August 18, 2020

Your questions answered from Aug. 11 student town hall

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Editor's Note: The information published in this story is accurate at the time of publication. Always refer to for UAB's current guidelines and recommendations relating to COVID-19.

President Ray Watts and other UAB leaders explained the university’s comprehensive plan for safety and health during the fall semester and shared details on class schedules, move-in, mask distribution and more during a virtual town hall for students Aug. 11.

“We would not be coming back to campus if we did not feel that it's safe to do so and we have a high level of confidence” in the safety measures in place, Watts said.

Scroll down to read the complete summary or use the links below to jump to specific topics

Encouraging results from testing

Zero tolerance for non-compliance

How classes will work

Mask distribution

Delivery formats

Sample schedule

Technology in hybrid classrooms


Sentinel testing

Entry testing

Student health


Student accommodations

Student government updates


Student experience




Libraries and Rec Center

Student jobs

ONE Cards


Financial questions

Other questions

Social justice


Encouraging results from testing

Thousands of UAB employees are already back on campus, as are many graduate students, medical students and others, Watts said. Sentinel testing, which tests a random sample of those on campus each week to identify asymptomatic infections, has had a very low rate of positivity, Watts said — less than 0.5% of those tested were infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Tens of thousands of students across the state have been tested for COVID-19 through the UAB-led GuideSafe Entry Testing initiative, Watts added. “There has been a very low incidence: 0.89% of those students have been positive,” he said. Testing, along with safety measures including the wearing of face masks and physical distancing of six feet or more, “are critical for reducing the spread of the virus,” Watts said. “We know that these measures will help us mitigate the risk. Nothing can totally eliminate the risk, but we have in place safety measures which will greatly mitigate the risk, and we have developed digital apps to help us monitor the health of our students and employees on a daily basis.” (More on these below.) These tools will  help identify any potential outbreak, “so we can contain it and take care of it quickly,” Watts said.

Questions submitted online:

Please explain what informed UAB's decision to return to campus.

Our students, faculty, staff, patients and community depend on UAB’s mission to deliver education, patient care, research, economic development and community service. UAB's gradual campus re-entry started in May, primarily in research and clinical settings, and that has gone well. Coordinating with the University of Alabama System, we have continued to add to our extensive battery of safety strategies and resources, informed by public health, infectious disease, pathology and other experts and monitor progress and the status of the pandemic closely. Providing a safe environment for our campus community is our top priority, and we think our strategies— including mandatory mask wearing and hybrid and remote classes that promote social distancing — will be effective. We will continue to increase education and communication campaigns to encourage compliance and personal responsibility.

Will UAB consider going fully online as many colleges are doing for the fall semester?

UAB has considered going fully online. Our current plan for hybrid instruction was structured to allow for a smooth transition to fully online if it becomes necessary. Working with the UA System, we are aggressively monitoring the situation and have contingency plans ready if fully online becomes necessary.

Will positive tests among faculty, staff and students be shared with the UAB community at large?

Leadership plans to share data with campus, and it is important data shared is understood in proper context. The Incident Command Committee, along with executive leadership, is working now to determine the most helpful data re: the status of COVID-19 on campus and the method in which it will be shared.

Why did I have to sign a waiver that I won’t sue if I get sick?

Providing a safe environment for our campus community is our top priority. Our students, faculty, staff, patients and community depend on UAB’s mission to deliver education, patient care, research, economic development and community service. There is a level of risk in any pubic setting while community spread of COVID-19 persists in the United States and Alabama, but proactive safety strategies have proven effective to reduce risk of infection. We are well suited with the expertise and resources to mitigate risk on campus and have planned extensively to implement a combination of safety strategies we believe will continue to be effective. UAB cannot eliminate all risk but we have invested significant resources in giving our campus community the structure, information, tools and support needed to promote a safe environment. We will require compliance with safety protocols on campus and promote personal responsibility to further minimize risk both on- and off-campus. While we have implemented extensive safety strategies to mitigate risk, we recognize we cannot eliminate all risk for students who choose to return to campus. The attestation for students acknowledges recognizes that risk. We are also closely monitoring the situation and will react to facts and circumstances to improve safety.

Zero tolerance for non-compliance

“We have zero tolerance for non-compliance with wearing face masks, with physically distancing and following all the safety measures for our students and our employees,” Watts said. “Each of us has to take these steps to protect one another. They protect us, but more important, they protect our community” as well, he said.

Mary Wallace, Ph.D., assistant vice president for Student Experience, answered questions regarding UAB’s compliance policy later in the town hall. "We're really serious about being a safe campus to return to, and in order to do that we've set up lots of safety measures, but they're only as good as human interaction," Wallace said.

"There are several things that we're wanting you to do before you even enter campus so those things are your entry testing, your Healthcheck and your educational module. If you don't do that by the time you you try to move into the residence hall, you'll have to reschedule your appointment to move in," Wallace said. "If you don't do that before school starts, we will take what we call interim actions for the health and safety of our campus and you won't be allowed to go into class in person. At the same time, you'll also go through the conduct process. That will be the normal process for us where you will go and meet with Student Conduct."

If students are on campus without a mask and refuse to wear one, "that will be seen as failure to comply and once again we will refer that to the Student Conduct process," Wallace said.

"Mask wearing and physical distancing are going to to be new to all of us and we're going to have to do things together and be responsible," she said. "Our Blazer Way, which is our university creed, says that we hold ourselves accountable to this unique community with integrity and honor. That is part of what we're asking you to do, is to hold yourself accountable and to also hold one another accountable."


Questions submitted online:

What if students do not adhere to the guidelines?

Students not adhering to guidelines such as filling out Healthcheck and presenting their Event Passport will not be allowed to stay for an in-person class.

What happens if your cell phone dies and you cannot pull up your Passport?

The Event Passport is needed to enter class, so please ensure your cell phones are charged.

Filling out the Healthcheck every three days is tedious. If we are self-reporting, why not only self-report if we have symptoms?

The Healthcheck now needs to be filled out every day. It doesn’t require much time and is integral to keeping our campus healthy.  The daily Healthcheck also prompts a quick scan of COVID-19 symptoms. 

What is the criteria for when someone is not allowed on campus and will that be carried out consistently?

Students and employees in noncompliance and anyone testing positive who is not staying in the quarantine building will not be allowed on campus.

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How classes will work

Provost Pam Benoit and other academic leaders explained the “different ways in which we will be adapting what we do in order to make sure that we not only deliver a great education and you have wonderful classes, but that it's also being done in a very healthy and safe way,” she said.

Mask distribution

“Masks will be required on campus, and we will be providing as a welcome back gift two cloth face masks for every student,” Benoit said.

Students living in residence halls will pick their masks up when they move in.

Students living off-campus can pick up their masks in a drive-thru distribution Express Lot 4, from 9 a.m.-noon Aug. 21-22. “If you don't get it then you can get it in the first week at University Hall, the Bookstore or Lister Hill Library,” Benoit said. See the masks, find details and a map to Express Lot 4 and learn about alternate distribution times and locations in this UAB Reporter article.

Students will not be required to wear these particular face masks, although they are UAB-branded mask and “pretty cute,” Benoit said. “You can wear other face masks.”

“You will need your ONE Card in order to claim your mask, and you can only pick up your masks,” Benoit said.

Questions submitted online:

If I am unable to pick up my two UAB cloth masks during the times mentioned previously, will I still have a chance to receive it?

The Campus Book Store will have them for pick-up on multiple days during their open hours.

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Delivery formats

“We worked really hard to think about different ways in which we might offer classes” in the fall, Benoit said. “There are four different ways in which you might be taking a class.”

  • In-person: a traditional face-to-face class. “This is the normal way in which we would offer classes if we weren't in a pandemic,” Benoit said.
  • Hybrid: a combination of face-to-face and remote learning
  • Remote: learning done entirely at distance. “It tends to focus more on synchronous, or at-the-same-time kind of instruction,” where all students are online at the same time.
  • Online: these classes tend to be asynchronous, with students fulfilling the requirements according to their own schedule. “These are programs and classes we've been offering for quite a while that are fully online courses. These are noted in the schedule as Q courses,” Benoit said.

The details of each format are explained in this breakdown from the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Several considerations went into deciding the format used for each class, Benoit said. “One is the pedagogy of the class — how the class needs to be taught for particular students,” she said. “If you think about it a course that's a performance course or a course that has a lab, it needs at least some in-person component. So that class is likely to be entirely face-to-face or it might be hybrid. Courses that are more lecture courses might easily be transferred into remote.”

Certain courses were prioritized for face-to-face or hybrid instruction, Benoit said:

  • Courses typically taken by freshmen or sophomores;
  • Courses that have labs or performance elements or another aspect “that really needs to be delivered in person”; and
  • Honors courses.

If a class has an enrollment that is large enough that all students cannot safely be accommodated in person, “then we've decided that those courses probably need to go remote,” Benoit said.

What should students do if they find themselves with in-person and remote classes on the same day, separated by only a short timeframe? “We've been thinking hard about student schedules and that particular example is one we have considered,” said Lori McMahon, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School and chair of the Entry Implementation Committee. “We will have spaces set up on our campus, — examples are Bartow Arena and the School of Education — where students can go in between their face-to-face, in-person classes to listen in on a remote lecture. The idea will be that you will attend your in-person class and then you can move across campus and enter a room in the School of Education [or other designated location] and find a space there and get on your computer and listen to your course remotely if it's synchronous. If it's not synchronous then you can listen to it some other time, but there is a space for you to enjoy studying or maybe have lunch and then you can return to your next face-to-face class.”

Questions submitted online:

Can students switch their assigned attendance day if it doesn't fit with their schedule?

“Several students have asked that question,” McMahon said. “Part of the reason that you're assigned on a particular day is because we were intending to [restrict] your face-to-face classes and your hybrid classes [to] a couple of days to limit your movement around campus.”

If it is “important for you to switch your day, you can always reach out to your instructor for that, but we really want to limit that,” McMahon said. “The days that you are assigned are the days that we intend for you to be in class.”

If you are in a hybrid class, do you have to go in on the assigned days or can you stay at home and take the class online?

“Hybrid classes have been designed on purpose to have an in-person element, and the faculty member has made the judgment that that course needs that in-person element in order to be successful,” Benoit said. “For example, it would be very difficult for you to be able to do any kind of lab work that was not actually in person — you need to manipulate particular objects….. If you have taken a hybrid course, there's an expectation” that you will attend in person, she said.As you take each one of those courses, you'll get a syllabus the first day and you should look at the attendance policy on the syllabus so that you can see whether or not it's required for you to be in class at a particular point in time.”

If a class was listed as hyflex [hybrid] then changed to face-to-face, will there be accommodations for students that signed up for a hyflex course?

If a hybrid course is preferable for health reasons needing an accommodation, please check with the instructor on flexibility with the course. If accommodations are not possible, then work with your advisor to find a course more suitable for you.

My kid signed up for all of her classes and was prepared to come to campus and all of a sudden, all her classes were changed to remote. It was a great disappointment. Will UAB consider allowing at least part of [classes] to be in person?

Students are encouraged to work with their advisors on identifying classes that will best work for them.

Will Clorox wipes/hand sanitizer be able to students for face to face classes?    

Hand-sanitizer stations are available to students, and Facilities is cleaning all classrooms more often.

Are classes still open to changing to fully remote? As of now I have a couple face to face classes and I'm not sure if they'll still be able to change to fully remote or not.

The current course schedule is in place for the start of the fall semester. However, this continues to be a fluid situation, and students should be alert to messages from their faculty regarding their classes. 

How many students will be allowed in classrooms? One of my in-person classes has 60 people. How are you going to socially distance all the students?

Classes will only hold as many students as we can safely distance six feet between each of them. The enrollment number shown in BlazerNet is the total enrollment. For hybrid classes, “Attendance Day” would show the day for a student actually to attend. Therefore, the total number of students attending on a particular day is less than the total enrollment.

Will Honors seminars eventually be converted to remote?

The Honors seminars will be a mix of in-person and hybrid.


How will professors accommodate students who are signed up for a face-to-face class but got approved to be remote due to COVID-19 concerns? Will they provide them with the same resources as the students who come into class?

Please work with your instructor on those accommodations. Faculty are being flexible in helping students receive instruction.

Why are professors not given the choice to go completely virtual if they would like to?

Faculty determine how course work can be taught while keeping student health a priority. Many courses can be effectively engaging through remote teaching. The goal of the UA System is wherever possible to give students an in-person learning experience.

My student's classes are all remote, but she is adamant that she wants to stay on campus.  Is it OK for her to stay on campus and get help from faculty when needed?

Students may live on campus even if all their courses are remote.

Are all labs face-to-face or can some be virtual?

Laboratories will be hosted under the same safety requirements as classes. Some portions of lab work may be done virtually, and your instructor will provide details.

How would a chemistry lab be taught remotely? 

Faculty are using the latest technology and remote-teaching methods to engage students in all areas of learning. Instructors will provide details on how any remote portions of labs and classes will be handled.

My daughter’s chemistry lab is listed as remote right now. Will this be changed?

It is unlikely that a remote lab would change to a different delivery mode. However, this continues to be a fluid situation, and students should be alert to messages from their faculty regarding their classes. 

What should we do about face-to-face classes if we are quarantined? Will we still be able to receive instruction?

You will be provided instructions from your instructors on how to complete course work while quarantining. When students are quarantining, they will not be permitted to attend face-to-face classes.

If a student get sick with COVID-19 and feels unable to take an exam, what should the student do?

Work directly with the faculty member teaching the class.

If a student gets COVID-19 and ends up missing a significant portion of class time, will they be able to make it up and not be charged for an additional class?

“That’s not an easy question to answer, because it depends on a lot of factors — when in the semester it occurs, what assignments are left to be done before the end of the term” and so on, Benoit said. “If there is a significant portion of the class that is not able to be completed, then that's probably a time to consider our normal withdrawal policies and to decide to take the class at another point in time.”

What will a hybrid class that meets one day per week look like — such as a lab?

For details on how hybrid class models work, please visit

When did you include students in the development of these plans? Where were the campuswide surveys?

UAB’s re-entry plans were coordinated with those of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama at Huntsville, by the UA System. The system and the three universities used a wide variety of resources and data to develop their plans. While there was no separate survey of UAB students, UAB believes that its process has adequately taken into account the learning and other needs of students. Additionally, the Transition Back Task Force and Implementation Team reviewed national surveys of student attitudes toward returning to campus. Throughout, student health and safety remains our top priority.

Is UAB willing to accommodate students who have face-to-face classes scheduled between remote classes?

For more information on hybrid classes, please visit Students can wait for their next class to in designated areas in which social distancing practices will be observed. Students also should make their instructors aware of any scheduling issues that might cause late arrivals or early departures.

What do we do on Aug. 24 if our class is a MWF and our meet in person day isn't until Friday? Will we be in contact with our professors on the first day or not until our in person meet day?

For more information on hybrid classes, please visit Faculty members will communicate with their students about the first day of class.

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Sample schedule

Bradley Barnes, Ph.D., vice provost for Enrollment Management, demonstrated how students can read their course schedules to find out the delivery format for each class and, if the course is a hybrid course, which days they are scheduled to attend in person.

All student schedules are available now, Barnes said. Using a sample schedule, Barnes outlined key features (see image below).


rep student town hall schedule screenshot 825px 

On row one, General Chemistry II course, note that there is an instructor name listed below the course title, Barnes said. “It is hyperlinked to that instructor's email, so you just click on that link and you can email your instructor any questions you may have,” he said. The next column, Delivery Mode, denotes this class is face-to-face. The next column, Days, shows that this course meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The second column from right, Attendance Day(s), lists days that students should attend classes in person. “For face-to-face classes, attendance days are the same as the meeting days,” Barnes said.

On the fifth row, Symphony Band is a hybrid course. “It meets on Tuesday and Thursday, but the difference here is when you look at Attendance Day(s) this student has been assigned Thursday,” Barnes said. “So while it meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, this student only attends that class [in person] on Thursday.” On Tuesday, the student will attend remotely.

On the sixth row, Calculus I is also a hybrid course, meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But if you look at the Attendance Day(s) column, “it says ‘Pending,’” Barnes said. Pending is displayed “for any new registration that may occur after a day has been assigned,” he said. “This simply means that you added the class and it hasn't been updated yet.” Schedules typically update two to three times a day, “so just check back in a few hours for that assigned day,” Barnes said.

On the last row, Private Lessons: Clarinet is also a hybrid course, “but if you look at the attendance day, you'll see that it says ‘contact instructor,’” Barnes said. “This will display for any hybrid or face-to-face class that does not have an assigned meeting day. You can click on the ‘contact instructor’ link or on the instructor name” to email your instructor to find out what attendance day you will be assigned, he said.

Questions submitted online:

I am unable to see my fall schedule. Is this an error on my part or will my schedule be coming out soon?

Schedules are available, so please contact your advisor if you don’t have access to yours.

So far, my schedule has now changed a few times and 3/4 of my classes are “remote.” Would I have the option to take the other class remotely so I won't be commuting for one class?

Please work with the instructor of that course to determine if there is any flexibility and with your advisor to see if that class might be available in a remote format or if you could take an alternate course that is offered remotely.

We tried to look at my daughter’s schedule(as shown on earlier slide) and there is nothing there.

If you are having trouble seeing your student’s schedule, please have your student call the One Stop Student Services office (at (205) 934-4300 and 855-UAB-1STP (822-1787) or email at to troubleshoot the issue.

Where can I find my child’s detailed schedule? I’d like to know which classes may be hybrid/remote for him.

Family members should first create an account with and then request permission from their student to see certain aspects of their account. Once the student grants permission, the family member will be able to see the student’s class schedule.

[BOX: Click through a slideshow of UAB’s redesigned classrooms for physical distancing in this UAB Reporter article.]

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Technology in hybrid classrooms

Scott Phillips, Ph.D., director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, demonstrated the automated tracking cameras, microphones and other technologies that have been added to more than 160 UAB classrooms. These technologies will allow students attending remotely to hear lectures and take part in classroom discussions live, Phillips said.

Watch Phillips demonstrate this technology in the video below.

“If you are assigned to participate in class on a Tuesday in person, but on Thursday you attend remotely, you would log into a Zoom meeting that your professor will set up and then as the professor teaches in the class, you'll see that the camera will track that professor around the room,” Phillips said in his demonstration. “It will move with the professor and even make it so that if they write things on the board you can see those things that they write on the board. They'll also have the ability to use a projection cam to show things like a textbook or other materials, and they may use the camera that's built into their teaching station as well to deliver content.”

All instructors will have face shields “so that you'll be able to still see their faces and see their mouths as they teach,” Phillips said. “We've been working hard to make sure that the faculty are prepared to teach in this environment.” Faculty will be able to take questions and interact with students attending class using microphones installed in classrooms.

Learn more about technology installed in many types of UAB classrooms in this article from the UAB Reporter.

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“Since the beginning of this pandemic it has been clear that the UA System and UAB institutional priority is the health and safety of its students, staff, faculty and visitors,” said Michael Faircloth, M.D., medical director for Student Health. “The mandates from UA System Chancellor Finis St. John and UAB President Ray Watts to set the standard for health and safety, and from Dr. Selwyn Vickers, senior vice president of Medicine and dean of the UAB School of Medicine, to develop a plan grounded in evidence-based science and medicine have informed decision-making and recommendations at every step of this process.”

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Sentinel testing

One element of UAB’s comprehensive plan for the fall semester is the use of sentinel testing, “which is a systematic random testing of a percentage of all on-campus staff and students on a weekly basis,” Faircloth said. Sentinel testing is used to “define the background positivity asymptomatic rate and identify early trends, allowing prompt actions as appropriate.”

Participation in sentinel testing is voluntary but strongly encouraged for most students, Faircloth said. It will be required for students:

  • Living in on-campus residential housing (including Greek housing)
  • Participating in intramural club sports
  • In registered student organizations that hold in-person meetings with 10 or more people.

Questions submitted online:

If there is a zero-tolerance policy for non-compliance, then why is participating in sentinel testing optional?

Zero-tolerance applies to many safety mandates. The decision to only require sentinel testing for certain members of the UAB population was informed by infectious disease, pathology and public health experts.

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Entry testing

Another crucial aspect of UAB’s plan is mandatory entry testing for COVID-19, Faircloth said.

“Many of you received an email earlier [the week of Aug. 10-14] from GuideSafe regarding this process and next steps,” Faircloth said. “If you have not seen that email, I would encourage you to please recheck your email, including your spam and junk mail.”


Students who can’t find their email should create an account with GuideSafe using their UAB email address at

Questions submitted online:

When will out-of-state students receive test kits and how to we report the results?

Emails were sent to some 1,800 out-of-state students, said Rebecca Kennedy, Ph.D., assistant vice president for Student Health and Wellbeing. Many of these emails were unopened, Kennedy said. Students should check their emails regularly and check their spam folder if they are not receiving emails, she said.

“At this point for the out-of-state students, what we'd like to do is to try and work with you to see if we can get you into one of our 14 [GuideSafe testing locations] here in Alabama,” Kennedy said. “If you have questions about that, you can get in touch with Student Outreach at”

Registered in-state students “can go ahead and register in the [GuideSafe] platform” by creating an account with their UAB email at,” Kennedy said.

For out-of-state new students, we were told that we were going to receive instructions on where to get COVID-19 testing (Walgreen's was even mentioned). Now we are told we need to find where to get this testing ourselves.... I am having trouble getting this scheduled because I am not an individual at risk or have any symptoms, and even results may take up to 6 days to get it. I am going to miss my moving day. Any advice? 

Out-of-state students who need to move in to UAB residence halls can contact Student Outreach ( or complete this online form.

If you are out-of-state and will be living off-campus, please schedule a GuideSafe in-person test here.

When will out-of-state students receive their test kit? Is there a way to track its delivery?

The timeframe for out-of-state mailed kits has passed. If you are an out-of-state student who needs to move in to a UAB residence hall, contact Student Outreach,, or complete this online form.

If you are out-of-state and will be living off-campus, please schedule a GuideSafe in-person test here.

Do out-of-state students have to pay for their own COVID-19 test or will GuideSafe pay for it?

Tests done through GuideSafe are paid for by CARES funding. If you choose to test through another health care provider, you will be responsible for any costs.

Out-of-state students who need to move in to UAB residence halls can contact Student Outreach,, or complete this online form.

Will UAB reimburse out-of-state students who had to pay for testing?


I tried registering for testing. The response is "Your employer hasn't signed you up for Health at Work."

Students cannot schedule a test until they are registered for fall 2020 classes. If you have already registered for classes and are getting this error message, contact Student Outreach ( or complete this online form.

What will happen if we do not receive our Everlywell test results before we move in? Will we be prohibited from moving in?

Out-of-state students who need to move in to UAB residence halls can contact Student Outreach ( or complete this online form: undefined

If you are out-of-state and will be living off-campus, please schedule a GuideSafe in-person test here.

Where do I check/verify my status of being required for a COVID-19 test or not?

You can check your status here

How will we find out information about getting tested for COVID-19 before the fall semester starts? (graduate student)

Check your UAB email.

Why do online-only students still have to get tested for COVID-19?

UAB has updated the entry requirements for fully online and fully remote students. These are students enrolled in

  • fully online courses (Q courses)
  • fully remote courses, or
  • enrolled in a blend of fully online course (Q courses) and fully remote courses.

Students enrolled in all online and remote courses who have no plans to come to campus are exempt from GuideSafe entry testing, Healthcheck and the online training in Canvas. If you make any changes to your course registration, your entry requirements could change.

If you are a student living in residence halls, no matter if you are listed as online/remote (by your student schedule), you must complete all entry requirements. If you are a fully online/remote student (by your student schedule), and you intend to come to campus for any reason, you must complete all entry requirements.

Will we receive confirmation that we have completed entry requirements?


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Student health

Student Health Services “is open to serve all of our students both onsite in-person and through virtual video visits, and we will continue to be available throughout this challenging time,” Faircloth said.

Questions submitted online:

What actions are being taken for students with mental health issues who used the Health and Wellness Center?

Student Counseling Services is available to provide individual and couples counseling. Services are free and confidential for enrolled undergraduate, graduate and professional students. We are providing all appointments through distance counseling and initial appointments may be scheduled online. Numerous appointments are available each day for students requesting counseling. Returning students may contact their counselor through the patient portal or call our office at 205-934-5816 to schedule an appointment. Numerous online resources are also available to support student mental health virtually.  

Will there be readily available grief and mental health counseling for students and employees when someone in the community does fall sick?

Student Counseling Services is available to provide individual and couples counseling. Services are free and confidential for enrolled undergraduate, graduate and professional students. We are providing all appointments through distance counseling and initial appointments may be scheduled online. Returning students may contact their counselor through the patient portal or call our office at 205-934-5816 to reschedule an appointment. Numerous online resources are also available to support student mental health virtually.  

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Quarantine for students

During the academic year, if students feel unwell on campus in their dorm room, how do they get medical or general assistance? Will they be quarantined? How do they get meals if they're isolated in their room?

“Any student, residential or otherwise, has access to Student Health Services,” Faircloth said. “Certainly if they need care we have that available, both in person and if they're in their room and don't want to leave, they'll be able to do it virtually through their computer. If they need more than that in emergency care, we have a robust health care system around us.”

If a student requires “isolation or quarantine, we have places on campus for the students who live on campus to be isolated, and we're working on spaces for quarantine,” Faircloth said.

“If the students on campus are in isolation, they will have meals delivered once a day to the [designated isolation residence hall, Denman Hall],” said Marc Booker, executive director of Student Housing and Dining. “They will receive a lunch, dinner and breakfast the following morning. Student Health will be reaching to those students on a regular basis to check on them and make sure that they're okay.” Linens will be available for students in their rooms in the isolation residence hall, Booker said. “They will be asked to stay in those residence hall rooms and keep themselves isolated. No visitation will be allowed and most of the contact with each resident in isolation will be virtual, both from Student Health and Residence Life.”

Because “we want folks to recover and take care of themselves in the most comfortable space available, one option for all students who live on campus will be to isolate or quarantine at home,” Booker added. “So if a student is ill or does not want to move to the isolation hall on campus, the ability to isolate or quarantine at home will be available for those students.”

Because of the possibility of having to move to another hall to quarantine or to transition to remote learning “we are asking residents to prepare and pack what we're calling a ‘go bag,’” Booker said. “If you have a limited amount of time, it would be helpful if you already had a bag packed with some clothes and a thermometer and some self-care items. We have a list that you can refer to in material that we’re sending out.”

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Student accommodations

Allison Solomon, director of Disability Support Services and ADA compliance officer for students at UAB, noted that the DSS website has added a special section to request temporary adjustments due to COVID-19. “We are working with students that either test positive for COVID-19 and are not able to attend class, [students who are] considered higher risk according to CDC guidelines [and those who] live with or are caring for an individual who is considered higher risk,” Solomon said. “We're here to be able to coordinate accommodations, which include remote learning for students.”

If any students need accommodations due to the reasons above, “please reach out to DSS,” Solomon said. “Even if you're not sure we're what you need, we're happy to talk to you and make sure that we get you the assistance that's needed — and if necessary the adjustments that are needed for your course.”

What about DSS accommodations for remote learning? Are we going to be able to take a required class that is only offered in person?

Students who have been approved for Temporary Adjustments due to COVID-19 are provided a Notification of Temporary Adjustment letter from DSS which should be shared with the instructor for each class.  Students should plan to discuss with their instructor how remote access will be facilitated. In some cases, it may not be possible for an instructor to recreate a component of their course remotely.  If this occurs the student and the instructor, in consultation with the academic program, should discuss the reasonable options that available for that particular program. Students or instructors may also reach out to DSS for consultation at 205-934-4205 or

What about students who need accommodations and have been approved by DSS to be exempt from being present on campus? Do they need to be tested for COVID-19?

If a student has a class schedule with any face-to-face or hybrid course, that student would need to complete the requirements for entry to campus.

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Student government

Tyler Huang, president of the Undergraduate Student Government Association at UAB, and Jazmine Benjamin, president of the Graduate Student Association, shared their excitement at having students back on campus.

The USGA was a major partner in the SGA COVID-19 Emergency Grant program, launched in the spring in collaboration with the Division of Student Affairs and “countless other individuals and generous donors,” Huang said. “USGA was able to contribute $30,000 to kickstart this grant.” Throughout the spring and into the summer, the grants aided more than 1,000 students with financial needs, supporting them with more than $250,000, Huang said.

Student government groups are also helping to organize a student-led health promotion campaign, which began with a survey of more than 600 students “to better understand their motivations and attitudes surrounding health-promoting messages and their effectiveness in our entry protocol,” Huang said. “Based on the responses from the survey, collaborations have since been developed with a variety of campus groups and departments as we develop specific student-led campaigns regarding face-mask wearing and physical distancing that should launch in the upcoming weeks.”

Benjamin encouraged students “to exercise patience and compassion but to also hold yourself responsible for adhering to safety guidelines and sanitary guidelines,” she said. “We're all a big team, so in order to combat this virus as best we can and keep the campus safe and keep the campus open for the fall semester, we all have to work together.”

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Answers from UAB leaders to student questions not addressed above:


Will there be an in-person fall commencement?

“Large groups are not advisable at this point in time, so we've made the choice not to have an in-person ceremony,” Benoit said. “We thought about that very carefully. Because health and safety is our most important concern, we made the decision that the commencement for fall will be a virtual commencement. We know that it's not the same, although I think given that we now will have done it three times, we're actually finding ways to make it a very enjoyable experience.” Students who want to participate in person can choose to take part in an in-person commencement “when the situation merits being able to be there in person,” Benoit said.

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Student experience


How will move-in work?

“You’re going to continue to get some updates on move-in, but the simple answer is everyone has picked a time — you've picked your own time — so you will arrive during your allotted time to move in,” said Marc Booker, executive director of Student Housing and Dining. “Each resident will show your [UAB Healthcheck] Passport in the lobby to gain access to your room and to get your masks and keys and [fill out] a small amount of paperwork.

“You will have one hour to unload your car,” Booker said. “That’s not one hour to do everything you need to do — it's just one hour to unload your car.” After a resident’s belongings have been unloaded and brought into the hall, they can take as much time as needed in their rooms while setting up, Booker added.We've run some tests [of unloading times] in anticipation of this, knowing that a lot of people are concerned that an hour is not enough,” he said. “So far our average on 11 runs is 26 minutes to unload a car and put the gear in a cart and take it into the lobby. We have done some practicing, and we think an hour is sufficient.”

One key thing to remember is to “please pack lightly, as we've been advising students in our emails,” Booker said. “Not knowing what's going to happen as the semester begins, it's essential that we have an efficient move-in process. As you can imagine with 2,700 residents on campus, if each resident brings one helper, that's 5,400 people in and around the residence halls over five days so it will be congested. We're going to have to be very careful… that's part of the reason there's one hour to unload cars, to minimize coming and going and passing one another.”

Another important reminder, Booker said, is to “please stick to our rules about two on an elevator at a time, maintaining the six feet of social distancing, maintaining your face masks or face coverings.” Students should “use the stairs when practical, because our elevators will not always be available if there are only two people on an elevator at a time.” The Housing team will be “sending additional information very soon — please look for that in your email,” Booker said.

Questions submitted online:

When we arrive you need a passport? Is a driving license OK or is a passport a must?

The "passport" referenced in the town hall is the GuideSafe digital Event Passport you receive electronically after completing Healthcheck. This is not in reference to a traditional passport you would use for international travel. After you finish your Healthcheck, click on the link at the bottom that says, "Get my Passport" to receive your passport for the day.

If somebody needs a study partner, what's the policy on visiting somebody in the dorm?

“Visiting within each residence hall is permitted, provided that there are not more than four or five people in a room at one time,” Booker said. “Studying is allowed. We will not be able to allow students from other residence halls to visit one another or outside visitors [to come] in the residence halls. Please keep in mind all of that is for the safety and well-being of all of the students on campus, and it's important that we all follow those guidelines in order to keep our community safe.”

If you're a freshman and find all your classes are either online or remote are you still required to live on campus?

“We have allowed a significant number of freshmen whose circumstances are changed this year because of COVID-19” to opt out of the requirement to live on campus, Booker said. “If you do find yourself in a circumstance where all of your classes are virtual or remote, you can certainly request to be released from that obligation, and we will review that even at this date and make that determination.”

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How will the dining halls work with limited capacity?

“All of our dining options will be grab-and-go, so there will be very limited seating in areas that students are used to seeing seating, such as the Hill Student Center and the Commons,” Booker said. “We will have served food by our dining staff. There won't be any self-service and you just take your container and can enjoy a meal on the Green or back in your residence hall or before your next class.”

If some students are doing full online and remote classes, will they still be required to pay the campus dining fee?

“We’re investigating that piece, simply because we've had a high number of requests,” Booker said. “Part of the reason for the fee is associated with the cost of running the dining [operation] and… making it available for all the different variations and different venues.” But, “if the student is completely on remote or not on campus, we are exploring the opportunity of waiving that fee for the fall semester — for that one semester,” Booker said.

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Could you give some guidance on numbers of how many people are allowed to gather? Is it more than 10, less than 10?

“At this time, we're looking at allowing students to have events with no more than 10 people inside and no more than 20 people outside,” John Jones said. New guidance from the UA System may require a change in these numbers, however, Jones added. “More information on that is to come.”

UPDATE: Since the town hall, new UA System guidance has revised these maximum event sizes to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, as long as the venue allows for a minimum six feet of distancing between each participant.

Are there restrictions on events held in public spaces such as restaurants where social distancing guidelines will be followed?

UAB has developed modified Social Event Guidelines for student events during the 2020-21 academic year. These guidelines prohibit off-campus student events and activities until further notice.

What actions are being taken to regulate student activities/gatherings off-campus?

Departments in Student Affairs and student-led organizations (including registered student organizations, fraternities and sororities and academic organizations) are required to register organization sponsored events through Engage. Off-campus events are prohibited until further notice. The ability for student organizations to host events is subject to the University of Alabama System’s Comprehensive Health & Safety Plan. As we prepare to return to campus, UAB will use the Social Event Guidelines for Student Events to plan programs, events and recruitment initiatives. These protocols ensure a safer return to campus and UAB’s ability to host in-person events.

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Libraries and Rec Center

How will UAB libraries operate?

“The libraries will be open from Aug. 17 with limited hours, and then we will go to fuller hours on Aug. 24,” said Kasia Gonnerman, Ph.D., dean of UAB Libraries. “We are adjusting the space to redistribute the furniture, so that each piece is six feet away from one another. Obviously this will impact the capacity for sitting students, but we will allow for whatever number of seats are available to be used for studying.”

All students will be asked “to limit their stay in the libraries to two hours so that we can rotate through more users and allow other students to use the spaces as well,” Gonnerman said. “We're also going to continue some additional services that will hopefully limit the need for library use, such as curbside pickup and requesting materials through the catalog for the books to be delivered at service desks. We are really trying to maximize in any possible way the study capacity for our users.”

Will we be able to reserve study rooms in Sterne Library? How will we be able to disinfect the computers and desks?

Study rooms in Sterne and Lister Hill Libraries are available for booking. At the point of checking out the key at the service desks, users will be asked to verbally pledge that

  • they won’t share the rooms with other users, and
  • they will clean the surfaces they touch on entering and leaving.

Appropriate cleaning supplies will be provided at check-out.

With limitations at the library, will there be a remote site for tutoring?

Please visit the Vulcan Materials Academic Success Center website for information on tutoring. VMASC is open for business remotely. You can make an appointment here.

Will the Rec Center be open?

“We are very excited that we will be able to open the recreation facility” Aug. 17, said Rebecca Kennedy, Ph.D., assistant vice president for Student Health and Wellbeing. “We will be up and running. We will not be able to have every single thing open based on all of the regulations… but we will have a socially distanced experience there that should be really great.”

Why am I being charged the fitness center fee if all of my classes will be held remotely?

University Recreation has a wide array of virtual offerings that students who will be fully remote can participate in. Those opportunities will include UFit classes, Intramural Sports, fitness challenges and other programming and services. Check out the virtual offerings section of our website and as always follow us on social media for ongoing updates.

Will intramural sports be allowed to play?

In general, yes. However, our offerings will be different than previous years. For the fall we are focusing on esports, trivia and limited in-person options. The in-person options will follow all social distancing and mask requirements. Check out our IMLeagues website for a listing of sports, registration information, etc.

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Student jobs

Are there available student jobs for freshmen this semester? Will work-study still go on during this semester?

“Absolutely,” Jones said. “If you look within Student Affairs there are several departments that hire a large number of students — to start with, the Hill Student Center, Campus Recreation and Dining… and certainly there are other academic departments throughout the university that also hire student employees.”

One location to find out more information about jobs is Handshake, “a technology platform within Career Services” that lists available campus employment opportunities, Jones said.

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ONE Cards

How do you get a ONE Card if you are an incoming freshman?

If this is your first time attending UAB, you will need to upload a picture to Once your uploaded photo has been uploaded and approved, contact One Stop Student Services to arrange pickup.

If student does not have ONE Card yet, will it come in mail before move-in?

One Cards have been mailed to all first-time freshmen and transfer students who uploaded an approved photo by Aug. 11. All other students, including graduate students, should contact One Stop Student Services to arrange pickup.

How do graduate students get a ONE Card?

If you have previously attended UAB, you will need to have a new picture taken for your ONE Card and this can be done at the One Stop Student Services office or the Physical Security office.

If this is your first time attending UAB, you will need to upload a picture to Once your uploaded photo has been uploaded and approved, contact One Stop Student Services to arrange pickup.

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I have been waiting for my parking pass. If it does not show up in the mailbox before I leave to move in, will I be able to pick one up when I move in?

Students who ordered a commuter parking permit should have received their permit via U.S. Mail seven to 10 days after ordering. Housing student permits were not mailed until Aug. 3 and should be received seven to 10 after ordering as well. Please call the Transportation Office at 205-934-3513 to verify the exact date your permit was mailed and to verify the mailing address.

If my classes are switched to remote, can I get a refund or cancel my parking permit?

“Yes, students will be allowed to return their permits for a full refund if they do so before Aug. 31,” said André Davis, director of Transportation at UAB. “We've extended that date. The deadline previously was Aug. 28.”

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Financial questions

When will academic scholarships be applied to the fee bill?

Students should see their academic scholarship already applied to their account in BlazerNET listed as Anticipated and credited to their bill when they view their Account Summary By Term.

Why am I charged for lab fees when my professor has emailed the class saying that everything, including labs, will be remote?

The great majority of lab fees are used to pay the people who set up, run and clean up the labs. When labs are conducted remotely, the duties of these people change from physical setup and cleanup to designing online labs, making videos for them, developing kits and doing what needs to be done to ensure that students are able to meet the objectives of the course.

Can we add money to our BlazerBucks?

BlazerBucks can be added to a student’s ONE Card by visiting and then clicking on Add Funds.

If all my classes have been moved online, will I still be charged for BlazerBucks?

There will not be a refund issued, said John Jones, Ph.D., vice president for Student Affairs. But “we will waive that fee from your account — in other words, you will not be responsible for paying that fee.”

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Other questions

Will custodial employees be receiving hazard pay/extra pay for their increased workload during the pandemic?

At this time there is no plan to provide hazard pay for any employees.

If a vaccine becomes available, are students going to be required to receive the vaccine?

UAB is following the vaccine developments closely and will share information when it is made available.

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Social justice

Is admin paying attention to the student concerns listed on the UAB Students Against Injustice Instagram account? If not, why?

UAB communicated with page admins and provided the following:

UAB shares your interest in identifying and fighting injustice. To help inform students and parents, faculty and staff about the resources and processes available to report incidents, please consider posting the following message prominently on the UAB Against Injustice Instagram page: UAB Against Injustice Community (A message from UAB):


Voicing experiences of injustice is critical. Awareness helps us identify possible isolated or systemic shortcomings that threaten the aspirations of our creed, The Blazer Way, and our shared values that include respect, accountability, diversity and inclusion. Injustice has no place at UAB, and we want to aggressively address any instance of it. If anyone experiences injustice at UAB, we encourage them to immediately access the people, processes and resources in place to help. Escalate concerns to advocates in the offices of Student Affairs, Police and Public Safety or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). DEI offers an online Discrimination Complaint Form. UAB Compliance also offers an option to report concerns anonymously. If you see or suspect unethical or illegal behavior, please report your concerns to EthicsPoint, operated by Navex. Call 866-362-9476 toll-free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or file an anonymous report online here. Through EthicsPoint, you can report anonymously yet provide the level of detail necessary for UAB to address concerns. Please help UAB live our shared values by reporting concerns. Thank you.

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If my PI has not sent an entry plan by the start of the year, can I do research once the proper paperwork is done, or is there a deadline for whether we can research or not?

Each person involved in research on campus (student, staff, faculty) must be included in the approved operational plan prior to returning to campus.

Are the Citi Program courses required? If so, why weren’t students notified about it?

Students who will be participating in undergraduate research are expected to complete the free online CITI course. They are usually notified about this by their mentor/advisor or program/department once they express interest in getting involved in research. This requirement existed pre-COVID=19.

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