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.

Transmission has increased due to the delta and omicron variants, putting Jefferson County in the high community transmission category in which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends masking. As a result, UAB will continue to require masks indoors to start 2022 and the spring semester regardless of vaccination status.

Unfortunately, starting a semester during a COVID surge is not new to us; but our continuing safety measures like testing, masking, vaccinations, air filtration and enhanced cleaning protocols, event approvals, and visitor registration protocols have allowed us to accomplish so much together.

There are limited times when individuals can be unmasked indoors on the university campus (exceptions may not apply to clinical buildings – please continue to follow established protocols for clinical buildings).

  • Employees can unmask if alone in a private workspace (e.g., office or cubicle)
  • Students can unmask in their residence hall room
  • Individuals can briefly unmask while actively eating or drinking if a minimum of 6 feet of social distancing can be maintained

Safe and effective vaccines are free and easy to get. If you have not yet been vaccinated, please do so as soon as possible to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, including the more contagious and dangerous Delta and Omicron variants. Click here to learn about COVID-19 vaccines. Additional guidance on lifted COVID restrictions can be found through out this site.

The UA System Health & Safety Task Force is increasingly concerned about the rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the state, as well as the prevalence of the delta variant. Widespread vaccination is key to mitigating further increases. The Task Force will remain intact and will continue to monitor data points such as vaccination rates on campus and in the community, COVID-positive cases per 100,000 individuals, age-specific hospitalization rates, rate of breakthrough infection or reinfection, and prevalence of emerging variants. This Plan remains subject to change based on these factors.

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. Click here to learn more about if you should or should not fill out Healthcheck daily.

In the event you experience a COVID symptom or exposure after discontinuing daily Healthcheck, fill out the correct form here:

Personal Safety Practices

UAB will continue to require masks indoors to start 2022 and the spring semester regardless of vaccination status.

There are limited times when individuals can be unmasked indoors on the university campus (exceptions may not apply to clinical buildings – please continue to follow established protocols for clinical buildings).

  • Employees can unmask if alone in a private workspace (e.g., office or cubicle)
  • Students can unmask in their residence hall room
  • Individuals can briefly unmask while actively eating or drinking if a minimum of 6 feet of social distancing can be maintained

We will continue to monitor key data with public health and infectious disease experts and update this temporary guidance as necessary.

Options for Face Masks:

  • 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, students and employees must comply with COVID-19 safety precautions, including mask-wearing while on campus. Non-compliance concerns can be reported through the UAB Ethics Hotline.

Isolation & Quarantine

REQUIRED FOR STUDENTS

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

If needed, Student Health will refer for testing. If it is determined you did NOT have a close-contact exposure and have no symptoms, you do not need to be tested.

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. Students who test positive should isolate for five days and, if asymptomatic, may be cleared by Student Health to leave isolation if they continue to mask for the next five days to minimize the risk of infecting others. NOTE: At this time, all individuals are required to wear masks indoors in UAB and UAB Medicine facilities regardless of vaccination status or prior positive test result.

Student 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 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, especially through Day 10. NOTE: This is consistent with UAB’s current policy requiring all individuals to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status or prior positive test result.
  • 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.

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. 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.

NOTE: UAB and UAB Medicine masking policies remain in effect.

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.