Category: Faculty Staff Messages

Federal Order Requires COVID-19 Vaccination for University Employees

University faculty, staff and student employees:

As many of you may know, President Joe Biden recently signed Executive Order 14042, which has been the focus of guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force. This order and guidance from the federal government require all federal contractors and subcontractors to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for employees, including those who work at a university with federal contracts.

As a federal contractor, The University of Alabama, like most higher education institutions, must comply with the Executive Order and accompanying guidance. Consequently, the University is required to ensure that all UA employees are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by December 8, 2021, unless they have an approved medical, disability, or religious exemption.

Because this vaccination requirement is mandated by the federal government, UA does not have flexibility in its application or enforcement. Failure to comply will place The University of Alabama in jeopardy of losing hundreds of millions of dollars that we receive through federal contracts and awards as well as thousands of jobs funded, in part, by those dollars.

We continue to closely examine and monitor these federal mandates. In the meantime, if you have not yet been vaccinated, you should begin the process promptly to ensure compliance by the December 8 deadline. The timeframes in which you should act vary, depending on the vaccine manufacturer:

  • Moderna: The first dose must be administered no later than six weeks in advance of December 8, which is October 27, and the second dose no later than November 24, which is two weeks before December 8.
  • Pfizer: The first dose must be administered no later than five weeks in advance of December 8, which is November 3, and the second dose by November 24.
  • Johnson & Johnson: The single required dose must be administered no later than November 24.

All three vaccine options are available at no cost through the University Medical Center, Student Health Center or a number of other medical facilities or pharmacies, but timelines for the two-dose vaccines are short, so schedule your appointment now. The University continues to believe that vaccination is the most effective way to combat COVID-19. More details and frequently asked questions about the vaccines are provided on the healthinfo.ua.edu/vaccine webpage or contact the HR Service Center at 205-348-7732 and hrsvctr@ua.edu

We will follow up soon with more detailed guidance, including information on uploading records and applying for medical, disability, or religious exemptions. We recognize that this is an important topic that will generate many strong feelings. Thank you for your consideration and patience as we finalize details and processes.

UA to Reinstate Indoor Mask Rule; Will Review and Monitor

The University of Alabama will require face coverings indoors on campus, where and when distancing is not possible, beginning Friday, Aug. 6. This requirement applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Given the increase in COVID cases and recent CDC guidance, UA is taking this step to further protect the Fall 2021 semester.

With this new requirement, masks must be worn:

  • In classrooms and classroom buildings, regardless of distancing
  • In personal meeting spaces, such as meetings with faculty and advisors
  • When gathering in common spaces, such as the Student Center
  • On campus transportation

Exceptions include:

  • Indoor areas when distanced
  • When alone in offices and private workspaces
  • In residence hall rooms
  • While eating or drinking
  • While exercising
  • Faculty teaching, if distanced and behind plexiglass

The indoor masking requirement is intended to be temporary and will be reviewed after the first two weeks of classes. Guidance and data are continually reviewed by medical professionals and administrators working with the campus Situational Response Team and the UA System Health and Safety Task Force.

Vaccinations are the key to a successful fall semester and the key to moving beyond these types of requirements,” stated Dr. Ricky Friend, Dean of the College of Community Health Sciences.  “Everyone is strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. Data continue to show the vaccines provide very strong protection against serious illness and hospitalization.”

Schedule your vaccination appointment today, or let us know if you’ve been vaccinated. Students who upload proof of vaccination will qualify for $20 Bama Cash.

“Our vaccine numbers among faculty and staff are strong – the percentage vaccinated more than doubles the statewide number. We are still learning about students who were vaccinated over the summer, and will be offering expanded opportunities for vaccination as classes approach. Again, vaccination is key,” Friend said.

Check the UA HealthInfo website for the latest information.

Fall 2021 Plans with Updated COVID-19 Guidelines Announced

The University of Alabama System released today its Fall 2021 Operations Plan. In accordance with the System plan, The University of Alabama updated its COVID-19 plan with guidelines for Fall 2021. Widespread utilization of the life-saving COVID vaccine has helped UA officials plan for our Fall semester experience. Every member of our campus community is strongly encouraged to be vaccinated to keep you and our campus safe and Protect Our Herd.

What’s Required

  • All faculty, staff and students must report COVID-positive test results to the UA COVID-19 Support Program, follow required instructions, and isolate in accordance with public health guidance.
  • Unvaccinated individuals who test positive or who have known exposure to COVID-19 must quarantine/isolate in their legal residence.
  • In the event of a suspected increase in exposure at a specific location or among an identified group, unvaccinated individuals in those locations/groups are required to take part in “for-cause” testing.
  • Masks are required in clinical settings.

What’s No Longer Required

  • Faculty teaching in-person classes are generally not required to offer online options for students.
  • Reentry or sentinel testing, COVID-19 training, physical distancing and masks (unless in a clinical setting) are not required.

Recommendations

  • Everyone on campus is strongly encouraged to get vaccinated to Protect Our Herd. UA will continue to offer the vaccines at no cost through the Student Health Center and University Medical Center.
  • Students, faculty and staff should report vaccines received off campus to help UA better plan for the semester. Participating students will receive a reward (details to come as they’re available). Any false reporting of vaccine status will be considered a code of conduct violation.
  • Unvaccinated individuals are expected to protect the campus community by continuing to wear masks indoors and practice physical distancing wherever possible.

Acknowledgments

  • All faculty, staff and students must comply with the health and safety guidelines. Failure to comply with guidelines may subject individuals to disciplinary actions.
  • There is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any place where people are present. Participation in on-campus activities, programs, work and events may expose individuals, especially those who are unvaccinated, to a risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • The UA System Health and Safety Task Force will remain active and continue to monitor data on campus and in the community. The health and safety guidelines are subject to change.

Update to travel guidance

University-sponsored Domestic Travel Resumes

The University of Alabama System Health and Safety Task Force has updated the System-wide travel guidance. Effective today, University-sponsored domestic travel is no longer prohibited. However, departments and travelers will need to follow all University travel policies. Any non-essential University-sponsored international travel continues to be prohibited with limited exceptions approved through the existing waiver process. To request approval for and assistance with international travel, contact Chad Berry at chad.berry@ua.edu.

Moundville’s Saturday in the Park Returns

UA’s Moundville Archaeological Park’s Saturday in the Park returns this summer to provide a series of demonstrations and presentations related to Native American culture, archaeology, natural history, sustainable gardening and more.

Vaccinated Off-Campus? Let UA Know

To help plan for vaccine supply, report vaccinations received at an external location.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

Variety of UA Camps Return for Summer 2021

Paul W. Bryant Museum Joins UA Museums

Upcoming Events

More Faculty and Staff News

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is updated frequently. For more FAQs, go to UA’s healthinfo website. If you have questions not answered on the website, please call UA’s COVID-19 hotline at 205-348-CV19 (2819).

Face covering, testing and exposure updates

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

Update to Campus Health and Safety Guidelines

In accordance with current CDC and UA System Comprehensive Health and Safety Task Force guidance, face coverings are no longer required for those who are fully vaccinated in most University of Alabama facilities, effective immediately. Masks will continue to be required in all clinical settings, inside the University Medical Center and the Student Health Center, and on the Crimson Ride buses. Individuals may choose to continue to wear a mask in circumstances where one is not required. All unvaccinated faculty, staff and students are required to wear face coverings inside all University buildings. Physical distancing of at least 3 feet is still required.

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and our herd. COVID-19 vaccines are being administered by the University Medical Center, the Student Health Center and various businesses and healthcare providers. To help UA officials plan for supplies, let UA know if you were vaccinated off campus.

Testing and Exposure Updates

UA will continue to respond to suspected increases in COVID-19 exposures in a specific campus location or an identified group of individuals using for-cause testing. Fully vaccinated individuals are exempt from for-cause testing. Also, in accordance with public health guidance, vaccinated persons with COVID-19 exposure are not required to quarantine.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

Upcoming Events

More Faculty and Staff News

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is updated frequently. For more FAQs, go to UA’s healthinfo website. If you have questions not answered on the website, please call UA’s COVID-19 hotline at 205-348-CV19 (2819).

COVID Leave, Accommodations, Staggered Schedules Expire May 15

Over the past several weeks, The University of Alabama has seen low COVID infection numbers, expanded campus vaccinations to all eligible employees and students, and received updated guidance from the CDC. With no COVID positives reported among faculty and staff in the last two weeks, we are pleased with these significant indicators and look forward to continued progress.

The following COVID-related programs will expire on May 15:

  • UA-Provided COVID Leave: When federal COVID benefits expired at the end of 2020, UA President Stuart Bell authorized The University of Alabama to provide faculty and staff campus-funded 2021 COVID Leave as a special temporary benefit. This benefit replaced a similar federal program that allowed employees up to 80 hours of paid leave for certain qualifying reasons related to COVID-19.

No COVID Leave may be used beyond May 31, and new requests for COVID Leave will not be considered after May 15. Anyone with approved COVID Leave that is scheduled before May 15, but extends beyond May 16, can continue with their approved leave through May 31.

  • COVID Accommodations: As previously planned, all temporary COVID accommodations will expire May 15, and staggered work schedules will end the same day. Faculty/staff should return to campus workspaces for regular hours beginning Monday, May 17.

The University was pleased to offer temporary COVID accommodations and leave for specific needs. Although those benefits will no longer be available after May 15, employees will keep and continue to accrue their regular sick leave and annual leave, and may apply for accommodations under pre-pandemic benefits and programs.

The COVID Support Program remains operational and available to answer questions at 205-348-CV19. Vaccinations on campus continue, and everyone is encouraged to be vaccinated as doses and timelines allow. If you previously opted out of a vaccine and wish to reapply, please contact the COVID Support Program.

We appreciate the dedication, flexibility and resolve shown by UA employees over the last year. If you have any questions related to your return to your campus workspace, please talk with your supervisor, visit the HR website COVID Leave FAQs or the General Employee FAQs, or call the HR Service Center at 205-348-7732.

Research Activity at UA Effective March 22

Effective March 22, the Office for Research & Economic Development is sunsetting the required “Guidelines for Research Activity at UA under Modified Full Operations” that were previously released Aug. 3, 2020 and which continued into spring 2021 as found on UA’s Healthinfo Research Information page.

ORED will continue to require that all research at UA is performed in compliance with the UA System Comprehensive Health & Safety Plan, including physical and social distancing, compliance with laws and regulations, and limitations on travel.

However, ORED will no longer require that lead investigators have a research activity plan or that it review research prohibition waivers. Supervisors of lead investigators (colleges/schools/institutes/centers) may use their discretion on continuing certain desired elements of the prior guidelines, i.e., research activity plans and prohibitions.

Russell J. Mumper
Vice President for Research & Economic Development

Severe weather, road closings, more

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

Severe Weather Possible This Week
With a marginal risk of severe weather in the forecast today and a moderate risk (level 4 out of 5) of tornadoes and damaging winds tomorrow afternoon through early Thursday, faculty and staff should stay weather-aware. Have a way to receive weather alerts such as the UA Safety app, be familiar with UA’s Severe Weather Guidelines, and know where to shelter in case of severe weather.

When a tornado watch or warning is issued for the campus area, a UA Alert will be sent. Make sure your contact information is updated in myBama to receive all UA Alerts.

Classes will remain in session until the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for the campus area. When a tornado warning is issued, all University activities are automatically suspended, including all classes and laboratories. You should move immediately to a campus storm shelter or best available refuge area and remain there until the tornado warning expires or is canceled.

Faculty and staff should encourage students to go with you to a campus storm shelter or best available refuge area and remain there until the warning has expired or is canceled.

TIAA Webinars Coming Up

TIAA is offering several one-hour live webinars March 16-24 addressing a wide array of financial issues. Find out more and enroll online.

Spring Commencement Ceremonies Announced
UA will hold nine ceremonies, all featuring extensive safety protocols, April 30-May 2 at Coleman Coliseum. See the full schedule and ceremony details on the UA News Center.

Road Closings Through April

Portions of Jack Warner Parkway and Nick’s Kids Avenue (28th Avenue) are closed for roadway improvements until 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 30.

Student Emergency Aid Funding Distribution 

The University is distributing emergency aid funding provided from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act to eligible students through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II). Initial eligibility for funds is based on a student’s Estimated Family Contribution as calculated on their existing Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FASFA. Eligible students will receive an email from Student Financial Aid with next steps. This is separate from the CARES Act funding distributed in 2020, and whether a student received CARES Act funds does not impact the ability to claim these funds. For more information, including a list of frequently asked questions, visit the HEERF page on UA’s healthinfo website.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

Hey, Where Did These Nice Chairs Come From?

Social Work Students Work to End Child Hunger

Upcoming Events

More Faculty and Staff News

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is updated frequently. For more FAQs, go to UA’s healthinfo website. If you have questions not answered on the website, please call UA’s COVID-19 hotline at 205-348-CV19 (2819).

Student Health Care Expands

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

Health Care Services to Streamline, Expand with SHC, UMC Merger

UA health care services will expand and become more efficient as the Student Health Center, currently managed by the Division of Student Life, merges its medical services and administrative operations with the University Medical Center, which falls under the College of Community Health Sciences, by fall semester.

OCTSA Outstanding Staff Awards Nominations Open

The Office, Clerical, and Technical Staff Assembly seeks nominations from UA employees for two staff members to receive the Outstanding Staff Award. Nominations must be submitted via the nomination form by April 1. Anonymous nominations will not be considered.

2020 FSA Claims Deadline March 31

All Flexible Spending Accounts have a “use-it-or-lose-it” rule. Employees enrolled in the Healthcare FSA or Dependent Care FSA last year have until the end of the run-out period, March 31, to submit any pending claims for reimbursement. Claims must have been incurred during the previous plan year from Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2020. Any money remaining in an FSA at the end of this run-out period will be lost. Direct questions to TASC Customer Service at 1-800-422-4661.

Summer 2021 COVID-19 Adjustment Requests for High Risk Students Available April 5

Students meeting CDC criteria for being at risk of serious complications in contracting COVID-19 and who have not yet been offered or received vaccination may request temporary adjustments for the summer beginning Monday, April 5, using the online COVID-19 student application. The request process for summer requires documentation of CDC risk criteria from a medical provider. The deadline to complete requests for summer courses is Monday, May 3.Contact the Office of Disability Services for more information or if the deadline cannot be met due to extenuating circumstances.

Tax Tip: Relocation/Moving Allowance

Relocation costs for a new hire will be paid as a taxable moving allowance.

Mask Up! It’s Required.

Cloth face coverings are required on campus and are proven to limit coronavirus spread. One of the best ways to demonstrate your care for others during this time — both on campus and off — is by wearing a mask. Face coverings help protect other people in case you are infected, and help limit you from inhaling the virus. Wear them over the mouth and nose when within 6 feet of others. Throughout the state of Alabama, masks are currently required in public spaces.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

Celebrate Women’s History Month with Events Across Campus 

National Survey is Chance for Students to Help UA

Upcoming Events

More Faculty and Staff News

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is updated frequently. For more FAQs, go to UA’s healthinfo website. If you have questions not answered on the website, please call UA’s COVID-19 hotline at 205-348-CV19 (2819).

Fall Semester 2021 Update

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

UA System Announces Plan for Return to Full, In-Person Classes for Fall 2021

The University of Alabama, along with other campuses in the University of Alabama System, will plan to return to traditional in-person instruction without restrictions on classroom capacity for Fall 2021, according to an announcement from the UA System today. Course planning and registration for Fall 2021 will take place as usual. The UA System Health and Safety Task Force made the recommendation to the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees in accordance with data and modeling. The task force urges individuals to remain committed to safe practices, such as masking and social distancing. Fall 2021 plans remain subject to change based on conformance to CDC and ADPH guidance.

Let UA Know if You Get Your Vaccine Elsewhere

To help UA officials plan and prepare for continued COVID-19 vaccine distribution, report if you have been or are currently scheduled to be vaccinated at a location other than the University Medical Center. Visit UA’s Healthinfo vaccine page for more info. 

Revenue Generating Guidelines and Approval

Is your department considering hosting a golf tournament, conducting a silent auction or selling merchandise online? Revenue generating operations must first receive approval from Student Account Services, regardless of the proposed tender types/funds. Any department wishing to enter into such a contract should contact Student Account Services for guidance before agreement occurs.

Floor Plans Added to Campus Map

The campus map has added floor plans to many classroom buildings, including stairs, elevators and restrooms. Zoom in on the building, then select a floor from the floor plan menu in the top left corner to view the interior floor plan.

Use UA Healthcheck Daily 

Share your current health status – even if you are symptom free – to ensure a safe return to campus. UA Healthcheck, a daily, 30-second assessment tool for students and employees, allows you to report any current COVID-19-related symptoms, exposure history and testing history.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

Sakura Virtual Festival

The Safe Way to Hail a Ride

Upcoming Events

More Faculty and Staff News

Information on COVID-19 and campus operations is updated frequently. For more FAQs, go to UA’s healthinfo website. If you have questions not answered on the website, please call UA’s COVID-19 hotline at 205-348-CV19 (2819).