ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS

May 15, 2020

Limited Business Operations Remain in Effect

Though the city and state have lifted some retail restrictions, the University remains under Limited Business Operations. Group 2 employees should continue working remotely unless they have been assigned to critical on-campus functions like residence hall move-out. With few exceptions that have been appropriately cleared, transitioning to on-campus operations should not begin until Limited Business Operations restrictions have been lifted. The University is developing safety plans and protocols in coordination with the UA System-wide Task Force on campus safety, including plans for the use and distribution of personal protective equipment for those employees returning to campus.

Wellness and Work-Life Webinars

The Office of Wellness and Work-Life has a series of webinars to help UA employees maintain their physical, mental and emotional health and safety during the pandemic and cope with recent personal and professional changes. Learn about upcoming webinars and find past recordings on the Wellness and Work-Life website.

Upcoming webinars:

Let’s Talk: Coping Skills for Cabin Fever with Dr. Josh Eyer – May 19, noon to 1 p.m.

After weeks of quarantine and social distancing, it’s hard not to go a little stir crazy. Learn some techniques to keep you from catching cabin fever with Dr. Josh Eyer.

Fitness Myth Busters with Charles Burroughs – May 20, 11 a.m. to noon

With all the fad diets, workout trends and online videos, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to exercise. Join University Recreation Fitness Services Program Coordinator and certified personal trainer Charles Burroughs to bust some common fitness myths.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

Four UA Professors Selected for Early Career Awards 

UA OLLI Provides Free Educational Opportunities for Adults

More Faculty and Staff News

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is being updated frequently. For more FAQs, go to UA’s health info website.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS

May 11, 2020

Leave Benefits Information 

As state and local restrictions begin to lift and the University explores returning to full operation, there will be more opportunities for University employees to slowly transition back to working on campus. As part of any such transition, remember the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides certain paid leave protections to employees who qualify for Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family Medical Leave. Full-time and part-time employees who are unable to work or telework due to a COVID-19 related reason may be eligible to request these paid leaves. Supporting documentation will be required prior to approval. A comprehensive overview of the FFCRA leave benefits is available on the HR website.

Additional information, including specifics about paid leave amounts and how to apply for leaves, is available on the HR website under the Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs. Live webinars about the new FFCRA leaves will be held 2:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, and 10-11 a.m. Thursday, May 14. Registration for the webinars is available in UA LMS. Direct questions to the HR Service Center at 205-348-7732 or hrsvctr@ua.edu.

Free Webinar on Addressing Bias and Microaggressions

The Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will offer a free, live webinar titled “Bias and Microaggressions: Addressing Current Issues” Wednesday, May 13, 1-2:30 p.m. The event is designed to raise awareness, address incidents and lessen exclusion within the campus community. Naomi Sigg, director of Multicultural Affairs at Case Western Reserve University, will offer actionable takeaways to effectively combat incidents within the campus community and beyond. Participants should develop a foundational understanding of important equity and inclusion concepts, the ability to assess their own biases, and strategies to address microaggressions, bias, discrimination and hate toward a variety of communities whether virtually or in person. To register for the webinar go to the events page of the DEI website.

Wellness and Work-Life Webinars

The Office of Wellness and Work-Life has a series of webinars to help UA employees maintain their physical, mental and emotional health and safety during the pandemic and cope with recent personal and professional changes. Learn about upcoming webinars and find past recordings on the Wellness and Work-Life website.

Webinars this week:

Let’s Talk: Coping as a Family in Close Quarters with Dr. Josh Eyer – May 12, noon-1 p.m.

Sheltering in place and trying to keep the whole family happy can be a challenge. Join Dr. Josh Eyer and Dr. Robert Laird, professor and chair, department of human development and human studies, to learn how to navigate family dynamics in difficult times.

Yoga Basics with Whitney Pape  –  May 13, 1-2 p.m.

The ancient practice of yoga is not only good for your flexibility, balance and strength, it can also help reduce stress and anxiety. Learn some of the basic moves and more about its benefits with University Recreation Fitness Services Manager Whitney Pape.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

UA System Hosts Virtual Scholars Institute 

Athletic Training BSAT Wins 2020 Assessment Award

Tax Tip: 60-Day Rule for Expense Reports

More Faculty and Staff News

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is being updated frequently. For more FAQs, go to UA’s health info website.

Message Sent from Procurement Services

May 5, 2020

Effective May 1, 2020, all departmental requests for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies including but not limited to masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, etc. must be requested through logistics.ic@ua.edu.  Individual departmental purchases on p-card or other means will not be allowed.  With the limited availability of PPE items, the centralized distribution will allow the University to help each department determine their specific needs and provide those items.  Each department will be billed for the items received through a journal voucher.

When making requests to logistics.ic@ua.edu please include the Department, contact person with email address, number of employees needing PPE, purpose of PPE, and departmental FOPAL to be charged.

Guidelines for Research Activity at The University of Alabama During Modified Limited Business Operations

May 5, 2020

Effective May 18, 2020 until further notice

The University of Alabama’s Office for Research and Economic Development (ORED) is working with other divisions on campus in developing and maintaining up-to-date Guidelines for faculty, staff and students for their research programs consistent with current University operations and guidance from the UA Presidential Advisory Committee on the Return to Full Operations.  These Guidelines for Research Activity will be updated as necessary.

Effective May 18, 2020, UA’s Research Activity (in spaces including dry and wet laboratories, studios, and other creative spaces) will begin to operate under Modified Limited Business Operations, which includes both essential staffing and remote work assignments.

  • Mitigation of Risk and Research Activity Plans.  Each Lead Investigator bears the responsibility to evaluate their personal risk and the risk to research personnel under their direction.  Safety and the mitigation of risk should be the primary factors in determining the extent and timing of continuing or resuming research activity as defined by these Guidelines.  Each Lead Investigator is expected to develop a Research Activity Plan consistent with these Guidelines and share with all research personnel under their direction.  Supervisors of Lead Investigators (Colleges/Schools for faculty investigators) will serve as approvers of the Research Activity Plans.  As always, research personnel should provide notification through appropriate administrative channels if they have concerns about the efficacy of any Research Activity Plan.
  • Expanded Essential Research Activities. Only the following “Expanded Essential Research Activities” may continue or resume under Modified Limited Business Operations through an approved Research Activity Plan:

o    Ensuring the viability of living organisms;

o    Maintaining unique reagents;

o    Maintaining essential equipment;

o    Conducting human research which offers direct therapeutic benefit to participants;

o    Activities that are part of new faculty start-up packages;

o    All externally-funded research to Lead Investigators with three prohibitions, all of which are applied to mitigate risk to non-University employees.  Prohibitions include research that:

1)    brings any non-University employees to campus, including collaborators;

2)    brings study participants to campus; and

3)    requires University employees to meet face-to-face with study participants off-campus.

Essential Research Prohibition Waiver.  It is recognized that some research activity involving non-University employees may be justified in extraordinary circumstances.  Lead Investigators may write a justification for an Essential Research Prohibition Waiver and submit first to their Dean (or designee) and then to the Vice President for Research (or designee) for consideration and approval.  The justification should briefly describe the nature of the work, why it is important and extraordinary, and what and how measures will be taken to mitigate risk and protect research personnel.

  • Vulnerable Populations. All “expanded essential research activities” must take appropriate measures to identify or allow self-identification of vulnerable populations to Covid-19 and develop justified plans to mitigate risk to these populations.  As confirmed by CDC, vulnerable individuals are at higher risk for severe illness than others:  people 65 and older; and those with serious underlying medical conditions.  Remote working for these populations during the Modified Limited Business Operations should be considered.
  • Per the developed Research Activity Plan, research activities under these Modified Limited Business Operations must be carried out in a manner that mitigates risk to research personnel and ensures that the research activity provides adequate protection of personnel as it relates to the coordination of research activity in single or multiple-use spaces.  Research activity must be staggered to minimize the number of research personnel who are present at any one time.  Those present must employ standard safety protocols and the principle of “social distancing” and other measures consistent with current federal guidelines to protect all research personnel.
  • Critical In-Process Experiments. Lead Investigators may continue experiments that are in a critical phase, meaning that ending them will result in a major and irreversible loss in the project.  Lead Investigators must write a brief justification for continuing such work and submit first to their Dean (or designee) and then to the Vice President for Research (or designee) for consideration and approval.  The justification should briefly describe the nature of the work, why it is critical, and what and how measures will be taken to mitigate risk and protect research personnel.
  • Non-Essential Research Activities. New experiments or work on “Non-Essential Research Activities” should not be initiated during Modified Limited Business Operations. However, given justified circumstances, some work in the category of “non-essential research activities” may be considered under the following process.  Prior to initiation of any non-essential research activity, Lead Investigators must write a justification for such work and submit first to their Dean (or designee) and then to the Vice President for Research (or designee) for consideration and approval.  The justification should briefly describe the nature of the work, why it is important and justified, and what and how measures will be taken to mitigate risk and protect research personnel.
  • Lead Investigators and research or laboratory managers and their supervisors should identify research personnel (faculty, staff, students) who will perform essential or otherwise approved research activities on campus, and identify those important activities that research personnel including vulnerable populations can do remotely to aid in the progress of internally and externally funded research and sponsored activities.
  • For other research activity, Lead Investigators are expected to consider ways to keep research personnel engaged and working on projects in a remote fashion through, for example, data analysis; writing reports and other publications; designing new experiments, developing new grant proposals; etc.  Engaged research personnel who provide direct benefit to project(s) may continue to charge their associated effort to the applicable grants and contracts consistent with current federal and state regulations.
  • ORED and all of its major offices (Sponsored Programs, Contract & Grant Accounting, Research Compliance, Proposal Development, and Research and Technology Agreements) will continue operations.

These Guidelines were developed by the Office for Research and Economic Development and are overseen by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Dr. Russell J. Mumper (mumper@ua.edu).  These Guidelines will be continually reviewed and are subject to change at any time.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS

April 29, 2020

Planning Continues for On-Campus Courses in the Fall

We have been planning for and will continue to work toward in-person instruction this fall on the regular schedule. Our campus working group has representation from across the University and will be addressing the various elements of our plan, including academic quality, campus life, and health and safety, and will coordinate with the UA System. We are also reviewing the possibility of returning to in-person classes for the second summer term. A decision about the summer 2 courses will be announced before the end of May.

Planning for Group 3 Employees Transition to Work Status

As the University approaches the next phase of Limited Business Operations, efforts are focused on safely returning all University employees to a working status as soon as circumstances allow. Supervisors have been reviewing the status and will be contacting Group 3 employees this week regarding transition to either Group 1 (on campus) or Group 2 (working remote). Only employees who are critical to student move-out and other time-sensitive and essential on-campus operations, and who can meet social distancing and other requirements, will be working on campus at this time. All other employees should continue to work remotely. Campus leaders are developing safety plans and protocols, which include addressing the use and distribution of personal protective equipment, for those employees returning to campus.  Additional guidance will be provided to supervisors of all Group 1 employees prior to their return to campus.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

April 30 Deadline for Feedback on Provost Candidates 

Graduating Seniors Can Qualify for ‘Quick Admit’ to Grad Programs

UMC Offers Free Mental Health Services to Health and Safety Workers

More Faculty and Staff News

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is being updated frequently. For more FAQs, go to UA’s health info website.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

April 24, 2020

HReimagined Team Continues to Seek Campus Feedback

The campuswide team of stakeholders charged with transforming the University’s Human Resources strategies, structures, services, programs and systems is continuing its progress. The HReimagined team is actively working to define a new model to include all aspects of HR. Town Hall forums were held on campus March 12 to provide more detailed information about the team’s process. The forum was recorded for those who could not attend. A general feedback form was added to the website to allow members of the campus community to provide comments, insights and suggestions to inform the team’s progress.

PSA Nomination Deadline Extended

The Professional Staff Assembly’s Professional Development Committee has extended nominations for the Outstanding Professional Awards to May 15. The awards will be presented during the June PSA ceremony. Further information on the OPA award can be found on the PSA website.

Student Services Go Virtual 

Most services UA students rely on have moved online to better help meet student needs. We continue to provide resources to support the holistic needs of our campus community — from academic progress to career planning to mental and physical health and beyond. Visit the Virtual Student Services page for more details.

UAB Launches Symptom Tracker to Improve Disease Tracking 

Experts from the University of Alabama at Birmingham have created a symptom checker to identify hot spots where the virus is spreading. The project will help public health officials and health care workers track symptoms before the disease spreads and could help identify new community outbreaks more effectively. Tell them how you feel at HelpBeatCOVID19.org.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

Honor 2011 Tornado Anniversary with Acts of Kindness

More Faculty and Staff News

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is being updated frequently. For more FAQs, go to UA’s health info website.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS

April 16, 2020

Important Information on Student Employees

The University has been paying all student employees, including those who have not been actively working, for the past several weeks. All student employees will continue to be paid through April 17. Those paychecks will be direct deposited on or about April 24. This will serve as the final paycheck of the semester for student employees who are not actively working. Student employees who continue to work will be contacted by their supervisor with instructions regarding recording hours after April 17. Students with current or future needs may visit our emergency assistance website for links to short-term financial and other assistance programs. More information about employment related issues, including student unemployment eligibility is available on the employee FAQs web page.

Campus Access During Limited Business Operations

The University of Alabama prioritizes the health and safety of our campus community. In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, all classes are being taught remotely. There should be no person-to-person or onsite instruction. Academic and instructional buildings are closed, and students should not attempt to access on-campus instructional facilities.

Group 1 employees working on campus should coordinate with their supervisors to ensure adherence to guidance related toLimited Business Operations. Even for this group, staggered times on campus are encouraged, as is remote performance of duties when possible. Group 2 and Group 3 employees should have permission from their supervisors before coming to campus. 

Electrical Shutdown to Portion of Campus 

In order to accommodate repair work, an electrical shutdown of the following seven buildings will take place tonight, April 16, between 5-7 p.m. Building representatives have been notified. The data center in Gordon Palmer Hall will not be affected.

  • Bryant Academic Center
  • Bryant Residential Hall
  • Gallalee Hall
  • Gordon Palmer Hall
  • Child Research Clinic
  • Russell Hall
  • Mary Harmon Bryant Hall

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Meet Finalists for Executive Vice President and Provost

More Faculty and Staff News

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is being updated frequently. For more FAQs, go to UA’s health info website.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS

April 15, 2020

Bama Bound to be Held Virtually

The University of Alabama will hold 2020 Bama Bound orientation sessions online. We are working diligently to provide an excellent online experience to provide new and transfer students with a successful transition to UA. For those students who have already paid an orientation deposit, half of that fee will be credited to their account this fall. For students yet to register, the fee will be half of the original price. Go to the orientation website for more info.

UA System Team to Develop Comprehensive Health and Safety Plan

The University of Alabama System has created a task force led by UAB Health System experts to develop plans for the three University of Alabama System campuses – University of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Alabama in Huntsville – to be the safest universities in America when on-campus instruction resumes. Read more about this initiative on the UA System website.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Meet Finalists for Executive Vice President and Provost

More Faculty and Staff News

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is being updated frequently. For more FAQs, go to UA’s health info website.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

April 14, 2020

HR Announces Two Important Changes to FSA, HSA 

Total Administrative Services Corp. (TASC) has made two important changes to existing tax-favored accounts in response to the current national emergency related to COVID-19.

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account

The Dependent Care FSA is a tax-favored account which allows employees to set aside up to $5,000 pre-tax to pay for work-related custodial care for a child under 13 years of age. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many employees’ dependent-care needs. Employees are allowed to make mid-year election changes to Dependent Care FSAs for various qualifying life events, including the following examples:

  • Employee’s child(ren)’s schools and places of care are currently closed due to COVID-19,
  • Employees no longer require child care because they are able to telework from home and care for their dependent child(ren), or
  • Employees may require new child care if they are deemed an “essential employee” and/or must modify their current child care arrangement due to altered work hours.

Employees will have 30 days from the date of the qualifying life event to make mid-year election changes in BenefitFocus available via single sign-on through myBama. Documentation to support the requested change will be required. For example, documentation may include a notice of closure or unavailability from a child’s school or child care provider that may have been posted on a website, published in a newspaper or emailed from a school official.

Over-The-Counter Drugs and Other Products Reimbursable

The CARES Act now allows Health Savings Accounts and Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts to reimburse individuals for the purchase of over-the-counter drugs and medical products without a prescription from a physician (e.g., aspirin, allergy medicine, etc.), as well as menstrual care products. The change is retroactive for purchases beginning on Jan. 1, 2020. Pharmacies and other eligible retailers are working to update their inventory systems to accommodate these changes as soon as possible. Employees who make TASC Card purchases in-store should request reimbursement online or via the TASC app.

For more information, contact the HR Service Center at 205-348-7732 or hrsvctr@ua.edu. Information will be on the COVID-19 FAQs on the HR website.

Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order

Employees and students who reside in Alabama are subject to the governor’s recent stay-at-home order, and are advised toreview the order for a list of limited exemptions and specified essential activities. University work, already functioning under a limited business operations plan, is not affected by the order. This is an important measure for public health and the efforts of our officials and your compliance is appreciated.

Banner Upgrade April 19

OIT will be implementing a Banner Bundle upgrade on Sunday, April 19, from 4 to 10 a.m.  During the upgrade myBama will be available, but channels that connect to Banner will not be accessible, including self-service and administrative systems. More information is available on the OIT website.

Printing Services Open and Operating

UA Printing Services is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. UP offers signage, engraving, high-speed digital copies, graphic design services, bulk mail processing and official University letterhead and envelopes. Contact UP at 205-348-5200 or visit their website.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Meet Finalists for Executive Vice President and Provost

Virtual Tapping on the Mound Recognizes UA Achievement

Meet UA’s New SGA President

Sixth Avenue Road Closure April 16-20

More Faculty and Staff News

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is being updated frequently. For more FAQs, go to UA’s health info website.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

April 10, 2020

Group 1 staff reminder

If you have had close contact, defined as less than 6 feet of separation for more than 15 minutes, with anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19, including anyone in your household, please notify UA HR (Sharon Hale – 205-348-7549 / shale@ua.edu), plan to stay home and monitor your health for any symptoms until instructed otherwise. Do not return to work until you have communicated with HR. Watch for fever, cough or shortness of breath. Practice social distancing, maintain 6 feet of distance from others, and stay out of crowded places.

May graduates invited to participate in summer commencement ceremonies

Although any plans must be contingent on how the summer health outlook progresses, all May graduates are invited to participate in the summer commencement events scheduled for Friday, July 31, and Saturday, Aug. 1. More details will be provided in the coming weeks. We will also be recognizing the achievements of our Spring 2020 graduating class in May through online and social media outlets to highlight our pride in their success.

Meet finalists for executive vice president and provost

The UA campus community is invited to attend video presentations by the five finalists for the position of executive vice president and provost April 13-28. Each candidate will engage with several student, staff and faculty groups using video conferencing. The candidates will make a presentation to the campus community from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. CDT. Details are available at the search website.

Be watchful for phishing emails

OIT reminds students, faculty and staff to keep an eye out for phishing emails. Visit the OIT website to see recent phishing email alerts – including O365 and COVID-19 scams – and to learn how to spot the red flags of phishing messages.  Also, make sure you have DUO two-factor authentication on your myBama account to add a second layer of security.

Potential for Severe Weather on Sunday

The National Weather Service has placed Tuscaloosa County in a moderate risk (4 out of 5) for severe weather during the afternoon and evening of Sunday, April 12. Strong tornadoes, damaging winds up to 70 mph, and golf-ball size hail are possible with these storms.

If a tornado watch is issued for Tuscaloosa County, the North Campus Storm Shelter, East Campus Storm Shelter, John H. England Jr. Hall Storm Shelter, North Lawn Hall, Magnolia Parking Deck Best Available Refuge Area, or BARA, and Capstone Parking Deck BARA will be available for all students, faculty and staff until the watch expires. The Magnolia Parking Deck BARA can accept pets with their owners. Read more about sheltering with pets in the Magnolia Deck BARA.

Even with the extraordinary social distancing precautions, the Alabama Department of Public Health recommends that your first priority should be to protect yourself from a potential tornado.

Wherever you choose to shelter from severe weather, you should use as many precautions as possible to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 as best as you can. You are encouraged to wear a mask or other face covering while in a shelter, and to bring hand sanitizer with you. Try to practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others when possible.

Download the UA Safety App for iOS and Android devices to receive watches and warnings from the National Weather Service for Tuscaloosa County, UA Alerts, and to locate storm shelters.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

UA Researchers Providing Maps of COVID-19 Testing Sites

Q&A: Staying Emotionally/Mentally Healthy in Virtual Academia

More Faculty and Staff News

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is being updated frequently. For more FAQs, go to UA’s health info website.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS

April 8, 2020

Interim and early summer courses to be taught remotely

The University of Alabama is committed to providing consistency and continuity to our students, faculty and staff during this uncertain time. To aid in scheduling and planning, all summer courses with a class start date before June 22 will be taught in an online or remote format, which includes Interim, summer I and full summer term sessions.

We remain hopeful of the possibility to return to on-site instruction later in the summer. However, until circumstances change, faculty should continue preparing for online/remote course options for the remainder of the summer, including courses with a class start date on or after June 22.

Any further changes in the status of summer instruction will be announced by April 30 in accordance with UA System Office policy.

Virtual Tapping on the Mound

In lieu of an in-person Honors Day Tapping on the Mound ceremony, The University of Alabama’s Office of Student Involvement, Coordinating Council for Honor Societies and Division of Student Life will host a live virtual ceremony April 10 at 1:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on the UA Division of Student Life’s Facebookpage.

Road closings

Portions of several roads on campus will be closed through the spring. For the latest information on closings, go to the campus map, select Construction and then select the Road Closure tab. And, tune to UA Info Radio 92.5 FM, which announces road closing information and other campus news.

Upgrade Zoom

OIT Security recommends that all Zoom software be updated. By updating to the latest version, you will receive security patches and upgrades to ensure the security of your computer and also your meetings. More information is available on the OIT website.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

University Medical Center Visit Procedures and Hours of Operation

Meet Finalists for Executive Vice President and Provost

More Faculty and Staff News

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is being updated frequently. For more FAQs, go tohttps://healthinfo.ua.edu/faqs/.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

April 2, 2020

UA establishes incident command

The University anticipates supporting the Tuscaloosa community by providing resources when possible. To keep with established national standards and best practices, UA has established incident command to manage resource requests. Per the University’s emergency operations plan, all requests for University resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic should be directed to the Office of Emergency Management at em@ua.edu.

Resources from the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion offers tips and resources for maintaining an inclusive classroom online. The Division is also encouraging currently enrolled students to connect with staff if they have questions or concerns.

Performance review submission due date extended

The due date for completed performance reviews to be submitted to Human Resources has been extended from May 31 to June 30. As a reminder, the evaluation period for the 2019-2020 year runs from May 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020. Forms for completing the performance review process as well as additional tools may be found under the Performance Management dropdown on the HR website. For questions regarding the performance review process, please contact your HR Business Partner.

OIT to perform wireless network upgrades

Tuesday, April 7 – Thursday, April 9, OIT will be performing wireless network upgrades at 6 a.m. Buildings across campus may experience a disconnection in wireless internet service from 6 to 8 a.m. More information is available on the OIT website.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Colonial Drive, Eighth Street Road Closures

City of Tuscaloosa Curfew 

Tide Together Student Support Fund 

Tax Tip: Educational Benefit Taxation

UPDATED FAQS

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is being updated frequently. For more FAQs, go to https://healthinfo.ua.edu/faqs/.

More on pass/fail grading, OIT help, the U.S. Census and a message from faculty to students. 

March 31, 2020

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

Pass/Fail Grading Information Updated 

Students will have the opportunity to choose a pass/fail (P/F) grading option for courses in which they are enrolled during Spring Semester 2020, provided that the course has not yet ended. More information has been posted at the registrar’s website.

Faculty Welcome Students Online 

From across campus faculty members sent video greetings and reassurances to students.

OIT Implements Additional VPN Network

Due to an unprecedented number of connections to the virtual private network, OIT has implemented an additional VPN, UAVPN2. Faculty and staff are encouraged to begin using VPN2. More information is available on the OIT website.

Avoid ZoomBombing

Create secure meetings with unique meeting IDs and enable the waiting room feature to permit access for each meeting participant. Step-by-step instructions, and additional Zoom security tips are available on the CIT website.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Be Counted, Be Represented and Help the State of Alabama do the Same

Show Your School Spirit While Slowing Spread of Coronavirus

UA Museums Goes Online to Provide Educational Content

UPDATED FAQS

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is being updated frequently. For more FAQs, go tohttps://healthinfo.ua.edu/faqs/.

City curfew, grading/drop deadline changes, student support fund, and coping tips. 

March 27, 2020

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS

City Curfew Announced

The City of Tuscaloosa has adopted a 24/7 curfew effective Sunday night 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 reside in the city are subject to the curfew when not working, and are advised to 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.

Pass/Fail Grading, Extended Drop Deadline Offered

Following a recommendation by the Faculty Senate and approved by President Bell today, students now have the option to choose between a letter grade or pass/fail designation for Spring 2020 courses. The deadline to drop a course has also been extended through April 24.

More details will be provided next week through individual academic programs and via healthinfo.ua.edu, but basic guidelines include:

  • This change applies only to Spring 2020 courses that have not yet ended.
  • Students can choose between the letter grade or pass/fail option on a course-by-course basis.
  • Grading choice can be made at any time until 5 p.m. April 24, the last day of classes.
  • If a student does not specify a preference, the original grade assignment procedure will be used.
  • The pass/fail option will be generally available to both undergraduate and graduate students except as professional or certification requirements dictate otherwise.

Understanding grade implications on future plans, degree completion, graduate or professional program applications and financial aid is important. As students consider their grading options, they should discuss any impact a pass/fail designation may have with their academic, program, athletic and financial aid advisers.

Implementation procedures and program specific instructions for these options will be rolled out in the coming days.

Tide Together Student Support Fund 

Members of the campus community have been asking how they can help students through the financial challenges related to the evolving circumstances of COVID-19. The Tide Together Student Support Fund is an assistance program administered through the Division of Student Life that provides students with access to short term financial help in times of need. Due to the current public health crisis, many students lack the financial resources needed to travel home, to find alternate housing arrangements, or to simply afford food. Some may even lack the technical and digital access to take classes online. The Tide Together Support Fund provides a lifeline for these students. If you are interested in helping, please visit www.give.ua.edu/tidetogether.

Wellness and Work-Life Balance 

Tips to Cope with Social Distancing

ZOOM Backgrounds 

UA is offering Zoom backgrounds. Visit the OIT page for instructions and downloadable images.

UPDATED FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions on the above topics, as well as suggestions for moving labs online, can be found at https://healthinfo.ua.edu/faqs/.

EXTENSION OF LIMITED BUSINESS OPERATIONS

March 26, 2020

The University continues to address and manage issues related to the Covid-19 outbreak, so limited business operations will continue for the time being. All employees who are working remotely, or unable to perform their jobs remotely, will continue under the same conditions and circumstances as previously announced – including pay and benefits – until or unless notified otherwise by their supervisor.

Telecommuting agreements do not need to be updated to address this extension period. We will continue to update and inform you of any changes to this policy, and your supervisor will notify you of any changes to your work group, taking into account the need to stagger campus visit times and maintain distancing while on campus.

The Guidelines on Research Activity also remain in effect.

 

RESOURCES FOR TEACHING ONLINE 

 Faculty share the creative solutions they are using to stay engaged with classes. 

Technology

Faculty have access to the videoconferencing tool Zoom, lecture capture Panopto,Blackboard Ultra and Blackboard Ally for LMS, as well as an extensive list of tools at the Center for Instructional Technology.

Accessibility 

The Center for Instructional Technology’s accessibility page can help faculty ensure their content is accessible, and it has information on implementing remote accommodations.

Communication and Collaboration 

Blackboard offers tools to help you build discussion groups. While planning for some Zoom class meetings can help keep your students on track, asynchronous activities such as discussion boards and student video projects can keep them engaged and help build self-regulated learners.

ANNOUNCEMENTS and REMINDERS

Classrooms 

In-person classes, regardless of size, are suspended. Faculty may go to their classrooms to record classes, but must first contact the dean and/or department head for instructions before doing so.

Tutoring Available

Capstone Center for Student Success is ready to offer opportunities via videoconference. Starting March 30 tutoring services are available online via Zoom and do not require an appointment. The Writing Center will move online for the rest of spring semester.

2020 U.S. Census

Do your part to make sure Tuscaloosa and the state of Alabama are counted in the 2020 U.S. Census, which is now underway. For instructions on how to complete the U.S. Census and additional information, go to https://census.ua.edu/.

Work-Life and Wellness 

How Faculty and Staff can Cope with Stress Amid COVID-19

UPDATED FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions on the above topics, as well as suggestions for moving labs online, can be found at https://healthinfo.ua.edu/faculty-faqs/

UPDATES ON CAMPUS MAIL SERVICE, TIAA APPOINTMENTS, AND MORE.

March 23, 2020

REMINDERS

Notice to Group 1 Employees Working on Campus

Please coordinate with your supervisor to ensure that you are adhering to the guidance related to Limited Business Operations. Even for this group, staggered times on campus are encouraged, as are remote performance of duties when possible.

RESOURCES

Social Distancing Flyer

Are you looking for a visual to quickly explain social distancing? Use the Social Distancing Tips flyer.

Email and Voicemail Templates 

During Limited Business Operations email and voicemail templates for Group 2 and Group 3 employees can be found at https://strategiccommunications.ua.edu/resources/automatic-email-reply-templates.

UPDATED FAQS AT HEALTHINFO.UA.EDU

The Frequently Asked Questions page has been updated with entries on Crimson Ride schedules, opening of storm shelters, campus mail delivery, and Student Health Center and Counseling Center operations. This information can be found at https://healthinfo.ua.edu/faqs/.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Campus Mail Service

The Ferguson Mail Center will not deliver to campus offices and will hold mail to all departments and offices except for those previously identified, like Admissions. Mail will not be picked up from offices and departments on campuses. To request an exception, please notify Linda Johnson at ljohnson@fa.ua.edu.

TIAA Information 

Webinar

On Wednesday, March 25, at 1 p.m. (CT), TIAA will host a special webinar, where Brian Nick, Nuveen Chief Investment Strategist, will share his perspective on the recent market volatility. He will cover what’s driving current volatility and provide some strategies to help deal with the current market swings.  Click here for registration information.

Appointments with Consultants 

TIAA has decided to temporarily suspend on-site visits to institutions by financial consultants and other members of their service team.  These actions are in keeping with standard practice wherever coronavirus exposure is a risk, in the U.S. and around the world.

For those of you who have made a one-on-one appointment to meet in person with TIAA during the next 30 days, TIAA will be reaching out to you to change the in-person appointment to a phone appointment. Our regular financial consultants will be helping you during these calls.

For those employees who have not yet made an appointment but would still like to contact TIAA, please use the following resources:

Meeting by phone with TIAA consultant:

www.tiaa.org/schedulenow or 1-800-732-8353, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET).

National Contact Center:

1-855-200-0155, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET).

TIAA asks for your patience, as needed, particularly related to call center wait times.

Campus COVID-19 Updates

March 20, 2020

Energy conservation plans for campus buildings

Beginning immediately and during limited business operations, general building maintenance and normal custodial services will be suspended while stringent energy conservation measures are implemented across campus.

HVAC systems will operate only short periods each day, maintaining warmer temperatures, and all internal non-essential lighting will be reduced. The frequency and duration of HVAC operations will depend on the building and outside air temperatures. An effective campus-wide energy curtailment plan is essential. Cooling an entire building for only one or two occupants is expensive and inefficient. We ask for your help to limit costs and save energy.

Exceptions will be made for special buildings or operations, such as medical and animal care facilities, libraries and museums, where HVAC systems are needed to operate at or near normal temperatures. If you are aware of a facility or building that requires exception to these energy conservation measures, please email Campus Energy Engineer/Director Greg McKelvey at gmckelvey@fa.ua.edu with justification for the exemption. All requests will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Your understanding and cooperation during these unprecedented and difficult times is appreciated.

Limited business operations work assignments

Supervisors will be notifying staff today about their Staff Group classifications (Group 1, 2 or 3) and work assignments for the coming week. Please revisit the announcement of Limited Business Operations for an overview.

Social distancing tips

Every faculty and staff member should be doing everything possible to practice social distancing and other preventive health strategies related to COVID-19 – whether you are on campus or not. Here are some social distancing tips and techniques to help you.

Recent updates to healthinfo.ua.edu and FAQs

  • A new section titled Student Assistance has been added to the HEALTHINFO The page provides links to UA Care and Wellbeing resources to help students in need as well as commercial offerings for services and discounts related to the pandemic.
  • A few more campus events have been canceled. Please send any campus-wide events to be considered for listing on the site to uanews@ua.edu.
  • Bama Dining at Lakeside and Starbucks on Bryant Drive have moved to take-out or drive-through services only this week.

On-campus Spring Commencement will not be held as scheduled, and families should not plan on traveling to campus for that event. We are actively exploring and hope to provide alternative means of recognizing the significant achievements of graduates and students earning honors, but it is too early to make those plans firm

Guidelines for Research Activity at The University of Alabama during Limited Business Operations

March 19, 2020

The University of Alabama Office for Research and Economic Development (ORED) is working with other divisions on campus in developing and maintaining up-to-date guidelines for faculty, staff and students for their research programs consistent with current University operations.  These Guidelines will be updated as necessary.

Per the March 17, 2020 “Announcement of Limited Business Operations,” UA will continue to operate under limited business operations, which includes essential staffing and remote work assignments.

  • Only “essential research activities” should continue.  Essential activities include: ensuring the viability of living organisms; maintaining unique reagents; maintaining essential equipment; and conducting human research which offers direct therapeutic benefit to participants. Colleges/Schools may or may not require notification and approval of “essential research activities” by the Dean (or designee).
  • “Essential research activities” may continue and should be staggered to minimize the number of laboratory personnel who are present at any one time and employing the principle of “social distancing” and other measures to protect lab personnel.
  • Critical in-process experiments.  Principal Investigators (PIs) should immediately identify research experiments that are in a critical phase, meaning that ending them will result in a major and irreversible loss in the project.  PIs must write a brief justification for continuing such work and submit first to their Dean (or designee) and then to the Vice President for Research (or designee) for consideration and approval.  The justification should briefly describe the nature of the work, why it is critical, and how measures will be employed to protect lab personnel.
  • New experiments or work on “non-essential research activities” should not be initiated.  However, given extraordinary circumstances, some work in the category of “non-essential research activities” may be considered under the following process.  Prior to initiation of any non-essential research activity, PIs must write a justification for continuing such work and submit first to their Dean (or designee) and then to the Vice President for Research (or designee) for consideration and approval.  The justification should briefly describe the nature of the work, why it is important and extraordinary, and how measures will be employed to protect lab personnel.  If the justification for continuing non-essential research activity pertains to contractual obligations from a funding agency, then PIs are first encouraged to contact the Office for Research and Technology Agreements (ORTA) in ORED for a consult.  ORTA may directly engage the funding agency to re-negotiate contract terms to be more flexible during this period of limited business operations.
  • PIs and lab managers should identify minimal research personnel (faculty, staff, undergraduate students, and graduate students) who will perform essential research activities on campus, and also identify those important activities that research personnel (faculty, staff, undergraduate students, and graduate students) can do remotely to aid in the progress of internally and externally funded research and sponsored activities.
  • PIs are expected to consider ways to keep research personnel engaged and working on projects in a remote fashion through, for example, data analysis; writing reports and other publications; designing new experiments, developing new grant proposals; etc.  Engaged research personnel who provide direct benefit to project(s) may continue to charge their associated effort to the applicable grants and contracts.
  • ORED and all of its major offices (Sponsored Programs, Contract & Grant Accounting, Research Compliance, Proposal Development, and Research and Technology Agreements) will continue operations.

These Guidelines were developed by the Office for Research and Economic Development and are overseen by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Dr. Russell J. Mumper (mumper@ua.edu).  These Guidelines will be continually reviewed and are subject to change at any time.

Announcement of Limited Business Operations

March 17, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Like other institutions around the world, our UA community faces unprecedented challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. I appreciate each of you and your dedication to this great University. Together we will meet these challenges and continue our mission.

The extraordinary need for social distancing continues to be a focus of the guidance and recommendations from the CDC, ADPH and our own health officials. We recognize recent announcements, such as the closing of K-12 schools statewide, have far-reaching impact for our faculty and staff, including health and safety, and childcare concerns.

The quickly evolving situation has already prompted us to take substantial, proactive measures to ensure safety. I have been in close consultation with our human resources team, leaders across campus and the UA System Office to assess our operational needs in an effort to remain in front of this unprecedented situation.

As you know, The University of Alabama already maintains extraordinarily limited business operations during Spring Break. UA will continue to operate under limited business operations, which includes essential staffing and remote work assignments, for an additional week, beginning Monday, March 23, through Sunday, March 29. This plan may be extended beyond this time period and any decision to do so will be promptly communicated to the campus community.

UA has existing plans for business continuity, and the University’s colleges, divisions, departments and operating units should all be prepared to engage those plans. Our goal is to promote social distancing and limit on campus work to the fullest extent possible. Given these objectives, we anticipate most faculty will be able to work remotely while the vast majority of staff should fall into Staff Groups 2 or 3 noted below.  Everyone is encouraged to explore the remote work tools available to all University employees to help achieve these objectives. Consistent with this, the following guidelines for all UA employees apply to this limited business operations plan.

FACULTY:

Faculty are asked to work remotely (if you are instructing online, do so from your home, not campus), and come to campus only if required (e.g. a critical administrative role, direct patient care or critical research responsibilities that require a physical presence on campus).

STAFF:

University staff members have been classified into three groups by their supervisors who will communicate their group assignments and expectations to each staff member by 5 p.m. Friday, March 20.

Staff Group 1  – Staff needed on campus/on site to continue mission-critical University work.
Staff Group 2  – Staff needed to continue their work, but who can do so from home.
Staff Group 3 – Staff not immediately required to work during a time of limited business, but who may be reclassified to Group 1 or 2 should critical business needs arise.

Group 1 staff should report to work on campus as normal (unless the employee is sick or has been in immediate contact with a person known to have COVID-19)with the following guidance:

  • Maintain social distance, good hygiene, and use phone calls and virtual meetings as much as possible (even for small groups). Any gatherings of more than 10 people, even work gatherings, will require approval from a dean, vice president or AVP.
  • Student-employees should not be included in Group 1. If a supervisor thinks a student employee’s role is essential, approval must be granted by HR.
  • Even for this group, staggered times on campus are encouraged, as are remote performance of duties when possible.

Group 2 staff will work remotely with the following guidance:

  • Prepare to effectively work from home. If a visit to campus to retrieve essential items (laptop, supplies) is required to facilitate remote work, coordinate with a supervisor to stagger campus visit times and limit contact with others.
  • Sign a temporary telecommuting agreement, which will be provided by your supervisor by 5 p.m. Friday, March 20. The agreement must be completed and submitted by noon Monday, March 23.
  • Be prepared to shift to Group 1 or 3 as business needs change.

Group 3 would not actively work.

  • Group 3 employees will be paid during this initial limited business period. The University will determine the necessity for any further limited business operation periods, and the related employment terms will be communicated.
  • Group 3 designation may be subject to change if business needs arise.

This is a dynamic and fluid situation, and this plan is subject to change.

Please know these complex decisions are not easily made. In addition to guidance from federal and state health authorities, I know that each of you will be balancing concerns for your loved ones while adjusting your work responsibilities. Please don’t forget to take care of yourselves mentally and physically. Our employee assistance program provides a tremendous resource, as does the University Medical Center. Employees with particular health concerns that impact their group designation should contact their supervisor.

These are difficult and dynamic times, and we will all face new experiences and unprecedented challenges. I know the strength of our campus community and the spirit that drives us all. Thank you for all you do and will do in the time ahead.

Sincerely,

Stuart R. Bell
President

Message to Faculty and Staff

March 10, 2020

As faculty and staff prepare for spring break next week, here are a few reminders.

As stated in recent messages to campus about the evolving coronavirus situation globally, UA has had no reported cases of the virus. The University is taking extraordinary and proactive steps to ensure our campus is protected from coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you are planning 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 our faculty, staff and 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:

  • The 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 a CDC 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.

To reiterate, UA has no suspected cases of COVID-19. The UA System has developed a proactive plan to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, which is revised and updated as new information becomes available. http://uasystem.edu/news/2020/02/ua-system-covid-19-updates/.