UAH socially distanced classroom


UAH is working with UA System Chancellor Finis St. John to implement the UA System Health and Safety Task Force to provide overarching principles to guide the campuses in their planning processes. The task force and its multiple working groups are coordinating their efforts, tapping into world-class expertise on our campus and within the System, including UAB Medicine, as well as seeking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alabama Department of Public Health. Our campus protocols will rest on principles set out by the System Task Force, CDC, and ADPH.


Face coverings are the current most effective practice and will be a part of our plan.


Enhanced cleaning is in place, will continue, and will adjust when necessary.


Recommendations on social distancing are key elements of our plan.



    Students living in on-campus residential housing, including sorority and fraternity housing, must participate in entry testing within 7 days of returning to campus for the Spring 2021 semester. There is no testing requirement for faculty and staff who are coming back to campus for Spring 2021.


    Weekly sentinel testing will be coordinated through GuideSafeTM on UAH campus. Sentinel testing, which will target a randomized sample of the general campus population of faculty, staff and students (with a target of 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 UAH campus. Testing will be voluntary for most of the general campus population.

    Students living in on-campus residential housing, students who participate in clinical classes or participate in university-sponsored extracurricular activities will be required to participate in sentinel testing. The implementation of this guideline is dependent on the availability of reliable testing.


    UAH will provide free, on-site COVID-19 testing for faculty, staff and students. The tests will be performed by employees from the Student Health Center and Faculty and Staff Clinic at the testing location in Executive Plaza.


    For-cause testing (cluster testing) will be conducted by UAH when, as determined by campus healthcare professionals, there are three or more COVID-positive tests documented in a geographic area in a seven-day rolling period. Geographic areas are defined as within a specific location (i.e., dorm floor, sorority/fraternity house) or a discrete group or department (i.e., in a classroom, on a team, in a student organization, from a particular event or gathering, etc.).

    Campus healthcare professionals will also order for-cause testing in an area when there is increased reporting in Charger Healthcheck, or to the Student Health Center or the Faculty and Staff Clinic of COVID-19 related symptoms or exposures. 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. Athletic coaches/staff required to participate in sentinel testing must also participate in for-cause testing.


    UAH regularly tests all students and employees participating in intercollegiate athletics. Testing protocols for these groups is outside of sentinel testing, and complies 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, are tested at least one time per week.


    The UA System has developed a COVID-19 Dashboard that provides System-wide COVID-19 information to the public. This content is broken down by campus, as well as offer an aggregate System total. This data includes the number of known positive cases of students, faculty and staff on- and off- campus, as well as the results for student entry testing, sentinel testing and the occupancy percent rate related to the isolation space for COVID-19 positive students and/or close contact students.


Faculty, staff, and students are required to participate in the Charger Healthcheck portion of the GuideSafe™ platform. Charger Healthcheck is a COVID-19 assessment tool that allows users to report COVID-19 related symptoms and exposure. Students returning to campus will start Charger Healthcheck upon re-entry to campus. Staff returning to campus for Spring semester will start Charger Healthcheck on January 4, 2021, and faculty will start Charger Healthcheck on Monday, January 11, 2021.


A voluntary, opt-in smartphone tool is available for exposure notification. The GuideSafeTM Exposure Notification app is a partnership of Apple, Google, the Alabama Department of Public Health, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). The opt-in resource alerts participants if they have been in close contact with a person who has reported a positive COVID-19 test within the past 14 days. 


UAH provides appropriate locations for campus residents to self-isolate or quarantine when they have been potentially exposed.


As we learn more about COVID-19 and the efficacy of our strategies, our approaches and plan will adjust. Monitoring the effectiveness of our strategies, the health condition of the campus and continuing success of students will inform our adjustments.