I hope you are having a wonderful summer. As we prepare for our return to in-person operations at The University of Alabama this fall, I want to make sure you are prepared for the semester. We have posted our latest COVID-19 plan with guidelines for Fall 2021. These guidelines are subject to change, if the need arises.
Below are important points we are emphasizing for students and their families.
Vaccine and mask policy
Widely available vaccines and adherence to safety protocols have allowed UA to plan our Fall 2021 experience. While vaccination is not mandated as a condition of attendance, all members of the campus community are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. Those who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear a mask indoors, practice physical distancing or quarantine for mere exposure. Unvaccinated individuals are expected to wear a mask inside campus buildings. Please be understanding and compassionate to those who must or choose to continue to wear a mask for any variety of reasons.
The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, free and effective. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine on the CDC website, including common myths and facts, to inform your decision. Feel free to reach out to the Student Health Center with any questions. They will be happy to talk with you.
We strongly encourage each of you to do your part in protecting yourself, our campus and community by getting the vaccine before the semester begins. Find a vaccine appointment online, and please let us know if you were vaccinated off campus.
While we hope you are fully vaccinated before you return to campus, if you arrive having received only the first of a two-dose vaccine, you can still schedule an appointment at the Student Health Center for your second dose. UMC and SHC continue to provide vaccines at no cost to faculty, staff, and students.
Class delivery and absence guidelines are returning to pre-pandemic expectations. If you are not vaccinated, you will be required to quarantine if you are exposed to COVID-19. If any student contracts COVID-19, they must isolate. Faculty teaching in-person classes are not required to provide online coursework, lectures or resources if you miss class due to COVID quarantine or isolation, unless directed to do so by the Office of Disability Services. Missing up to two weeks can have a major impact on your class experience and potentially your grade.
Further, since the vaccine is widely available, the Office of Disability Services will no longer offer COVID-19 Adjustment Requests. Students impacted by COVID-19 due to a clinically diagnosed disability can still apply for academic accommodations with the Office of Disability Services. Students who are unsure if they meet criteria for disability-related accommodations can review documentation guidelines.
For Fall 2021, individuals required to isolate or quarantine will be recommended to return to their legal residence. For campus residents unable to return home, UA will maintain limited on-campus housing designated for this purpose.
Please consider these possibilities, along with other health and safety benefits of being vaccinated, as you prepare to return to campus in the fall. Fully vaccinated individuals who are potentially exposed to COVID-19 but remain asymptomatic are not required to quarantine.
Student events and activities
We plan to hold student-led activities and events at full capacity for fall. You can help by being vaccinated. If not fully vaccinated, please wear a mask when indoors and follow social distancing requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19. By getting the vaccine, we each do our part to prevent virus and variant spread and sustain full, in-person capacity for student activities and events. Please help us Protect Our Herd.
I’m proud of the care shown by our campus community in the past year, and am excited to welcome you all back safely to campus this fall.
Myron L. Pope, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Life