Page last updated:  3/30/20  3:43 p.m. CDT.  The latest information will be at the top of the page.

What are students’ grading options for the Spring 2020 courses?

Following a recommendation by the Faculty Senate and approved by President Bell, both undergraduate and graduate students now have the option to choose between a letter grade or pass/fail designation for Spring 2020 courses. The policy can be found hereProcedures are currently being put in place to allow students to take this action in myBama, and instructions for doing so will be disseminated in the coming days.

  • 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.

The deadline to drop a course has also been extended through April 24.

How does the University support the community during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The University anticipates supporting the community by providing resources when possible. Accordingly, UA has established Incident Command to manage resource requests. This is in keeping with established best practices and national standards. 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.

Does the city-wide curfew beginning March 29 apply to UA?

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.

What is a Coronavirus?

Human coronaviruses are the second most common cause of colds and generally cause mild to moderate symptoms. Sometimes, coronaviruses that infect animals can evolve and become a new human coronavirus, as in the case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, or the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, which first appeared in late 2019.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by COVID-19, which was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. According to the CDC, the complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully understood.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath may appear 2-14 days after exposure. In most cases, the illness is mild and can be overcome, but more severe cases can be life-threatening.

I have some of these symptoms. What should I do?

If you have the symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, it is likely the common cold or a common strain of the flu. If you have concerning symptoms, call the Student Health Clinic prior to visiting at (205) 348-3854 or after hours at (205) 348-0386. If you are an employee and have concerning symptoms, please call the University Medical Center at (205) 348-4696 or (205) 348-1770 before visiting. If you believe you should be tested, the ADPH has set up a COVID-19 testing guidance hotline at 1-888-264-2256.

What happens if someone is diagnosed? How will I know if I have been in contact with them?

The University works closely with the Alabama Department of Public Health. ADPH gathers and provides verified tests, contacts the case, determines the contacts at risk, and notifies them of what to do. If an individual is determined to have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed, ADPH will contact that individual directly to discuss next steps. ADPH clarified the law and process: COVID-19 is a notifiable disease by law in Alabama. This means that all labs are required to report positive tests for COVID-19 to public health within 4 hours of results. Once the health department receives notification of a positive result, the health department — or an official designee — will contact the person who tested positive and begin determining who around the person might have been exposed.

Does UA have a plan if the coronavirus begins spreading rapidly in the U.S.?

UA has a number of comprehensive plans in place to address emergencies, including those resulting from infectious disease. Health-related plans result from in-depth exchanges between the Student Health Center and University Medical Center in conjunction with UA’s Office of Emergency Management. UA personnel are in regular contact with the Centers for Disease Control and the Alabama Department of Public Health and would continue this communication throughout any implementation of the plan.

Will the University be closing after spring break?

The University of Alabama extended spring break for students through Sunday, March 29, to allow additional time for instructors to transition to alternative teaching resources. Remote instruction will resume Monday, March 30. Students must not return to campus when classes resume. Students will continue their course work via distance learning. Read more information on our Campus Messages page.

What is the UA policy for international travel warnings?

The University recognizes that there are situations in which safety and security concerns may outweigh the advantages of exposure to international experiences.

The University of Alabama System has issued an interim policy statement for UA, UAB and UAH that addresses COVID-19 and international travel. Please read the interim policy carefully to ensure compliance in the interest of public health and safety.

I recently traveled internationally. Should I be concerned?

Recent international travelers should heed the advice available via the CDC. See also COVID-19 resources for travelers.

I’m scheduled to travel internationally soon. What should I do?

The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to certain regions. The UA System has issued an interim policy statement that addresses COVID-19 and international travel. Please check the latest U.S. State Department travel information. When you return, please follow guidance from the CDC and COVID-19 resources for travelers.

I am traveling abroad and will soon return to the United States. What will the situation be like at airports?

Information about returning to the U.S. following international travel is available via the CDC and COVID-19 resources for travelers.

What should I do if I’ve recently traveled internationally to a country with active community transmission and have returned to the U.S.?

Upon your return to the United States, please know that public health departments have instituted limits on your public interactions for at least two weeks after arrival. For example, Alabama Department of Public Health guidance provides you may not return to the UA campus or other places where groups congregate, such as church, concerts or public transportation, for 14 days after your return. Watch for changes in your health for 14 days after leaving. If you get a fever, develop a cough or have difficulty breathing, avoid contact with others and phone your doctor or health care provider, and tell them of your symptoms and your recent travel. They will provide additional instruction about steps to take before your medical visit to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others in the office or waiting room. Do not travel while you are sick. Please review COVID-19 resources for travelers.

How do I handle international visitors to the campus from affected areas?

Out of an abundance of caution, UA has a plan for this, consistent with System recommendations and guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Alabama Department of Public Health. Individuals will be required to comply with the 14-day monitoring period off campus. For visitors who cannot make arrangements for off-campus space, UA has created an isolated space off of the main campus. More information is available at COVID-19 resources for travelers.

I know someone who is sick, and I have been in contact with them, and I’m concerned. What should I do?

If you have concerning symptoms, please call the Student Health Clinic prior to visiting at (205) 348-3854 or after hours at (205) 348-0386. If you are an employee and have concerning symptoms, please call the University Medical Center at (205) 348-4696 or (205) 348-1770 before visiting. If you are not experiencing symptoms, just continue to monitor your health as normal.

I know someone from a country with active community transmission, and they have been sick. I have been in contact with them, and I’m concerned. What should I do?

Phone the Student Health Clinic prior to visiting at (205) 348-3854 or after hours at (205) 348-0386. If you are an employee and have concerning symptoms, please call the University Medical Center at (205) 348-4696 or (205) 348-1770 before visiting.

Should I be tested for the new coronavirus?

Please follow the Alabama Department of Public Health guidance and direction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You may also call the ADPH COVID-19 Testing Guidance Hotline at 1-888-264-2256.

I’m concerned. What precautions can I take?

It’s flu and respiratory disease season. Health experts encourage everyone to get their flu vaccine. Typical, but very effective, tips, like washing your hands, covering your cough and staying home when you are sick, can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.

An admitted student or incoming faculty/staff member from one of the affected countries wants to visit campus. What should we advise them to do?

Anyone visiting or arriving from a country on the CDC COVID-19 Level 2 and 3 health notice list may not come to campus until after they have been away from the affected area for 14 days with no symptoms. Anyone planning to travel should review all guidance on the CDC and ADPH websites.

What should I know about social distancing?

Social distancing is staying away from large crowds or congregations of people with the intent of minimizing transmission of infectious disease outbreaks. This could include, but is not limited to, attending concerts, sporting events, religious gatherings, going to movie theaters or using public transportation such as buses and subways for travel. Follow CDC guidelines about avoiding and slowing the virus spread.

  • Stay home if you are sick or have been around someone who has been exposed or diagnosed.
  • Try to avoid close contact with others (if possible, maintain a distance of about 6 feet).
  • Avoid gatherings or meetings of 10 or more people.
  • Wash your hands often and/or use a hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or inside elbow if you cough or sneeze.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly.

In the event of severe weather, will UA storm shelters open?

Yes. In the event of a tornado watch or warning, the University will open storm shelters and best available refuge areas (BARAs) for students who may still be in Tuscaloosa, faculty and staff. 

Even with the extraordinary social distancing precautions, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) recommends that your first priority should be to protect yourself from a potential tornado. If a warning is issued for the campus area, you are more likely to be affected by the tornado than the virus. 

Certainly, 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. 

Campus storm shelters can be located by using the UA Safety App or by visiting ready.ua.edu.