Page last updated:  8/29/20  at 6:40 p.m. CDT.  The latest information will be at the top of the page.

What’s the difference between isolation and quarantine?

Isolation occurs when a student tests positive for COVID-19. Students who test positive or are symptomatic following a suspected exposure will be moved to an isolation space on campus or can choose to return home. Students who live off campus should stay home. During isolation, students are not permitted to have direct contact with individuals outside of isolation.

Quarantine occurs when a student believes they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Most students are able to self-quarantine in place for 14 days. During the quarantine period, students should stay at home or in their residence hall room for 14 days; check their temperature twice a day and watch for any COVID-19 symptoms; and avoid contact with others.

Can I still catch a Crimson Ride bus around campus?

Yes. The Crimson Ride bus system is in full operation, running from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday – Friday, but with a few changes from last year. Ridership is reduced to 15 passengers distanced as much as possible while wearing a mask. In response to the virus and the need to limit rider’s time on the bus, all Transit operations to include bus routes were redesigned. More info can be found on the slides at the top of the Transportation Services site: http://crimsonride.ua.edu/ and updated routes: http://crimsonride.ua.edu/maps/

What is required of the campus community to enter UA this fall?

All students, faculty and staff are required to test for COVID-19, complete required training, and participate in UA Healthcheck. Test+Train+Check=Welcome Back! initiative will help facilitate a safe return of the campus community. Students, faculty and staff can check their compliance status through the Entry Status Checklist located on the Student or Faculty/Staff Return pages on healthinfo.ua.edu.

Should I be tested for the new coronavirus?

All faculty, staff and students must be tested for COVID-19 and receive a negative test result before returning to campus. Learn more about testing.

What is the financial impact of COVID-19 on UA?

The University of Alabama moved quickly to enact and accelerate a number of cost-saving measures in anticipation of the financial ramifications of COVID-19 while limiting the direct impact to our students, faculty and staff.

To help address unavoidable financial constraints, the University successfully implemented a number of cost saving procedures while continuing to deliver quality academic instruction and core mission services. Those savings measures include: placing a hold on filling non-essential and vacant positions; reducing expenses related to facilities, energy and utilities; eliminating non-essential expenditures, supplies, services, travel, contracts and projects; delaying construction projects where possible; and suspending the 403(b) employer match for participating employees beginning May 1 and continuing until September 30, 2020.

By implementing these measures we plan to avoid other direct employee impacts. We are proud of the way our campus community has responded to these challenges and look forward to the return of our students, faculty and staff.

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

The University supports the community by providing resources and a constant flow of updated information. A COVID-19 Support Group monitors test results regularly. A COVID Support Program provides a hotline and online contact form.

UA has also 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.

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.

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.

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?

Report the information via UA Healthcheck. 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.

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.  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 (maintain a distance of about 6 feet).
  • Avoid gatherings or meetings of 10 or more people.
  • Wear face coverings.
  • Wash your hands often and/or use a hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • 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. 

Facial coverings are required in all UA storm shelters and BARAs.

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.