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.

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)

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

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. Recommendation 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.

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 will develop an operational plan that must be approved by the applicable chair and dean or vice president.

The need to reduce the number of people on campus (density) to meet social distancing requirements will continue for some time. Support units that can continue to effectively work remotely will likely continue to do so.

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. 

Staffing Options

Bringing students, faculty and staff back to campus in groups and stages will support UAB’s efforts to adhere to appropriate social distancing and sanitation procedures and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. When students, faculty and staff come to campus, there are several options that units should consider to maintain social distancing and reduce the density within workspaces.

  • Remote Work:While UAB transitions back from Modified Business Operations, bringing employees back to the workplace in phases will support UAB’s efforts to adhere to appropriate social distancing and sanitation procedures, and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Employees who continue to work remotely must complete a new Temporary Telecommuting Agreement outlining the temporary telecommuting arrangement timeline. UAB has published Technology Resources for Remote Work to assist employees in effectively working from home. Non-exempt employees should record hours in Kronos and exempt employees in Workgroup A should complete the Progress Tracker on a weekly basis. Related UAB Policies and other resources: 
  • Work Schedules/Hours: Departments have discretion to set employee work schedules and hours as needed for operations. As staff members come to campus, departments should consider modifications to work hours to minimize potential risk of infection, including social distancing and disinfection. Departments should also consider staggering reporting and departure times to reduce traffic in common areas to meet social distancing requirements.

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

Event Guidelines

UAB is working on a plan to communicate with all events a way in which they can keep their programs virtual, or keep the tenets and parameters we have for social distancing. Parameters for gatherings on campus include:

Maintaining 6 feet of distance between all participants

Making sure that all events are registered through Engage

Following facility guidelines

Keeping indoor events to 50 or less participants

We expect most registered student organizations will still be virtual. In certain circumstances, UAB will allow gatherings of up to 50 people who are able to physically distance at least 6 feet apart indoors and 100 people who are able to physically distance at least 6 feet apart outdoors. More information to come.

As described here on the UAB United website, students will be required to complete the COVID-19 assessment tool Healthcheck on a daily basis, and their assigned risk level will automatically be communicated to the GuideSafe™ Event Passport system. Students and employees will press the “Passport” button after completing Healthcheck to get their passports, which are good for 24 hours. Each user is assigned a unique passport number indicating their status which will show a “Clear” screen or “Not Clear” screen to display on students’ phones. A clear passport will be required to enter classes, meetings, the library and other events on campus.

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 fifty (50) people indoors and one-hundred (100) 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.

FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THESE GUIDELINES WILL RESULT IN SANCTIONS AGAINST STUDENTS AND STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS

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.

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

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 6 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 in Office Environments

While there is variation in office environments, the following general guidance should be followed:

  • Maintain at least 6 feet distance from co-workers. If possible, have at least one workspace separating you from a co-worker. Wear a face mask or face covering at all times while in a shared workspace/room.
  • Some activities may require personnel to work within 6 feet of others. Every effort must be explored to find alternatives, and it is critical to keep the length of these interactions to a minimum.
  • Place one-way directional signage for large open workspaces with multiple through ways to increase distance between employees moving through space.
  • Consider designating specific stairways for up or down traffic if your building allows.
  • Place floor decals, colored tape, or signs to indicate to customers/clients/co-workers/patients where they should stand while waiting in line.
  • Do not use communal water fountains.

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

  • Keep doors closed to reduce contact with others and maintain social distancing.
  • Meetings should be held remotely whenever possible and in spaces that allow for social distancing.
  • Maintain personal hygiene practices in private offices.

Classrooms

  • Classrooms are not in use during most of the Modified Business Operations/Yellow phase. Toward the end of the Modified Business Operations/Yellow phase, classrooms may be utilized but not until further guidance is developed.
  • As described here on the UAB United website, students will be required to complete the COVID-19 assessment tool Healthcheck on a daily basis, and their assigned risk level will automatically be communicated to the GuideSafe™ Event Passport system. Students and employees will press the “Passport” button after completing Healthcheck to get their passports, which are good for 24 hours. Each user is assigned a unique passport number indicating their status which will show a “Clear” screen or “Not Clear” screen to display on students’ phones. A clear passport will be required to enter classes, meetings, the library and other events on campus.

     

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.

Restrooms

Use of restrooms should be limited based on size to ensure at least 6 feet between individuals. Wash your hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

Elevators

Unless otherwise indicated by signage, no more than two persons may enter an elevator at a time, so please use the stairs when possible. If you are using an elevator, wear your mask/face covering, turn to face the opposite wall of the other rider, and avoid touching the elevator button with your exposed hand/fingers. Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer upon departing the elevator.

Meetings and Communication

Where possible, meetings and other communications should be held in whole or part using technology (telephone, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, etc.). In-person meetings should be able to maintain the 6-feet social distancing guideline. Remove or rearrange the furniture to support social distancing.

Meals and Catering

Before and after eating, you should wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. If food or drink is provided, it should be in individual containers with separate utensils for each person.

If dining on campus, you should wear your mask/face covering until you are ready to eat and then replace it afterward. Eating establishments must meet requirements to allow at least 6 feet of distance between each customer including lines and seating arrangements. Staff are encouraged to take food back to their office area or eat outside if possible.

If you are eating in your work environment (break room, office, etc.), maintain 6 feet between you and others. Individuals should not face each other, and only remove your mask/face covering in order to eat and then put it back on. Remove chairs/tables in break areas to support social distancing practices. Wipe all surfaces, including table, refrigerator handle, coffee machine, etc. after using common areas.

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

Entry Training & Requirements

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Person completing the training courseIn an effort for UAB to be the safest campus in America, we must all do our part to educate ourselves on the protocols across campus and invest in our own health and others by taking the appropriate web-based training and participating in UAB Healthcheck and GuideSafe™ platforms. Together, we can keep our community safe and healthy.

Web-Based Training REQUIRED

All on-campus students, faculty, and staff must complete the web-based training course, COVID-19: Basic Safety and Awareness Course. An initial set up survey is performed the first time you access UAB Healthcheck. After that, you are encouraged to complete Healthcheck daily but UAB requires it to be completed at least every three days. 

Faculty and staff can access the course through www.uab.edu/CampusLMS.

Students will receive an email to access the course through Canvas. 

If you are on campus, you are required to complete the training course.

UAB Healthcheck

UAB Healthcheck is a COVID-19 assessment tool for employees and students to report the existence of any current COVID-19-related symptoms and exposure history. You may begin using Healthcheck now. An initial set up survey is performed the first time you access UAB Healthcheck. After that, you are required to complete Healthcheck daily.

As described here on the UAB United website, students will be required to complete the COVID-19 assessment tool Healthcheck on a daily basis, and their assigned risk level will automatically be communicated to the GuideSafe™ Event Passport system. Students and employees will press the “Passport” button after completing Healthcheck to get their passports, which are good for 24 hours. Each user is assigned a unique passport number indicating their status which will show a “Clear” screen or “Not Clear” screen to display on students’ phones. A clear passport will be required to enter classes, meetings, the library and other events on campus.

GuideSafe™ Exposure Notification App

The GuideSafe™ Exposure Notification App facilitates anonymous self-reporting and automates alerts to individuals with previous proximity or close contact with a later positive COVID-19 person. Users of the app, that is coming soon, can anonymously share a positive COVID-19 test result —and be anonymously notified of potential previous close contact with someone who later reports a positive COVID-19 test result—without sharing anyone’s identity. The app protects your privacy while giving you the power to protect the health of yourself, your family, and your community.

The GuideSafe™ Exposure Notification App is a partnership among Apple, Google, the Alabama Department of Public Health, and UAB. The unique collaboration harnesses the power of technology and UAB’s expertise to automate COVID-19 exposure notification, without sacrificing privacy.