, it may be possible to change a decal to a lot closer to your hall provided there are decals available in the preferred lot.


Will upperclassmen be guaranteed a housing assignment? If we don’t receive housing, will we be refunded our deposit?

All current upperclassmen who have a contract for fall will receive an assignment on campus.


Is there going to be a difference in dates where we know if we have housing versus housing assignments? Worded differently: to out-of-state students it matters less to us where exactly we will be living, but rather if we need to start the process of finding off-campus housing.

If you have a contract for fall, you will receive an assignment. If you are on the notification list, every effort will be made to offer you an assignment before August; however, you should be considering a Plan B option.


What is the status on the construction of Green Hall (Residence Hall 2020)? Will it be open to students in August? If not, what will happen to the resident assistants (RAs) who are assigned there?

Currently, we anticipate some space may be available for occupancy in Green Hall by August. RAs will be notified of their options related to this development as soon as we have the necessary information.


With Green Hall not being open at the beginning of the semester and projecting to open in October, if students want this dorm and they list this as their number 1 will they be able to move into that dorm when it opens or will they stay in their #2 or #3 choices.

While Green Hall was not available to rank as a preference (by freshmen who applied by Feb. 3), these students were given the option to indicate if they were interested in living in Green Hall when it is available. If spaces are expected to be available in August, some students who showed interest will be assigned to Green Hall. 


Will there be sufficient on-campus housing? Son who is returning undergrad missed initial deadline for on-campus housing — now on standby. What is the likelihood he will be able to get space in the dorms?

For students on the notification list (i.e., standby), it is possible we will not be able to place everyone on that list. In addition, often times, students offered a lower preference decide not to take the space offered, in which case it further delays the process for getting to everyone on the list. The safest option is to have a Plan B if you are currently on the notification list.


How will spring housing assignments be made for students who are not in residence halls fall semester?

Spring assignments will be made based on the original housing application date, based on space available at that time.


If my daughter decides to commute rather than remain in the dorm, will we still receive the refund on housing from last semester?

Yes.


Is Denman single living still an option for Fall 2020?

Not for fall. Possibly for spring.


>With Camp Hall being used for health care workers during the spring semester, will it be utilized for students in fall?

Yes. It has been and will again be thoroughly sanitized and disinfected. In addition, it will be vacant for at least two weeks prior to students returning in August.


Will exceptions be granted for students to stay over winter break if they need to?

Yes, on a case-by-case for students with extenuating circumstances or hardship.


When will we hear about information on our dorm from last year? Any additional costs due to damage?

All damage charges have been processed at this time. If you have specific questions about your charges, please email us at studenthousing@uab.edu.


Can my student expect UAB to protect his personal property if there is a quick move to evacuate the dorms similar to what happened this spring?

We will be limiting the amount of personal property students can bring to campus such that in the event we move to remote instruction prior to Nov. 20, residents can take their personal property home. In the event the university, hospital, city, county or state need to utilize the residence halls during the break for any reason, UAB may reclaim the residence hall spaces and carefully remove and store the remaining belongings until spring.


Seeing that all on-campus students have to leave by Nov. 20, I was informed by student housing that after Nov. 20, students would be required to pay nightly till we leave. What is an estimate of this nightly fee?

The nightly rate depends on the residence hall and type of room in which the student is assigned. The rates for each segment of the semester will be posted on our website.  A general “estimate” is $30 per night.


If a student did not submit a housing application for upperclassmen for Fall 2020 will there be a chance for that student to have somewhere to live on campus?

For students on the notification list (i.e., standby), it is possible we will not be able to place everyone on that list. In addition, often times, students offered a lower preference decide not to take the space offered, in which case it further delays the process for getting to everyone on the list.  The safest option is to have a Plan B if you are currently on the notification list.


When will residents of Camp Hall for Spring 2020 who chose to have their refunds applied to Fall 2020 know what they received?

They may email us at studenthousing@uab.edu for details.


What if your student is considered a high-risk group, such as a diabetic? Will they be allowed to live on campus or will they be required to stay home?

This is a personal preference. Students who have an existing condition that could complicate or elevate their risks should notify us of their circumstances and discuss options.  Please email us at studenthousing@uab.edu.


In terms of housing what do we do if we suspect our assigned roommate has COVID-19?

All students will be required to complete a Healthcheck symptom assessment every one to three days. Those results are reported directly to Student Health and will be followed up through virtual outreach to assess their condition. It is essential for the safety of everyone on campus that students routinely self-monitor and report their symptoms promptly and accurately.


My daughter is in the joint admissions program. She transferred in so she does not have on-campus housing. She only has two classes on campus (not available as an online course) so she will need to be in Birmingham for class. Are there options for students in this type of situation?

There are apartments available near campus who may offer these types of arrangements. Please contact Off Campus Student Services for more information.


My sophomore son with special needs was denied an on-campus room, and will have to go to another school unless housing is provided. Why have local students not been moved out of UAB housing to make room for out-of-town students?

We make every effort to accommodate all students on campus both local and out-of-town. Historically, demand for housing on campus has far exceeded capacity, which is the driving factor behind adding over 2,100 spaces for students on campus since 2006. For specific questions regarding your student’s application, please email us at studenthousing@uab.edu.


If two incoming freshmen women on scholarship feel safer living off campus in one of the new apartment buildings, but not in a freshman dorm, especially if one has a medical condition making her at-risk for serious illness from COVID-19, can they live off-campus and still keep their scholarships?

Typically, UAB scholarship funds earmarked for housing are not allowed to be used at off-campus properties. We encourage you to contact the scholarship office for specifics pertaining to your student’s award.


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Parking / Transportation


Will parking prices be decreased as we won't be on campus all of the time?

Question answered by André Davis, director of UAB Transportation: We actually set our parking rates back in March, pre-COVID-19. But as a result of COVID-19 we have reevaluated those rates and yes, our parking rates have been discounted as a result of the condensed class schedule for the fall. The new parking rates were just loaded on our website today so that when permits go on sale Wednesday July 1 at 12 a.m. students will see the new discounted parking rate on the website and in the ordering portal.


What changes will be made to the Blazer Express bus system and the late-night escort services to ensure the safety of passengers?

Question answered by André Davis, director of UAB Transportation: Providing a safe environment for our passengers is the most important concern of ours. We've implemented a number of changes to the Blazer Express with regard to safety. Face coverings will be required for all passengers on Blazer Express — this includes our bus drivers as well. We are also limiting the number of passengers on Blazer Express buses and on our safety escort vans to promote and support social distancing. We have also again enhanced our cleaning protocol daily, nightly and also weekly. Be sure to visit our website in the near future because we'll be posting an article on the enhancements.


 

The following questions were submitted during the town hall but time did not permit answering during the event. The answers below have been provided by UAB leadership.

 

Seems like there will be far more off-campus students [this semester]. Is there a plan for additional parking permit options for those students?

While there may be more students living off-campus, the hybrid class scheduling plan means that fewer of those students will need to be on campus at the same time. UAB Transportation is working closely with the admissions office to get a better idea of how the flow of students on campus will look this fall.


Will cashless payment methods also be applied to street parking around UAB’s campus?

The City of Birmingham is now offering cashless payments at thousands of parking meters through a partnership with ParkMobile. We understand that the new system will start on the north side of downtown and may eventually spread to other areas.


Will carpool parking passes still be available?

Yes.


In the past, parking has been very challenging and resulted in multiple parking tickets. I read where you plan to address this issue. Can you expand on this? 

The number of citations issued to students has actually decreased over the years. Moving to a zone-based parking system has afforded students a better opportunity to find spaces, as they have specific areas to park in. The parking violations we see most are related to students with no parking permit who are attempting to park in restricted parking zones.


What changes will be made to late-night escort services to ensure the safety of passengers?

Providing a safe environment to our passengers is our most important concern. A few of the changes we have implemented include the requirement for all passengers (including the driver) to wear a face covering, limiting the number of passengers in the vehicle, and enhanced daily cleaning protocol. More detailed information can be found on our website.


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Pre-semester events


The following questions were submitted during the town hall but time did not permit answering during the event. The answers below have been provided by UAB leadership.


For those who attend camps that begin before the semester, such as marching band and Football, will they begin normally?

Pre-semester camps for the marching band and pre-season practice for UAB Football are proceeding with modifications and precautions. UAB football players are scheduled to report to camp on Aug. 5.


How can walk-on student athletes be a part of the football team this summer?

Walk-on tryouts are typically held in the spring. The 2020 UAB Football roster is set and there will be no walk-on tryouts this summer or fall.  


Is band camp still scheduled to start on Aug. 14?

Yes. Leadership staff and all percussion players will arrive Aug. 11. All remaining new and returning members will arrive on Aug. 14.


What is the plan for Honors Retreat before the actual classes start? Is it still happening?

Yes. The Honors College New Student Retreat will take place, with appropriate modifications and precautions. Incoming honors students will receive an email in the coming weeks with detailed information on the New Student Retreat.


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Scholarships


The following questions were submitted during the town hall but time did not permit answering during the event. The answers below have been provided by UAB leadership.


If I am out of state on the ACM program, do I still receive out of state scholarships?

Students that are approved for an Academic Common Market program will have their scholarship changed to an in-state scholarship. This policy was changed starting Fall 2019. If a student switches majors and they are no longer eligible for ACM, their scholarship will change back to the out-of-state amount.


Has the scholarship department completed their distribution of scholarship money for the upcoming fall semester? Or has that been placed on hold?

We are continuing to award merit scholarship offers to newly admitted students as we know many plans have changed due to COVID-19. For current students, all funds have been distributed.


Would web cams for classes that require ProctorU be considered required materials in the bookstore (for scholarship purposes)?

We have very few bookstore scholarships paid for by enrollment management, but we would consider that a required material. Right now the limitations on the bookstores scholarships prevent students from using it to purchase items like t-shirts and sweatshirts. Athletic compliance may need to be consulted about this for athletes on book scholarships.


If students have an excess of scholarship and thus receive refunds, will they still be given as normal?

Yes, refunds will still be processed by direct deposit or a refund check will be mailed to the student. Students are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit to avoid delays in receiving the refund.


Is there a deadline moneywise about making a decision to attend UAB or not anymore because of the situation?

A student may risk loss of scholarship and will need to consult with the Scholarships office regarding how a change would impact their scholarship.

Student employment


The following questions were submitted during the town hall but time did not permit answering during the event. The answers below have been provided by UAB leadership.


If we have a job will we be able to return to campus after Thanksgiving break?

Exceptions can be requested for students with jobs. Guidance will be provided.


Will student workers be able to go back to work?

Check with supervisors, as this will be on a case-by-case basis. Many jobs will be available to students, although the availability of some jobs may be limited. 


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Student health, re-entry and testing

Will UAB provide COVID-19 testing and will students have to pay for testing?

Question answered by UAB President Ray Watts: Yes, we will provide free testing to every student, new and returning, prior to coming back to campus. Most likely it will be in the 7- to 14-day period before the return. And with a negative test, along with completing the appropriate safety training and enrolling in the Healthcheck, then students can come back to campus.

There also will be what is called sentinel testing for our employees and our students. It's a randomized testing of a certain percentage of students using public health and epidemiologic principles to be able to predict how the virus is behaving in our community and in particular if there are areas that we really need to focus attention on.

So yes, that test [both re-entry testing and sentinel testing] will be free. That's being funded by the CARES Act money that came from the federal government to the state of Alabama in the governor's office and the Department of Health for the state of Alabama. We are working with them to provide that to our campus, to our sister campuses UA and UAH and we actually are through the state going to make this available to all returning college and university students in the state of Alabama, which is over 250,000-plus students. So this is a very comprehensive plan.


How will UAB enforce mask regulations and social distancing?

Question answered by UAB President Ray Watts: It's important to understand that the reason to wear a mask or face covering is both to protect yourself but also importantly to protect everyone around you. The most powerful tools right now to fight COVID-19 are mask coverings, good hygiene and social distancing.

If you are outside the range of six feet and you have mask coverings you have a very markedly reduced likelihood to develop COVID-19 or to get COVID-19 from someone. The reason for hand-washing is because you might touch a doorknob or a door et cetera so we have enhanced hygienic cleaning and we know that if you wash your hands frequently, especially after touching anything, then you will remove the COVID from your body so we're gonna do everything possible to make sure that all of our students and all of our employees and our entire community are safe and get the very best that science, medicine and public health can offer.

I would also add that in the training that each one of the students will come through it details the importance of mask-wearing for each one of classes and even when you're outside of class to continue to wear your mask.

Faculty will be able to tell students that they cannot come to class if they're not wearing their mask. This is the way that we will be able to continue to provide some in-person experiences for students and so we need your help and make sure that we're keeping others safe as you come back to campus.

If you're not wearing a mask you will not be allowed to come into a classroom and you will not be allowed to be in an experience with other students and faculty. That's how important it is and we really believe that if our students understand this and accept the social responsibility of taking care and looking out for one another that we will have the compliance that is necessary.


Do you plan to alert students about other students and faculty who test positive?

Question answered by President Watts: We have an exposure notification piece of software that we have developed and will be rolled out we hope by the end of July. What happens there is that someone indicates that they have a positive result and that software allows us to see who they've been in contact with. Because of HIPAA regulations we never identify the individual student. There are privacy issues that are involved there. Dr. Faircloth would you add more to that answer?

Question answered by Dr. Michael Faircloth, director of Student Health Services: I will just reiterate that with FERPA and HIPAA we would never identify a positive individual to other individuals like that.

Dr. Watts: Let me just elaborate on what that software tool does. If you are within six feet of someone for 15 minutes or more who has tested positive for COVID it will alert you that you have been in that proximity and then there's a medical protocol for how you take the next steps and contact Student Health and either get testing or quarantine. It is very rigorous, very well-thought-out and it's something that we believe will give our students in our community a great advantage in limiting the spread of this virus.


What about students who are out of state? How will they be tested before coming to campus?

Question answered by Lori McMahon, dean of the UAB Graduate School: We have a lot of discussions going on right now and a lot of planning to be able to make COVID testing accessible to not only our in-state students but out-of-state students. UAB and the governor's office have several partners who are helping with this and we're working with those partners to make those locations available. One idea, and this hasn't been decided yet, but one potential partner is a Walgreens or CVS, something like that, so out-of-state students might be able to go to a local Walgreens to get testing. But again these conversations are still ongoing. Those of you who live outside of Alabama, we will communicate with you and let you know where you can go locally to get your test taken. The timeframe is seven- to 14 days prior to you coming to our campus. That will also be communicated to you as soon as we know the specifics.


Many students are asking if testing is required. If UAB is mandating the test.

Question answered by Dr. Watts: Yes, you heard that from me. All students will be required to take a COVID-19 test before they come to our campus and so we are anxious to get all those plans in place and we will let you know how that will work for you based on where you live, whether it's in the state of Alabama or outside Alabama.


Is sentinel testing required?

Question answered by Dr. Watts: Sentinel testing will be offered across our campus, so students, faculty and staff. Somewhere between 2.5% to 5% of our population will be invited to participate. Sentinel testing is a voluntary test, but we hope that everyone who is asked to participate will participate. This is one of the great measures that we are putting in place at UAB to keep all of us safe, so if you are contacted and asked to participate in sentinel testing we hope that you participate.

Question answered by Dr. Michael Faircloth, director of Student Health Services: Yes, it is voluntary, but as Dr. Watts pointed out it's a great way to notice trends and groupings and things like that so we can act early in decision making. It is voluntary but we really recommend participating if you're chosen.


Will PPE be provided to students?

Question answered by Provost Benoit: Each student will receive two masks as they come in to campus. They will have access to the necessary PPE and will be able to be compliant with the mask requirement for campus.

Dr. Watts: I think you might clarify that those would be cloth masks that are washable, so that each day you would wear one that is clean and wash the other and be prepared for the next day. And there will be additional face masks and other PPE in various locations in case somebody forgot theirs that day, etc.


The following questions were submitted during the town hall but time did not permit answering during the event. The answers below have been provided by UAB leadership.


Will the Student Health and Wellness Center prioritize COVID-19 testing when scheduling an appointment?

Yes.


Has Student Health hired more staff to deal with the current crisis?

We will hire additional staff as appropriate.


Does Student Health and Wellness offer COVID-19 tests?

Yes.


Will students have to sign a waiver form before re-entry?

Students will not be asked to sign a waiver, but will provide an attestation that (1) they understand the risks associated with returning to campus, (2) they confirm they completed a required COVID-19 safety training and awareness course and (3) they intend to follow all required health and safety guidelines.


If you already had COVID-19, will we have to be tested again upon entering campus

Students who have tested positive within 12 weeks of their arrival to campus will need to upload those test results into the patient portal to meet the re-entry requirement. If you had COVID-19 prior to that you will need to be tested again.


If a student gets sick with COVID-19 or anything else will you notify parents immediately? If they have COVID-19 can parents take them home

Federal privacy laws limit the sharing of health information. Students who test positive could go home or could stay in a residence hall reserved for students who test positive. 


Will students be tested any other time other than two weeks before classes start?

Students with symptoms will be tested, and we will utilize sentinel testing.


If a student tests positive during the semester, will UAB be notified?

Students who test positive are asked to work with Student Health to receive appropriate care and guidance. 


Will there be any differences in procedures, protocols, etc., for students or faculty who have recovered from COVID-19?

All students, faculty and staff will be required to follow safety guidelines. Students who have tested positive within 12 weeks of their arrival to campus will need to upload those test results into the patient portal to meet the re-entry requirement. If you had COVID-19 prior to that you will need to be tested again.


What if a student is asymptomatic and tests positive for COVID-19?

Students who test positive will work with Student Health for guidance, including when it is safe to return to class. 


If students in the residence halls get infected, will the school be transparent and let the students know if someone in their floor is infected?

We will.


Do online-only students have to take a COVID-19 test?

Students will need to take a test if they will come to campus for any reason. This is a self-administered nostril swab, not the more invasive nasopharyngeal swab. 


Is the test required 7-10 days before a person individually will be on campus or 7-10 days before the start date of the semester since people may be moving in at different points in time?

Tests will be coordinated to arrange appropriate timing relative to re-entry. 


I'm an international student and if I understood correctly, I need to be tested at maximum 7 days before entering the dorm, but since I'm not from Alabama, will I be able to stay in some dorm?

International students are encouraged to coordinate with International Student and Scholar Services


Will there be any restrictions regarding going off campus?

Other than not returning for the Thanksgiving holiday, restrictions regarding leaving and returning to campus have not been established, but will be considered. We do ask that students follow safety guidelines on and off campus. 


How will you address bathrooms that are often crowded?

Volume of people in areas — including restrooms and elevators — will be limited. Students will be encouraged to plan ahead to work within these safety measures. 


Will benches be taped off?

Only as necessary. We will make evidence-based decisions in consultation with infectious disease and public health experts. 


Will students be temperature checked between classes?

This is not planned at this time, but students will be required to participate in the Healthcheck technology developed at UAB that includes assessment of temperature/fever. 


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Tuition / fees / refunds


The following questions were submitted during the town hall but time did not permit answering during the event. The answers below have been provided by UAB leadership.


Will students be refunded their athletic fees from spring?

No. This is not a fee to access athletic events. The “Athletic Fee” was initiated and voted on/approved by the student body in support of the football, bowling and rifle teams.


When will financial balances be available for student viewing?

Current balances are always available in BlazerNet. Fall tuition and fees, as well as housing and dining balances are expected to post to student accounts on BlazerNet by July 21.


For my refund, I signed up for it to be added to my Fall 2020 bill, but I have decided not to stay on campus because of COVID-19. How do I go about receiving that refund?

If you wish to have your refund applied to your account now, please email Student Housing at studenthousing@uab.edu to let them know.