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Message to Families from the Vice President for Student Life
March 10, 2020
Dear UA families,
It has been a busy semester for your students, and I know everyone is ready for Spring Break. As you communicate with your students about their plans over Spring Break, I hope you will remind them of a few health and safety points.
As stated in recent messages to campus about the evolving COVID-19 coronavirus situation globally, UA has had no reported cases of the virus. As students plan personal travel over the break, please monitor healthinfo.ua.edu for the most recent campus information about the situation. While the updated interim emergency policy does not inhibit or restrict the travel of individuals traveling on personal business at the time of this communication, the UA System strongly encourages students to consider this updated policy when making decisions to continue on or schedule travel to any of the impacted countries. Stay aware of CDC travel watches, alerts and warnings, and seek out additional CDC and State Department updates.
The most recent local guidance includes:
- UA System has canceled all University-sponsored international travel scheduled to depart in March. University-sponsored travel outside of the United States that is scheduled to depart after the month of March is suspended effective immediately.
- The UA System advises against any non-essential domestic travel, particularly to large conferences or to states or locales that have declared a State of Emergency or Public Health Emergency due to the virus.
- Those who travel to aCDC COVID-19 Level 2 or 3 country (on personal or University business) or have been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 are required to contact the Alabama Department of Public Health, remain away from the UA campus and other large gathering places, and self-monitor for 14 days after leaving the affected area.
As your student prepares to leave Tuscaloosa, please remind them to take the following steps:
- Clean out their refrigerator, dispose of perishable foods, and take out trash.
- Take valuables and electronics with them.
- Unplug appliances except the refrigerator.
- If they are leaving a car in Tuscaloosa, be sure it is locked, with nothing valuable left in sight.
- If they live on-campus, lock all doors in their residence hall room/suite.
- If they live off-campus, close the blinds and curtains; lock the doors, deadbolts, and windows; and leave an inside light on. Take patio furniture inside.
Before your student travels:
- Encourage your student to take precautions through handwashing and have a plan for seeking medical assistance in the event they need it while traveling. This includes having their insurance card with them at all times.
- Encourage your student to check their car, including tire pressure, and make sure their cell phone is charged.
- Remind them to follow all traffic regulations, including speed limits, especially if they are traveling on unfamiliar roads and highways. Even in familiar surroundings, others around them may be first-time visitors, or roadways, signs, and traffic signals may have changed.
- Urge them to know the local laws and ordinances, especially regarding alcohol consumption, parking, noise, and use of outdoor areas.
- Tell them to expect the unexpected and avoid distractions caused by text messages, other individuals, or events that grab attention when driving or walking.
- Encourage your student to have a plan to make healthy decisions about eating, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of rest.
- Revisit previous conversations you’ve had with them about alcohol, drugs, and sexual health/affirmative consent.
- Remind them that when using a rideshare, check for a match on their phone to ensure they are getting in the right vehicle. Encourage them to stay awake/alert during the ride, and keep belongings close by and together.
Remember that crime can, and does, happen anywhere. Other helpful information can be found in UAPD’s Safer Living Guide online at http://police.ua.edu/slg.html.
Thanks, and Roll Tide!
Kathleen Cramer, Ph.D.
Interim Vice President for Student Life
Campus Communication Regarding Novel Coronavirus
January 27, 2020
You may be aware of an evolving respiratory illness outbreak stemming from Wuhan, China, known as coronavirus. The risk for Alabamians remains relatively low at this time, and we — along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alabama Department of Public Health — are closely monitoring the ongoing situation.
This coronavirus can cause mild illness that can be overcome, but more severe cases can be life-threatening. More Information about the 2019 novel coronavirus is available on the CDC website.
The University Medical Center (including its affiliated clinics) and Student Health Center and Pharmacy have had no cases of coronavirus. While we have procedures in place for contagious severe illnesses and are prepared, UA has not been notified of any member of the campus community with the virus.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Symptoms of coronavirus include, but are not limited to, fever, running nose, headache, cough, and the general feeling of being unwell; these are also symptoms of the common flu virus. If you have these symptoms, it is likely the common cold or a common strain of the flu. It is unlikely that anyone will be diagnosed with coronavirus at this time unless they have traveled to affected countries or had contact with someone who has. If you have concerning symptoms, please call the employee or student health clinic prior to visiting.
UA System institutions have extensive expertise and systems in place to monitor and address threats of infectious diseases. However, you should take general precautions like frequent hand washing, to prevent the spread of any virus, including seasonal flu, which is still active across Alabama and the U.S. If you have not received a flu shot, it’s not too late. UA faculty and staff can go directly to the University Medical Center Faculty Staff Clinic for a flu shot or seek out their primary care physician or pharmacy. UA students can walk in to the Student Health Center’s Allergy/Immunization Clinic (www.shc.sl.ua.edu ) to obtain a flu shot. No appointment is needed. For advice on flu facts and prevention, go to www.cdc.gov/flu.
Students and employees scheduled to travel to China should observe the CDC travel precautions and remain away from Wuhan City. If additional precautions are needed, UA will communicate appropriately at that time to further protect the health of our campus and community at large.