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 2020.

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. All employees will be back on campus on May 10, 2021. The safety of our employees is of paramount concern, so we will continue to require masking and social distancing as part of the phased entry.

Click here to view the UA System Comprehensive Health and Safety Plan. UAB-specific implementation plans will be communicated regularly via the eReporter.

COVID-19 Operational Color System

UAB’s plan is aligned and consistent with local, state and federal public health guidelines and recommendations. Our plan is also aligned with the University of Alabama System guidance on the Entry to Campus.

We anticipate restrictions and limitations will be in place for the coming 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.


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


Limited Business Operations(0% - 25% capacity)


Modified Business Operations(26% - 74% capacity)


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

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 on this site – including testing – as necessary to continue to ensure the health and safety of the campus community.

Staffing & Event Guidelines

Employees will be back to campus full-time as much as possible, unless there is a barrier. For frequently asked questions, click here.

woman wearing a mask while working at her deskAll students, faculty and staff are expected to comply fully with the entry policies, protocols and guidelines, as well as specialized and more stringent guidance from their particular departments/units/schools. Each department/unit/school will develop and communicate its operational plan for coming to campus. As part of the continuation of the phased entry to campus, employees will be back to campus full-time as much as possible on May 10, unless there is a barrier.

Recommendations for staffing include:

Phased Staffing

Students, faculty and staff will come to campus in phases over time in a coordinated process to ensure appropriate social distancing, availability of personal protective equipment, and adequate testing capabilities for COVID-19. On May 10, employees will be back to campus full-time as much as possible, unless there is a barrier. Additional information on entry to campus is available in this eReporter story.

UAB will assess expanded staffing based on mission-critical operations, ability to control and manage specific work environments, and necessity to access on-site resources. Each department/unit/school has developed an operational plan approved by the applicable chair and dean or vice president.

As staffing and learning on-site increases and operations expand, leadership will closely monitor and assess the potential spread of the virus, as well as procedures and policies to mitigate it. Testing, continual symptom and exposure tracking will be critical parts of assessing the impact of increased populations. If outbreaks emerge, tighter restrictions and reduced staffing and learners on-site may need to be implemented again.

For more information on staffing, read UAB Human Resources entry guidance here.

Event Guidelines

In certain circumstances, UAB will allow gatherings of up to 50 people who are able to physically distance at least 3 feet apart indoors and 100 people who are able to physically distance at least 3 feet apart outdoors. More information to come.

Maintaining 3 feet of distance between all participants

Following facility guidelines

Keeping indoor events to 50 or fewer participants

Starting May 10, many members of the UAB community will no longer be required to complete a daily Healthcheck to access campus. However, in part to comply with a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirement, students, faculty and staff who are considered health care personnel or have a touchpoint in a clinical building or setting will be required to complete Healthcheck daily until further notice. Learn more here. 

Student Events On- and Off-campus

All off-campus student events organized by or for a student or a student organization are STRICTLY PROHIBITED, absent special approval from the Vice President of Student Life. Regardless of location, large gatherings of any kind organized by or for a student or a student organization are PROHIBITED. This includes but is not limited to band parties, swaps, formals, and out-of-town parties. All gatherings are subject to the attendance limitations set out below.

Attendance Limitations for Academic and Student Events

Unless otherwise dictated by state or local health ordinances, attendance at all on-campus academic and student events is limited to the number of people that can be accommodated when taking into account square footage and physical distancing requirements, and cannot exceed fifteen (15) people indoors and thirty (30) people outdoors. Attendance limits for athletic events will be addressed with event-specific plans.

Event Registration

All academic and student events permitted on campus must comply with state and local health ordinances, and System and campus policies. All events must be registered in accordance with campus registration guidelines through Engage, and must include the proposed number of attendees and a plan for maintaining social distancing. Except for seated meals, any food or beverages provided during an event must be provided as individual grab-and-go options. Event organizers must provide attendees with a link to the Guide Safe TM Healthcheck 24 hours before the event, and must use the Event Passport to facilitate access into the event. A list of all event attendees must be maintained by the department or student organization hosting the event for no less than fourteen (14) days. Any exception to these event limitations must be approved in writing by the Vice President for Student Life or the Provost.


Schedule for Entry

These entry phases are highly dependent on external conditions and need to be responsive to the evolution of the virus. We are cautiously optimistic that entry to a modified model of on-campus instruction and activity will resume in the fall; however, circumstances can change. Please check this site and your UAB email for updates.

  • Limited business operations with essential services only
  • Remote learning
  • Suspension of on-campus events and activities
  • 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
  • Faculty, staff and students work on campus

Throughout the campus entry process, staff in Facilities and other critical support services will transition back as the phased process requires. This will include employees currently in a furloughed status.

This guidance will evolve in future phases of Modified Business Operations and campus entry as we continue to monitor and assess the fluid and dynamic circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guidance for Specific Campus Scenarios

person cleaning a deskPublic Transportation, Blazer Express & Parking

When parking in a lot or deck, be aware of those around you. Maintain at least 3 feet of distance from others when leaving or returning to your car. Always wear a mask when on campus. Avoid touching your face. Wash your hands or sanitize as soon as you get to your destination.

Blazer Express riders are required to bring and wear masks. This requirement applies to all Blazer Express services, including Highlands Shuttle, Safety Escort, and the Deck Van Service. 

Working Environments

Working in Office Environments

If you work in an open environment, be sure to maintain at least 3 feet distance from co-workers. Departments should assess open work environments and meeting rooms to institute measures to physically separate employees, other coworkers, and customers based on the social distancing requirement of 3 feet. Employees should exercise good judgment and common courtesy to wear a mask/face covering where others are present. A mask/face covering is not required if you are working alone in a confined office space or cubicle. Masks/face coverings should be worn in reception/receiving areas, walking in hallways where others travel, and in restrooms, break rooms, conference rooms, and other meeting locations.

Working Outdoors

Masks/face coverings are not required to be worn by employees while working outdoors, provided they can maintain appropriate distancing from others. Otherwise, masks/face coverings should be worn while outside on campus, such as walking between buildings or attending an outdoor event.

Employees are reminded that the City of Birmingham Mask Ordinance, requiring individuals to wear a mask when in public places and in close contact with other people, remains in effect through May 24.

Each member of the UAB community must be personally responsible for general health and safety monitoring and act to facilitate and maintain compliance with established guidelines. To sustain a culture of safety, there must be vigilance, monitoring, effective structures for reporting concerns, and appropriate corrective action for non-compliance. Click here to learn more.

Reception Areas/Waiting Rooms

  • Place floor decals, colored tape, or signs to indicate to customers/clients/patients where they should stand while waiting in line.
  • Employees in reception areas and managing waiting rooms should always wear a mask/face covering.
  • Plan traffic flow to allow for social distancing and minimize the time in reception/waiting areas.
  • Remove chairs and rearrange furniture to allow for social distancing.
  • Redesign procedures to reduce touching the same objects (e.g., pens, intake forms, sign-up sheets, etc.).
  • Design methods to distance receptionists from customers/clients/patients (e.g., plexiglass shields).
  • Remove shared objects in reception/waiting room areas (e.g., magazines).

Private Offices

If an employee works in an office, no more than one person should be in the same room unless the required social distancing can be consistently maintained. A mask or face covering is not required if an employee is working alone in a confined office space.  Masks/face coverings should be worn by any staff in a reception/receiving area. Masks/face coverings should be used when inside any UAB facility where others are present, including walking in narrow hallways where others travel and in break rooms, conference rooms and other meeting locations.


Social distancing will be practiced in classrooms and instructional labs. UAB has adopted a model of teaching to accomplish  appropriate social distancing. Classrooms and instructional labs should be used only for assigned instructional purposes. Separate guidance will be issued on classroom and instructional lab usage.

Research and Labs

While there are a variety of research environments, there are some general guidelines to consider that are particular to this function:

  • Follow these guidelines for human subjects research.
  • Coordinate operational plans with other labs on the same floor to coordinate the use of common areas and density.
  • Time should be left between shifts of lab personnel to provide for disinfection procedures and reduce density.
  • Data analysis, writing, lab administration should be completed remotely.
  • Only UAB personnel are permitted in administrative or research areas, except for deliveries and study participants.

Additional guidance for research can be found here.


Use of restrooms should be limited based on size to ensure proper distance between individuals. Wash hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.


Please use the stairs whenever possible. If employees are using the elevator, they must wear a mask or face covering.  Employees should wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers upon departing the elevator.

Meetings and Communication

In person meetings must comply with the UAB social distancing and general health and safety guidelines.  Where feasible, meetings may be held in whole or part using the extensive range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, telephone, etc.).

Meals and Catering

Before and after eating, employees should wash their hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. If dining on campus, you should wear your mask or face covering until you are ready to eat and then replace it afterward. Employees are allowed to take food back to their office area or eat outside if this is reasonable for their situation. If they are eating in the work environment, employees must continue to follow proper social distancing guidance. When eating in the work area or breakrooms, employees may only remove masks or face covering to eat. Immediately following, employees’ masks or face coverings must be put back on. Remind employees to wipe all surfaces, including table, refrigerator handle, coffee machine, etc. after using in common areas.

Meal periods are considered personal time, generally employees are encouraged to leave the immediate work area to eat and relax but this may not be feasible. Meal periods are not considered work time for pay purposes and employees should not perform work related tasks during approved meal periods and breaks. Nonexempt employees must punch (badge) out/in for meal periods.

Transportation & Parking

As the university brings more employees and students back on campus, UAB Transportation is reassessing our temporary parking solutions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective Monday, May 10, Express Lot 4 permit holders that have been parking in the 19th Street Parking Deck and the University Boulevard Parking Deck will see changes. Entry access will now ONLY be allowed weekdays from 4-8 a.m. There will still be 24-hour access on weekends. Employees arriving outside of these hours should return to parking in your assigned Express lot.

If you do not have a current valid parking permit, please visit the UAB Transportation office for assistance.

For information on parking and transit information, please visit

Best Practices Beyond UAB

Please be mindful of best practices in all of your daily activities in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and model this for our larger community. This includes wearing masks as you go about your weekly personal activities, practicing social distancing and not gathering in large groups, and using good hygiene practices. Recommended best practices:

  • Wear a mask
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Practice social distancing
  • Wash hands or sanitize frequently
  • Abide by any additional guidelines/restrictions of the external location

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:


Preserve the health of our university community and Birmingham.

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


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. 


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.


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.


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.