Student Messages Faculty/Staff Messages Page last updated: 5/22/20 4:41 p.m. CDT Messages below were sent to the entire campus community. Messages for specific audiences can be found by clicking the buttons above. Message from the President: Committee Planning Return to Full Operations May 22, 2020 Dear Faculty, Staff and Students: As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, I want to update everyone on the status of the University’s ongoing efforts related to COVID-19. To begin, my appreciation for and pride in the hundreds of faculty and staff here on our campus who are working around the clock to address all aspects of this global pandemic cannot be overstated. And, as I have mentioned in earlier messages, many of our students, through their various outreach programs, have been helping communities across America as well as here in Tuscaloosa. My thanks to each of you for your work. In line with Chancellor Finis St. John’s creation of the UA System Task Force and to further the implementation of his cornerstone objectives, I formed the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Return to Full Operations this past April. This group is now finalizing a comprehensive set of plans to prepare a safe, healthy campus environment for Fall 2020. The committee and its multiple working groups are coordinating their efforts, tapping into the world-class expertise we have on our campus and within our System as well as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). The goal is to formulate robust, nimble strategies to address all the important aspects of preparing our campus for a return to full operations. As always, the health and safety of our students and employees are paramount in our decision making to return to a fully engaged campus. The committee is analyzing dozens of elements of returning to in-person instruction and regular business operations, including academic quality, campus life, research, athletics, health and safety, HR issues, and more. We are exploring the most effective ways to implement a number of protocols that will promote the health, safety, success and privacy of each individual member of the campus community. These will include enhanced cleanings, the appropriate use of protective equipment, and potential modification of traditional classroom settings, among others. In addition, with guidance from ADPH and the UA System Task Force, we are planning to implement COVID-19 testing and symptom-tracking protocols. The effectiveness of our plans will be enhanced through the campus community’s use of a COVID-19 contact-tracing tool that the UA System Task Force is developing in partnership with Apple, Google, and ADPH. This voluntary, opt-in tracing tool will allow us to harness technology—without sacrificing the privacy of the individuals who use it—to slow the spread of COVID-19 so that we can all be safer together. Now, more than ever before, The University of Alabama is truly Tide Together by strength, determination, and a desire to protect all members of our campus community. We will continue to update you as these plans evolve and solidify, but, for the latest updates, please visit the healthinfo.ua.edu website. Stuart R. Bell President UA statement on financial impact of COVID-19 April 29, 2020 The University of Alabama moved quickly to enact and accelerate a number of cost-saving measures in anticipation of the financial ramifications of COVID-19 while limiting the direct impact to our students, faculty and staff. To help address unavoidable financial constraints, the University successfully implemented a number of cost saving procedures while continuing to deliver quality academic instruction and core mission services. Those savings measures include: placing a hold on filling non-essential and vacant positions; reducing expenses related to facilities, energy and utilities; eliminating non-essential expenditures, supplies, services, travel, contracts and projects; delaying construction projects where possible; and suspending the 403(b) employer match for participating employees until September 30, 2020. By implementing these measures we plan to avoid other direct employee impacts. We are proud of the way our campus community has responded to these challenges and look forward to the return of our students, faculty and staff. Message from the President April 6, 2020 Dear Students, Faculty and Staff: Welcome to week two of online instruction, remote work environments and the “new normal” for our UA community. I know for many the changes we have experienced caused some initial apprehension, but I am already hearing positive feedback about the ways in which we are all rallying together. Working and studying remotely takes more time, patience and flexibility, but I am confident we are achieving the same excellent outcomes that are the standard of the Alabama experience. As you continue to settle in to your new routines, please know how proud we are of you and what you are accomplishing in the over 6,600 classes that have now been launched online. I want to personally thank Dean Jonathan Halbesleben and his incredible team in the College of Continuing Studies for the critical work they are doing to ensure the success of UA’s online learning environment. Helping faculty and students teach and learn online has always been their specialty, but now they have taken an essential leadership role to bridge the gap for those who are new to remote learning. Students, I know you will finish strong. We are here to help you continue pursuing your education and preparing for your remarkable future. You remain our top priority as we make decisions, and we’ve had to be a little creative to continue some of our important traditions. For the first time in UA history, the 2020 SGA Inauguration Ceremony was broadcast live on Facebook on March 31. Congratulations to SGA President Demarcus Joiner and the members of the Executive Council for the honor of representing and serving our student body. The commitment and ingenuity of our faculty continue to impress, and I hope you will help me congratulate Dr. Subha Chakraborti, professor of statistics and Morrow Faculty Excellence Fellow, for being selected as UA’s 2020 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner. After nearly 36 years at The University of Alabama, Dr. Chakraborti’s influence has been widespread, from impactful research to extraordinary teaching accomplishments and scholarly contributions. His success exemplifies the many talents and expertise of our esteemed faculty who continue to transform the lives of their students. We are also doing everything we can to support health care workers, families and businesses in our local communities. Currently, two groups across three colleges on campus are collaborating with health care professionals to produce 3D-printed face shields for the medical workers on the front lines in our area, and UA students across the nation are taking an active role in relief efforts. Last week, 10 UA Greek houses donated over 2.3 tons of food to the West Alabama Food Bank, and five additional houses plan to contribute. The Alabama Small Business Development Center Network and partners across the state are also helping small businesses prepare to apply for loans to provide them with enough working capital to remain open and to operate effectively. UA’s mission statement prioritizes service, and we will continue to seek opportunities to help those in need. Friends, The University of Alabama remains steadfast and resilient. Despite the adjustments necessitated by current events, one thing will always remain the same: Our people will continue to rise to the challenges presented, work together and safeguard the success of our faculty, staff and students. Right now, the only thing missing is you. We can’t wait to have our future legends back home. I look forward to seeing you on campus just as soon as possible. You and your families remain in my thoughts, and I am honored to serve as your president. Stuart R. Bell President Campus Notification on COVID-19 The University of Alabama prioritizes the health and safety of our campus community, and the University is committed to promptly sharing accurate and useful information related to the COVID-19 situation and its impact on the UA campus. As UA leaders continue to work with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), City of Tuscaloosa, the State of Alabama, the UA System and federal agencies, we will continue to share relevant information with our students, parents, faculty and staff. The most current information is available at healthinfo.ua.edu/. Important information and guidance for our UA Community: As of today, there were 1,352 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the State of Alabama, with 39 confirmed cases in Tuscaloosa County. Given the continuing spread of the virus, it is not surprising that members of our community have been exposed to and/or contracted the virus. To date, four University employees have reported testing positive for COVID-19, along with three students who were participating in study abroad programs. All of these individuals, who notified campus officials about their diagnosis after students, faculty and staff left campus for spring break, have been safely quarantined and recovering away from campus. The ADPH website is updated regularly with new case statistics and other helpful information. If an individual is determined to have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, ADPH — or a designee — will contact that individual directly to discuss appropriate next steps. If it is determined that someone who is symptomatic or who has tested positive for COVID-19 has accessed a portion of a campus facility, the University’s Environmental Health & Safety group will ensure a heightened, appropriate cleaning of the potentially affected area. The University Medical Center and Student Health Center remain open, and COVID-19 testing is being administered off-campus at DCH. The Spring semester completion plan can be accessed for current information on Spring courses. The City of Tuscaloosa has adopted a 24/7 curfew to support social distancing and prevent possible community spread of coronavirus. In agreement with city officials, University work, already functioning under a limited business operations plan, is not affected by the curfew. Employees and students who live in the city are subject to the curfew when not working, and should review the executive order for a list of limited exemptions and specified essential activities. This is an important measure for public health and the efforts of our city officials, and your compliance is appreciated. Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is a social responsibility for all of us. Following the guidance of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), ADPH, and the University is crucial. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC recommends everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Stay at least six feet away from others. Since COVID-19 is spread through person-to-person contact and respiratory droplets, you can prevent the spread by putting space between yourself and others. This lessens the likelihood of becoming infected and spreading the infection. Social Distancing, self-quarantining and self-isolation require different actions. Social distancing is maintaining a safe distance (at least six feet) from others. Self-quarantining keeps someone who doesn’t have symptoms but was exposed to the virus away from others, so they don’t unknowingly infect anyone else. Health experts recommend that a self-quarantine last 14 days. This provides enough time for them to know whether they will become ill and be contagious to other people. Self-isolation keeps people who are confirmed to have COVID-19 away from those who are not infected. Self-isolation takes place in one’s home, but can also take place at a hospital or care facility. Here are some important links to follow for general health and safety information: University COVID-19 Information Social Distancing Symptoms Stress Management Alabama Department of Public Health Centers for Disease Control Thank you to everyone for your patience and resolve as we work through this challenging time. This notification is part of a federally required Clery Act emergency notification related to COVID-19.