Return Testing is Required for Faculty, Staff, and Students

  1. Students must provide proof of a negative COVID test before returning to campus
    • This can be accomplished via the Guide Safe protocol (formerly Stay Safe Together), provided free to both in-state and out-of-state UA students, via a program funded by Governor Kay Ivey and coordinated by the UA System and UAB Medicine
    • Students may choose to use their personal physician for approved testing and upload those results via a portal at the Student Health Center’s website
    • Students who have had COVID in the past 12 weeks should not test, but should upload proof of that prior positive to the Student Health Center, while affirming that they served the required isolation period and have been symptom free for at least 10 days
  2. Faculty and staff were provided free COVID testing by UA. Like students, all faculty and staff who plan to return to work on campus must have a negative test.  Only those who will continue to work remotely are excused from testing. For re-entry testing schedules and how to sign up, visit the employee COVID-19 testing page (added 9/18/2020).

Sentinel and Routine Testing Will be Conducted, and Required for Some

  1. Throughout Fall 2020, sentinel testing will be conducted to signal trends, identify potential outbreaks, and monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community. This testing will be coordinated through Guide Safe and supplemented by UA.
    • Sentinel testing will involve a sample of approximately 4-5% of the community
    • Sentinel testing will be voluntary for most, but required for (i) students living on campus and (ii) students participating in intramural athletics or registered student organizations that hold in-person meetings of 10 or more
    • More information about the developing plans for sentinel testing will be published on as Guide Safe finalizes details
  2. Outside of sentinel testing, intercollegiate student-athletes, athletic staff, and those participating in clinicals must comply with required protocols for those areas

Symptomatic Testing Will be Available for All

  1. Testing for symptomatic or exposed individuals (or cluster groups or locations) will be offered through the Student Health Center and University Medical Center

Testing for Faculty/Staff Transitioning From Remote Work (Required for Entry)

UA, UAH, and System Office employees transitioning back to work from a remote status will be tested before arriving on campus or at the System Office. UAB has communicated its testing procedures to its employees who are transitioning back. Any UA System employee who has already returned to campus must be accounted for in each campus’s sentinel process. UA System Office employees located on System campuses will be tested as part of the sentinel process for the campus on which they are located.

Student-Athletes, Coaches, and Athletic Staff  (Required)

UA System campuses will develop separate protocols to regularly test all students and employees participating in intercollegiate athletics. Testing protocols for these groups will be outside of sentinel testing, and must comply with all NCAA and host site requirements.  At a minimum, all staff and students actively engaging in intercollegiate workouts or competitions, whether formally or informally, must be tested at least one time per week.

Sentinel Testing (Voluntary for general campus population/Required for Specific Groups)*

Weekly sentinel testing will be coordinated through Guide Safe and supplemented by our campuses. Sentinel testing, which will target a randomized sample of 4-5% of the general campus population (collecting no less than 2.5% of the sample), will be used to signal trends, identify outbreaks, and monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 on UA System campuses. Sentinel testing is voluntary for most of the campus community, but is REQUIRED for students:

  • Living in on-campus residential housing (including Greek housing) • Participating in intramural club sports  • In registered student organizations that hold in-person meetings with ten (10) or more people  • Participating in clinical activities, provided that student also has or will have a presence on campus throughout the semester

“For-Cause” Testing (Voluntary for general campus population/Required for Specific Groups)*

UA System campuses will immediately respond to any suspected increase in COVID-19 exposures in a specific campus location or an identified group of individuals (“for-cause” testing).  Campus healthcare professionals will determine the need to perform for-cause testing when, in their medical opinion, there has been a notable increase in reported positive tests or COVID-related symptoms in a common geographic area or group of people. Students required to participate in sentinel testing must also participate in for-cause testing.  Those who refuse to participate in required for-cause testing will be referred to student conduct

For Questions about Testing:

General: UA COVID Support Program, 205-348-CV19 (2819), or

Registration for students:, 800.935.6634