Letter from Dr. Watts

UAB Community,

Dr. Watts HeadshotWe look forward to uniting on campus again. UAB is transitioning from the university’s Limited Business Model into Modified Business Operations. UAB’s policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are based on the core values and mission pillars of our strategic plan, Forging the Future. Right now, we are following our Modified Business Operations, our gradual, phased approach that promotes social distancing and preserves the health of our university community and surrounding metropolitan area.

As we move through our plan, remember that the pandemic is fluid. Our leadership continues to monitor the current situation and use data driven decisions to make contingency plans should the current situation improve or worsen. We will always keep the health and safety of our community the top priority.

This website provides details on how we will come back to campus safely as we strive to preserve the health of our university community and Birmingham. Guidance and requirements are subject to change and will be updated prior to future phases of entry, including a return to in-person instruction. We will communicate with individuals and supervisors regarding the timing and process of their scheduled return. For the latest updates and information continue to check this website.

#UABUnited,

Ray L. Watts, M.D.
President, UAB

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

During Modified Business Operations, UAB is following a gradual, phased approach with some groups/functions returning to campus before others. Clinical and research personnel have been the first to return to campus following the approval of units’ operational plans. The safety of our employees is of paramount concern. We are actively developing additional capabilities to enhance our ability to track symptoms and trace proximities and contact.

  • Wear Your Mask
  • Six Feet Apart
  • Wash Your Hands
  • Stay home
  • Complete Your Healthcheck

Task Forces

UAB has appointed task forces responsible for developing comprehensive plans for a safe entry to campus for students, faculty and staff, and for monitoring the spread of COVID at UAB on an ongoing basis.

Entry Implementation Committee

Purpose: To work through specific implementation and infrastructure issues to promote a smooth entry process for the campus.

Anupam Agarwal, M.D., Executive Vice Dean, UAB School of Medicine
Jim Bakken, Interim Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications & Interim Chief Communications Officer
Pam Benoit, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs & Provost
Allen Bolton, Senior Vice President for Finance & Administration
Tom Brannan, Vice President for Advancement
Jennifer Breland, Assistant Vice President of Alumni Affairs, Executive Director of UAB National Alumni Society 
Chris Brown, Ph.D., Vice President for Research
Curt Carver, Ph.D., Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
Katie Crenshaw, JD, MSEd, CCEP, Chief Risk & Compliance Officer
John Daniel, JD, Deputy General Counsel & Chief University Counsel
Ria Hearld, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the School of Health Professions
Alesia Jones, Chief Human Resources Officer
John Jones, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Affairs
Reid Jones, Chief Executive Officer of UAB Medicine
Jeanne Marrazzo, M.D., Director, Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine
Lori McMahon, Ph.D., Dean, Graduate School
Stephanie Mullins, Chief Financial Officer 
George Netto, M.D., Chair of the Department of Pathology 
Rosie O'Bierne, Interim Associate Vice President for Digital Strategy & Marketing
Clay Ryan, Vice Chancellor for Governmental Affairs and Economic/Workforce Development 
Selwyn Vickers, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean, School of Medicine
Ray Watts, M.D., President of UAB

Incident Command Committee

Purpose: To oversee the safety of coming-to-campus processes and practices and to interrogate data and intervene when safe conditions are breached.

Anupam Agarwal, M.D., Executive Vice Dean, UAB School of Medicine 
Monica Aswani, DrPH, Assistant Professor,  School of Heath Professions 
Jim Bakken, Interim Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications & Interim Chief Communications Officer
Kyle Boyett, Director of Emergency Management
Adriene Crane, Human Resources Administrative Director 
Katie Crenshaw, JD, MSEd, CCEP, Chief Risk & Compliance Officer
John Daniel, JD, Deputy General Counsel & Chief University Counsel
Jordan DeMoss, Vice president of clinical operations at UAB Hospital
Erik Dohm, DVM, Senior Clinical Veterinarian
Mike Faircloth, M.D., Director of Family and Community Medicine, School of Medicine 
Suzanne Judd, Ph.D., Director of the Lister Hill Center for Health Policy  
Robin Lucas, Administrative Director, Financial Affairs Training 
Lori McMahon, Ph.D., Dean, Graduate School
Scott Moran, Director of Support Services, Facilities Division 
Sarah Nafziger, M.D., Professor, Departments of Emergency Medicine and Neurology
Jason Nichols, O.D., Associate Vice President for Research, School of Optometry 
Karen Templeton, Director of Provost Communications 
John Turner, Director of Hospital Finance, UAB Medicine
Mary Wallace, Assistant Vice President for Student Experience 
Steve Yoder, JD, Associate Provost of Academic Administration 

Guiding Principles

The UAB’s policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are based on the core values and mission pillars of our strategic plan, Forging the Future.

Five principles guide decisions on when and how *students, faculty and staff return to campus:

1

Preserve the health of our university community and Birmingham.

Reflects our commitment to an inclusive solution to do what is right for all constituencies.

2

Maintain and deliver on our education, research and community engagement mission pillars by continuing to recruit and enroll students, teach those students, conduct research, and help stimulate the Alabama economy.

Reflects our commitment to constantly innovate and solve problems in the face of adversity, even in how we deliver on our strategic plan. 

3

Preserve and maintain university operations necessary to support mission-critical activities, both now and into the future.

Reflects our commitment to being good stewards of our assets, including taxpayer-funded assets.

4

Treat students and employees fairly and equitably.

Reflects our commitment to respect for one another and to ensuring the trust necessary for successful collaboration on making the right decisions.

5

Remain fiscally solvent now and into the future so as to be able to deliver on mission-critical activities for the long term.

Reflects our commitment to be accountable to each other and to other constituencies depending on UAB to achieve its missions.

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

 

Latest Updates

UAB and UAB Medicine COVID-19 Update: Plans and Safety Strategies Tuesday, July 28 at 1:00 p.m.

UAB and UAB Medicine faculty and staff,

This is a stressful, uncertain time, yet the UAB community’s resilience continues to sustain our mission while keeping health and safety our top priority. Thank you for all you do. Our gradual campus re-entry is going well, with clinical and research activity largely back to pre-COVID levels.

We have employed an extensive combination of safety protocols and resources that — together — minimize risk, and we continue to implement even more strategies to enhance safety, like expanded COVID-19 testing and the anonymous exposure notification app coming soon.

Safety requirements developed in partnership with the UA System will be strictly enforced, and with cooperation from our students, faculty and staff, we expect these strategies to continue to be effective. The ongoing #UABUnited campaign encourages proper behaviors for the greater good, and non-compliance with safety protocols can be anonymously reported.

The spread of COVID-19 in our community is of great concern, and we continue to work with our infectious disease and public health experts to assess the level of risk in on-site activity relative to our safety strategies. COVID-19 Incident Command teams are active for both the university and UAB Medicine, continually evaluating operational plans and monitoring relevant data — including local and big-picture COVID-19 trends, compliance with safety protocols, status of COVID-19 entry and sentinel testing results, and other key metrics.

This remains a fluid situation. While the university and UAB Medicine continue to move forward with current plans, we also have contingency plans. If at any point our current plans become unsustainable due to the status of the pandemic, the university and UAB Medicine will make data-driven decisions based on our capacity, pivot and communicate changes with as much prior notice as possible.

To review current plans and the extensive battery of safety protocols and resources in place and in development, university employees can access uab.edu/coronavirus and the entry plan web site (an update of this site to enhance user experience is in the works), as well as this quick-reference safety overview one-pager. UAB Medicine’s employees can access current COVID-19 information on ONE.

For answers to many frequently asked questions, access our July 8 Faculty Town Hall and the July 13 Employee Town Hall (including “More of Your Questions Answered” updated July 23). Additional town halls are upcoming:

#UABUnited,
Ray L. Watts, President
Reid Jones, CEO UAB Medicine
Pam Benoit, Provost

UAB Student COVID-19 Update: Plans and Safety Strategies Tuesday, July 28 at 1:00 p.m.

UAB students,

This is a stressful, uncertain time, yet the UAB community’s resilience continues to sustain our mission while keeping health and safety our top priority. Our gradual campus re-entry is going well, with clinical and research activity largely back to pre-COVID levels.

We have employed an extensive combination of safety protocols and resources that — together — minimize risk, and we continue to implement even more strategies to enhance safety that will be in place before the start of the fall semester. For example, the anonymous exposure notification app we’ve been developing in partnership with the Alabama Department of Public Health, Apple and Google will be available for you to download soon.

Safety requirements developed in partnership with the UA System will be strictly enforced, and with cooperation from our students, faculty and staff, we expect these strategies to continue to be effective. The ongoing #UABUnited campaign encourages proper behaviors for the greater good, and non-compliance with safety protocols can be anonymously reported.

We are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in our communities relative to our plans for the fall, and we continue to work with our infectious disease and public health experts to assess the level of risk in on-site activity relative to our safety strategies. A COVID-19 Incident Command Committee has been established to continually monitor relevant data — including local and big-picture COVID-19 trends, on-campus compliance with safety protocols, status of COVID-19 entry and sentinel testing results, and other key metrics.

This remains a fluid situation. While the university continues to move forward with current plans, we also have contingency plans. If at any point our current plans become unsustainable due to the status of the pandemic, the university will make data-driven decisions based on our capacity, pivot and communicate changes with as much prior notice as possible.

To review current plans and the extensive battery of safety protocols and resources in place and in development, visit uab.edu/coronavirus and the entry plan web site (an update of this site to enhance user experience is in the works), as well as this quick-reference safety overview one-pager.

We will continue to provide regular updates. Please monitor your emails and read official university communications, including Greenmail every Wednesday.

You can attend our next virtual town hall for students and families on August 12, 6-7 p.m. Access the recent Incoming Undergraduate Student Town Hall, Returning Undergraduate Student Town Hall and Graduate Student Town Hall online.

#UABUnited,
Ray L. Watts, President
Pam Benoit, Provost and Senior Vice President
John Jones, Vice President for Student Affairs

Childcare and School Survey for UAB and UAB Medicine Faculty/Staff Friday, July 24 at 1:00 p.m.

UAB and UAB Medicine faculty and staff,

We want to acknowledge that many of you are grappling with significant uncertainty related to your family’s childcare and school plans as we move into the fall. As Birmingham City Schools and other local K-12 districts announce plans for an all-remote start, we understand that parents and caregivers are faced with limited options and difficult decisions.

At UAB and UAB Medicine, our people are our greatest asset. We care about the wellbeing of you and your family, value your contributions, and recognize that flexibility is critical as we continue to deliver on our missions. We encourage leaders throughout the enterprise to engage with faculty and staff to understand their needs so we can work together in providing guidance in addressing them.

We are updating the list of community-based childcare resources and exploring what other options might be available. We need your help to better understand the scale and scope of this issue. Please complete the survey linked below if you are a primary caregiver for a child who will be enrolled in Kindergarten through 8th grade beginning this school year.

Access the Childcare and School Survey

Despite so many challenges, we know you will continue to provide exceptional patient care, educational opportunities, research breakthroughs, student and infrastructure support, and community service during this unprecedented time. We are grateful for the important work each one of you does, and we want to work with you to find solutions that support you personally as parents and professionally as employees of UAB and UAB Medicine.

Sincerely,

Ray Watts, President
Reid Jones, UAB Medicine CEO
Pam Benoit, Provost and Senior Vice President

UAB Student Campus Entry TestingWednesday, July 22 at 3:30 p.m.

To promote health and safety on campus as part of our comprehensive entry planning, all UAB students coming to campus after August 1 are required to be tested for COVID-19. Students who entered campus prior to that date do not have the same requirement, as they are regularly reporting any coronavirus symptoms via HealthCheck. Free tests will be available through GuideSafe, which is supported by CARES Act funding through the state of Alabama.

Within 14 days prior to coming to campus, students must undergo testing for the coronavirus. Those who test negative will be cleared for this requirement. Those who test positive must have additional medical clearance from a health care provider and UAB Student Health Services after completing required public health measures. (Note: Students with a positive result will be allowed to participate in remote learning if physically able.)

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 12 weeks, please do not re-test at this time. Instead, provide UAB Student Health Services a copy of your results and health care provider clearance documentation via the secure patient portal. You can access your portal on the Student Health Services website with you Blazer ID and password; select the “Messages” tab and then upload your documentation to “Coronavirus Lab Results.” Your information will be reviewed, and you will be notified via the portal once clearance is confirmed.

Students required to participate in entry testing will receive an email soon from “GuideSafe Entry Testing” This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. about accessing your COVID-19 test. Please look for and promptly complete the instructions in the email. The test involves a nasal swap just inside the nostril, which is easy to self-administer and less invasive than the nasopharyngeal swap you may have seen as another sample collection method.

Our ability to test students entering campus this fall will go a long way in helping us maintain a safe environment. On our campus, testing will supplement other strategies including face coverings, physical distancing, daily symptom and exposure reporting and enhanced safety measures.

If you have questions about testing and any exemptions, more information is available here.

UAB and UAB Medicine Update: Faculty and Staff COVID-19 Testing Wednesday, July 22 at 3 p.m.

UAB and UAB Medicine faculty and staff,

We continue building on our efforts to maintain a safe campus throughout our gradual campus entry plan in partnership with the UA System. Among other strategies, COVID-19 testing is being used in consultation with infectious disease and public health experts.

Sentinel Testing

UAB has begun COVID-19 sentinel testing — a process that tests a percentage of our population each week — for students, faculty and staff. Sentinel testing is voluntary but highly encouraged. If you receive an invitation, your participation is important to help us promote a safe environment. Sentinel testing is a self-administered nostril swab, not the invasive nasopharyngeal swab.

Campus Entry Testing

Campus entry testing varies from students and university and UAB Medicine employees:

Student Campus Entry Testing

Students returning to campus after August 1 will be required to have a negative COVID-19 test to enter campus for the fall semester. Detailed instructions will be provided. Compliance with these instructions is mandatory to enter campus for the fall semester.

University Faculty and Staff Campus Entry Testing

COVID-19 campus entry testing will be offered to faculty and university staff returning to campus in August, but it is not required. Campus entry testing is a self-administered nostril swab, not the nasopharyngeal swab. Please read the following guidance:

  • Any faculty or staff with or without COVID-19 symptoms are asked to complete UAB Healthcheck and follow instructions for next steps, including for testing (access Healthcheck on the entry website, my.uab.edu or the UAB app).
  • University faculty and staff without COVID-19 symptoms who are returning to campus in August and would like to be tested (not required) will receive instructions at a later time on how to access this testing.
  • University faculty and staff who are working remotely will not participate in this campus entry testing and are not included in the randomized list for sentinel testing.
  • University faculty and staff who are already on campus (prior to August) and who do not have COVID-19 symptoms are included in the sentinel testing process and will not participate in campus entry testing.

UAB Medicine Employees Entry Testing

Please review the following testing guidelines for UAB Medicine employees:

  • UAB Medicine employees with or without COVID-19 symptoms are encouraged to complete UAB Healthcheck and follow instructions for next steps, including for testing (access Healthcheck on the re-entry website).
  • UAB Medicine employees who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must complete the mandatory Employee Health Symptom and Exposure form available here or on oneuabmedicine.org/coronavirus.
  • UAB Medicine employees who are already working on campus and who do not have COVID-19 symptoms are included in the sentinel testing process and will not participate in campus entry testing.
  • UAB Medicine employees who are working remotely may be included in the randomized selection for sentinel testing. Participation is not mandatory but is strongly encouraged.

We continue to monitor the pandemic and will communicate updates to plans, resources and guidance. Please read eReporter every Tuesday and Friday, and visit uab.edu/coronavirus, uab.edu/uabunited, and www.oneuabmedicine.org/coronavirus for updates and information. You can also access our July 8 Faculty Town Hall and the July 13 Employee Town Hall for answers to many frequently asked questions. Additional town halls are upcoming:

  • Faculty/Instructor Town Hall: Friday, Aug. 7, 12-1 p.m.
  • Students/Family Town Hall: Wednesday, Aug. 12, 6-7 p.m.
  • Employee Town Hall: Friday, Aug. 14, 12-1 p.m.

#UABUnited,
Ray L. Watts, President
Reid Jones, CEO UAB Medicine
Pam Benoit, Provost

Update Regarding International Students Friday, July 10 at 3 p.m.

Dear UAB students, faculty and staff:

As you may have heard, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced on Monday that F-1 international students who are enrolled in schools that switch exclusively to online risk violating their F-1 immigration status and need to leave the US or transfer to an institution that provides in-person instruction. This is an unexpected change to earlier guidance issued in the Spring, when SEVP allowed F-1 international students to take all spring and summer 2020 courses online while remaining in the United States during the pandemic.

We understand this news is concerning. Our international students are an invaluable part of the UAB community. We remain committed to supporting them in their educational and research contributions to our community.

UAB, like institutions all over the country, are seeking more clarification as they move forward with Fall 2020 planning. SEVP’s announcement also addressed the ability of F-1 students to attend schools that are adopting a hybrid model of instruction. We have evaluated these new regulations and believe at this time that UAB’s hybrid instructional model which provides for a combination of online and in-person instruction for Fall 2020 complies with SEVP’s July 7 guidance for F-1 students and allows these students to remain enrolled in the US. This, however, is a constantly evolving landscape, and we will provide updates as soon as possible if and when new guidance emerges.

For more information, please visit the ISSS website (found here) which contains additional guidance and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Pam Benoit
Senior Vice President and Provost

Catherine Crowe
Director, International Student and Scholar Services

David Hoffman
Executive Director, INTO-UAB

Expense Reduction Strategy Updates Friday, July 10 at 8:30 a.m.

UAB and UAB Medicine faculty and staff,

On May 4, the university and UAB Medicine/Health System announced expense reduction strategies to address budget shortfalls for their separate lines of business due to COVID 19. These actions were necessary to protect the institution and our employees as we assessed the financial impacts of the pandemic.

Throughout this extremely challenging time, the UAB family has shown great resilience in the face of disruption and stress to deliver on our vital mission pillars. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.

Please read the following important updates regarding changes to the expense reduction strategies implemented by UAB Medicine/Health System-managed entities and the university in conjunction with the University of Alabama System.

UAB Medicine Update

To protect jobs as much as possible during COVID-19 financial uncertainty, UAB Medicine announced tiered salary reductions in May for clinical faculty and staff in Workgroup C (check your workgroup) making more than $31,200/year. It was anticipated that these reductions would last through the remainder of 2020.

The financial outlook has improved. In addition to receiving federal and state support, UAB Medicine has also seen faster-than-expected returns to near pre-COVID patient volumes. This increase in volume has been driven by our dedicated faculty and staff. Our financial stability was recently bolstered by our strategic alliance with Ascension St. Vincent’s.

We promised that, if we were able, UAB Medicine would restore compensation and possibly return the lost wages.

  • Retroactive to July 1, we will restore the compensation to pre-salary-reduction levels for UAB Medicine faculty and staff who received a reduction.
  • We will reimburse faculty and staff for the salary reductions between May and July 1. The restoration is for all staff except the CEO and his direct reports and senior leaders (approximately 140 people). Because compensation plans are varied, faculty compensation restoration plans will be coordinated by the HSF Clinical Departments. The payment of this back compensation will occur sometime in late August due to the required time to process the payroll activity.
  • At this time, the employer match/contribution to voluntary 403(b) retirement plans remains suspended. A decision on the retirement contribution reductions will not be made until the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30) and will be made in consultation with the UA System.

We appreciate the dedication of our health care heroes who have stepped up in the face of great challenges, and we are pleased to be able to reinstate their compensation.

University Update

The university projected a smaller budget shortfall in May than did the UAB Medicine/Health System. As a result, the university did not implement widespread faculty and staff salary reductions as did UAB Medicine/Health System-managed entities. University senior leadership took a voluntary pay cut, and those reductions will remain in place through the end of the ongoing furlough period.

At this time, roughly 300 university staff in Workgroup A (check your workgroup) remain on an unpaid leave furlough status. Based on current financial projections, the furlough period will go through July 31 and end as scheduled.

Furloughed employees set to resume work will receive instructions from their supervisors in the coming days. Furloughed employees will resume work in either an on-campus or remote capacity, depending on the details of their unit’s operational plan for re entry. Employees are expected to remain productive, and some may have typical job duties adjusted based on unit-specific needs.

We ask that supervisors make staffing plans that allow for flexibility as required as furloughed employees transition back to working. For instance, there may be child care or other considerations that require temporary special considerations relative to remote or on-campus work schedules.

If a supervisor has a business need to reinstate a furloughed employee before the end of the furlough period, they are encouraged to complete the Furloughed Employee Return to Work Form.

At this time, the employer match/contribution to voluntary 403(b) retirement plans remains suspended. A decision on the retirement contribution reductions will not be made until the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30) and will be made in consultation with the UA System.

We sincerely appreciate the dedication our faculty and staff have demonstrated to fulfilling our mission and to each other during this difficult time. The pandemic continues to pose challenges, and uncertainties remain. COVID-19 increases could jeopardize our operations and financial health. Please support our continued recovery by being an example to others and wearing a mask, social distancing and practicing good hand hygiene. We all need to do our part to avoid taking steps back.

Please utilize resources like the Benevolent Fund’s Employee Emergency Assistance program or Blazer Kitchen, if needed. Faculty and staff who want to support colleagues who are struggling financially are encouraged to please give to the UAB Benevolent Fund.

Sincerely,

Ray L. Watts
President, UAB

Reid Jones
CEO, UAB Medicine

UAB COVID-19 Update: COVID-19 sentinel testing Thursday, July 2 at 3:30 p.m.

UAB students, faculty and staff,

As we continue in partnership with the UA System to implement our phased approach to gradually unite on campus, UAB and UAB Medicine strive to be the safest campus in America and keep health and safety our top priority. Among many other strategies, we are adopting sentinel testing as an additional layer to minimize risk and support a continued re-entry.

The sentinel testing system collects information useful for monitoring trends in diseases and pathogens. We plan to test between 2.5% to 5% of the on-campus population weekly to detect how COVID-19 may be circulating among our asymptomatic population. The test will be a self-administered swab of the nostril. Click here for additional information and frequently asked questions about sentinel testing.

This random sentinel COVID-19 testing of those who have returned to campus will begin the week of July 6. Those selected for testing will receive an email on the Sunday of the week they are to be tested, with instructions on how and where to get tested.

Submitting to sentinel testing is voluntary. Your choice to participate or not will in no way impact your employment or your status as a student. Nevertheless, we hope that you will participate and help us in the fight against this virus. Sentinel testing will supplement mandatory COVID-19 testing for returning students through the Testing for Alabama program announced on June 29. Additional testing strategies for employees are being explored.

Students, please continue to read the Greenmail e-newsletter every Wednesday for important announcements and details about reentry. Faculty and staff, please continue to read eReporter, and UAB Medicine employees also read ONE. For more information on UAB’s re-entry to campus, visit uab.edu/reentry.

#UABUnited,
Ray L. Watts, UAB President
Will Ferniany, UAB Health System CEO

COVID-19 testing for students this fall Monday, June 29 at 10 a.m.

UAB students, faculty and staff,

To promote health and safety on campus as part of our comprehensive reentry planning, all UAB students returning for the fall semester will receive a free COVID-19 test, supported by CARES Act funding through the State of Alabama. Throughout the semester, random, voluntary sentinel testing will be provided to some students to help identify trends and potential problem areas.

In partnership with the University of Alabama System, UAB has led an effort with the State of Alabama to create the Testing for Alabama program. Through the program, all students of two- and four-year higher education institutions can receive a free COVID-19 reentry test. Read the announcement at UAB news online.

Protocols for how testing will be administered are being developed. We anticipate the test will likely be either a swab in the nostril — though not the more invasive nasopharyngeal swab — or an oral saline gargle test that we currently have under development.

Our ability to test every student returning to campus will go a long way in helping us maintain a safe environment. We are excited that, through our partnership with Governor Kay Ivey and the State Department of Health, we can have a broader impact in our state by helping make testing available to public colleges and universities throughout Alabama.

On our campus, testing will supplement other strategies to maintain a safe environment, like the GuideSafe™ platform that includes our COVID assessment healthcheck symptom monitoring tool. UAB is also developing a voluntary exposure notification app powered by Apple and Google that we look forward to rolling out in the coming weeks.

In addition to COVID-19 testing for students through Testing for Alabama, a sentinel testing system for on-campus faculty and staff was piloted in June and will be implemented broadly starting on July 8. Additional testing strategies for employees are being explored.

Updates will be communicated to students through the Greenmail newsletter, and to faculty and staff in eReporter.

#UABUnited,
Ray L. Watts, President
Pam Benoit, Senior VP and Provost

Safety compliance and reporting Friday, June 26 at 9 a.m.

UAB students, faculty and staff,

As UAB continues our phased, gradual reentry to campus, we want to assure you that our COVID-19 safety protocols, based on the input of infectious disease and public health experts, will be enforced to help promote the health of our community and the continuity of our mission.

We know that creating and maintaining a culture of safety will require awareness, vigilance, monitoring, effective structures for reporting concerns and corrective action for non-compliance.

We need to be united for our common good, and each of us has a role to play.

UAB’s Reentry Expectations and Guidelines are posted online at uab.edu/reentry, as are Personal Safety Practices. Everyone who returns to campus is expected to comply fully with these safety protocols and any specialized guidance from their particular departments/units/schools. We also ask that — to protect the UAB family and our broader community — you practice safety guidelines when you are off campus.

If you observe that health and safety rules are not being observed or enforced on campus, discuss your concerns with your supervisor. If non-compliance persists, you may contact Human Resources or report it anonymously through the UAB Ethics Hotline. Anyone who reports non-compliance is protected against retaliation, and concerns of retaliation should be reported to Human Resources or the Office of Compliance and Risk Assurance.

Persistent failure or willful disregard for health and safety protocols by any employee or student will result in consequences consistent with UAB’s discipline policies for staff, faculty and students.

We are committed to preserving the health of the communities in which we live, learn and work, and the safety precautions we have adopted and will continue to adopt to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic apply to everyone equally. By observing them, we are confident we can continue to teach and learn, research, support Alabama’s social and economic needs, and deliver vital patient care.

Students, please continue to read the Greenmail e-newsletter every Wednesday for important announcements and details about reentry. Faculty and staff, please continue to read eReporter, and UAB Medicine employees also read ONE. Employees or others who want to keep up with student communications, sign up to receive Greenmail and visit the student sections of uab.edu/uabunited and uab.edu/reentry.

#UABUnited,

Ray L. Watts
UAB President

Will Ferniany
UAB Health System CEO

Fall Semester Schedule Tuesday, June 16 at 2:30 p.m.

UAB students, faculty and staff,

Our gradual re-entry to campus continues and is going well, as is our planning with the University of Alabama System for a safe return this fall with a hybrid model – a course delivery system which, because of social distancing precautions, requires a combination of both in-person instruction and remote instruction. To promote the health and safety of the campus community, adjustments have been made to the fall semester schedule:

  • Fall semester hybrid classes will start Monday, Aug. 24, 2020.
  • Fall semester hybrid classes will end Friday, Nov. 20, for the Thanksgiving break.
  • Students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving break.
  • Exceptions can be granted for students based on work, research or clinical responsibilities, and accommodations can be requested for international students or others who do not have alternate living arrangements.
  • Classes during the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 4, as well as final exams during the week of Dec. 7-11, will be conducted remotely.
    Coursework engagement during these weeks is necessary to accommodate SACSCOC accrediting standard requirements for credit granted for coursework.

Additional information for our phased re-entry to campus (including details about on-campus housing, classroom protocols, personal protective equipment, and COVID-19 training and testing) continue to be worked out and will be communicated in the coming days and weeks. UAB’s e-newsletters are your source of official information. To stay informed of the latest news and updates, students are encouraged read Greenmail each Wednesday, and faculty and staff are encouraged to read eReporter each Tuesday and Friday. We will also continue to update uab.edu/uabunited and uab.edu/reentry.

In the meantime, please continue to be an example in our community by following important COVID-19 safety guidelines.

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

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

UAB faculty and staff,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Alesia Jones
Chief Human Resources Officer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anticipated Phased Approach Timeline

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

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

Red

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

Orange

Limited Business Operations(0% - 25% capacity)

Yellow

Modified Business Operations(26% - 74% capacity)

Green

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

Orange
  • Limited business operations with essential services only
  • Remote learning
  • Suspension of on-campus events and activities
Yellow
  • Continuation of essential services and research support
  • Resumption of research activities as operational plans are approved
  • Clinic openings with operational plans and restricted personnel approved
  • Critical administrative and business operations as communicated from university and school leadership
  • Resumption of student clinical experiences following operational plans after approval
  • Continued resumption of research activities as operational plans are approved
  • Critical administrative, business operations, academic, student affairs as communicated from university/school leadership based on approved operational plans
  • Staggered return to campus of faculty and staff to prepare for resumption of modified fall return
  • All returns to campus will be based on on-site needs and approved operational plans
  • Staggered return to campus for faculty and staff to prepare for resumption of modified fall return
  • Athletes (depending on guidance from the conference)
  • Some faculty, staff and students continue to work remotely
  • Residential and nonresidential students
Green
  • Faculty, staff and students work on campus

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

Productivity in Modified Business Operations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Steps

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

Update on COVID-19: Additional Expense Reductions Due to COVID-19 Crisis Monday, May 4 at 12:30 p.m.

UAB faculty and staff,
UAB is experiencing the harsh financial realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, as are institutions of higher education and health care worldwide.

The Universities of Arizona, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio, Oregon and Wisconsin recently joined a growing number of universities and academic medical centers to announce some combination of salary reductions, furloughs or reduced hours, layoffs, and stopping employer contributions to retirement plans. Washington University in St. Louis furloughed 1,300 employees for 90 days. The Mayo Clinic announced it would furlough or reduce hours for 30,000 employees.

Many revenue streams have slowed or stopped due to the pandemic. Clinical revenue is substantially down for UAB Medicine. For the university, social distancing and other operational changes have negatively affected revenue. Without changes to our operations, the university will incur a budget shortfall of $40+ million in the remaining five months of the FY20 fiscal year ending Sept. 30, and UAB Medicine could have a $230 million budget shortfall by the end of September. Federal and state stimulus funding will address only a portion of our losses.

To protect our employees and the institution, beginning in March we took quick steps in partnership with the University of Alabama System to limit travel and restrict hiring and discretionary spending, among other strategies. To date, the university and UAB Medicine have been able to largely sustain uninterrupted payroll for more than seven weeks of limited business while we assessed the extent of the pandemic’s financial impact. Despite our best efforts, we must take additional actions we had hoped to avoid and delayed as long as possible.

University leadership explored many options with advisory panels across campus, including Faculty Senate and Staff Council leaders, the University’s Budget Advisory Committee, and others to determine what expense reduction options should be adopted. UAB Medicine gathered input from leaders across the organization and its governing bodies to determine expense-reduction strategies.

After thorough assessment and projections, we regret to announce additional university and UAB Medicine expense-reduction strategies.

University Leadership Salary Reductions

  • Effective May 1, university leadership had their salaries reduced for at least the remainder of the fiscal year as follows: President 15%, Senior Vice Presidents 10%, Deans and Vice Presidents 7%

UAB Medicine Leadership Salary Reductions

  • UAB Medicine Senior Leaders (Including Department Chairs): 10% reduction in annual compensation, effective May 10 through Dec. 31, 2020
  • Health System Executive Cabinet: 15% reduction in annual compensation, effective May 10 through Dec. 31, 2020

In addition, the university and UAB Medicine/Health System-managed entities must implement different responses to address budget shortfalls for their separate lines of business.

USE THE EMPLOYEE WORKFORCE APP TO CHECK YOUR WORKGROUP

University Expense Reduction Strategies

  • Temporary furloughs for approximately 325 university staff unable to work effectively in a remote setting, for a period effective May 10 through July 31, 2020:
    • Temporary furloughs will affect Workgroup A Group 3 and a limited number of university staff in Workgroup A Group 2. Human Resources will work with supervisors to identify and alert affected Group 2 staff as soon as possible and no later than the end of business Friday, May 8.
    • During furlough, employees retain benefits such as health insurance and are eligible for unemployment benefits and additional assistance through the CARES Act. UAB will cover the cost of both the employer and employee contributions to health plans (including employee premiums) for affected staff during the furlough period.
    • Information for furloughed university employees is available online. Employees can also contact their designated HR representative.
    • UAB HR will file claims for unemployment benefits with the Alabama Department of Labor on behalf of furloughed staff.
    • The furlough period might be shorter or longer depending on the evolving impact of the pandemic.

Strategies for UAB Medicine/Health System-managed Entities

  • Temporary salary reductions for many clinical faculty and Workgroup C staff in UAB Medicine and Health System-managed entities:
    • Workgroup C salary reductions are effective May 10 through Dec. 31, 2020. Implementation dates for School of Medicine clinical department faculty may vary slightly and will be directly communicated to those affected.
    • School of Medicine clinical department faculty salary reductions will average 7%. Specific salary reductions for Workgroup C will be implemented on the following sliding scale:
      • Hourly wage employees making $15 or less per hour: 0% reduction in annual compensation
      • $0 – $31,200: 0% reduction in annual compensation
      • $31,201 – $50,000: 3% reduction in annual compensation
      • $50,001 – $75,000: 4% reduction in annual compensation
      • $75,001 – $125,000: 5% reduction in annual compensation
      • $125,001 – $200,000: 6% reduction in annual compensation
      • Greater than $200,000: 7% reduction in annual compensation
      • Senior Leaders (Including Department Chairs): 10% reduction in annual compensation
      • Health System Executive Cabinet: 15% reduction in annual compensation

    Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our mission during this time. These actions are a reflection only of the harsh economic realities of the COVID-19 crisis, not a reflection of the value of UAB faculty and staff or their job performance. We are disappointed that this action has become necessary.

    We will continue to assess the crisis. Future decisions will be determined by the financial realities of the time as we work to reverse financial deficits and fight this COVID-19 pandemic.

    Those of you who need to take advantage of resources like the Benevolent Fund’s Employee Emergency Assistance program or Blazer Kitchen, please do. Faculty and staff who want to support their colleagues are encouraged to please give to the UAB Benevolent Fund.

    University Human Resources
    UAB Medicine Human Resources

    We are confident that we will get through this crisis and be a stronger and more resilient institution on the other side. We will keep you updated as events unfold.

    Sincerely,

    Ray L. Watts
    President, UAB

    Will Ferniany
    CEO, UAB Health System

    Update on COVID-19: Financial Process, 403(b) and Fall Semester Thursday, April 30 at 12:30 p.m.

    UAB Faculty and Staff,

    As April comes to a close, questions remain about UAB’s plans to address the financial realities of the COVID-19 crisis and plans for the fall semester.

    Our hope is to offer in-person instruction options in the fall – a goal we are working towards with the guidance of task forces at the UA System and UAB levels. While circumstances could ultimately limit our ability, we are working to determine the logistics that would facilitate a safe return to campus.

    Financially, UAB is still working through the process shared with the campus community recently. In an April 16 virtual town hall for faculty and staff, Vice President Allen Bolton explained the initial estimated negative impact on our budget to be between $52 million and $77 million this fiscal year. UAB Medicine has projected a possible $230 million budget shortfall by the end of September.

    UAB leaders have been exploring many expense reduction options with advisory panels across campus, including Faculty Senate and Staff Council leaders, the University’s Budget Advisory Committee and others to determine what options should be adopted to close that gap.

    At this time, employer matches/contributions to voluntary 403(b) retirement plans will be temporarily suspended or reduced in accordance with the requirements of the plans. For university employees, this will start in May and last through September 2020. Because the health system has a larger budget shortfall than the university, it will also start this action in May but will extend it through December 2020. Details will be communicated directly with individuals who participate in these plans.

    We continue to work on a comprehensive plan in coordination with UAB Medicine that should be final no later than next week. The good news is, due to new information and projections this week, our projected budget shortfall is several million dollars less than originally estimated. This is positive, allowing us to revisit the extent of expense reduction options needed in addition to our hiring and spending restrictions already in place.

    It remains our goal to minimize the disruption to our valued faculty and staff, which is why we have taken the appropriate time to ensure that estimates are accurate and actions we ultimately take are absolutely necessary. As we assess strategies, we are thoughtfully considering the timing of any announcement.

    Our work to finalize a comprehensive plan continues, and we will keep you informed as soon as we have new information. Thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of our multifaceted mission.

    Sincerely,
    Ray L. Watts President, UAB

    Message to UAB Students, Faculty and Staff from UA System Chancellor Finis St. John Friday, April 17 at 4 p.m.

    UAS logo

    Finis St. John

    Finis St. John

    Chancellor

    The University of Alabama System


    Our University of Alabama System Campuses will be the Safest in America

    I want to thank President Ray Watts, Dr. Will Ferniany, Provost Pam Benoit, Dr. Selwyn Vickers and the faculty and the staff who are working tirelessly during these difficult times to provide meaningful support and uninterrupted teaching to students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    The entire UA System – UA, UAB, UAH and the UAB Health System – is committed to using all possible resources to reopen our campuses and resume normal activities. It is not a matter of IF, but one of WHEN.

    We are extremely fortunate that UAB, home to one of the world’s foremost academic medical centers, is part of our System. With knowledge and guidance from the scientists, doctors, researchers and numerous higher education experts on our campuses, we are developing comprehensive plans to make sure our three campuses are the safest in America when our students return.

    We have established a System-wide Task Force to consider strategies of all kinds: testing measures, enhanced cleaning, classroom procedures, housing policies, security and wellness programs, and more. We will update you about timelines on our website (www.uasystem.edu) and through future email communication from the UAB leadership team. If you have suggestions you would like to share with the System Office, please email us: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    The University of Alabama System will not only survive these difficult times, we will prevail. With your support, we will overcome these challenges. Thank you for your dedication to the University.

    Summer School Announcement Wednesday, April 8 at 9 a.m.

    UAB students, faculty and staff,

    Thank you all for your hard work and understanding in this time of change and uncertainty. Your Blazer spirit is essential to keeping our UAB community safe and to ensuring our ability to serve and educate effectively.

    As part of the University of Alabama System Office’s 24/7 planning to safeguard our campus community, it has developed an Updated Interim Emergency Policy regarding summer classes. Given that the majority of our summer courses offered after June 22 have already transitioned to an online format, we will not offer in-person/on-site classes for summer 2020. All instruction will be delivered remotely using the most effective tools available.

    Students, please work with your faculty members to access materials and utilize all the teaching and learning tools we have posted for you. Although classes are not being taught in person this spring or summer, our faculty is delivering a full array of courses through remote teaching. This page provides important details regarding laboratories, in-person research, residence halls and campus dining, in addition to grading methods and other important updates.

    As we have previously announced, we will not hold in-person orientations or commencement ceremonies until further notice. We have online programming prepared for both. All of you who look forward to participating in a future graduation ceremony on campus will have that opportunity as soon as on-campus operations are restored and scheduled.

    We remain committed to delivering on our mission, vision and shared values to create knowledge that will change the world.

    Campus community member tests positive for COVID-19 Tuesday, March 31 at 5:30 p.m.

    UAB was notified this afternoon that a campus community member tested positive for COVID-19 today, March 31, 2020. The safety and well-being of the community is UAB's top priority, so we are providing this notification out of an abundance of caution. It is important to note that the vast majority of the campus community has been working and learning remotely.

    State and local health departments have protocols for testing and advising cases – including contact tracing and notifying individuals who may have been exposed. Public health authorities determine what information is shared publicly in the interest of health and in accordance with privacy requirements.

    The university is taking precautionary measures – including cleaning and disinfecting – and continues to encourage aggressive social distancing and other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    Infographics showing social distancing

    Text alternative for "What is Social Distancing" infographic

    Extended Duration of Limited Business Model Thursday, March 26 at 1:30 p.m.

    USE THE EMPLOYEE WORKFORCE APP TO CHECK YOUR WORKGROUP

    • The following information about extending the duration of the limited business model applies BOTH to Workgroups A and C.
    • Faculty (Workgroup F) involved in activities that require a presence at their work location (e.g., patient care or essential research) should continue to report to their place of work. Faculty who can work remotely (e.g., if you have only instructing responsibilities that can be done online), please do so from your home if possible. If you have questions, consult your supervisor.
    • For guidance on research activities, please see Resources for Researchers on uab.edu/uabunited.
    • UAB Hospital never closes and continues to prepare to safely isolate and care for COVID-19 patients.

    UAB faculty and staff (including student/employee workers),

    We often say UAB’s people are our most valuable resource, and we sincerely thank you for all you do for UAB and our community in this challenging time. We continue to monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and carefully plan in an attempt to minimize disruptions while maintaining critical functions in a safe environment.

    As you know, UAB announced an initial 14-day limited business model in mid-March for Workgroups A and C. We are now extending the duration of the limited business model — as it is now — for Workgroups A and C until or unless notified otherwise by their supervisor.

    All employees who are working remotely, or unable to perform their jobs remotely, will continue under the same conditions and circumstances as previously announced – including pay and benefits. We will continue to update and inform you of any changes to this policy, and your supervisor will notify you of any changes to your work group, taking into account the need to stagger campus visit times and maintain social distancing at all times.

    As a reminder, the categories of employees in Limited Business Model Workgroup A and C are (employees are assigned to the appropriate group by their unit leadership/supervisor and should follow supervisor instructions):

    1. Workgroup A and C, Group 1: Those who will continue work in-person and continue to be paid at the normal rate. Do not come to work if you are sick, and continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene.
      • Supervisors should make every effort to not include student-employees in Workgroup A or C, Group 1 on-campus work. If a supervisor thinks a student’s role is essential, approval must be granted by HR before a student is assigned to Workgroup A or C, Group 1.
    2. Workgroup A and C, Group 2: Those who will continue work but can do so from home and continue to be paid at the normal rate.
      • Read UAB’s temporary telecommuting guidance and fill out and sign the telecommuting agreement if you have not already. If you completed a telecommuting agreement for the initial 14-day limited business phase, you do not need to fill it out a second time.
      • Working from home can be challenging. For the short- and long-term health of our institution and our vital mission, managing those challenges to remain productive is imperative. Communicate with your supervisor and/or speak with your Human Resources representative for guidance.
      • Your group assignment is subject to change if business needs arise.
    3. Workgroup A and C, Group 3: Those who will not work during a time of limited business and will continue to receive normal pay and benefits until or unless notified otherwise by their supervisor.
      • Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic makes it necessary to limit on-campus personnel to only those whose functions are imperative during limited business operations — and not all functions can be done remotely or are required under extreme circumstances.
      • Workgroup A and C, Group 3, may be called upon to perform duties (on-site or remotely) within the employee’s skill set but outside of the employee’s job description.
      • Workgroup A and C, Group 3 employees will continue to be paid during the limited business period until or unless notified otherwise by their supervisor. In the event of a prolonged disruption that requires this policy to change, leadership will work with all sources (federal, state, etc.) in an effort to continue financial support of our employees. UAB is raising funds to help those affected by COVID-19. Students in need of assistance can request a COVID-19 emergency grant. Employees in need of assistance can pursue the Employee Emergency Assistance Program.
      • If you need to go to campus to get critical personal belongings, coordinate with your supervisor for approval and to stagger timing with others to minimize personal contact. Absolutely do not go to campus if you are sick.
      • Your group assignment is subject to change if business needs arise.

    NOTE: Unit leaders/supervisors will assign and communicate group assignments within Workgroup A and C.

    Employment and pay for Federal Work Study students will be handled per current federal guidance.

    UAB — working within the framework of the proactive COVID-19 planning led by The University of Alabama System — will maintain health and safety as our top priority. We are committed to making prudent decisions and communicating regularly.

    Please take care of yourself and each other as much as possible.

    Spring Semester Announcement Wednesday, March 18 at 4:30 p.m.

    UAB Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Spring Semester Announcement

    Update: Yesterday we communicated that Dr. Mike Saag tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from a trip to New York. It is important to note that after returning from his trip he did not work or see patients. When tested, all proper isolation and protective protocols were followed to ensure safe testing.

    Students, faculty and staff,

    Thank you for your efforts to minimize the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In the midst of an extremely unsettling time, the Blazer community has come together to make sacrifices and support one another. Please continue to practice aggressive social distancing and good hygiene so we can “flatten the curve” and save lives.

    When we announced the online/alternative instruction format March 12, it was unclear how long it would last. It is now clear that in-person instruction will not be possible for the remainder of the semester.

    As part of the ongoing University of Alabama System Office planning to safeguard our campus community, UAB and our sister campuses are announcing today that there will be no more in-person/on-site classes for the duration of the spring semester. Instead of on-campus commencement ceremonies this spring, UAB will host virtual/alternative commencement ceremonies.

    This is an unprecedented situation, but UAB remains committed to minimizing disruptions while keeping health and safety our top priority. Additional logistics will be communicated in the coming days, but here are details we know now:

    Online and Alternative Teaching

    The UAB spring semester will resume Wednesday, March 25, in an online/alternative format. All instruction will be delivered remotely using the most effective tools available. Students should work with their instructors to access materials and utilize resources, an additional details and guidance to help them succeed in this format. Faculty have been provided eLearning and IT resources, as well as peer guidance. Policies regarding clinical and research requirements, student-teacher programs and other specific professional programs will be formulated based on guidance from the state of Alabama and the appropriate academic departments and governing agencies.

    Virtual/Alternative Commencement Ceremonies

    We are deeply disappointed that our graduating Blazers will not experience a traditional commencement this spring, but we will do everything we can to recognize and celebrate your accomplishments. There are several commencement ceremonies each spring, and details of each virtual/alternative commencement will be communicated in the coming days and weeks. This announcement is being made now to best accommodate the logistics of graduating students and their families, as well as campus departments. Additional information about this and other opportunities will be provided.

    Residence Halls

    Now that we know on-campus instruction will not take place this semester, we can begin to make decisions and provide guidance to allow students to move out of their residence hall rooms. We are formulating a plan now to allow a systematic and safe way for students to retrieve their belongings and move out. This plan will be shared in a separate communication directly to residential students.

    Students, please DO NOT RETURN TO CAMPUS at this time. It remains vitally important to aggressively promote social distancing and “flatten the curve.” Students should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if an extreme hardship or circumstance arises. Students are not authorized to return to campus outside of this plan, and any who show up without authorization will not be accommodated.

    Now that on-campus classes will not resume this semester, a plan will be communicated in the near future regarding residential student housing fees and meal plans.

    Transportation Services continues to discuss parking issues and will provide further guidance in the future.

    Please stay safe and take your responsibility to “flatten the curve” seriously. Together, we can save lives.

    Flattening the curve of COVID-19 Infographic

    Physician Tests Positive for COVID-19 Tuesday, March 17 at 9:30 p.m.

    Dr. Mike Saag tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from a trip to New York. It is important to note that after returning from his trip he did not work or see patients. When tested, all proper isolation and protective protocols were followed to ensure safe testing.

    UAB Coronavirus Update: Physician Tests Positive for COVID-19

    UAB Community,

    Mike Saag, M.D., a physician in the UAB Division of Infectious Disease, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). He wishes to make his case known as an example of the COVID-19 reality and the importance of practicing aggressive social distancing. As Dr. Saag will share, he was exposed on a family visit to New York City. Dr. Saag and UAB are taking precautionary measures to promote a safe environment, and we will diligently work with health department officials to identify and notify anyone who may have been exposed.

    Please follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UAB guidance to protect yourself and others, including social distancing and good hygiene. If you have symptoms, call your health care provider BEFORE going to the doctor, and if you feel sick STAY HOME.

    • UAB Student Health Services: 205-934-3580
    • UAB Employee Health: 205-934-3675 from 6:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday
    • After hours/weekends, call 205-934-3411 and ask them to page the nurse on call

    UAB is fully prepared to safely isolate and care for patients with infectious diseases, and we have taken aggressive action to slow the spread of coronavirus, including:

    • a move to online/distance learning
    • work-from-home for thousands of employees
    • closing buildings and cancelling events

    Please take care of yourself and each other.

    Limited University Business Operations Sunday, March 15 at 3 p.m.

    THE FOLLOWING IS FOR WORKGROUP A

    CLICK HERE TO ACCESS INSTRUCTIONS FOR WORKGROUP C

    USE THE EMPLOYEE WORKFORCE APP TO CHECK YOUR WORKGROUP

    • The following information about a limited business model applies ONLY to Workgroup A.
    • Faculty (Workgroup F) are asked to work remotely IF POSSIBLE (e.g., if you are instructing online, do so from your home, not campus), and come to campus only if required (e.g., direct patient care or research responsibilities that require a physical presence on campus). If you have questions, consult your supervisor.
    • Instructions and updates for employees in Workgroup C will be forthcoming from the UAB Health System and School of Medicine. These forthcoming updates will also address UAB employees at Children’s of Alabama.
    • UAB Hospital never closes and continues to prepare to safely isolate and care for COVID-19 patients.

    UAB is complex. Changes to work schedules mean different things to employees and can be confusing. If you have questions about the following guidance, please ask your supervisor or HR contact.

    UAB faculty and staff (including student employees/workers),

    Late Friday, a state of emergency was declared for Alabama and the nation to address the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This announcement — which includes the closing of K-12 schools statewide starting Wednesday at 5 p.m. and relaxing absentee policies in some schools for the beginning of the week — has prompted concerns and questions about UAB policies that address remote work, essential staffing and child care issues.

    With guidance from Human Resources, leaders across the university have been working to assess resources and staffing needs, and will be moving to a limited business model. Based on the latest COVID-19 developments and the need to minimize in-person contact, UAB (university) will begin transitioning to a limited business model for employees in Workgroup A starting Monday, March 16, to be fully implemented by 5 p.m. The limited business model will be in place for at least 14 days starting March 17.

    Again, the following information about a limited business model applies ONLY to Workgroup A. Faculty (Workgroup F) are asked to work remotely IF POSSIBLE (e.g., if you are instructing online, do so from your home, not campus), and come to campus only if required (e.g., direct patient care or research responsibilities that require a physical presence on campus). If you have questions, consult with your supervisor. Instructions and updates for employees in Workgroup C and those at Children’s of Alabama will be forthcoming from the UAB Health System and School of Medicine.

    This limited business model identifies employees in Workgroup A who are:

    • needed to continue work in-person (Limited Business Model Workgroup A, Group 1)
    • needed to continue work but can do so from home (Limited Business Model Workgroup A, Group 2)
    • not needed to work during a time of limited business (Limited Business Model Workgroup A, Group 3)

    NOTE: Unit leaders/supervisors will assign and communicate group assignments within Workgroup A.

    Early data suggests a limited business model may reduce the presence of on-site university employees by as much as 75 percent while maintaining functions critical to the UAB mission. It is important to remember that UAB Hospital never closes and continues to prepare to safely isolate and care for COVID-19 patients.

    At this time, a limited business model is in the best interests of the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and is an important community service to minimize COVID-19 spread. During this time, it is vital that everyone in every group practices aggressive and meaningful social distancing, as well as proper hygiene to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19. If you experience symptoms, call before you go to the doctor. Please call Employee Health or call UAB Medicine 4YOU at 205-934-9999.

    How will limited business operations work?

    Employees are assigned to the appropriate group by their unit leadership/supervisor and should follow supervisor instructions.

    Workgroup A, Group 1 will report to work as normal; Workgroup A, Group 2 will stay home and continue to work; and Workgroup A, Group 3 will not work. Supervisors determine which positions and employees are suitable for telecommuting, not the individual employees themselves.

    • Workgroup A, Group 1 will report to work as normal (unless you are sick or have been in immediate contact with a person known to have COVID-19 — see employee coronavirus health resources).
      • Maintain social distance and good hygiene. Utilize phone calls and virtual meetings as much as possible (even for small groups). Any gatherings of more than 25 people will require approval from a dean, vice president or AVP.
      • Supervisors should make every effort to not include student-employees in Workgroup A, Group 1 for on-campus work. If a supervisor thinks a student’s role is essential, approval must be granted by HR before a student is assigned to Workgroup A, Group 1.
    • Workgroup A, Group 2 will stay home and continue to work (as soon as possible but in effect no later than 5 p.m. Monday, March 16). If you do not need to return to campus, don’t. Also, do not return to campus if you are sick. See employee coronavirus health resources for guidance if you think you may have symptoms.
      • If needed, Monday, March 16, can be used to prepare to effectively work from home. If you need to go to campus to get essential items (e.g., laptop or desktop computer, supplies) to make working from home possible, coordinate with your supervisor to stagger coming to campus with others to limit contact with others.
      • Carefully read the UAB Temporary Telecommuting Guidance, sign the Temporary Telecommuting Agreement and send to your supervisor (scan or digital photo is OK), then forward to your HR representative.

        The temporary telecommuting agreement and guidelines were established as part of UAB’s efforts to support business continuity across campus. They are temporary and should not be confused with UAB’s standard telecommuting agreement and guidelines. Highlights of the agreement include:
        • Supervisors determine which positions and employees are suitable for telecommuting, not the individual employees themselves.
        • The temporary telecommuting agreement can be modified or terminated at any time, especially if operational needs warrant the change.
        • Employees should understand obligations regarding securing UAB records and transmitting information (e.g., sensitive information related to student records, patient privacy, intellectual property, etc.).
        • Employees are responsible for establishing an appropriate work environment, meeting productivity and service goals required by management, keeping and reporting time worked, and communicating in the appropriate manner and frequency.

      • Rather than forwarding your work phone to your cellphone, please change your outgoing voicemail message on your work phone to instruct callers to call your cellphone directly. This will alleviate capacity constraints we would face if too many work phones are forwarded.
      • Utilize available resources to set up remote working capabilities.
        • Academic Continuity Plan
        • Remote Working Technology Toolkit
        • Teaching Remotely at UAB
        • Consult www.uab.edu/it/home/remote-work, or if you need additional help, contact AskIT online at 205-996-5555 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for IT needs.
      • Your group assignment is subject to change if business needs arise.

    Working from home can be challenging. For the short- and long-term health of our institution and our vital mission, managing those challenges to remain productive is imperative. Communicate with your supervisor and/or speak with your Human Resources representative for guidance.

    • Workgroup A, Group 3 will not work (after being notified of your group assignment by your supervisor).
      • Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic makes it necessary to limit on-campus personnel to only those whose functions are imperative during limited business operations — and not all functions can be done remotely or are required under extreme circumstances.
      • Workgroup A, Group 3 employees will be paid during the initial 14-day limited business period. In the event of a prolonged disruption, leadership will work with all sources (federal, state, etc.) in an effort to continue financial support of our employees. Further, UAB Leadership is exploring opportunities — including possible use of the Benevolent Fund — to financially help employees who encounter hardships due to the suspension of work IF limited business lasts longer than two weeks.
      • If you need to go to campus to get critical personal belongings you must have during the next two weeks, coordinate with your supervisor for approval and to stagger timing with others to minimize personal contact.
      • Your group assignment is subject to change if business needs arise.

    This unprecedented and fluid event will not be easy on anyone. As we adjust our work lives while managing concern for our loved ones and community, challenges will be significant. Employees across the United States and beyond are concerned about job security and financial stability. UAB — working within the framework of the proactive COVID-19 planning led by The University of Alabama System — will maintain health and safety as our top priority while we work to minimize disruptions for our most important asset, our people. We are committed to making prudent decisions and communicating regularly.

    Please take care of yourself and each other as much as possible. Utilize Employee Health, as well as free services available through the Employee Assistance Counseling Center. If you would like to donate to help students, faculty and staff with COVID-19 related hardships, or if you need to inquire about help, please contact the Benevolent Fund.

    Faculty and Staff Resources and Business Planning Friday, March 13 at 5 p.m.

    The fast-moving and dynamic nature of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has led to many uncertainties and questions. This is not unique to UAB, universities or health systems. We are glad the University of Alabama System took decisive action as part of a proactive planning process to promote health and safety on our campus.

    As we work to operationalize the change, we may not have all the answers immediately. But a very dedicated team is committed to reducing uncertainties as much and as quickly as possible. Ultimately, we want to minimize disruption to the lives of our campus community while keeping health and safety our top priority.

    A great deal of planning has taken place, and many questions have been answered. Please take the time to review the information that is available – including resources, communications and frequently asked questions – at www.uab.edu/uabunited. Some resources found at this central hub include:

    As you know, we are shifting to online and alternative learning after spring break. Additional preparations are underway as we monitor the outbreak. Business operations are being maintained at this time (i.e., faculty and staff are asked to report to work), but we may need to make additional adjustments in the interest of health and safety. At this time, student workers/employees/interns who remain on campus and want to continue working may be able to maintain their normal work schedule. Managers are asked to be understanding of student-employees’ circumstances. Ultimately, circumstances will vary, and student-employees should speak with their supervisor/coordinating instructor who can consult leadership on a case-by-case basis as necessary.

    In the event normal business operations are altered, Human Resources is working with leaders across campus to explore – for example – job functions that can take place in a remote setting off campus to promote social distancing.

    In the meantime, units on campus are encouraged to test remote working capabilities on a limited basis with some faculty and staff working from home to help identify challenges and opportunities, should a more comprehensive limited business plan be implemented. UAB Telecommuting Agreement

    Logistical changes – including limiting access to some facilities and closing some university functions – are being considered and will be communicated as soon as details are clear. While student access will be limited, all academic buildings will remain open to faculty and staff.

    Please continue to monitor your email for updates, as well as visit www.uab.edu/uabunited. In the meantime, please take care of yourself and each other, and utilize services of Employee Health and the Employee Assistance Counseling Center (Mental & Emotional Well-being at uab.edu/uabunited).

    UAB Transition to Online or Alternative Instruction Thursday, March 12 at 5:30 p.m.

    Based on recent developments, discussions with leadership on University of Alabama System campuses and with other institutions, and advice of the University of Alabama System Task Force, the UA System is making immediate preparations to transition to on-line or alternate instruction for all academic courses to protect the health and safety of our communities. This policy will be re-evaluated on or before Monday, April 6, 2020.

    Each campus will keep faculty, staff and students updated electronically on individualized plans, timelines and specific changes as soon as possible.

    • UAB is scheduled for Spring Break the week of March 16-20. UAB’s Spring Break will be extended through at least March 24. Each campus will notify students, faculty and staff when the semester will resume.
    • Following Spring Break, UAB students should not return to campus and will continue their course work via distance learning subject to the following limited exceptions:
      • international or other students who do not have alternative accommodations;
      • students from areas without high-speed internet or other means of receiving remote instruction;
      • students with exceptional hardships, or academic, employment, clinical or research requirements that should be reviewed by the respective campuses on a case-by-case basis.
    • Arrangements will be made by the campuses to ensure any students remaining on campus have access to essential services (including Student Health Services/Counseling Services). Residence Hall and dining facilities will be open for students who remain on campus.
    • The UA System’s restriction on ALL non-essential international and domestic travel remains in place. All non-essential University meetings, gatherings and events are cancelled. Faculty, staff and students abroad and in international affiliated programs sponsored by third parties should contact their program administrators for information and further guidance.
    • These policies will be updated as circumstances require.

    Students leaving for spring break, please take essential belongings with you (e.g., class materials, textbooks, medications, electronics, valuables, etc.). If you have already left and will need to return, please alert Student Housing at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    This policy applies only to academic classes. At this time, regular business operations will continue until further notice. Additional guidance will be forthcoming. Until further notice, faculty and staff should report to work.

    This is a quickly evolving situation, and we are committed to answering questions and supporting students, faculty and staff through this unprecedented event at UAB. There will be questions, and leaders across campus are working to answer them and make this transition as smooth as possible.

    Please continue to follow your emails, as well as updates at www.uab.edu/uabunited.

    Information Regarding Spring Break Wednesday, March 11 at 4:30 p.m.

    Update to the UA System’s Interim Emergency Policy – Information Regarding Spring Break

    As are colleges and universities throughout North America, the University of Alabama System is taking precautionary measures regarding the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.

    In preparation for the upcoming spring break March 16-20 at UA and UAB, with UAH’s break the following week (March 23-27), our current plans call for maintaining normal campus operations. Our guidance is based on the best information available to us at this time from local, state and federal agencies and health care professionals.

    As you consider plans for spring break, please keep these important points in mind to protect yourself and our community from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

    1. Our goal is to provide continuity and consistency for our students. If the situations in our communities change, we will transition to alternative modes of instruction (such as on-line classes) to protect the health and safety of System campuses. While current plans are to maintain regular schedules, it is possible that System campuses could move to alternative modes of instruction at some point this semester depending on the state of COVID-19 in Alabama. IF it becomes necessary to cancel in-person classes, plan ahead to have what you need. When you leave for spring break, take essential belongings with you (e.g., class materials, textbooks, medications, electronics, valuables, etc.), in the event a transition to alternative modes of instruction becomes necessary.

    2. If you live on campus, are uncomfortable traveling, and prefer to stay on campus during spring break, we will provide you with accommodations. It is important that you notify us of your plans if you decide to remain on campus. At UAB, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    3. Everyone on our campuses should take extra care to follow personal hygiene instructions from the CDC:
      • Wash hands frequently, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
      • Avoid sick people, avoid people if you are sick, and do not travel if you are sick.
      • Clean and disinfect surfaces, and cover your cough or sneeze with a sleeve or tissue.
      • Protect against the flu by getting the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, but the flu is still circulating in the community at this time.
      • The CDC does not recommend the general public buy or wear masks in the United States.
      • If you have symptoms, call your health care provider BEFORE going to the doctor.

    4. Continue to be vigilant, plan ahead and protect against spreading viral illness. The following two maps are available to assist you with accurate information on affected areas:
    5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Global Outbreak Map
      CDC United States Outbreak Map

    6. If you develop respiratory symptoms during spring break, or are exposed to an individual with or suspected of having COVID-19, then please DO NOT return to campus, and we will work with you to provide alternative arrangements for remote learning through the best available platforms. Students should contact their advisor or program head regarding academic concerns.

    7. We are continuously monitoring the situation, which could change at any time. We will notify you of updated information and policy changes on the UA System’s dedicated webpage.
    We want to remind everyone to please monitor your emails. The System’s previous advisories canceling international travel and discouraging any non-essential domestic travel remain in effect. Advisories and updates can be found at http://uasystem.edu/news/2020/02/ua-system-covid-19-updates/.

    Required Review of Domestic Travel, Events and Visitor(s) Wednesday, March 11 at 11:45 a.m.

    The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is evolving quickly, and the outbreak has required proactive leadership from the University of Alabama System to restrict international travel.

    There are some decisions — based on the current status of the outbreak and recent guidance from the UA System — that UAB leadership should make based on specific potential risks and circumstances. Decisions must be made regarding university-sponsored domestic travel, events and visitors to campus.

    Any faculty or staff member sponsoring, organizing or otherwise leading university-sponsored or university-hosted travel, events or visitors should alert your leadership as soon as possible. That leader will determine if the activity is essential or non-essential, and if it poses a risk to the health and safety of the campus community:

    • Non-essential Domestic Travel (UA System Domestic Travel Advisory): Non-essential domestic travel is discouraged at this time. A decision must be made as to whether the university-sponsored domestic travel is essential or non-essential.
    • Events/Visitor(s) to Campus: A decision must be made as to whether the event or visitor on campus (e.g., speakers, conferences, orientations, seminars, performances, competition) carries potential risks and whether the event/visit can take place.

    Leaders responsible to make decisions in each area include:
    • Deans will review activities in schools and colleges
    • VPs and/or AVPs will review activities for administrative units (each VP will determine the appropriate starting point for his or her unit)
    • Athletic administrators will review activities in Athletics

    Decisions should be based on the relative risk of the travel or visitor(s), understanding that our top priority as an institution is the health and safety of our campus community. If the dean, AVP or athletic administrator is the event sponsor, the determination for that event should be made by his or her supervisor so the decision is not made by someone personally invested in the organization of the event.

    Questions to ask when considering the necessity of the travel or visitor(s) include:

    • Can you explain why the travel/visitor(s) is essential?
    • Can the travel/visitor(s) be postponed?
    • Can the purpose of the travel/visitor(s) be accomplished in another way (e.g., virtually)?
    • Does the size of the event/number of attendees create too much risk?
    • Do the attendees/visitor(s) create too much risk (e.g., coming from a domestic or international location with significant COVID-19 spread)?

    UA System and UAB leaders will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide additional or revised guidance as the situation evolves. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

    NEW Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Advisory Monday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m.

    The University of Alabama System continues to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Today System officials issued guidance advising against any non-essential domestic travel at this time, particularly to large conferences with attendees from multiple states or locations that have declared a state of emergency due to the virus.

    Faculty, staff and students on UA System campuses are encouraged to use good judgment when making travel decisions and work with campus administration to evaluate alternative methods of remote participation such as live-streaming of conference sessions and meetings.

    The UA System advisory also states: “Students, faculty and staff who have concerns about being exposed to the virus while traveling should not be required to travel. Likewise, any student, faculty or staff member who elects not to attend a previously scheduled event due to those concerns should not be disciplined.” Read the full advisory here.

    The UA System website will continue to be a centralized source for updated information on the virus outbreak, policies and other guidance (http://uasystem.edu/news/2020/02/ua-system-covid-19-updates/). Learn more about COVID-19 and UAB at www.uab.edu/uabunited. Access information about UAB coronavirus travel restriction reimbursements.

    Coronavirus Preparedness Updates and Resources Wednesday, March 4 at 3:30 p.m.

    Email from President Ray L. Watts and Health System CEO Will Ferniany: Coronavirus Preparedness Updates and Resources as of March 4, 2020

    *NOTE: The following email was sent March 4, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. as part of a collaborative communications effort led by the University of Alabama System in the interest of health and safety on the three System campuses. Last week Chancellor Finis St. John appointed a COVID-19 Communications and Policy Task Force to address the 2019 Corona virus. The task force, comprised of UA System medical researchers, faculty and staff, is continuously monitoring public health risks posed by the outbreak. Subsequently, a comprehensive University of Alabama System Interim Emergency Policy was developed regarding the 2019 Coronavirus. The policy will be updated as circumstances warrant.

    UAB Community,

    Today you received an email about new travel restrictions, including the CANCELATION of all university-sponsored international travel in March. Travel outside the United States after March is ON HOLD and will be addressed as soon as possible. Details can be found on the UAB Updates tab of www.uab.edu/uabunited, an online resource that provides important information, tips and resources as we safeguard our community and prepare for the likely appearance of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Alabama. If you have not read that communication, please do so in the interest of your health and safety, and that of our community.

    While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Alabama at the time of this communication, there are confirmed cases in Florida and Georgia, and it could be seen in Alabama soon. COVID-19 appears to cause mild illness in the majority of those infected but can be fatal. Learn more at www.uab.edu/uabunited.

    The CDC predicts possible significant disruptions to daily life in the United States. While we cannot predict whether our community will be affected in a small or big way, we want to be prepared for even extreme outcomes.

    UAB officials are and have been very active in monitoring the quickly evolving outbreak with infectious disease and public health experts and taking aggressive steps to prepare for possible scenarios. University and Health System emergency management professionals have convened broad and targeted groups to review the plans to address an infectious disease outbreak and apply it to the specific COVID-19 threat.

    Units across campus have been taking steps to prepare for eventualities. For example:

    • First and foremost, medical providers at the University and Health System are trained to properly care for patients with infectious diseases and have plans in place to safely care for COVID-19 patients.
    • UAB launched www.uab.edu/uabunited as a resource to communicate news and updates, as well as tips to stay healthy and prepare. Information will be maintained there.
    • UAB Facilities is increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting areas like bathrooms, entryways, door handles, railings and elevator buttons.
    • From Campus Housing and Dining to Environmental Health and Safety, to Hospital Supply Chain, procurement officials have assessed what supplies are needed now and what supplies would be needed if disruptions become extreme.
    • Plans to manage and conserve supplies (e.g., plans to prioritize, limit and/or reuse certain supplies to avoid a shortage if the duration of disruptions become significant) are being reviewed and updated based on possible COVID-19 scenarios.
    • Offices that support international travel for students, faculty and staff are supporting unexpected changes in travel plans and programs to minimize disruptions as much as possible while maintaining health and safety.
    • Health care professionals in Student and Employee Health have enacted protocols to monitor, guide and report the status of those returning from international destinations in partnership with the Alabama Department of Public Health.
    • Information Technology, the Office of the Provost, and school and college deans are taking steps to protect our ability to maintain our academic mission while employing social distancing techniques or quarantine measures. This planning includes addressing the technical and logistical infrastructure that would allow for classes to continue if they eventually need to move online in Canvas.
    • Planning and preparations are also taking place to protect our vital research mission. Research Administration leadership is updating business continuity plans based on COVID-19 and will continue to monitor and prepare to protect research activities as much as possible if disruptions occur.
    • Human Resources is consulting with leadership to provide guidance regarding the possible future need for work-from-home scenarios.
    • Areas have been identified where facilities can be repurposed to safely manage patient flow should an influx of COVID-19 patients take place.
    • We are encouraging patients with concerning symptoms to call their health care provider before going to the doctor, and our Emergency Department is screening incoming patients just outside the entrance to the Emergency Department to decrease possible exposure to others.

    These are just a few examples of steps being taken. Units across campus will continue to update their specific plans to protect each other and our community and continue to deliver essential services. Disruptions — small or large — may be inevitable; but our goal is to minimize the effect on you — our students, faculty and staff — as well as the education, research, innovation and economic development, patient care, and community service pillars of our mission.

    Please continue to look to your emails and www.uab.edu/uabunited for important updates. At UAB, we are fortunate to have many experts in epidemiology and the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases to guide us. Know that our top priority will remain the continued health and safety of our UAB community.

    Please continue to be vigilant, plan ahead and protect against spreading viral illness:

    • Wash hands frequently and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid sick people, avoid people if you are sick, and do not travel if you are sick.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces and cover your cough or sneeze with a sleeve or tissue.
    • Protect against the flu by getting the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, but the flu is still circulating in the community at this time.
    • The CDC does not recommend the general public buy or wear masks in the United States.
    • If you have symptoms, call your health care provider BEFORE going to the doctor:
      • Students should call UAB Health Services at 205-934-3580.
      • UAB employees should call UAB Employee Health at 205-934-3675 from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours and on weekends, call the UAB Call Center at 205-934-3411 and ask them to page the needlestick/exposure nurse on call.

    More information and tips can be found at www.uab.edu/uabunited. UAB medicine employees can go to www.oneuabmedicine.org for Health System specific updates.

    Sincerely,

    Ray L. Watts
    President

    Will Ferniany
    Health System CEO

    NEW Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Restrictions and Updates Wednesday, March 4 at 1:30 p.m.

    Information about UAB coronavirus travel restriction reimbursements

    NEW Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Restrictions and Updates

    Effective immediately, UAB is canceling all university-sponsored international travel that is scheduled to depart in the month of March. Faculty, staff and students MAY NOT TRAVEL anywhere outside the United States for university business or academic purposes (“university-sponsored travel”), including but not limited to study abroad or other international academic work, research or grant activity, internships, conferences or presentations, teaching or training, performances, recruiting, or athletic competitions.

    Additionally, university-sponsored travel outside of the United States that is scheduled to depart after the month of March is suspended effective immediately. Regarding future university-sponsored travel outside of the United States beyond March, this is a complex decision that is based on new and evolving information. Decisions on those future programs are ON HOLD and will be addressed as soon as possible. Please read the full updated interim policy issued by the University of Alabama System.

    Due to the expanding global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the significant risk of exposure during international travel, and guidance from experts in public health and infectious disease, we expect full cooperation and compliance with this Updated Interim Policy to maintain a safe and healthy environment for everyone. Faculty, staff, students, and visiting students and scholars who fail to comply with this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.

    We recognize the significance of these measures to members of our campus community and are committed to providing support. Our number one priority is the health and safety of our campus and community. Students with questions about travel should contact the Office of Education Abroad at 205-975-6611 (after hours 205-329-0019) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Faculty, staff and visiting research scholars should contact the Office of Sponsored International Programs at 205-975-2438 (after hours 205-789-5212) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. These offices are available to provide guidance and assistance to our travelers, in addition to providing resources through our System travel provider, International SOS.

    While we cannot restrict individuals’ travel for personal business or affiliate programs (i.e., travel that is not university-sponsored but related to academic or business pursuits — e.g., travel through another institution or program), the UA System strongly encourages students, faculty and staff to follow CDC travel watches, alerts and warnings, and be aware of additional CDC and State Department updates. The global situation is rapidly evolving, and risk of acquiring COVID-19 may change abruptly. Please be mindful of potential associated risks of disruptions to reentry to the United States, including possible quarantine.

    Any and all travelers returning to the United States or coming to the United States to participate in university-sponsored business or programs must comply with all U.S. re-entry, quarantine, self-isolation or self-monitoring requirements in place before returning to or engaging with the university community. Travelers must provide verification from the Alabama Department of Public Health or their health provider confirming they have completed the appropriate monitoring process. To the extent a traveler is monitored or otherwise reporting to the university during any monitoring period, the traveler must receive express approval from the university in order to return to the university community. Additional detail is available in the updated interim policy.

    Returning travelers should follow guidance provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health for returning travelers on the ADPH website. Any traveler should be aware of CDC Travel Health Notices and observe CDC travel precautions for COVID-19.

    We understand that many members of our community may have upcoming spring break travel, conferences or summer study abroad plans that this policy may affect. We further understand that the longer the travel restrictions remain in place, more questions will arise related to future plans for international travel. To assess the impact of the virus on faculty, staff and students, a dedicated team composed of members from throughout the UA System, including our clinical and infection prevention experts, is monitoring the outbreak and utilizing guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization, and international governments and health agencies. Administrators at each campus are continuously evaluating and receiving advice on potential impacts and will provide future information and guidance.

    While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Alabama at the time of this communication, there are confirmed cases in Florida and Georgia, and it could be seen in Alabama soon.

    Please continue to be vigilant, plan ahead and protect against spreading viral illness:

    • Wash hands frequently, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid sick people, avoid people if you are sick, and do not travel if you are sick.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces, and cover your cough or sneeze with a sleeve or tissue.
    • Protect against the flu by getting the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, but the flu poses an active health threat in Alabama at this time.
    • If you have symptoms, call your health care provider BEFORE going to the doctor:
      • Students should call UAB Student Health Services at 205-934-3580.
      • UAB employees should call UAB Employee Health at 205-934-3675 from 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. After hours and on weekends, call the UAB Call Center at 205-934-3411 and ask them to page the needlestick/exposure nurse on-call.