Category: Faculty Staff Messages

Sentinel testing, extended drop/add date, MLK celebration, more – Jan. 15

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

Update to Vaccine Eligibility
Based on updated guidance from the Alabama Department of Public Health, individuals age 75 years and older who are University Medical Center patients, UA retirees or UA emeritus faculty are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at UMC. Applicable current faculty, OLLI participants, Capstone Village residents and others who fit into this age group are also being notified. Newly eligible campus community members will receive an email with details and a text message with instructions to schedule an appointment. If you meet these criteria and don’t receive a message to schedule your appointment, you may call (205) 348-1471. Because the vaccine’s shelf life is limited, individuals will have 48 hours to schedule an appointment or decline the offer. See UA’s healthinfo site for more information and FAQs about vaccine distribution and eligibility.

Sentinel Testing Resumes Jan. 19, No Registration Required

Spring 2021 sentinel testing will resume and be conducted weekly for three consecutive weeks beginning Jan. 19 and every other week thereafter. Participation is voluntary for most, but required for certain student populations. Participants will receive incentives like Starbucks or Bama Cash gift cards, or other items. And beginning this semester, all sentinel testing will be managed through UA medical facilities, so registration is no longer required.

If randomly selected, individuals will receive an email from the COVID-19 Support Program with instructions. Read more about spring 2021 sentinel testing on the UA News Center.

MLK Celebrations Kick Off Monday
Join the campus community in celebrating the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at a series of virtual, in-person and passive events, which kick off Monday and take place throughout January and February.

Drop/Add Deadline Extended to Jan. 29
The deadline to add a course or drop a course without a grade of “W” for the full spring term has been extended from Jan. 20 to Jan. 29.

Capstone Parking Deck Closed Next Week for Supplemental Testing
The Capstone Deck is closed to vehicle parking Tuesday, Jan. 19, through Friday, Jan. 22, for drive-thru supplemental COVID-19 symptomatic and exposure testing for students. The adjacent surface lot is open.

UA Prepared for Inauguration, Peaceful Transition

Our campus looks forward to a peaceful transition to a new federal administration with a hopeful and optimistic view. It’s more important than ever to remember the Capstone Creed and continue to be respectful to those around us. While there is no information suggesting concerning behavior on or near our campus, our many campus resources are available to help if you have any concerns.

Do Your Part to  STOMP COVID-19
S – Sanitize your hands frequently.
T – Track your symptoms daily.
O – Observe social distancing.
M – Mask up when indoors or near others.
P – Plan to stay home when sick.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

University Libraries Reopen Rooms for Student-Centered Events

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).

Sentinel Testing Continues in Spring 2021 with Improvements

To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, COVID-19 sentinel testing of campus community members will continue in Spring 2021, with more frequent testing scheduled the first three weeks of the semester.

Participants will receive incentives like Starbucks or Bama Cash gift cards, or other items.

Beginning this semester, all sentinel testing will be managed through UA medical facilities, so registration is no longer required.

Sentinel testing captures a random sampling of students, faculty and staff to help monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 so UA can respond promptly to outbreaks or increases in infection rates.

Spring 2021 sentinel testing will include a sample of the UA population and is planned to be conducted weekly for three consecutive weeks beginning Jan. 19 and every other week thereafter.

Participation in sentinel testing is voluntary for most, but required for:

  • Students living on campus;
  • Students participating in clinical activities, who will have a presence on campus at any time during the semester; and
  • Other individuals participating in University-sponsored programs, at the discretion of UA.

Because sentinel testing is one of several important measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus and keeping campus safe, voluntary participation is strongly encouraged.

If randomly selected, individuals will receive an email from the COVID-19 Support Program with instructions. Participants will choose a time and location to take the test conveniently, confidentially, and at no cost. A PCR test with a short nasal swab will be self-administered under observation, and results returned within 72 hours.

Additional Changes to Sentinel Testing for Spring 2021

  • Once an individual participates in sentinel testing, they will not be included in the selection pool again for 30 days.
  • All persons who are randomly selected and agree to participate will be tested regardless of previous COVID-19 test results.
  • Those who have isolated because of a positive test in the last 12 weeks will not be required to isolate again if the sentinel test is positive.

Sentinel testing is one of many measures, such as physical distancing and face coverings, that UA is taking to protect the campus community as outlined in its Spring 2021 Return Plan in accordance with The University of Alabama System’s COVID-19 updated guidelines.

More information on sentinel testing, return testing, for-cause testing and more can be found at the UA Healthinfo website or by contacting the COVID-19 Support Program.

Message from Provost Dalton to Faculty: Instruction during UA’s First Two Weeks of Spring 2021

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you are healthy and had the opportunity to relax over the holidays. Our first day of Spring 2021 classes will begin Jan. 13. The health and safety of our faculty, staff and students remain our top priority as we continue our teaching, research and service missions at UA.

This week, we cheered the Crimson Tide to another national championship, but also witnessed the gathering of a large crowd in downtown Tuscaloosa. Recognizing the concerns raised by the pandemic and this event, we intend to conduct our first two weeks of classes (Jan. 13 to Jan. 22) using a flexible approach to allow faculty/instructors and students to voluntarily choose remote instruction if needed. Key elements include the following:

  • This is a temporary approach as we monitor ongoing conditions. For classes offered between Jan. 13 and 22, faculty/instructors may change the mode of instruction for the courses that they are offering.
  • This is intended as a flexible approach. Faculty/instructors who are scheduled to teach face-to-face are permitted to change to interactive audio/visual (e.g., Zoom) if they choose. Those who do so should provide additional opportunities for students who may need assistance during this time.
  • This is voluntary. Some faculty/instructors may choose to continue to teach face-to-face during these two weeks.  It is however important for faculty/instructors to note that students should also be granted the flexibility to participate in class via interactive A/V during these two weeks if at all possible, and we encourage faculty to offer that option (e.g., simultaneous interactive A/V session or recorded A/V).
  • Provide immediate notice if you choose this option.  Faculty/instructors who choose to temporarily change the mode of instruction must reach out to all students registered for their course via e-mail, Blackboard, etc. as soon as possible to inform them about your plans for the first two weeks of classes.

On Monday, Jan. 25, all courses will return to the mode of instruction as originally described during registration, unless changes in the mode of instruction are approved by the dean and Office of Academic Affairs.

  • Staff in all divisions will continue with the flexible, staggered approach as currently allowed by their supervisors. Deans may wish to expand those opportunities for academic staff as may be necessary during these two weeks.

Thank you for all you do to support our students and University, and thank you for your continued flexibility during this time.  Roll Tide!

Jim

First Group of COVID-19 Vaccines Being Scheduled for UA Priority Groups

UA’s College of Community Health Sciences has received its first group of about 3,500  COVID-19 vaccine doses authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be administered beginning later this week.

Campus Emergency Management officials are working daily with the Alabama Department of Public Health to plan for distributing the vaccines with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine priority access.

Healthcare providers, first responders, Capstone Village residents and employees, and vulnerable populations in the UA community will be among the first groups offered access. Other priority groups will be updated with guidance from ADPH.

The vaccine will require two doses administered 21 to 28 days apart.

Campus community members will receive an email with details and a text message when they are eligible for vaccination. Because the vaccine’s shelf life is limited, individuals will have 48 hours to schedule an appointment or decline the offer.

Those who accept the voluntary vaccination will authorize consent when the first dose is administered and must remain at the vaccination site for 15-30 minutes to be monitored for any reaction and to schedule the second dose appointment.

Vaccination is not required for employment at this time. If the vaccine offer is declined or an appointment is not scheduled within 48 hours, the vaccine dose will be made available to the next group of eligible recipients. Once declined or missed, vaccination requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on vaccine and resource availability.

Information on available vaccines to aid in the decision making process can be found on the FDA’s website, CDC’s website and ADPH’s website.

UA will provide regular updates via campus email, Inside UA messages and at Healthinfo.ua.edu/vaccine.

Return to operations update posted – Dec. 10

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

Spring 2021 Return to Operations Update Posted

The latest guidance for the Spring 2021 Semester is now posted on the healthinfo website. The Spring 2021 plan serves as the University’s interim policy in keeping with the comprehensive UA System plan. It remains subject to change as circumstances related to the pandemic necessitate the University’s responsiveness to health and safety directives, including possible distribution of vaccines. Addressed in the plan are current expectations related to testing, UA Healthcheck use, event limitations, accommodations, enforcement guidelines and other topics. Updates will continue to be shared with the campus community via email and posted on the healthinfo website.

Reentry Testing Required for On-Campus Residents 

According to the UA Spring 2021 Return Plan and the UA System Spring 2021 Comprehensive Health & Safety Plan, students who live on campus, including Greek houses, must test for coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) prior to resuming classes or other on-campus activities for the Spring 2021 Semester. Free PCR testing for students will be conducted at Coleman Coliseum daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Jan. 7, 2021. Students must make an appointment and get a test within seven days of arrival on campus, but no later than Jan. 19. The appointment schedule will be available before Jan. 2, and an announcement will be made when appointments can be reserved. If students choose to be tested off-campus by a personal health care provider, a PCR test is required. It must be conducted no more than seven days before returning to on-campus housing and be uploaded and accepted by the UA COVID-19 Test Result Repository between Jan. 2 and Jan. 12. Read more on the UA News Center. 

Remain Vigilant to Follow All Health and Safety Protocols

It is imperative that UA students, faculty and staff continue to practice stringent adherence to our health and safety protocols, both on and off campus, and throughout winter break. The UA Situational Response Team is continuously monitoring local and national COVID transmission trends and consulting with local health officials and the UA System Health and Safety Task Force.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

Sounds of ‘Hilaritas’ Can Still Be Heard This Year

A Life of Adventure and a Heart for Service

Drive to Succeed at Home and Abroad

A Dream That Keeps Growing

Combat Zones and COVID: Family Man and Veteran Earns Doctorate

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).

Staggered Work Schedules Continue in January – Dec. 4, 2020

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

Current Staggered Work Schedules to Continue in January

As UA offices and workplaces reopen after the winter break, staff will continue with their current adjusted or staggered work schedules as designated by their supervisors according to the Oct. 27 message to campus. Those who require an accommodation may submit a request using the Spring 2021 form. For more information, contact the HR Service Center at 205-348-7732 or hrsvctr@ua.edu.

Do Your Part to  STOMP COVID-19
S – Sanitize your hands frequently.
T – Track your symptoms daily.
O – Observe social distancing.
M – Mask up when indoors or near others.
P – Plan to stay home when sick.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

Campus Mail Winter Break Update 

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-19 employee accommodation form, dean finalists – Nov. 10

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

2021 COVID-19 Employee Accommodation Form Now Available

Faculty, staff and student workers/graduate assistants who are members of a ‘vulnerable population’ that are or might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 may be concerned about returning to work on campus. Vulnerable employees and/or employees who share a household with or have primary care responsibility for someone who is in the vulnerable population may complete the online form to request temporary, COVID-19 accommodations for Spring 2021.With the exception of age-related accommodations (age 65 or older), employees will be required to complete a medical inquiry form to be reviewed by Human Resources. Additional information is available on the HR website.

Return to Campus – Tech Needs

As remote faculty and staff begin returning to campus, OIT encourages employees to review technology needs. Remember to bring back any equipment you may have taken home that you will need in the office. Contact your departmental IT Support for assistance.

United Way Campaign Needs Your Help

Due to the pandemic, United Way of West Alabama has seen a spike in needs. Giving to the University’s United Way campaign is simple with the new online giving platform, but paper pledge cards are also available. For a paper pledge card, contact your department or division’s United Way coordinator.

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 

Finalists for Dean of Social Work Meet Campus Nov. 9-12 

Tuscaloosa Veterans Day Program

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).

Campus operations after Nov. 20, Veterans Day – Nov. 6

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

UA Operations and On-Campus Services Continue After Nov. 20

As in-person classes transition to remote learning beginning Nov. 20, the University will remain open and continue with normal operations. Campus administrative offices will remain open through Dec. 18, and faculty and staff will continue to have access to classrooms, academic facilities and support services, including resources to record or teach course material. Additional services that will continue include the Supe Store, Student Recreation Center and University Medical Center, among others.

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. This statewide mask requirement supports the UA System Health and Safety Task Force’s requirement that face coverings must be worn in all University buildings with limited exceptions.

Veterans Day Program 2020
The annual Tuscaloosa Veterans Day program will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park as a drive-through-only event. Audio will be broadcast on 87.9 FM radio for participants parked in the immediate area. The event is hosted by the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority’s Veterans Memorial Park Association, in conjunction with the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center and UA’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

Let Your Fingers do to the Talking in an Emergency

Finalists for Dean of Social Work to Meet Campus Nov. 9-12

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, testing options, Social Work dean search – Nov. 5

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

Expanded Family, Medical Leave Expiration may Influence Employees’ K-12 School Plans

As faculty and staff plan next semester’s K-12 learning options for their school-aged children in the coming days and weeks, it’s important to remember the federally expanded paid family and medical leave is set to expire Dec. 31 with no replacement. Consequently, those who voluntarily choose virtual learning will NOT have the EFML option available for spring semester. Even if the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or the federal leaves it created is extended to the Spring of 2021, those leaves only applied when schools were closed due to COVID-19, not to situations where families made the choice to go virtual while the schools offered in-person learning as well.

A possible COVID accommodation for the spring semester (the 2021 accommodation form will be posted soon) or regular family medical leave (FML) may be available for those who meet the criteria and are approved. Those who do not qualify for either will need to return to work following the holiday break or request a personal leave of absence. More information is available on HR’s General Employee & Return to Work FAQs web page.

COVID Testing Options Available to Employees 

COVID-19 testing is currently available by appointment at University Medical Center for UA faculty and staff who are experiencing symptoms or who have been exposed to the virus now through Dec. 18, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Beginning Dec. 21 and through Dec. 31, employee exposure and symptomatic testing is available at UMC based on UMC’s holiday schedule posted on the University Medical Center website. Testing costs will be submitted to employees’ health insurance plans, with remaining balances and co-pays billed to employees. Call 205-348-4696 to make an appointment.

Re-entry testing and new employee testing is available at Coleman Coliseum Monday through Friday, Nov. 2-13, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Nov. 16-20,  8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Nov. 23-24,  9 a.m. to  noon. Schedule an appointment for testing. Those planning to return to campus in any capacity before the end of the 2020 Fall Semester, and new employees, will need to be tested.

Meet the Finalists for Dean of the School of Social Work Nov. 9-12
The UA campus community is invited to attend video presentations by each of the four finalists for the dean of the School of Social Work from 9 to 10 a.m. daily Nov. 9-12. Candidate information, including CV, presentation link and feedback submission forms, are available on the search website. UA faculty, staff and students can access the information using their myBama login credentials. Each candidate will engage with student, staff and faculty groups and make a Zoom presentation to the campus community followed by a question and answer session.

Do Your Part to  STOMP COVID-19
S – Sanitize your hands frequently.
T – Track your symptoms daily.
O – Observe social distancing.
M – Mask up when indoors or near others.
P – Plan to stay home when sick.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

TIAA Live Webinars Nov. 11-12 

Native American Heritage Month Events 

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).

Open enrollment ending, parking permit – Oct. 30

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS 

Open Enrollment Ends Oct. 30

Action is required to participate in the following benefits: Healthcare Flexible Spending Account, Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account and Healthcare Savings Account. Employees using these benefits must elect a new per-pay-period contribution amount for continued payroll deductions. The current employee contribution will not roll over into 2021. Learn more at HR’s open enrollment page.

Limited Parking Permit Available to Faculty, Staff

During the next weeks as faculty and staff who have been working remotely return to campus, some will not require daily parking. To accommodate this schedule, Parking Services is offering a limited permit for $45, valid Nov. 1, 2020-through Jan. 6, 2021. The permit is valid only in non-gated surface lots. The permits must be purchased in person at Parking Services, located inside Campus Drive Parking Deck in the Bus Hub. Payroll deduction is not available for this limited permit. Credit cards, cash and check are accepted, but credit cards are preferred to reduce contact.

Socialize Responsibly

Avoid large gatherings to help curb the spread of coronavirus. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. Practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet — about two arm lengths (or an elephant’s trunk!) — away from others.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

UA Faculty and Grad Students Shine at NCTE Awards

Get involved with Campus Research Through Showcase Event 

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Digital Footprint

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).