Updated: UAH takes precautions against Coronavirus

Blue toned image of a virus cell
 

Updated: March 26, 2020, 11:00 a.m.

Declaration of University State of Emergency

The University has issued an emergency declaration, a proactive measure that will give the University more flexibility in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The declaration is a governmental procedural action that will allow UAH:

  • Exemption from some purchasing regulations
  • Formally notify the state of Alabama and the federal government of the current emergency situation for the campus
  • Claim the university’s share of any state or federal aid that may be available during or after this event

Updated: March 24, 2020, 8:30 a.m.

Spring Commencement Postponed

We continue to monitor the COVID-19 virus and further minimize health risks to our faculty, staff and students. Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released March 15, 2020, recommended that “for the next eight weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”

With UAH Commencement less than six weeks away (April 30), we have made the difficult decision to postpone our Spring Commencement exercises. We realize the disappointment this will cause many people. Commencement is a time of great joy for our graduates, their friends, and their families, who travel far and wide for this very special occasion.  Many of these people are among the most vulnerable populations. The risk is just too great.

Please know that canceling the ceremony does not affect graduation and awarding of degrees. The actual conferral of degrees, updating the final transcript, and mailing of diplomas is unchanged. When the semester ends, faculty will submit grades as usual, and degrees will be conferred. All students earning their degrees will receive their diplomas via mail.

We appreciate your understanding and we are working to reschedule Commencement for a later time and/or find alternatives that might allow some form of recognition of our spring graduates.


Updated: March 23, 2020, 10:47 a.m.

FAQ from the UAH Human Resources Office


Updated: March 19, 2020, 3:11 p.m.

UAH interim Athletic Director Cade Smith has notified university officials that he has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.  Smith, who has not been on campus since Friday, March 13, was tested Tuesday and received the results Wednesday evening, March 18.  UAH is cooperating fully with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) on this case and all aspects of university operations.

“I am sharing this information personally to remind everyone to practice social distancing and good hygiene,” Smith said today.  “I have self-isolated and am carefully following all health guidelines from both state and federal agencies.  If you have symptoms of the virus, please be sure to seek prompt medical attention, as I did.”

The UAH Faculty/Staff and Student Clinics have COVID-19 testing procedures in place and are scheduling patients by appointment.  Per CDC guidelines, people who are not exhibiting symptoms are not being tested at this time.  The UAH facility is located outside the clinic in Wilson Hall to maintain sterility of the building.   For an appointment or to discuss next steps with a health professional:  256-824-2100.    

The suspension of face-to-face classes at UAH was announced earlier this week as the transition to online course delivery begins March 24.  The three University of Alabama System campuses are closely monitoring the coronavirus and updating students, faculty and staff as new information is received. 

For ongoing updates: 

UAH’s COVID-19 Information Page

UA System's COVID-19 Information Page


Updated: March 17, 2020, 4:00 p.m.

General Q&A – Novel Coronavirus

UAH FAQs for Students

UAH FAQs for Employees


Updated: March 16, 2020, 12:30 p.m.

To the UAH community:

We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 virus and taking immediate steps to further minimize health risks to our faculty, staff, students and visitors. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at UAH.

The University of Alabama System is providing guidance through an Interim Emergency Policy that is continuously updated: http://uasystem.edu/updated-interim-emergency-policy-for-ua-uab-and-uah.

We are finalizing adjustments to our Spring Break schedule and the delivery of course instruction. As of noon today, March 16, the following protocols are in place here at UAH:

  • Beginning today and until further notice, we will suspend face-to-face instruction. Coursework and tests will be provided through remote delivery or online.
  • Students who live on campus should plan to vacate campus housing by March 21 at 5 p.m., unless they have no other viable options. Greek housing should also follow these guidelines and vacate by 5 p.m. March 21. Students should not plan to return to any on-campus campus housing until further notification. Exceptions will be granted on an individual basis and additional details about checking out of housing facilities will be coming from Housing and Residence Life.
  • UAH is moving to limited operations as quickly as possible. Unless an employee’s presence on campus is deemed essential or otherwise necessary by their supervisor, employees should pursue discussions about telework options with their supervisors.
  • To facilitate the move to limited operations, the University is canceling classes and all student-related educational activities March 19, 20, and 23. On-line instruction will resume March 24. Classes that were online before the transition of face-to-face classes to remote delivery are unaffected by this cancellation notification.
  • All University events, programs and activities have been canceled until further notice.
  • Visitors should cancel or postpone campus visits during this time.
  • The UA System’s restriction on ALL non-essential international and domestic travel remains in place. Consistent with UA System guidance, any and all University meetings should be conducted by electronic means.

I want to stress that we remain committed to completing the academic semester. Minimizing the number of people on our campus and limiting large group interactions are the best ways to achieve that goal.

We will continue to provide regular updates via email, through our website and UAH’s social media channels. Please continue to monitor the following link for the latest information: https://www.uah.edu/news/news/coronavirus-precaution.

Thank you for your patience, dedication and understanding during these unprecedented times for our state, nation and world. By working together, we are using informed guidance and best practices to keep the UAH faculty, staff and students healthy and safe under these very challenging circumstances. 

Sincerely,
Darren Dawson
President


Updated: March 13, 2020, 4:30 p.m.

Officials at The University of Alabama in Huntsville continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 virus and are actively engaged in daily planning in an effort to inform and reduce the risk to faculty, staff, students and visitors from the virus.

As of today, March 13, at 4:30 p.m., the University can confirm the following:

  • No confirmed cases of COVID-19 at UAH.
  • Starting next week (March 16-20) and continuing until the end of spring semester, UAH will not be offering face-to-face instruction. Coursework and tests will be provided through remote delivery or online. This policy applies only to academic face-to-face classes.
  • At this time, regular business operations will continue until further notice. As we continue to monitor this evolving situation, employees will be advised by each Vice President if tele-work or other operational changes are implemented. Until further notice, faculty and staff should report to work.
  • The campus will begin limiting face-to-face operations beginning Monday, March 16. Arrangements will be made to ensure any students remaining on campus have access to essential services (including Student Health Services/Counseling Services). Residence Hall and dining facilities will be open for students who remain on campus.
  • For students leaving campus, please take essential belongings with you (e.g., class materials, textbooks, medications, electronics, valuables, etc.). If you have already left and will need to return, please alert Student Housing at housing@uah.edu.
  • Spring Break will take place as scheduled from March 30 through April 3
  • We strongly encourage visitors, whenever possible, to reschedule planned trips to our campus and recommend postponing previously scheduled visits.
  • We strongly encourage campus units to cancel events with more than 100 persons between now and March 30.
  • The UA System’s restriction on ALL non-essential international and domestic travel remains in place.

Please be prepared for the situation to change rapidly. University officials are committed to providing ongoing, accurate information to our entire university community. You can find campus notifications, resources, and latest news at UAH’s COVID-19 Information Page.

 

RESOURCES

UAH’s COVID-19 Information Page

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Alabama Public Health

Update to Interim Emergency Policy for UA, UAB and UAH - Revised 3/12/2020


Updated: March 12, 2020, 4:30 p.m.

Coronavirus update – The University of Alabama in Huntsville

Officials at The University of Alabama in Huntsville continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 virus and are actively engaged in daily planning in an effort to inform and reduce the risk to faculty, staff, students and visitors from the virus.

As of today, March 12, at 4:30 p.m., the University can confirm the following:

  • No confirmed cases of COVID-19 at UAH
  • Starting next week (March 16-20), UAH will not be offering face-to-face instruction. Coursework and tests will be provided through remote delivery or online
  • The campus will begin limiting face-to-face operations beginning Monday, March 16
  • Spring Break will take place as scheduled from March 30 through April 3
  • Students, faculty, and staff returning from international travel must contact University health services to begin the screening process prior to return to campus (Student Health Clinic: 256-824-6775, Faculty & Staff Clinic: 256-824-2100) 
  •  We strongly encourage visitors, whenever possible, to reschedule planned trips to our campus and recommend postponing previously scheduled visits. Please keep in mind that international travelers arriving from CDC-designated Level 3 countries are subject to a 14-day quarantine period.
  • We strongly encourage campus units to cancel events with more than 100 persons between now and March 30. Please be prepared for the situation to change rapidly.

University officials are committed to providing ongoing, accurate information to our entire university community. You can find campus notifications, resources, and latest news at uah.edu.

 

RESOURCES

UAH’s COVID-19 Information Page

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Alabama Public Health

Update to Interim Emergency Policy for UA, UAB and UAH - Revised 3/12/2020

Updated: March 11, 2020, 8:07 p.m.

University of Alabama System Issues Spring Break Advisory

The University of Alabama System continues to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Today System officials issued guidance for spring break to students, faculty and staff, including travel, health and safety tips, as well as encouragement to plan ahead for possible future disruptions to campus operations.

The University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s spring breaks are March 16-20, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville is scheduled for spring break on March 30 - April 3.

Although current plans call for maintaining normal campus operations, UA System campuses are advised that it is possible that System campuses could move to online-only classes at some point this semester based on the state of COVID-19 in Alabama.

Students are encouraged to plan ahead if they leave campus for spring break, and take what they would need (e.g., electronics, textbooks, class materials and valuables) in the event a transition to online learning would become necessary. Students who choose to stay on campus during spring break will be accommodated.

“Our goal is to provide continuity and consistency for our students,” said UA System Chancellor Finis St. John IV. “Things are rapidly evolving, and if the situations in our communities change, we will transition to a remote learning mode to protect the health and safety of System campuses.”

The UA System website will continue to be a centralized source for updated information on the virus outbreak, policies and other guidance: http://uasystem.edu/news/2020/02/ua-system-covid-19-updates/

Update to Interim Emergency Policy - Information Regarding Spring Break - Revised 3/11/2020


Updated: March 10, 2020, 4:32 p.m.

University of Alabama System Interim Emergency Policy Statement Regarding the 2019 Coronavirus - Revised 3/4/2020 

University of Alabama System Issues Domestic Travel Advisory


Updated: March 4, 2020, 1:18 p.m.

News release from UA System regarding international travel cancellations

UA System Policy canceling all international travel in March 2020


Updated: March 4, 2020, 11:12 a.m.   

Coronavirus Q & A              
  1. How is UAH monitoring the COVID-19 situation worldwide?
    A team of university officials are monitoring the outbreak of the respiratory illness COVID-19 worldwide. To assess risks related to University international programs and activities, the university uses a number of resources, including governmental agencies, news reports, reports from UAH’s international security provider, professional health and security organizations, clinical and infection prevention experts, and more. University updates can be found on this webpage: https://www.uah.edu/news/news/coronavirus-precaution  
  1. What is the university doing to support its students, faculty and staff who are studying or working abroad?
    Representatives from the university's Office of Study Abroad are working to contact any impacted individual students to ensure their safety, answer questions, and where appropriate and requested, help individuals return to the United States. Students in areas impacted by the coronavirus are encouraged to remain in contact with Study Abroad for information and direction specific to their programs.
  1. What would happen if a UAH study abroad program was suspended or canceled?
    UAH will work closely with our academic partners' international program providers with the goal of mitigating potential impacts on students’ academic progress. Depending on the program we will work with the students to consider alternative means to maintain academic progress. For information on a specific program, please email Study Abroad (hughes@uah.edu) to obtain specific contact information.
  1. UAH required my early departure, how will I complete my academics?
    UAH students impacted by these travel restrictions will work closely with contacts at UAH to identify an academic plan. The Office of Study Abroad will communicate with campus staff to seek late-term enrollment, independent study, or alternate ways to ensure progress to degree is not negatively affected.
  1. If a student chooses to leave an international student program that has not been suspended, how might that student’s academic credit be affected?
    UAH understands that students need to individually evaluate and make personal risk decisions and that final decisions will be made between a student and their family. If students choose to leave a program and return home, we support that decision. Students should contact Study Abroad for coordination assistance as soon as a decision has been made, and we would recommend they notify their academic adviser of their choice as well. We will work with our partners to try to support the student’s completion of their work with that program, however awarding of academic credit will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and is not guaranteed.
  1. Will I be quarantined when I return to the US?
    When travelers return to the U.S., whether or not they are traveling on essential university business, they must comply with all U.S. and State of Alabama re-entry and quarantine requirements in place before returning to UAH. Personal travel is subject to any regulations and the university community.
  1. Does UAH have any recommendations for students traveling independently while on study abroad?
    Personal travel is subject to any regulations and advisories of the U.S. government and other relevant agencies. Travel to other countries outside of North America defined as CDC Level 1 in relation to COVID-19 is strongly discouraged at this time. Individuals who choose to travel to CDC Level 1 at this time should know that the global situation is rapidly evolving, and their risk of acquiring COVID-19 may change abruptly; moreover, disruptions in return travel may occur and the possibility of quarantine upon return to the US cannot be excluded. We highly recommend that you be mindful of potential associated risk of disruptions to your reentry to the United States and your ability to successfully return to the United States and campus. We urge you to consult guidance from the S. Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Department of State prior to and during your trip and exercise caution when traveling to these countries. When travelers return to the U.S., whether or not they are traveling on essential university business, they must comply with all U.S. re-entry and quarantine requirements in place before returning to campus.
    • A list of travel watch, alert and warning levels and affected countries are maintained on the CDC website.
    • Students should advise their program staff of any independent travel in their international destination. In-country program staff’s ability to help in case of difficulty is increased by knowing students’ plans in advance.
      1. Students should keep cell phones fully charged and operational, and check their email often (at least once every day).
      2. Students should travel with all key travel documents, including their passport and insurance documents.
      3. Students should travel with a full supply of any regular medications, regardless of how long they plan to be away. Prescription medications should be packaged in their original containers.
  1. What changes has UAH made to its student, faculty, and staff travel policies in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?
    UAH has suspended all University travel to destinations designated CDC Alert Level 2 and Warning Level 3 for COVID-19 as have most US higher education institutions. Faculty, staff and students MAY NOT TRAVEL to these countries for University business or academic purposes, including but not limited to study abroad or other international academic work, research or grant activity, internships, conferences or presentations, teaching or training, performances, recruiting, or athletic competitions. We encourage you to visit our dedicated webpage: https://www.uah.edu/news/news/coronavirus-precaution for the latest information.
  1. How can I get my flight rearranged?
    UAH Study Abroad is prepared to assist students with their return if needed.
  1. Who will UAH contact with updates?
    UAH will directly contact students abroad with updates. UAH reaches out to students’ designated emergency contacts only in very specific situations, such as when a student has been incapacitated or when we cannot reach the student. All members of the UAH community can find updates at: https://www.uah.edu/news/news/coronavirus-precaution.
  1. Who can I contact about international programs and activities and the coronavirus situation?
    UAH students with questions about travel should contact the Office of Education Abroad at 256-824-5802 or nicole.hughes@uah.edu. Faculty should contact the Office of the Provost at 256-824-6335 or 256-824-6337. Researchers and research staff should contact the Office of Research Security at 256-824-6444. All other staff should contact the Office of Risk Management at 256-824-6875. These offices are available to provide guidance and assistance to our travelers.

Updated: March 2, 2020

UAH officials are closely monitoring the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and are in continuous communication with public health officials. There are no known cases of COVID-19 in Alabama.

COVID-19 symptoms are similar to the flu and can cause mild illness or become life-threatening. While it is unlikely that anyone will be diagnosed with COVID-19 at this time unless they have traveled to affected countries or had contact with someone who has, the CDC reports increased concerns of possible spread in the United States and potential disruptions to daily life. Health officials encourage individuals and businesses to be vigilant and plan ahead.

UAH has procedures in place for contagious illnesses and is prepared. Healthcare professionals are trained to safely care for patients, and emergency management professionals are coordinating preparedness activities and plans with leaders across each of our System campuses to maintain necessary operations and services in the event of local disruptions.

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.

Among other important guidance, the interim policy outlines:

  • All University-sponsored international travel to destinations designated CDC Alert Level 2 and Warning Level 3 for COVID-19is suspended effective immediately. At this time, this includes China (including Hong Kong), South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy. Faculty, staff and students MAY NOT TRAVEL to these countries for University business or academic purposes, including but not limited to study abroad or other international academic work, research or grant activity, internships, conferences or presentations, teaching or training, performances, recruiting, or athletic competitions.
  • University-sponsored travel to other countries outside of North America designated as CDC Watch Level 1 destinations for COVID-19is strongly discouraged at this time.
  • While this policy does not inhibit or restrict the travel of individuals traveling on personal business or affiliate programs (i.e., travel that is not university sponsored but related to academic or business pursuits – e.g., travel through another institution or program), the UA System strongly encourages our faculty, staff, and students to consider this policy when making decisions to continue on or schedule travel to any of the affected countries.
  • Individuals who choose to travel to CDC Watch Level 1 for COVID-19destinations at this time should know that the global situation is rapidly evolving, and their risk of acquiring COVID-19 may change abruptly. We highly recommend that you follow CDC and State Department updates and be mindful of potential associated risks of disruptions to your reentry to the United States.
  • Travel related to family and other personal obligations is considered (as in the past) to be personal travel. It will be subject to any regulations and advisories of the U.S. government and other relevant agencies. Personal travelers will be required to comply with all U.S. re-entry and quarantine requirements in place and must verify to the University that they have done so prior to returning to the university community. Employees and students taking personal trips to an impacted country (including layovers through an impacted country) must be prepared to comply with self-isolation requirements upon their return.
  • Returning travelers should follow guidance provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health for returning travelers on the ADPH website. Any traveler should be aware of CDC Travel Health Notices, observe CDC travel precautions for COVID-19and avoid travel if you are sick.

We recognize the significance of these measures to members of our campus community and are committed to providing support. Our number one priority is the health and safety of our campus and community. Students with questions about travel should contact the Office of Study Abroad at 256-824-5802. Faculty should contact the Office of the Provost at 256-824-6335 or 256-824-6337. Researchers and research staff should contact the Office of Research Security at 256-824-6444. All other staff should contact the Office of Risk Management at 256-824-6875. These offices are available to provide guidance and assistance to our travelers.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation and update you with any adjustments to normal operations that become necessary. Updates will be provided at www.uasystem.eduand www.uah.edu/news/coronavirus

In the meantime, please take steps to protect yourself and others:

  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is one of the easiest, most effective ways to reduce the spread of viral infections.
  • Use respiratory etiquette:
    • Avoid anyone who is sick. If you are sick, avoid others.
    • Do not go to school or work if you are ill.
    • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve.
    • Routinely clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and objects.
    • Protect against the flu by getting the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, but the flu poses a more active health threat in Alabama at this time.
  • If you experience flu-like symptoms take extra caution, avoid people and get medical attention.
    • Students should call the UAH Student Health Clinic at 256-824-6775.
    • UAH faculty and staff should call the UAH Faculty and Staff Clinic 255-824-2100 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. After hours and on weekends, individuals should call their personal physician or a hospital.
  • While widespread control measures to manage a potential pandemic (like recommendations to stay home) are not anticipated at this time, it is wise to be aware of helpful information available at Ready.gov. The CDC is not recommending the general population in the United States buy or wear facemasks.

UAH officials will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 and communicate updates as necessary. Updates can be found at http://www.uah.edu/news/coronavirus


Updated: January 30, 2020

UAH suspends non-essential travel to China


Updated: January 27, 2020

UAH informs campus to take precautions against COVID-19


Contact

Ray Garner
256.824.4688
ray.garner@uah.edu

Kevin L. Bennett
256.824.6875
kevin.bennett@uah.edu