July 14, 2020

Incoming undergraduate student town hall: Your questions answered

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President Ray Watts, Provost Pam Benoit and a host of senior UAB leaders welcomed incoming undergraduates and shared details of the university’s plans for opening campus to students this fall.

More than 425 questions were submitted before and during the virtual town hall for incoming undergraduate students and family members held July 8. 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 read the complete summary or use the links below to jump to specific topics

Testing and student health


Student life




Scholarships and finances

Student accommodations


Testing and student health

“We've been planning for months for our students to return to campus and we will have the safest campus in America,” Watts said. This includes “free COVID testing for all of our students, new and returning, seven to 14 days before you are scheduled to arrive on campus,” he said.

“We have the most rigorous and data-driven return to campus protocols and procedures in the nation,” Watts noted. Michael Faircloth, M.D., medical director for student health at UAB, explained these evidence-based plans for keeping students safe, including:

  • required safety training about COVID-19 and UAB protocols for all students, staff and faculty

  • required social distancing and hygienic procedures to minimize the risk of spread of the virus, including required masking (students will be provided two cloth face masks on arrival to campus)

  • required daily use of the Healthcheck app for ongoing symptom and exposure assessment for all students, faculty and staff on campus.

  • voluntary (but strongly encouraged) sentinel testing, “which is systematic random testing of a set percentage of all on-campus students, faculty and staff on a weekly basis to define the background asymptomatic positivity rate and identify early trends and other data related to the virus that can allow prompt actions as appropriate,” Faircloth said.

“We have medical protocols in place for anyone who might turn positive and who might have symptoms that require COVID testing in our Student Health Center,” Watts said. “We have an Exposure Notification App for our smartphones to help identify and track anyone who might have been exposed so we can keep you healthy and make sure you receive the right medical advice.”

UAB has established an Incident Command Center team that will monitor all this data “on the health and wellness of all of students, employees and faculty, each and every day,” Watts said.

If I test positive before move-in day what is the protocol?

“If you test positive you will be required to isolate for 14 days — if you're asymptomatic, for 14 days, if you're symptomatic and ill it'll be 14 days at minimum plus 72 hours without symptoms whichever is longer,” Faircloth said. “Once you have gotten through that period of isolation, are no longer symptomatic and have a note clearing you to come to campus, then you'll be allowed to come to campus.”

How often will testing be done?

All students will be tested before coming to campus, Watts explained. After that, all students, faculty and staff will be asked to participate in voluntary sentinel testing. “Sentinel testing is a public health and epidemiology methodology where if you have a certain percentage of a population that has a virus, if you test the appropriate percentage randomly each week — in this case it's going to be between 2.5 to 4% — then you can monitor how that virus is behaving in that population,” Watts said.

This information is accurate as of publication. For the latest information on testing procedures and protocols, visit the uab.edu/coronavirus site here.

“So all of our students and our employees will be randomly selected for sentinel testing weekly and that testing will simply be done for a student for example at the Student Health Center and it's an easy process there's now just a nasal swab that's done that's painless. It'll be taken and tested, and if that person were to test positive then they'd be notified and then we'd go through the appropriate protocol.

“This is a powerful tool for us to be able to make sure that we know what this virus is doing within our student and employee population. And we will take action swiftly if someone is positive to isolate them and protect others. So it's free, it's voluntary, but we suggest that everybody who might be selected participate.”

How will out-of-state students be tested?

“We will work with national partners,” Watts said. “We don't yet know all the final specifics of that, but we have the testing capacity here and we'll have partners across the country to be able to have everyone, no matter where you live, be tested within seven to 14 days prior to coming to campus. In the state of Alabama we're going to have testing sites across the state so that no one would have to drive more than 60 miles to a testing center. And they'll be concentrated in major metropolitan areas of course. But they'll be dispersed throughout the state. And our national partners obviously will be dispersed throughout the United States.”

What is the protocol for students who test positive while on campus? Are they quarantined to their rooms, forced to return home, placed somewhere else on campus?

“That's a multi-layered question,” Faircloth said. “It depends on where the testing was done, through which entity it was done. But in the end, the result should be made available to Student Health, because in the end the student should go through Healthcheck and if you have a positive [test] you would then go to your Healthcheck and put yes.”

Any yes answer on Healthcheck — whether it's a symptom, a positive test or a potential exposure to somebody who has tested positive or is symptomatic — will trigger an automatic notification to Student Health, Faircloth said.

Students will then receive an alert notifying them to go into the secure electronic medical record patient portal for Student Health and fill out an internal COVID questionnaire, Faircloth said. “It also triggers one of the medical providers within the clinic to reach out to that student to do a triage visit and decide what the next step would be.”

If the student has received a positive test — whether or not they are symptomatic — they will be required to isolate for 14 days. “And we would need to decide then, if you're symptomatic are you able to go home and convalesce or do you need other care and how can we help you get that?” Faircloth said. “If you are able to go home, we can help you do that and we want to make sure that you can do that safely.” There will also be space on campus for isolation and quarantine “for students who can't go home or don't want to go home or don't need to go home for whatever reason,” Faircloth said. “And all of this happens in real time, the same day.”

Will there be temperature checks before students enter each class or daily temperature checks during each day possibly submitted through an app?

In general, a temperature check to enter classes is not going to be a requirement for the fall, Faircloth said. “There is a question about fever temperature on the Healthcheck that you will be required to participate in, so from that standpoint you will be asked, ‘Do you have a fever?’ and if so, what is that temperature. But no there's no requirement for most spaces on campus to come in the building.” There are some classes that have contact in different ways that will probably be using temperature checks, Benoit noted. “But as Dr. Faircloth indicated, this will not be the norm.”

What is the technology for the contact tracing?

The Exposure Notification App, which should be available for download in a few weeks, is completely de-identified in order to protect privacy, Faircloth said. If an app user finds out that they have tested positive, they will have the ability to notify any other user that they have been in contact with (within six feet for greater than 15 minutes). "You won't know who that person is and they won't know who you are," Faircloth said. "You'll just get a note that you potentially have been exposed to somebody who is COVID-positive, with instructions on what to do. For students, that will include reaching out to Student Health."

Questions submitted online:

With COVID testing being known for high false-positives, will the positive check be double checked to confirm the positive?  

COVID testing with RT-PCR is highly specific, meaning it does not have high false-positives. This is the only approved method of testing for campus entry at UAB. All positives will be treated as true positives to protect all students on campus, and positive results will not be double checked to confirm.

If you are positive before coming to campus — who do we contact?

For students who are positive prior to campus, if the positive notification is collected during the Campus Entry Requirement, that information should be provided to Student Health Services and Student Health will contact the students regarding next steps. If the positive result is collected outside of the Campus Entry Requirement, students should send a message through the UAB Patient Portal (https://studentwellness.uab.edu/login_directory.aspx) to “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Lab Results”

What if a student gets sick at night or in the wee hours of the morning, is there a medical staff on site to help?

Students who get sick after hours should call UAB paging at 205-934-3411 and ask for the UAB On-Call Provider. UAB paging will request a little information from the students and the provider will return the call shortly.

If a student already has medical insurance from their parents do they need to opt out of Student Health and how do they do that?

Yes, students who have their own insurance need to submit an insurance waiver which can be done in the UAB Patient Portal (https://studentwellness.uab.edu/login_directory.aspx) where they would select the Insurance Waiver tab.

What immunizations are required? 

 For students who are non-clinical, they are required to meet the requirements below and can locate these on the Student Health Website at https://www.uab.edu/students/health/medical-clearance/immunizations/level-1

  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
  • Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis)
  • Varicella (Chickenpox/Shingles)
  • Meningococcal
  • Tuberculosis Screening

With regards to immunizations, there are actually three tiers. The website enables students to self-navigate to get to their specific requirements which can vary from clinical to non-clinical program admission and domestic to international status. To further review the requirements, students can do either of the following:

As an immunocompromised, currently senior-year student with Sickle Cell, and missing a spleen, I am very concerned that this decision to go hybrid is going to be an issue and a possible risk of health, even with taking precautions like testing and masks. Is there any possible way for students like me to go fully remote instead? 

Please reach out to us at chooseuab@uab.edu so we can get you connected with the correct offices to explore options.

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“We’re so glad that you chose UAB,” Benoit said. “You made a great choice to come to this institution. I know that you will find it to be very positive and I want to tell you that we are very committed to your academic success while you're here.”

Many students have questions about “what classes will look like during the COVID epidemic and so I want to spend a little bit of time talking about the kinds of courses that we'll be offering,” Benoit said.

How classes will work

There are four ways in which classes will be delivered in the fall:

  • In-person, face-to-face classes.
  • Hybrid. “Hybrid courses have a combination of both in-person and remote instruction,” Benoit said. “We’ve measured all of our classrooms so that we know exactly how many people can be there and socially distance.” Classes will be divided up into different cohorts. The first cohort might attend a couple of days at the beginning of the week and then switch out to remote classes, while the second group attends classes remotely early in the week and in-person later in the week. “We are recording those sessions so that you can attend them in a remote way,” Benoit said.
  • Remote. A course where all instruction is handled through video or another remote format.
  • Online.These are courses that have already been designated in the catalog to be offered in an online format and carry a Q designation,” Benoit said.

Could you clarify what is the difference between online and remote instruction?

“Online courses have been offered traditionally at the university,” Benoit said. “We have a number of programs that are online that are only offered in an online format…. They tend to have an emphasis on asynchronous kinds of activities — which means that they are not scheduled for a particular point in time, but people can come in and do the activities when it's convenient for them.”

Remote courses, on the other hand “are courses that are offered virtually,” Benoit said. “They tend to have more synchronous kinds of activities, which means that they happen at a particular point in time. So you might have all of your classmates getting together through a Zoom call at six o'clock and then everything happens at that particular point in time as opposed to coming in and engaging with material when it happens to be convenient for you.”

How do I know what kind of classes these will be?

“We are currently working with each one of the schools to identify every section that we are offering in the fall and to designate it as one of these four types of classes,” Benoit said.

How will assignments and grading happen if a student becomes too ill from COVID19?

“The first thing that we've done is, by putting cameras into the classroom, even if you are not feeling particularly well if you are well enough to observe the class and listen in… you'll still be able to attend class by accessing that class remotely,” Benoit said. “If you become so ill that you cannot continue in the class there are procedures already built into the university to withdraw if you feel like that's likely to last for a while. You should certainly contact your instructor to see if there's work that you might be able to make up. You might be able to take an incomplete in that course depending upon when you become ill during the semester. So there are lots of opportunities here to try to complete the class without actually having to withdraw.”

Is there as still an option to take classes completely online for fall semester and get refunded for dorm and meal plan cost?

“There will be some classes that are available online — it depends on what you are planning to take whether or not all those classes might be offered in an online format or even in a remote format,” Benoit said. “As the schedule comes out and we're able to plug all those classes in, you'll need to look and see what might be available.”

For housing and dining refunds, “if they will just let us know that that's the decision that they've made to change their plans, we'll be happy to work with them,” said Marc Booker, director of Student Housing and Dining.

How will labs be handled?

"It depends on the lab," Benoit said. "We have had some really interesting conversations with different faculty and different departments."

Lori McMahon, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School and chair of UAB's Campus Re-entry Implementation Team, said that faculty have developed several creative ideas to handle lab work in remote teaching situations. The Department of Physics has "purchased simulators so students are going to be able to do some very sophisticated experiments from their residence halls or from their homes," McMahon said. In the departments of Chemistry and Biology, "they've come up with some creative laboratory exercises that students will be able to participate in in-person in the laboratory and maintain social distancing." The challenge of adapting labs to the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic has made faculty "really energized and creative, and I think you're going to have a great time," McMahon said.

Questions submitted online:

If our classes are going online will our tuition be decreased or will we have to pay full tuition?

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. There is an emphasis on asynchronous delivery. Because of social-distancing requirements, some courses normally delivered face-to-face will have to be delivered remotely. These are called “remote” courses. Some parts of remote courses will be delivered synchronously and other parts will be delivered asynchronously.  Remote courses will be offered at the regular rate as UAB did in the spring.

UAB continues to provide resources to students as we convert courses to remote or hybrid formats. We are installing cameras into the classrooms so that if you are in the section at a point in time where you are not in class you still can see the instructor, interact with the instructor and participate in the conversation.

UAB recommended and the UA System Board of Trustees approved no increase in tuition, so tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state students will remain the same as they were for the past academic year.

What are contingency plans if UAB has to completely shut down by middle of September? What happens to hybrid courses that have a lab component?

The hybrid-learning model is designed so that we can pivot between remote and in-person teaching modalities if necessary. Faculty would provide options for lab components if this needs to occur.

Should we buy books now or should we wait until the modalities have been determined?

Faculty will provide students with information about book purchases for particular classes.

Is there summer work for any classes?

Only for classes you are enrolled in for the summer semester.

Since there is no visitation at the residence halls, and study groups tend to be pretty frequently held in common areas in the halls, will that be an option?

Large group gatherings will not be permitted in common areas. Small groups with social-distancing and mask-wearing will be allowed in designated areas.  And, study groups also can meet virtually. 

Can you tell me what would trigger sending everyone home vs the hybrid model?

There is an Incident Command team including public health and medical experts advising senior leadership on any changes that may need to be made in response to COVID-19 infections. Data from campus and the community are being evaluated on an ongoing basis, and any changes will be communicated quickly.

What will happen for online labs?

Each faculty member will communicate directly with students about lab work.

Several schools have announced tuition reductions given the migration from face-to-face to more on-line instruction. Will UAB offer similar reductions?

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. They are delivered entirely asynchronously.  Because of social distancing requirements, some courses normally delivered face-to-face will have to be delivered remotely. Some parts of these courses, called “remote” courses, will be delivered synchronously and other parts will be delivered asynchronously. Remote courses will be offered at the regular rate as UAB did in the spring.

UAB continues to provide resources to students as we convert courses to remote or hybrid formats. We are installing cameras into the classrooms so that if you are in the section at a point in time where you are not in class you still can see the instructor, interact with the instructor and participate in the conversation.

UAB recommended and the UA System Board of Trustees approved no increase in tuition, so tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state students will remain the same as they were for the last academic year.

Are we returning to campus post fall semester?

Currently, we plan for spring semester return as scheduled.

My biggest fear is having a roommate who tested positive for COVID-19, knowing I have a sickly mother. What should I do?

Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine and will not stay in their residence hall. If you are exposed to a close contact who tests positive, you can quickly get tested and Student Health Services will advise you on health and safety considerations.

What happens if the instructor becomes ill? How will we complete the class?

Course expectations in those situations will be determined and shared if those situations arise.

What is the plan if students are not compliant with these wonderful policies? They are college students after all...

Health and safety will remain a priority, and all students will be required to take training and complete their Healthcheck. Students in noncompliance will be referred to Student Conduct for possible disciplinary action.  

For courses that have professors listed as "TBA," when will we know who the teacher is?

Instructor listings will be updated as soon as they become available.

For classes that don't have textbooks listed yet, when will we know what textbooks are needed?

Instructors are encouraged to send their textbook purchase requirements to students before the first day of class, but in any event these requirements will be available in the syllabus in Canvas by the first day of classes.

Will freshmen, who are accustomed to face-to-face classes, be taught how to manage online courses?

Our eLearning and Professional Studies team provides teachers and students with resources to help facilitate remote learning. 

When I can get an advising appointment?

Your advisor’s name can be found under your picture on your BlazerNET home page. Your academic advisor will contact you prior to your orientation date to set up a remote advising appointment with you. Check your UAB email frequently on BlazerNet; your advisor will contact you through that account.

How are labs going to work with the hybrid class schedule? Will students get a say in which day they attend class in person for the hybrid class?

This will depend on the course, the number of sections, student headcount and lab capacity. Most labs will alternate face-to-face instruction like other classes.

We will determine which days students attend class in-person or remotely as we will be optimizing all student schedules in an effort to minimize the amount of time required for non-residential students.

Is there a possibility that a student will get all classes in remote instruction?

Although it is unlikely that all of your courses will be remote, it is possible.

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Student life

At UAB, “you will have many out-of-classroom opportunities that help you to connect to your new home, participate in the community and develop skills and competencies you will use for the rest of your life,” said Mary Wallace, assistant vice president for Student Experience in the Division of Student Affairs. “This is a valued piece of the college experience, and we want you to have the incredible Blazer experience you deserve while staying healthy — even in a time of pandemic.”

UAB has several options for students to engage outside of the classroom, both virtually and potentially in person, Wallace said. “Our goal is for you to stay safe as we allow in-person activities. For in-person activities and programs staff and students will enforce university guidelines for health-promoting behaviors such as wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance.”

All events this fall semester will be registered on the Engage platform, the technology UAB uses to help students find opportunities as well as to create their co-curricular records of involvement at UAB, Wallace said. “As you attend in-person events you will sign into the events through the Engage platform.” More information on the Engage platform will be shared during student orientation.

Would it still be possible for students to have um on-campus jobs?

"Yes, certainly," said John Jones, Ph.D., vice president for Student Affairs. "We have three departments primarily within Student Affairs that hire a significant number of student employees — Campus Recreation, Housing and Dining — as well as other departments. But the answer to the question is absolutely. We love our students when they're working directly with us."

"Many of our students are eligible for federal work-study opportunities, and those will still exist," said Tyler Peterson, executive director of Admissions and Financial Assistance. "But depending on the position it may be case-by-case, so we ask that you first talk with the department."

The UAB Career Center maintains a repository of all student employment through our portal called Handshake, Wallace said.

Will the Rec Center be open in the fall?

"We haven't made a determination yet about the recreation facility," said Rebecca Kennedy, Ph.D., assistant vice president for Student Health and Wellbeing. "We're just watching everything that's going on in terms of current surge and holding off on that decision. With all the experts we have on campus we will absolutely get the Rec Center open when it is safe to do so."

What about libraries?

(Answer from Kasia Gonnerman, dean of UAB Libraries.) UAB's libraries will follow these guidelines to ensure patrons can use the facilities safely:

  • Removing and storing public seating and tables to keep 6-foot distance; furniture that cannot be moved will be roped off.
  • Designating separate entrances and exits when possible (this may not be feasible at Sterne Library due to construction, for instance);
  • Designating the flow of traffic in common areas with floor markings and signs. (To limit the number of users in the stacks, we will most likely continue with the curbside delivery of books.)
  • Designating separate stairwells for up and down traffic as needed.
  • Reserving elevators for vulnerable employees and patrons who are not able to ascend/descend stairs.
  • Placing touchless hand sanitizers in public spaces and entry points and posting signage to sanitize surfaces that have been touched.
  • Installing plexiglass partitions at HUB (service) desks and office front desks to separate HUB staff from patrons and mark floors to indicate required distance among patrons. HUB desk surfaces will be cleaned after each transaction.
  • Sanitizing commonly used items, such as shared printers, scanners, door handles, light switches, shared computers/monitors/keyboards/mouse, shared phones in office areas, water fountains.
  • Equipping all bathrooms with hands-free paper towels and soap.

We’ll control incoming traffic with card access only and will most likely have a staff person (working in shifts) at the entry point to make sure that patrons wear masks and that only one person enters per card swipe. (We’ll have disposable masks at hand to distribute when necessary.)

We’ll have regular monitoring of the floors (again, staff on shifts walking through the floors on a regular basis) to assure that students don’t cluster in groups and wear masks. The staff on those shifts will also help with sanitizing frequently touched surfaces.

Questions submitted online:

Is rush online?

Yes. Recruitment is completely online for the fall 2020 semester. You can find more information regarding fraternity and sorority recruitment on the Student Involvement and Leadership Engage page.

How are we going about taking part in freshman activities, such as our class photo?

UAB plans to engage students outside of the classroom, both virtually and in-person. 

All in-person activities must include the following parameters; if these parameters cannot be met, the activity will not be approved as an in-person activity:

  • Student Organization Advisors (for departmental and student-led organizations) must be present for the entire event.
  • Department-sponsored events must have at least one professional staff member present as the point of contact for the activity.
  • A 6-foot distance must be maintained between all participants and staff.
  • All attendees, including staff, must wear masks.
  • Participation is limited to the UAB community only. All attendees must present Blazer ID and Engage Event Pass for entry.
  • All in-person activities must take place between the hours of 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday. Weekend in-person activities will not be approved.

When can we start registering for clubs and activities?

You can explore all clubs and activities online via UAB’s Engage platform. You can start joining clubs during the summer.

Will intramural sports be held this semester? 

As we reopen, we will consider guidelines and recommendations for programs to promote ongoing safety and precautionary measures. All programs/events/gatherings will follow UAB guidelines regarding items like group size and social distancing parameters. As we finalize our list of offerings, we will post them on our website and social media platforms. 

Will students have to wear masks while exercising in the gym? 

We will continue to utilize all guidelines and recommendations set forth by UAB, the City of Birmingham, and the State of Alabama regarding practices such as mask wearing. 

Do students find their own jobs with federal work-study?

Students are able to search for federal work-study jobs through the Handshake platform managed by the UAB Career Center.  Additionally, students may reach out to the Office of Student Financial Aid to inquire about placement.

Will there still be an Honors Retreat?

The Honors College New Student Retreat is set to take place the week before classes. At this time, we are still making every effort to offer a combination of virtual and in-person events to safely accommodate our students, with appropriate modifications and precautions. Incoming honors students will receive an email in the coming weeks with detailed information.

Will tryouts be held for sports teams?

Tryouts are held on a team-by-team basis, as needed. The determination is made by the respective coaching staff for each team. No team is required to host annual tryouts.

Is football season going to take place?

Currently, we are planning to have football this fall. We will continue to follow guidance from the NCAA, C-USA and the university as we move closer to the start of the season.

Housing and Dining

“Student safety and well-being is our highest priority,” said Marc Booker, director of Student Housing and Dining. That means some changes in typical behaviors, procedures, policies and expectations will be necessary this fall, he said.

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Expectations: “We plan to have full occupancy in the residence halls,” Booker said. “Students will be required to wear face masks or coverings, practice social-distancing, participate in testing, Healthcheck assessments and other safety measures and training to reduce the risk of exposure and spread on campus.”

Questions submitted online:

How will social-distancing be handled in a dorm room?

Similar to your current circumstances at home, you will not be required to wear a face mask in your room. Proper hygiene and coughing/sneezing etiquette (into your elbow) should be practiced around roommates. Sharing of clothes, towels, make-up, game controllers, laptops, silverware, dishes, etc. is discouraged.

How will residence assistants be used to enforce distancing and mask rules? Are residence assistants staff or students?

All resident assistants (RAs) are undergraduate students at UAB. Along with signs in the building to remind students about daily self-health checks, RAs will remind students of this during their first-floor meeting, routine in-person check-ins and bulletin boards. Our Peer Wellness Ambassadors (PWAs) will use social media platforms to push this information to students.   

How will laundry operate while maintaining social-distancing guidelines?

There will only be designated machines for resident use and social-distancing and masks will be required in the laundry rooms.

Do we need to pay for the laundry service?

Laundry is included in your residence hall room fee. You will have the ability to swipe your OneCard for up to six total washes or drying cycles per week.

Is a police officer or security assigned to stay in each dorm?

Our Student Housing community police officers do not reside in the residence halls. They make frequent rounds in and around the buildings. They will be practicing community policing this fall.

Visitation: “For everyone's safety, visitation will not be permitted in the residence halls,” Booker said. “Only the residents of a specific hall will be allowed in that hall this semester. All residence halls will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before we reopen. We will have an entire residence hall designated for quarantine and isolation.”

Move-in: Move-in will take place Aug. 19-23. “Only one student and one helper will be allowed to move in during that time, but you will be able to pick your date and your time to move in during those five days,” Booker said.

If we're forced to go online or go totally online would there be any adjustments to housing costs?

"Yes, there will be adjustments similar to what happened in the spring," Booker said. "It depends on the date that we move to an online format, and of course it would also depend on which residence hall you are assigned to."

Would that be true for meal plans as well?


Will there still be UAB volunteer staffing helping on move-in day?

"We will not be allowed to do that this year," Booker said.

Does "rooming assignment" mean that that we no longer get to pick a room?

"First-year students have traditionally picked their building," Booker said. "They can select a building preference and their rooms are assigned by the housing staff."

Will Denman Hall be open? The rates for Denman are not shown on the housing site.

"Denman Hall is the hall that we have allocated and designated for our isolation and quarantine for the fall," Booker said. "We will not assign residents in Denman this fall."

Questions submitted online:

Does a move-in helper have to be tested for COVID before entering campus on move-in day?

No. “It's kind of the honor system that you assert that they have not been positive or previously tested,” Booker said.

Does this mean only one roommate can move in at a time? When signing up for a move in time, do you sign up separate from your roommate?

Yes. This fall, due to the pandemic, roommates will not be permitted to move in on the same day.

How long are parents allowed on be on the campus during move-in? What is the move-in window timeframe per person?

Residents will have one hour to get their belongings from their car to their room.  Once the items are in the room, they can take their time to set up after unloading and moving their vehicle to a parking deck (more details will be sent closer to move-in). Move-in time slots will range from 7:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Aug. 19-23.

If both parents come to move in, can we take one parent in first and them have them trade place?

Sure. We understand that students will want/need multiple people to assist with their process of settling in. We only ask that no more than two people are in the room at one time (one is the student). If you have special circumstances, please email us at studenthousing@uab.edu.

Will the student and/or helper be able to leave campus on moving day to pick up any necessary/forgotten items and return to the dorm?

We need to limit the entering and exiting in each residence hall on move-in day. With not more than two people permitted on an elevator at a time and move in lasting more than 14 hours each day, it may be challenging to easily come and go. While not ideal, these are the requirements and provisions put in place by our local health officials and medical experts at UAB.

If I am in marching band, how does early move-in work?

We are working with the director at this time to determine how and when band will return to campus. Please check with your band contact for updates.

Will athletes be able to move in early?

Please check with your coach.

Are there honors floors/dorms?


Why can’t honors students get a day (or time) blocked off for move-in in the five-day move-in window? 

Due to the health guidelines established by the local and UAB medical experts to ensure physical distancing in residential settings in circumstances where there are visitors/helpers other than students who will have all been tested, we cannot have residents move in next door or across the hall from one another at the same time. This practice will minimize the density in numbers on every floor wing at any given time. In addition, roommates cannot move in at the same time.  In order to follow these safer move-in standards on our Honors Community floors, move-in must be spread over the whole five days.

How is parking for move-in day?

We offer free parking near all residence halls; all decks around the residence halls will be open during move-in days.

Belongings: “Please make plans now to bring only a limited amount of belongings this fall,” Booker said. This is for two primary reason, he explained:

1. “During those five days of move in we will be moving 3,000 residents into the residence halls and so we're going to have to be efficient and swift in order to safely move folks in.”

2. When leaving campus Nov. 20 “you will be required to take your belongings home with you,” Booker said. “So fewer items will help you accomplish that in an efficient and safe way. A recommended packing list will be shared in the next couple of weeks all housing rates will be adjusted and posted once they are finalized.”

Questions submitted online:

Is there an updated list of items for students to bring to campus now that it is limited?

We will be sending out the updated COVID preparation packing list for fall soon. As a rule of thumb to begin the process at home now, we are asking students to limit the items for fall to one car to make move-in and move-out flow more efficiently.

Are rice cookers, slow cookers or air fryers allowed in the dorms?

Yes. It is important for students to consider whether these items are essential and/or take up too much space to be practical in the limited times allotted for moving belongings in and out of the halls.


Are residents allowed to have a toaster in their dorm or is there a toaster in the common area?

We do not provide toasters. Toasters are not permitted in the residence halls.

Is there a vacuum cleaner available to dorm residents?

There is not a vacuum cleaner for common use. Residents can purchase a small handheld “stick” vacuum economically that works pretty well.

Do students have to take all belongings home Nov. 20 even though they are supposed to be returning to the same room for spring semester?

We are currently planning to require all residents to take their items home in November. In the spring, when we had students leave campus for spring break, we learned that many student did not take the necessary items home with them and were not allowed to return to campus to collect those essential items (e.g., medications, laptops, chargers, textbooks, notes, etc.). Knowing that classes will continue remotely after Nov. 20 and that no one can predict what may happen during the winter break that may impact the start of spring, we currently believe that students taking everything home in November is the best approach. As with most things related to the pandemic to date, we ask for your patience and cooperation as things are likely to change multiple times between today and Nov. 20. For students with an extreme documented hardship, who need to remain on campus, those students will be required to relocate to a different residence hall for the remainder of the calendar year. More details will be emailed to residents as plans are finalized.

Will we have the same room when we return in the spring?

Except for students who request a room change or move to Green Hall once it is complete, our current plan is that residents will return to their fall assignment in spring. These plans are subject to change related to the safest and best response to the unfolding pandemic.

Assignments: “We will begin sharing room and roommate assignments July 20,” Booker said.

Questions submitted online:

I understand room assignments will come out the third week of July. Is that also when we will find out move-in date and time?

Residents will choose their own date and time to return to campus. We expect this will occur the last week of July. Details will be emailed to residents to sign in and pick a date time.

How do we finalize our roommate submissions?

Please email us at studenthousing@uab.edu for assistance. 

What happens if your assigned roommate changes their mind about staying in the dorms or does not pass COVID test?

Students must be COVID-negative in order to return to campus. If a roommate changes his/her mind, you will be assigned a roommate based on your responses to your profile.

If we didn't find a roommate, when will we find out who we will be rooming with?

Roommate assignments will be sent after building assignments. We do this as plans change multiple times once building assignments are sent.

Once the semester starts are we allowed to leave campus to visit family for the weekend?

"You can, certainly, as long as you maintain again our safe practices," Booker said. "We're all a community. We want everybody to remain as safe as practical and possible, but certainly we want you to enjoy your freshman year and your first year at UAB."

Other questions submitted online:

Is housing still available?

At this time, we have contracts for every bed on campus and approximately 360 students on our notification list. It is unlikely that we can accommodate any student on campus for fall if they do not already have a contract or are already on the notification list.

Do first-year students need to live on campus?

It is a requirement for incoming freshmen to live on campus. There is a process to be considered for exemption, however. Please connect with us at chooseuab@uab.edu.

When is the last day for freshmen to submit the housing exception form?

As soon as practical. Students who have already paid their prepayment will not receive a refund after assignments are sent.

We opted out of housing and were denied. My son has the ability to live with his sister four blocks off campus.

Please email us at studenthousing@uab.edu and we will work with Undergraduate Admissions to revisit your request for an exception.

What benefit is there to living on campus and going to class if we are limited in social interaction?

Among the benefits of living on campus are the ability for students to feel connected to UAB and Blazer life. Students living in residence halls will have opportunities for interaction with other students in their assigned residence hall. Also, they enjoy the convenience of living within close proximity to classes and academic resources, 24/7 support from Residence Life staff and an increased likelihood of getting involved which leads to establishing a sense of belonging.

If I’d rather stay home for the first semester instead of sleeping on campus due to COVID-19, who must I contact in order to get that done?

You will need to contact Student Housing at studenthousing@uab.edu.

When will transfer students know their housing details?

If you already have a contract for housing, assignments will be sent beginning July 15 and continue into August. If you are on the notification list, it will be closer to early August.

Every effort is being made to place all transfer students who currently have a contract on file. For those transfer students on our notification list, we will notify you once we have our final accounting of empty spaces on campus.

As a transfer student, will I be refunded my deposit if I decide to not live on campus?

Only if you cancel before you receive your assignment. Once assignments go out, you will not receive a refund. Assignments will begin being emailed on July 15, and continue through August.

Do some freshmen still get to pick because they registered before Feb. 2? I’m a freshman and I didn’t get to pick my building.

Please email us at studenthousing@uab.edu for assistance. 

So if we've chosen Denman Hall, where will we be relocated to? And will rates be adjusted for those who chose Denman?

Rates are tied to a specific building. Since assignments were not finalized before these plans were made, we cannot assign any residents to Denman this fall.

If the building preference form for housing was not available to a student for specific reasons, would it be possible for the form to be filled out even though the deadline has passed?

The deadline was extended to July 2 and cannot be extended as the assignment process has already begun. Please email us at studenthousing@uab.edu if you require additional assistance. 

When will the restaurants in Green Hall be open?

We anticipate the restaurants in Green Hall will fully open in the spring semester.

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Most venues open: “We anticipate having most food venues open this fall, but final decisions regarding which venues are still in the process of being made,” Booker said. “We will provide safe and quick service. We will require all students to wear masks, remain socially distanced and plan their meals around their schedule to spread out our peak demand times throughout the day.

Cashless and touchless: “We will provide cashless and touchless payment options with an all-card currency format, so you can use your ONE Card, Blazer Bucks, debit cards and credit cards,” Booker said. “We are working on a plan to extend our contact free pickup and delivery at all locations. We also will have Grubhub on campus.”

If you have questions or concerns regarding dining, email uabdining@UAB.edu.

Questions submitted online:

If freshmen don’t live on campus, will they still have to purchase a meal plan?

The dining fee ($225) is still required for undergraduate students who take 12 hours or more, or live on campus. 

Is it possible with so many of the classes going to online that the dining card options for plans be more flexible since some students live so close to home and will be spending a lot of time there to avoid the dorms and additional exposure?

The dining fee ($225) is still required for undergraduate students who take 12 hours or more, or live on campus.

What is the best meal plan for freshmen?

It depends on your preference and needs. The Green and Gold plan offers the largest amount of Dining Dollars, which can be used at some of the retail venues (e.g., Starbucks, Full Moon, Einstein’s Brothers Bagels, etc.) in lieu of meal-plan swipes. The MVP Plans provide the ability to use meal-plan swipes for cash value at the retail venues. And the Dragonfire Plans have varying amounts of Dining Dollars associated with each.

Can we purchase meal plans now, or should we wait?

You can purchase your meal plan now or anytime before move-in at https://www.uab.edu/students/dining/meal-plans.

If you’re not going to live in a dorm, do you still need to have BlazerBucks/dining money?

It’s a personal preference. Many students choose to have Blazer Bucks and/or a meal plan for convenience as those currencies are stored values on your OneCard. Also, keep in mind, all undergraduate students enrolled 12 or more credit hours for the semester pay a dining fee that gives them $225 in Dragon Cash (each semester) they can use at any of the retail dining venues or the Commons.

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Parking permits going fast: “Fall student parking permits went on sale July 1 and are going fast,” said André Davis, director of UAB Transportation. “You can purchase a permit for the fall semester only or purchase a combination fall/spring permit at our website.”

If you have difficulty completing your online purchase, “we encourage you to contact our office at transportation@uab.edu or call our office at 205-934-3513,” Davis said.

Permit mailing: Permits will be sent via U.S. mail, “so it is important that you provide an accurate mailing address when you order your parking permit,” Davis said. “We will begin mailing permits next week.”

Spaces limited: “Spaces are limited in each parking zone,” Davis said. “While there is a slight chance that spaces may become available later in the summer, there is no guarantee of this.”

Questions submitted online:

Are permits determined by dorm assignment? Are all freshmen residence halls the same type of zone?

Students can apply for any zone. A parking map can be found here.

Can a parking zone that was purchased for the whole year be upgraded in the spring if there are availabilities?

Yes, but it will need to be upgraded prior to leaving for the Thanksgiving break. Spring permits go on sale Nov. 1, and the upgrade will need to occur before for the break.

Can we still get parking permits?


Parking, does it come out of our tuition or do we pay separate?

Parking fees are separate from tuition. However, the permit fee is charged to your student account. No payment is due when the permit is ordered.

Can we change our parking zone after selecting one?

Once the permit has been mailed, we normally do not allow exchanges.

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Scholarships and finances

When will our personal cost of attendance be posted? 

Fall charges will be posted to student accounts by July 21.

If you withdraw due to coronavirus, what happens to your scholarship?

If you have a total withdrawal from the semester and your charges are removed, the Registrar's Office will notify the Scholarships office. Your scholarship will then be pulled back. You will need to complete an appeal form with the Office of Undergraduate Scholarships to notify us of your planned return date so that your scholarship can resume the next semester. 

When will we be reimbursed for orientation cost? 
We are working on those reimbursements right now and hope to have all of them completed by Aug. 1.

If the classes I'm supposed to take in the fall are not offered in an online/remote format and I decide to push my start to the spring semester, how will my scholarship be affected? 
To request an appeal for a change of start date you will need to email chooseuab@uab.eduto explain your situation. Appeals will be reviewed on an individual basis. 

When and how do we get our OneCard?

"We have made a determination that we will be mailing out ONECards to students in advance of their arrival to campus," said Bradley Barnes, Ph.D., vice provost for Enrollment Management.

When will OneCards be mailed out?
You will receive an  email in mid-July with details. 
In the meantime, be sure to log into BlazerNET at www.uab.edu/Blazernet to confirm your mailing address is up to date. 

When do we have to submit our OneCard photos?

You should upload your photo as soon as you have registered for orientation. 

Will tuition payment dates be changed? How will that work?

Fall charges are due on the first day of class, which is Aug. 24 for fall 2020. Students will automatically be enrolled in the Blazer Flex Payment Plan for any outstanding balances. More information on payment plans can be found at uab.edu/students/paying-for-college/when-to-pay

When does tuition need to be paid for the first semester?

The deadlines for paying account balances can be found on the UAB Academic Calendar at uab.edu/students/academics/academic-calendar/2020-2021.

Can freshmen apply for the COVID relief money for financial aid? 

No, COVID relief money was for students enrolled at UAB during the spring 2020 term.

How can my daughter get scholarships? 

She can reach out to her admissions counselor at chooseuab@uab.edu to discuss potential availability.

Where do I apply for financial aid for rooming — the cost of dorms? 

Students may complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at studentaid.gov to be considered for federal funds to assist with educational expenses such as tuition and fees, housing, meal plans, and books. More information on housing can be found at uab.edu/students/housing/

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Student accommodations

I have a service dog and will require my mother and brother for move-in assistance. Will I need to go through DSS for this to be allowed?

“Any time you need any kind of exception to any policy or guidance that has been shared, what I would recommend is to contact Disability Support Services,” said DSS director Allison Solomon. “What we do is work with the student as well as faculty and staff across campus to be able to coordinate accommodations, modifications or whatever is needed. Reach out to DSS [online or at dss@uab.edu], and we'll be happy to work with you and work with housing to help make that happen.”

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"We're so excited to have you join us to be our newest Blazers, and I hope that you and your families can get a sense of the tremendous planning and preparation that's taking place... to make sure that we keep you and all of us as safe as possible throughout this fall semester and beyond," Watts said. "We hope you're excited to begin your college career. It's going to be a great experience, one of the best of your lives, and we're going to make the best out of this difficult situation we're all faced with."

"I feel incredibly lucky to be at UAB, where there are internationally recognized medical and public health experts," Benoit said. "If there's any place to be in college or university right now, this is the place to be. We have taken enormous precautions to make sure that your health and safety are our priority and that we provide you with an incredible academic and co-curricular experience. We're looking so forward to getting you off to a great start in the fall."