Coronavirus Graphis

Updates on Coronavirus

Coronavirus Updates

The University of South Alabama continues to closely monitor the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority as university leaders work closely with local, state and federal agencies to share the most updated information. The following information is intended to help provide important health guidance from our USA Health experts.

For reliable, up-to-date information, visit:


Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

University of South Alabama students are eligible to apply for financial assistance grants through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), made possible through the Coronavirus Assistance, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. For information, please visit USA’s HEERF website.


Help for Students

With the COVID-19 pandemic spreading in our region, the health, well-being and continued education of our students is a top priority. USA students who have questions, or are in need of assistance, are encouraged to visit the USA OneStop website or email OneStop@SouthAlabama.edu for help with academics, counseling and any other issues. In addition, students with emergency financial needs can submit a request for assistance through our South CARES program.

USA has established the South CARES Emergency Fund, which directs critical resources to students who find themselves with urgent expenses they are unprepared to meet. If you are able to make a gift to assist our students, please do at giving.southalabama.edu/southcares. Thank you for supporting our students!


▼   Updates from May 2020

May 22, 2020

Dear USA Students, Faculty and Staff,

Each morning, Julee and I get up early and go for a 3-mile walk. This time of year, the air is still cool and the sun begins to rise before the end of our stroll. I’ve always enjoyed getting an early start, and walking with Julee and our new German Shepard, Buddy Blue, is one of my favorite times of the day.

During this pandemic, taking care of ourselves, mentally and physically, should be a priority for all of us. Yet I know it’s easy to lose focus, given the disruption in our lives. For me, having a routine and a partner is helpful. And I want to remind you that USA is here, even while you’re away from campus, to help you stay healthy.

The Department of Campus Recreation continues to host virtual classes six days a week on Zoom. The offerings include strength and cardio workouts along with yoga.

Student counseling is available for sessions through the Counseling and Testing Center, and the USA Psychological Clinic is offering consultations and therapy through tele-health to adults and children in our community.

Jaguar Productions put together a full list of programing for spring semester and is building out a summer schedule. Until then, its website offers a collection of virtual attractions in Mobile and beyond. More resources can be found on our South Strong website.

I know many of you are using your time to further your academic progress and taking advantage of the tuition rate adjustment for summer online classes. Taking a class in the summer is a good way to stay engaged and keep on track for graduation. Students can continue to enroll in advance of the summer session that begins June 3.

I want to finish with some good news. This video is being shared on social media, showing a patient leaving University Hospital after 47 days of treatment for COVID-19. He spent 30 of those days on a ventilator. The healthcare workers lining the hallways, and his wife cheering behind him, should give us all reason to smile – and be hopeful in even the most difficult situations.

I hope you and your families enjoy a safe Memorial Day Weekend.

Tony Waldrop, Ph.D.
President


May 15, 2020

Dear USA Students, Faculty and Staff,

I hope you had the chance to see USA’s virtual commencement ceremony last Saturday. I was pleased to watch the livestream along with nearly 3,000 USA students, family members and friends.

For students, please remember that Monday, May 18, is the deadline for submitting your application for an emergency grant through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) portion of the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. We have received thousands of applications to date, and will be processing the applications and making award notifications as quickly as possible.

Please keep in mind that while USA has received approximately $5.7 million in CARES Act funding to be distributed to students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount a student may receive is based on her or his individual circumstances and will be impacted by the total number of approved applications that the University receives, as well as the federal guidelines that direct the distribution of these funds.

As you know, every member of our USA community has made sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic. After a careful analysis of current and anticipated budgetary shortfalls related to the pandemic and the potential impact of cost-saving measures on employees, we have implemented a four-month 4.5% reduction in pay for certain University administrative, staff and faculty employees whose salaries are $30,000 or more. This reduction does not apply to faculty on nine-month contracts, as their work was completed prior to the effective date of the salary reduction. In addition, the USA Health system already has implemented its own separate set of cost reduction measures.

Employees who are subject to the temporary pay reduction are eligible to receive four additional paid personal days during this time. After receiving input from faculty and staff, we have extended the period during which these days can be used to December 31, 2020.

While we recognize that any reduction in salary is difficult, it is necessary to address at least a portion of the expected budget shortfall the University expects to experience due to the pandemic. If you have questions about your specific situation, I encourage you to contact your supervisor or Human Resources.

At USA Health and at hospitals across the country, Emergency Department volume is down as people delay treatment. This can be risky, particularly for stroke and heart patients, and for those with infections, where time is critical for the best outcomes. USA Health has followed strict protocols when it comes to patient safety, and our healthcare teams are committed to providing quality, evidence-based care. I am thankful to all of our healthcare providers, but this week, at the conclusion of National Nurses Week, I specifically want to recognize and thank the hundreds of licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners who work at USA Health for their hard work and dedication to keeping us all healthy.

Finally, I want to remind everyone that our campus reopening committee and subcommittees continue to meet and work on plans for students, faculty and staff to return to campus by fall. This plan will require all of us to be flexible and work together as we implement needed changes to our operations, such as social distancing, new health and safety protocols, limits on the size of gatherings, and allowing employees to return in stages. The committee and sub-committees are moving quickly while being thoughtful and thorough. I plan to have more information for everyone in the next few weeks.

Tony G. Waldrop
President


May 7, 2020

Dear USA Students, Faculty and Staff,

I hope you will make plans to join our University family this Saturday at 11 a.m. CDT to celebrate our 2020 spring and summer graduates with our virtual commencement. Graduates, families and friends can view the conferring of degrees by visiting the USA homepage at SouthAlabama.edu and clicking on the banner image. While this year’s ceremony will be different, the importance of this event remains the same. We continue to look at ways in which we can hold an in-person ceremony in the future, but for now I’m honored to be able to address our graduates and confer the degrees. Also speaking will be our academic deans and this year's Student Government Association president, Sahilee Waitman.

This week, the University began the process of distributing the funds USA has been allocated as part of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) portion of the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. USA has received a total of approximately $5.7 million in funding that will be distributed directly to students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are moving as quickly as possible to get these funds to our students. For information on how to apply for this assistance, please visit USA’s HEERF website.

In addition to the $5.7 million in assistance that will be distributed directly to students, USA expects to receive additional federal assistance that can be used for institutional needs. University leadership is working through a process that will identify the best uses for these funds.

I regret having to end this message on a sad note, but as many of you may know, Dr. Brian Axsmith, a USA professor of biology, died this week after contracting COVID-19. Dr. Axsmith’s research interest was paleobotany; even those who didn’t know Dr. Axsmith may recognize him from the classes he conducted outside to enable his students to study plants and trees. He was a gifted and thoughtful speaker who made learning about biology accessible, he was well-regarded by both his students and colleagues, and he will be missed.

It’s important to know that while restrictions on movement begin to ease nationwide and here in Alabama, we all have a responsibility to each other’s health and safety. That means frequent hand-washing, avoiding large social gatherings and keeping at least 6 feet of distance between persons. These practical guidelines are not just about your safety, but about saving the lives of others. Let’s show what it means to be “in this together.”

Tony G. Waldrop
President


May 1, 2020

Dear USA Students, Faculty and Staff,

Spring has been a challenge for all of our students, especially our graduating students, who left for spring break not knowing that they had taken their last classes on campus. Graduation can be a bittersweet experience, this year even more so.

Let’s then recognize and honor our graduates, together. Please join me for a virtual commencement next Saturday, May 9, at 11 a.m. Central Time. You will be able to watch it on YouTube by clicking the large banner on USA’s home page, SouthAlabama.edu.

This ceremony will be its own unique experience and cannot replace the commencement many of our graduates were expecting. To those students, please know that we are continuing to look for ways that we can honor you this fall on campus.

It is my sincere hope that, through virtual watch parties and intimate family gatherings, this commencement will be one to remember for all the right reasons: celebrating accomplishment, honoring community and anticipating better times ahead.

As we send our graduates off to their futures, we also are planning for the future of the University. I’m pleased to let you know that the University is planning to reopen campus and resume in-person classes and residential student living this fall. There is always the possibility that the evolving health risks or other circumstances associated with COVID-19 may require that we change our plans, but we are currently working through the many logistical issues associated with reopening our campus.

The most important step in reopening is to ensure that we can conduct classes and activities in a safe manner. To that end we have formed a committee tasked with laying the groundwork for reopening. This group has met twice, and an additional nine sub-groups have been formed to examine issues ranging from health and safety to academics, athletics and finance. The at-large committee expects recommendations back in the next few weeks so it can make decisions on how to proceed with reopening. We are moving quickly, but thoroughly, in order to allow for a safe return of our students and employees.

As you know, Governor Kay Ivey already is relaxing some restrictions statewide by replacing the Stay at Home order with a Safer at Home order. At USA Health, that will mean a return to elective surgeries and procedures. Healthcare and support staff will continue practices that have helped keep our hospitals as safe as possible, including limiting access of visitors and requiring facemasks, curbside triage for both hospital emergency departments, and eliminating communal patient waiting rooms at the hospitals.

To ensure an adequate supply of personal protective equipment, USA Health has found an innovative way to disinfect N95 masks for reuse. The sterilization staff each day collects the masks and cleans them with the same Xenex robot used to clean hospital rooms. The robot emits pulsed UV-C light to sterilize the masks before they are returned to their original users.

Just as USA Health is finding innovative ways to work around challenges, and commencement will be held in a way never done before, let us all continue to search for solutions that unite us behind preparation and purpose.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President

▼   Updates from April 2020

April 24, 2020

Dear USA Students, Faculty and Staff,

As we take necessary precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including distance learning and working remotely for many of our employees, we also must begin to plan for how and when we reopen campus to the University community.

That is why I’ve appointed a committee charged with researching and recommending plans to welcome back students, faculty and staff. It still is too soon to say when that may happen, but I know we need to prepare for a smooth and safe transition. We surely cannot immediately go back to how we operated before the pandemic, so we’ll work to determine reasonable and responsible guidelines and a timeline for moving forward.

The committee includes healthcare and academic representatives. We’ll meet at least weekly, including our first at-large meeting today. Please let me know if you have any ideas you’d like brought to the table.

Through this pandemic, one thing has not changed –the generosity and dedication of our Jaguar community. The SouthFund annual employee and retiree giving campaign has concluded with 2,977 gifts totaling a record $1.23 million. More than half of our USA and USA Health employees donated, once again making the SouthFund campaign the envy of other universities and putting needed resources to scholarships, research, healthcare and other University activities. Thank you to all who gave, as well as the unit representatives and our co-chairs – Dr. Harold Pardue, graduate school dean; Dr. Michael Chang, USA Health chief medical officer; and Dr. Debra Davis, College of Nursing dean emeritus.

Dr. Chang also has been a leader in our coronavirus planning and response, which includes implementing safety protocols at our hospitals and clinics. Extensive COVID-19 screening occurs when anyone arrives at a USA Health facility. Each day, patients and staff are asked a series of questions and temperatures are taken to maintain as healthy of an environment as possible. Because of these protocols, and due to the hard work of our environmental services personnel, USA Health has been able to maintain its longstanding commitment to patient and employee safety.

Please remember and honor the commitment of our healthcare professionals by following social distancing and other guidelines from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on protecting yourself and others.

Tony Waldrop, Ph.D.
President


April 17, 2020

Dear USA Students, Faculty and Staff,

We’re all learning to adapt to new ways of functioning. Some of these changes, like working from home, are temporary. Other behaviors, such as washing our hands more frequently, may become standard operating procedure. It’s too soon to tell what the new normal will look like.

In any case, COVID-19 is forcing us to change and innovate. We are ready for that challenge.

At USA Health, telemedicine is on the rise and will likely be factored into our long-term growth plans, as our providers look for new ways to reach patients without the need for them to come to a clinic or hospital.

Our Office of Research and Economic Development, recognizing the need to push innovation quickly, adapted its technology commercialization and industry collaboration practices — the procedure that moves a product from the lab to a commercial enterprise — by agreeing to non-exclusive, royalty-free licenses of intellectual property related to preventing, diagnosing and treating COVID-19.

And our faculty and students continue to meet the challenge of online, remote education, even if it comes with a learning curve. When we decided to move summer classes online, the University eliminated the additional online charges for most undergraduate students this summer. We wanted to remove barriers to students finishing their degrees on time, and our students have responded with strong interest in those courses.

We are all finding new ways to live and learn. I’m learning more about our teleconferencing technology, and I now have many daily meetings online. I have one scheduled for today with student leaders, after meeting with other students last week.

I’d much rather meet in person. I miss having everyone on campus. But I know I’ll see all of you when we can return safely.

Tony Waldrop, Ph.D.
President


April 10, 2020

Dear USA Students, Faculty and Staff,

While many of us are displaced, at home or working remotely, it’s important we stay in touch. Each Friday for the remainder of the semester, I’ll be sending you an email with some notes I’ve made from the past week – items you may have missed, good news you should know about, and some reflections on how we can move forward together.

I had a conversation on Tuesday with eight student leaders to see how they are doing and hear their opinions on how we’re doing. Joining me on that video conference was Dr. David Johnson, provost; Dr. Mike Mitchell, vice president for student affairs; and Dr. Andi Kent, dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies and the incoming interim provost. We all seem to be, as one student put it, in a time of constant adjustment, so there certainly will be challenges. The students mentioned some challenges with online classes and grading that we are following up on, as well as the need to ensure our online video conferences are secure. I also heard of several instances where our faculty went the extra mile – beginning classes by checking on the students’ well being, giving extra time for assignments, and even an instructor who gave students his cell phone number so they could text him.

One way we’re helping our community stay connected is by making it easier to access campus resources remotely. We built a South Strong web page with more than a dozen listings of resources and services that we think might be helpful, and we’re continuing to add to that page.

While many of our faculty and main campus staff are working from home, our USA Health employees are at our hospitals and clinics treating patients, conducting research and taking care of our health facilities. I hope all of you will join me in thanking them for their incredible commitment to healing and serving the sick and vulnerable in our region. They are on the front lines of battling the coronavirus pandemic, and our community is grateful for their sacrifices. For the past two Sundays, people from throughout the community have gathered in their vehicles outside our hospitals and turned on their car lights to show support for our colleagues.

USA Health, in collaboration with the City of Mobile, is operating a COVID-19 testing site at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. About 20 healthcare employees from our physicians group are staffing the site, with significant support from our USA Health information technology department. By the end of this week, we expect to have seen 500 people who made appointments to be tested.

Finally, I’d like to congratulate students Richard Fu, Hannah Giannini, Samantha Michlowitz and John Pomerat, who are among a select group of students from across the country recognized as 2020 Goldwater Scholars. This is the first time that USA has achieved the maximum number of allowable annual recipients, and our students are four of only seven total from all Alabama universities to be recognized for outstanding achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Great work by Richard, Hannah, Samantha and John, and to the family and faculty members who supported them!

Until next week, be safe, and keep others safe, by continuing to practice social distancing.

Tony Waldrop, Ph.D.
President


April 2, 2020, Update to the USA Community

Dear USA Students, Faculty and Staff,

As a University community, we continue to have to make difficult decisions in our efforts to slow the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic.

In light of the projections for when the virus may peak in our area, we have decided to extend the use of online learning through the May and Summer terms. Students will not return to campus for classes this May/Summer. Courses scheduled to be taught on campus for the May term and for all Summer terms will be delivered in an online format.

We understand that many students may be dealing with difficult financial circumstances. With this in mind, the USA Board of Trustees approved a temporary tuition adjustment for the May and Summer terms. For undergraduate students who qualify for in-state tuition (Alabama and Service Area Residents), charges for all courses (excluding those already at a lower tuition rate in the RN to BSN program), whether originally scheduled to be on-campus or online, will be levied at the current applicable in-state tuition rate, and the higher web-based rate will not be charged. For out-of-state undergraduate students, charges for courses will be levied at the current applicable web-based rate rather than the higher out-of-state rate.

The University is considering providing on-campus housing for a limited number of students with special circumstances. If you will need on-campus housing for the summer, please contact the housing office at housing@southalabama.edu for more information.

South is a community with a shared purpose and genuine regard for all Jaguars. That is why we’ve put together a “South Strong” page on our University website to promote resources, advice and campus information, and even some virtual school spirit. South Strong provides information on everything from online tutoring and free counseling to financial assistance and chats with a librarian.

We will continue to communicate by email and online at SouthAlabama.edu as we make scheduling or operational changes. Thank you for your continued patience, understanding and commitment to our educational and healthcare missions.

Tony Waldrop, Ph.D.
President

David Johnson, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President

John Marymont, M.D.
Vice President for Medical Affairs


April 2, 2020, Update to the USA Community

USA Students, Faculty and Staff,

Even though our campus has moved to limited operations and classes are being held online, South remains a community with a shared purpose and genuine regard for all Jaguars. That is why we’ve put together a South Strong page on our University website to promote resources, advice, campus information and even some virtual school spirit.

Instead of greeting one another on campus, we can share social media stories of #SouthAtHome. Instead of yoga at the Rec Center, we can work out at home through virtual classes. Instead of wearing our school colors on campus, we can download South backgrounds for Zoom chats.

South Strong provides information on everything from online tutoring and free counseling to financial assistance and chats with our librarians.

This semester is something different and challenging for all of us. Let’s make the best of it. Let’s stay South Strong.

Tony Waldrop, Ph.D.
President

▼   Updates from March 2020

March 26, 2020, Update to the USA Community

Dear USA Employees and Students,

We take pride in being a close-knit community at South. We have strong bonds that have been built on connections – in classrooms and residence halls, and at sports and cultural events.

That is why it feels strange to urge that people keep their distance. Yet that is exactly what we must do.

COVID-19 spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical distance between people – at least 6 feet – is one way we can reduce infections. Social distancing, staying home for non-essential personnel and regularly washing hands will help flatten the curve of this pandemic. You will save lives by following these directives.

Remember, if you’re not feeling well, please first contact your personal physician or practitioner, local health department or USA’s Student Health Center by phone for instructions on what you should do. Going to the hospital, urgent care or other facility without notifying your healthcare provider or health department could endanger patients and healthcare professionals.

Rethinking your normal routines is inconvenient, and maintaining physical distance means having to think twice. In the South, in particular, social distancing seems to go against who we are and how we live. We’re known for our hugs and handshakes. But now is not the time to let down your guard.

The sooner we stop the spread of COVID-19, the sooner we can resume life on campus for students, faculty and staff. The University is here to help until then. In the last few weeks, South has moved to distance learning for our spring semester and is offering a variety of online programs and resources to help students continue their education.

We’re in this together, but for now we must remain apart.

Thank you for all you do to keep South strong.

Tony Waldrop, Ph.D.
President


March 20, 2020, Update to the USA Community

Dear USA Students,

The leadership of the University understands that the cancellation of our May commencement ceremonies is very disappointing to our graduating students, and this decision was not made lightly. We have heard from many of you with various suggestions and ideas for an alternative plan for commencement, and we are currently reviewing all of these options, including the possibility of postponing commencement ceremonies to a later date and inviting graduates back to campus.

As you know, the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve on a daily basis, and at this point we do not want to commit you and your families to a specific date or course of action that might have to be changed again. Please be assured we have heard your concerns, and while we are committed to making a decision as soon as possible about how to honor our May graduates, the changing circumstances surrounding this pandemic will dictate how soon a decision can be made. 

In the meantime, our regalia vendor, Graduate Supply House (https://gradsupply.com/usa/), is working with our campus bookstore to mail regalia to graduates who have purchased, or want to purchase it. They also will issue refunds to those who have ordered regalia but would prefer a refund.

Your patience during this difficult time is greatly appreciated, and we will be in touch with you as soon as possible with a more specific plan of action.

Tony Waldrop, Ph.D.
President

David Johnson, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President

John Marymont, M.D.
Senior Vice President and Dean, College of Medicine


March 19, 2020, Update to the USA Community

Dear Students,

As an additional way to accommodate and support you through the challenges presented by COVID-19, the last day to drop courses or withdraw from all courses for the Spring semester will be extended to the last day of classes, May 1, 2020. Before dropping a class or withdrawing, we strongly encourage you to communicate with your instructor and advisor.

G. David Johnson
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs


March 19, 2020, Update to the USA Community

Dear USA Students, Faculty and Staff,

As a University community, we’ve made many difficult decisions over the past few weeks to do our part to slow the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Unfortunately, we now must take an additional step that is logical, but extremely difficult. We must extend online learning and instruction for students and faculty for the duration of the spring semester. Students will not return to campus for classes this spring.

In addition, we will cancel May commencement ceremonies. We are particularly sad for our graduates and their families. This is an important time for them, and we thoroughly enjoy being a part of their big day. Please know that if you are a graduating student, we will do our best to find a way to recognize your achievements in the future.

It also is important to note that:

  • The transition from in-person instruction to online classes remains in effect. This decision extends the suspension of in-person instruction until the end of this semester. Contact your instructor with any questions about classes.
  • Degrees will be conferred to students who meet graduation eligibility. They will be mailed to students just as they are each fall and spring. Each graduate will also receive a printed copy of the commencement program.
  • If you ordered commencement regalia and would like to cancel your order, you may contact the Graduate Supply House.
  • Residential students should wait to receive authorization before returning to campus to checkout. Housing is developing a plan to stagger residence hall checkout. Please visit the Housing website for specific checkout instructions.
  • The University will send additional information regarding student account adjustments for room and board as soon as possible.

These decisions are being made now so that you and your families can plan, and so we can reduce uncertainty to the extent possible. These choices were not easy.

We are incredibly impressed by the strength and resilience we have witnessed in our community – from the dedication of our healthcare and hospital workers, who are preparing to face both the expected and unexpected challenges of COVID-19, to the flexibility and ingenuity of our faculty and students who now work with each other online instead of in the classroom.

We will continue to communicate by email and online at SouthAlabama.edu with any scheduling or operational changes. Thank you for your patience, understanding and commitment to our educational and healthcare missions.

Tony Waldrop, Ph.D.
President

G. David Johnson, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President

John Marymont, M.D.
Vice President for Medical Affairs


March 18, 2020, Update to the USA Community

Effective Monday, March 23, all employees who need to be on campus will be required to display their University-issued employee identification cards. Cards should be attached to clothing or worn using a lanyard. If your card needs to be punched to accommodate the lanyard, you need a lanyard, or you have lost your ID card, assistance can be found at the campus Human Resources office. The hours of this assistance will be between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., on March 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27. The address of the Human Resources office is USA Technology & Research Park Building III, Suite 2200, 650 Clinic Drive. If you have questions about this, please call Human Resources at 251-460-6133.

G. Scott Weldon
Vice President, Finance and Administration


March 17, 2020, Update to the USA Community

Dear Students,

Thank you for your patience as we work diligently to best accommodate and support the USA community during this time of transition and uncertainty. We recognize that the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) creates hardship, but please know that we will do everything possible to continue to support your success.

Please keep the items below in mind:

  • Campus access is limited to essential personnel until further notice. All academic and non-academic buildings are closed, including Marx Library and the Student Center.
  • Watch your Jag email. Just like classes, student services, campus resources, and many organizations are all working online. Your Jag email is our primary point of contact for supporting your ongoing work at USA.
  • Visit the university webpage, and homepages for your department and other offices. Current information should be available through both email and on webpages.
  • We understand that these changes can increase stress and anxiety. Counseling and Testing is continuing to offer virtual appointments and provides extensive online resources for downloading and viewing https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/counseling/

Finally, our One Stop/South CARES team is working to support students displaced or impacted by programming adjustments in light of the COVID-19 public health threat. Information regarding academic, financial, and campus resources can be found by accessing our One Stop/South CARES webpage.

Many university offices will be operating with staff working from home to protect their health and safety as well, but all offices remain functional as we are dedicated to the continuation of serving our students. If you have trouble accessing the One Stop/South Cares webpage please call our team at (251) 341-4USA or email onestop@southalabama.edu for assistance.

We understand that this situation will cause some consternation and anxiety, but we assure you that we will, as a USA community, make it through this challenging time. Although this is a fluid and sometimes rapidly changing situation, please know that your safety and well-being are at the forefront of our thoughts and actions.

Please stay tuned and stay healthy.


March 17, 2020, Update to the USA Community

Dear USA Faculty and Staff,

Based on the latest COVID-19 developments and best practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and federal authorities, the University of South Alabama main campus will transition to limited on-campus operations in order to minimize in-person contact between employees.

Main campus supervisors should immediately make plans to transition to remote work for all employees who are able to perform their job responsibilities from a remote location. The transition to remote work can begin as soon as the office or department is prepared to do so, and will continue until further notice.

For some departments and offices, a transition to remote work for all employees in that area may not be possible. University leadership is currently exploring ways to keep all offices and departments functioning while limiting on-campus work schedules of employees whose job functions do not permit work from home. Additional information will be provided no later than Friday, March 20.

USA Health employees will receive a separate email with specific information about their work schedules.

Employees working remotely must remain available to come to campus as needed, and supervisors should make arrangements to ensure that office and department email and phone messages continue to be responded to in a timely manner. For voicemail instructions, please see the telecommunications website or contact Telecommunications at telecom@southalabama.edu or (251) 341-3999.

Employees working remotely who need computer assistance may contact the Computer Services Center helpdesk at helpdesk@southalabama.edu or (251) 460-6161.

Main campus employees working remotely are permitted to come to campus and access their offices as approved by their supervisors, however, employees are not permitted to bring family members or other non-employees to campus with them.

Payroll services will continue to process payroll normally during this time of limited operations, and regular, permanent employees will continue to be paid. All employees must continue to fill out their time sheets. Specific instructions with respect to completing time sheets will be forthcoming.

Additional information will be sent as soon as it is available. Please continue to monitor your email and the USA Coronavirus website for updates.

Your cooperation and dedication to the continued successful operation of the University is greatly appreciated by our entire leadership team.

Tony Waldrop, Ph.D.
President


March 14, 2020, Update to the USA Community

USA Employees and Students,

Additional areas of the United States have been added to the required self-quarantine areas covered under the USA COVID-19 travel requirements, including all international destinations as well as the states of New York, California, Massachusetts and Washington. Employees and students should visit the website and ensure they comply with the requirements: https://www.southalabama.edu/coronavirus/travel.html.

Tony Waldrop, Ph.D.
President

G. David Johnson, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President


March 13, 2020, Update to the USA Community

Dear Students,

With the recent developments of COVID-19 in the U.S. and the likelihood of cases occurring in our community, Student Health strongly encourages all students with cold and/or flu like symptoms to call (251) 460-7151 before coming to the Student Health Center.

If you feel you are a non-emergency situation, please follow CDC guidelines and self-quarantine. You can call the Alabama Department of Public Health Infectious Disease and Outbreaks Division at 1-800-338-8374 to see if you need to be tested.

We currently are not able to test anyone for COVID-19 at Student Health and are unsure when or if we will be able to do so. If you have an emergency, please call ahead. You can reach the University Hospital Emergency Department at (251) 471-7300 and the Children's & Women's Emergency Department at (251) 415-1144.

If you are seeking an appointment for physicals, immunizations, annual exams or anything that can be done at a future date it is advised at this time to wait until this crisis is over to make those appointments.

If you have any questions, please call Student Health at (251) 460-7151 or email us at studenthealth@southalabama.edu.

Thank You,

Ryan Ferguson
Director of Student Health


March 13, 2020, Update to the USA Community

USA Employees,

Now that the decision has been made to suspend in-person instruction and transition to online classes at least until April 19, I am writing to provide you with additional information regarding main campus operations.

First, let me assure you that we have processes in place to ensure that employees will continue to be paid. Our Division of Financial Affairs is currently planning for contingencies that include, for example, working from home, if needed, to ensure payroll operations are not interrupted.

Second, our campus is not closed at this point, although access to and from the main campus will be limited by USA Police to USA South Drive and the newly named Jaguar Boulevard (formerly Stadium Boulevard). All administrative and staff employees should continue to report to work and expect to work a regular schedule unless otherwise notified. Faculty are encouraged to work from home if at all possible.

For both Faculty and Staff, I urge you to limit meetings and, whenever possible, conduct meetings via remote conferencing. More information on how to do this is available on the Innovation in Learning Center’s Zoom website.

Additional information will be sent to health system employees about processes and procedures.

A few other significant changes are needed to maintain the best possible conditions for health and safety on our campus:

  • All non-essential hourly student work is suspended as of the end of the work day on Friday, March 13. This means that no student workers can be working except those specifically approved to report to work by the Vice President of the respective divisions. Such approval must be requested and received in writing from the Vice President. Supervisors should immediately inform your student workers of this change.
  • All events, meetings and gatherings of more than 50 people are required to be canceled immediately. More information on rescheduling these events will be sent when possible.
  • The Student Center and Student Recreation Center will close to all meetings and activities until further notice, effective Friday, March 13, 2020 at 5 p.m.

These are difficult times, and we recognize that these changes represent inconvenience and hardship for our University community. At the same time, however, we must do what is best for the health, safety and continuity of the University and its people. We will continue to keep you informed of new developments, and I thank you for your hard work, dedication and spirit during this challenging time in our history.

Tony Waldrop, Ph.D.
President


March 13, 2020, Update to the USA Community

Dear Students,

In response to the serious public health threat from a novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the University of South Alabama has made the decision to cancel on-campus classes during the week of March 16 through March 22 for all classes except for those offered by the College of Medicine. Students are encouraged to remain home during this period.

Note that fully online courses will continue to operate as previously scheduled during this time.

Beginning March 23, 2020, courses that previously were offered on-campus, in either a face-to-face, or hybrid method, will resume in a fully online format. These courses will continue to be delivered in an online format through at least April 19, 2020. If conditions permit, these classes will resume on-campus on April 20. If conditions are not improved by that time, these classes will finish the semester in an on-line format. The decision to resume classes on campus, or continue on-line, will be made at a later time.

Our faculty are committed to your success and will clearly communicate with you when your on-campus courses are moved online. Faculty will also clearly communicate their expectations and will be there to support you through the transition. It is our goal to do our utmost to minimize disruption for you in completing your coursework and having a successful semester as we take actions to protect the health of our campus community.

Because all of your on-campus courses will move online by Monday, March 23, 2020, we are asking that you utilize the following resources:

  • Make sure that you have signed up for announcement notifications in Sakai or Canvas. Course updates will come from your instructor via announcements.
  • Familiarize yourself with your course content in Sakai and Canvas. Your instructor will provide more details about assignment submission and exams beginning on March 23. Please consult Sakai or Canvas for navigational support.
  • What about internships, labs or clinical rotations? For questions regarding department specific requirements, please be on the lookout for an email from the department chair, program coordinator, or instructor of the course.
  • Residence halls are closed until face-to-face classes resume. If you have extenuating circumstances and are not able to vacate or retrieve necessary belongings and you need to request an extension, please email housing@southalabama.edu as soon as possible. Housing will contact all residence hall students by email with additional and more detailed closure information.
  • Signed up for study abroad this summer or fall? Announcements about study abroad may be found at USA’s International Education website.

The University is taking these actions to protect the health of our students, faculty, and other employees and to help limit the spread of infection in our community. We appreciate your willingness to help in these efforts.

David Johnson, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Tony Waldrop, Ph.D.
President


March 13, 2020, Update to the USA Community

Dear Faculty Member,

As you are aware, many universities are making the decision to transition all courses to an online format due to the outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19. On the recommendation of the University Pandemic Emergency Management Team, we have been advised to begin moving on-campus courses online. To give you time to prepare for this move, we are canceling on-campus courses next week (March 16 through March 22, 2020) for all classes except for those offered by the College of Medicine.

Students are being asked to remain home and should not be required to come to campus during this time. Courses that are already fully online will continue on their normal schedule and should continue to be delivered as scheduled for the remainder of the semester, including next week (March 16 through March 22, 2020).

Faculty teaching on-campus courses should be prepared to deliver these courses online beginning March 23, 2020. These courses will continue to be delivered in an online format through at least April 19, 2020. If conditions permit, these classes will resume on-campus on April 20. If conditions are not improved by that time, these classes will finish the semester in an on-line format. The decision to resume classes on campus, or continue on-line, will be made at a later time.

Faculty should coordinate these efforts with their department chairs and program coordinators. Faculty should incorporate any course objectives missed due to the one week cancellation of on-campus courses into the remainder of the term if feasible. If not feasible, faculty should work with program coordinators and department chairs to determine the best approach to satisfy course objectives.

Faculty teaching courses that cannot be moved to the online environment should work with program coordinators and department chairs with the goal of lessening the negative impact on students while also maintaining academic quality.

I encourage all faculty, full-time and part-time, to follow these steps to ensure an effective online transition:

  1. Establish a communication plan with your students. Use announcements in Sakai or Canvas to let your students know that the course will be moving online. Outline how (via announcements) and when they should expect to hear from you (e.g. daily). You may also let the students know that you will share all final exam updates as they are made available. Students should be made aware of any synchronous meeting requirements and faculty are encouraged to be flexible.
  2. Create and share a plan for at least two weeks of instruction.Gather the next two weeks’ instructional materials and generate a plan for sharing this information in Sakai or Canvas. You are encouraged to set realistic goals for the remainder of the semester that preserve academic quality but also minimize the negative impact on students when possible. The university offers Zoom­ for holding and recording real time meetings and Panopto for recording videos.

The ILC is also offering webinars and one-on-one consultation to assist you in your course transition.

You can reach the ILC by email at ilc@southalabama.edu. Please visit the webpages below for resources and updated information:

Faculty Information for Working and Teaching Remotely:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/ilc/covid19-teach-strag.html

ILC Live Events for Transitioning to Fully Online

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/ilc/covid-workshop-plan.html

Thank you for your willingness to help the University respond effectively to this public health threat and to continue to fulfill our responsibilities to our students.

G. David Johnson


March 12, 2020, Update to the USA Community

The message sent to the University community earlier today regarding the policy on personal travel and quarantine requirements has been updated to clarify the areas of travel that are subject to these requirements. As these areas will quickly evolve, the “Travel Requirements” link on the University’s Coronavirus website now contains a list of these areas, which will be updated daily or as soon as new information becomes available.

The updated section of the statement reads as follows:

Employees and students returning from international travel or travel to a domestic area impacted by COVID-19 should self-quarantine for a period of 14 days and must self-report this travel to their respective supervisor, program coordinator or department chair. These areas are currently defined as all international destinations, as well as the United States regions of Washington State and Westchester County, New York. An up-to-date list of defined areas is posted at SouthAlabama.edu/Coronavirus/Travel and will be updated daily, or as soon as new information becomes available. The University will require a 14-day period of self-quarantine before returning to campus or clinical placements for these travelers. If such a period of self-quarantine is required after personal travel deemed at-risk, employees will be required to utilize accrued leave for that period.


March 12, 2020, Update to the USA Community

As you are aware from previous communications, the University Pandemic Emergency Management Team is closely monitoring the worldwide outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). The University of South Alabama is a globally engaged institution with faculty, staff, and students who frequently travel internationally as well as domestically. The health and safety of our university community is a top priority for the institution. Please check frequently the University homepage at https://www.southalabama.edu/coronavirus/ for updates.

In light of the current outbreak of COVID-19 and the fact that the World Health Organization has now declared it a global pandemic, we are taking all reasonable precautions to keep our community safe and informed. Based on the expanding global outbreak, the significant risk of exposure during travel, and guidance from experts in public health and infectious disease, the University of South Alabama is implementing interim travel guidelines and restrictions. With the exception of those trips currently underway, all upcoming university-sponsored international faculty, staff, and student travel is suspended effective immediately and until further notice.

Additionally, all non-essential university-sponsored domestic travel is suspended. Domestic travel deemed essential will require the approval of the respective Vice President and the President. Employees with out-of-pocket expenses related to cancelled trips should contact the University Travel Services Office at 460-6242 for guidance.

Although these travel guidelines and restrictions do not apply to personal travel, employees and students are encouraged to reconsider any planned air travel, cruise ship travel, travel to areas identified by the Centers for Disease Control as at risk for COVID-19, and travel to group meetings or events. Employees and students who are considering personal travel are cautioned to carefully review the risk of exposure and of travel disruption and employees should notify supervisors of their destinations should they decide to travel.

Travelers returning to campus from international destinations will have to comply with U.S. re-entry and quarantine or self-isolation requirements and travelers returning from certain domestic areas will face similar requirements. Additionally, returning travelers may be required by the University to remain at home for a self-quarantine period. Returning employees should coordinate with their supervisors about missed work and returning students should coordinate with course instructors and advisors about missed class time if quarantine or self-isolation is required.

Employees and students returning from international travel or travel to a domestic area impacted by COVID-19 should self-quarantine for a period of 14 days and must self-report this travel to their respective supervisor, program coordinator or department chair. These areas are currently defined as all international destinations, as well as the United States regions of Washington State and Westchester County, New York. An up-to-date list of defined areas is posted at SouthAlabama.edu/Coronavirus/Travel.html and will be updated daily, or as soon as new information becomes available. The University will require a 14-day period of self-quarantine before returning to campus or clinical placements for these travelers. If such a period of self-quarantine is required after personal travel deemed at-risk, employees will be required to utilize accrued leave for that period.

The University is closely monitoring the developing situation and will update travel guidelines as CDC risk levels change. These interim guidelines will remain effective for a minimum of 30 days and will be extended as long as warranted by the level of risk.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President
University of South Alabama


March 2, 2020, Update to the USA Community

Dear USA Students and Employees,

The University is continuing to monitor reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

To ensure the University is adequately prepared to follow guidance and directives from the CDC and other relevant agencies, I have activated the University’s Pandemic Emergency Management Team. This team includes representatives from all relevant areas of the University and is led by Dr. Michael Chang, Chief Medical Officer for USA Health. The team is reviewing processes and plans for appropriate responses to the evolving information about COVID-19.

As we learn more each day about COVID-19, the management team will continue to meet, assess reports and information, and make decisions about appropriate actions. Depending on roles and responsibilities, employees may be receiving additional, more specific information from the leadership of their areas.

Students should continue to monitor their University email accounts during Spring Break for any announcements. The University is currently evaluating the impacts on students who are or will be studying abroad, and will communicate with students on a case-by-case basis regarding their specific circumstances.

In the meantime, please remember that following guidelines for prevention of virus transmission is a very important part of our shared responsibility. Precautions for preventing transmission of COVID-19 are similar to prevention practices for flu and other respiratory illnesses. These include: frequently washing your hands; not touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; and routinely cleaning frequently touched objects and surfaces.

I encourage students, faculty and staff to educate themselves about the virus, its symptoms and the geographic areas where the virus is most widespread. In particular, students and employees are urged to use caution when considering travel to areas where the virus is prevalent. For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, please visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/coronavirus. In addition, updates and information are being posted to USA’s Student Health Center website.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Cases have ranged from people being mildly sick to being severely ill and dying. At this point, the CDC believes symptoms may appear from 2 to 14 days after exposure.

If you believe you have become ill from, or have been exposed to, this virus, please take appropriate precautions to not spread it. This includes staying in your dwelling and limiting your contact with other people. Employees should contact their primary care provider, and students should contact the USA Student Health Center at (251) 460-7151 or studenthealth@southalabama. edu.

Tony Waldrop, Ph.D.

President

▼   Updates from January 2020

January 30, 2020, Update to the USA Community

Dear USA Students and Employees,

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Cases have been confirmed in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States.

As we learn more each day about the coronavirus, I encourage students, faculty and staff to educate themselves about the virus, its symptoms and the geographic areas where the virus is most widespread. In particular, students and employees are urged to use caution when considering travel to areas where the virus is prevalent. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Precautions for preventing transmission of the coronavirus are similar to prevention practices for flu and other respiratory illnesses. These include: frequently washing your hands; not touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; and routinely cleaning frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Symptoms of coronavirus can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Reported illnesses have ranged from people being mildly sick to people being severely ill and dying. The CDC believes symptoms may appear from 2 to 14 days after exposure.

If you believe you have become ill from, or have been exposed to, this virus, please take appropriate precautions to not spread it. This includes staying in your dwelling and limiting your contact with other people. Employees should contact their primary care provider, and students should contact the USA Student Health Center at (251) 460-7151 or studenthealth@southalabama.edu.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President
University of South Alabama