Employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should stay home and fill out the Employee Exposure or Experiencing Symptoms Form.

Effective 4 p.m. March 4, 2022, UAB no longer requires masks to be worn inside non-clinical university buildings; read more below. UAB continues to consult public health and infectious diseases experts to assess the pandemic and make data-driven decisions to safely pursue our vital mission.

Personal Safety Practices

Effective 4 p.m. March 4, 2022, UAB no longer requires masks to be worn inside non-clinical university buildings, except:  

  • UAB Medicine employees should continue to follow UAB Medicine-specific guidance
  • Individuals are still required to wear a mask in accordance with CDC guidance, including:
    • Following an isolation period after a positive test (i.e., wear a mask for five days when around people following the isolation period)
    • After an unvaccinated person’s close-contact exposure to a COVID-positive individual (i.e., wear a mask for five days following the exposure.
  • Masks are not required in university meetings, events, classrooms or laboratories unless there is a non-COVID environmental health and safety policy or guideline that otherwise requires a mask for the setting or activity being performed
  • In university buildings that have both clinical and non-clinical areas (e.g., schools of Dentistry and Optometry), masks are required where patient care is being delivered and in patient-facing areas (including common areas like lobbies and waiting areas)
  • Masks will continue to be recommended on Blazer Express.

Options for Face Masks:

Some employees will be wary about the March 4, 2022, mask policy change and may choose to wear a well-fitting mask for many good reasons, including a weak immune system, a friend or family member at greater risk, an inability to get vaccinated, or simply for personal comfort and peace of mind. Please respect each individual’s choice.

  • Cloth masks: Cloth masks may be used to minimize the risks to others near you. Cloth face masks must be laundered each day. Cloth masks have offered effective protection, and experts point to a lack of scientific evidence to support media speculation that a KN95 mask is needed to protect against the omicron variant. While a well-fitting KN95 mask offers added safety, a cloth mask (preferably a thick one) is an acceptable choice to remain compliant with the university’s requirement in non-clinical settings. See CDC guidelines for the use of cloth masks.
  • Disposable masks: These are acceptable but must be disposed of safely and properly in trash bins.
  • A face shield can be used in addition to but not in place of a mask.

UAB-branded face masks are available for purchase through a number of retail stores. Here are the current online shops and brick and mortar stores that sell the officially licensed UAB-branded masks.

Handwashing and Hand Sanitizers:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or touching your face. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizers will be available at multiple locations in your building, and you should place a hand sanitizer in your workspace for easy access.

UAB Ethics Hotline

Regardless of vaccination status, employees and students must comply with COVID-19 safety precautions. Non-compliance concerns can be reported through the UAB Ethics Hotline.

Isolation & Quarantine

Definitions:

  • Quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others. When a person is in “quarantine”, that indicates that they have been in close contact, or “exposed”, with someone with COVID-19 infection but do not have symptoms themselves.
  • Isolation keeps someone who is infected with the virus away from others, even in their home. When a person is in “isolation” that indicates that they have had a positive COVID-19 test, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, and have been tested and awaiting their test result.

Click here for more information on quarantining and isolation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recommendations:

In accordance with updated CDC guidelines, UAB will shorten the isolation and quarantine times following a close-contact exposure or a positive COVID test for individuals who recover quickly. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that most of the COVID-19 transmission occurs early in the course of illness.

Symptoms or a close-contact exposure — what to do

Upon completion and submission of the form you will receive an email with instructions for testing, isolation, and quarantine if needed.

COVID-positive test result — isolation and next steps

The CDC has shortened the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to five days, if asymptomatic or recovered, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others. People who test positive should isolate for five days and, if asymptomatic, may be cleared by Employee Health or Student Health to leave isolation if they continue to mask for the next five days to minimize the risk of infecting others.

Student Health and Employee Health will continue to monitor COVID-positive individuals. With the exception of those who are immune-compromised, individuals who test positive will be released from isolation on Day Six if they are asymptomatic on Day Five. Those who continue to experience symptoms will be reassessed daily and released when they become asymptomatic during Days Six-10.

Individuals who are COVID-positive and have been identified as moderately to severely immune-compromised will be managed using personalized plans in consultation with our Employee or Student Health physician staff.

Once individuals have been released from isolation

  • They must continue to wear a well-fitting mask at work and around other people through Day 5.
  • They MUST maintain 6 feet of social distance during meals until Day 10.
  • If they get sick again during Days Six-10, they need to go home and report that back to Student Health or to the Employee Health nurse who has been following them.

Close-contact exposure — quarantine and next steps

A close-contact exposure is defined as exposure to someone less than 6 feet away for 15 minutes or longer. If you are experiencing ongoing close-contact exposure in a circumstance where you cannot isolate from the person who is COVID-positive (e.g., you are caring for a COVID-positive child or you sleep in the same bed with a person who is COVID-positive), then the date of last exposure is at the end of that person’s infectious period.

Who does NOT have to quarantine after a close-contact exposure?

If you had a close-contact exposure to a person who is COVID-19-positive AND:

  • You are vaccinated for COVID-19 OR
  • You are a health care worker

Who DOES have to quarantine for five days after a close-contact exposure?

If you had a close-contact exposure (see definition above) to a person who is COVID-19-positive AND:

  • You are NOT vaccinated for COVID-19 AND
  • You are NOT a health care worker

You must remain at home (quarantine) for five days from the date of last exposure. Employees, it is your responsibility to communicate this quarantine requirement to your supervisor. Students, it is your responsibility to communicate this quarantine requirement to Student Health via the Student COVID Screening Survey. If you develop symptoms, you will need to self-isolate and be tested for COVID-19. It is very important that you wear a mask at all times when around others when you end your isolation or quarantine period, consistent with CDC guidance.

Remote Work Due to Quarantine of Immediate Family Member or Closure of School/Care Facility

You may work remotely if you satisfy all of the following conditions:

  1. A member of your immediate family (parent, spouse, child) for whom you are the primary caregiver is advised or directed to quarantine by a medical professional, public health authority, or the management of a school or care facility utilized by the immediate family member; and
  2. You are required to stay at home to care for the affected family member; and
  3. Your supervisor determines that remote work is feasible; and
  4. You return to work as soon as your immediate family member is cleared to return to work or school (not to exceed 14 days).

If remote work is not feasible, you may take leave under the FMLA (if eligible) to care for the immediate family member. If you are ineligible for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, you may use other leave time to care for the immediate family member. Please see UAB’s FMLA policy. Your unit’s HR professionals can help you understand your available leave time.

University Events

UAB's guidelines for events and gatherings that are university-sponsored on or off campus were updated on Aug. 12, 2021, to protect the health and safety of our campus. Learn more about the guidelines.