The University of South Alabama continues to closely monitor the 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 ongoing impact of the pandemic to our campus and community requires us to remain flexible and make modifications to our policies as circumstances change. The COVID-19 Response Team will continue to reassess these policies on a weekly basis and update them accordingly. Students and employees should check this website regularly for updates.
Listed below are the most current policies and practices.
COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters, are available to eligible students and employees by appointment at the Student Health Center during normal operating hours. Be aware that you will need a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine in three weeks if this is your first dose. For second doses and boosters, bring your original vaccine card with you.
Appointments for COVID-19 vaccines are also available at the USA Health Civic Center site or other convenient community locations. Employees on the main academic campus are encouraged to provide verification of their vaccination status to Employee Health and Wellness. Students are encouraged to provide verification of their vaccination status through the Student Health Portal.
Reporting Symptoms, Exposures and Positive Cases
All employees and students are required to monitor and report symptoms and exposures and to report positive cases.
- All employees and students are required to immediately report confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 to USA’s contact tracing team at ReportCovid@SouthAlabama. edu. Instructions on how to report are provided on our Contact Tracing and Reporting Requirements website.
- Regardless of vaccine status, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or think you might have been exposed to COVID-19, stay home until you are cleared to return to campus. Students, contact Student Health at StudentHealth@SouthAlabama.edu (251) 460-7151. Employees, contact your supervisor and Employee Health and Wellness at PandemicHRCampus@ SouthAlabama.edu or call (251) 461-1521.
At this time, employees, students and guests are required to wear approved face coverings in all instructional settings (e.g., classrooms, labs) and in all indoor settings where 6-feet social distancing cannot be consistently maintained while on University of South Alabama academic campuses or while participating in USA-sponsored activities. Face coverings are also required while riding Jag Tran or other University transportation.
- Masks are not required outdoors, while in residence hall rooms without guests and while actively eating and drinking.
- Instructors may remove masks while teaching if the following conditions are met: the instructor is fully vaccinated; the instructor maintains 6 feet of separation from students; and the instructor wears a face mask except while at a podium or designated speaking area.
- The University reserves the right to require face masks or other health protocols in certain settings, and these requirements must be followed as announced.
- Employees, patients and visitors to USA Health facilities, as well as students in clinical healthcare settings, must continue to follow USA Health policies and protocols.
The masking policy will be reviewed weekly, with changes announced via email and website updates.
In-person events such as ceremonies, meetings and social gatherings are allowed if all USA COVID-19 precautions as listed above and on this website are followed.
Health and Safety Measures
Keep plastic shields in place and do not dispose of shields that were purchased or installed. Continue all sanitization protocols.
Visitors (any non-employee or non-student) to the University main campus must adhere to the University's health and safety protocols. Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or who has been exposed to individuals who are COVID-19 positive should avoid visiting campus until they receive medical clearance from a healthcare provider.
Travel increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Vaccination is strongly encouraged before travel. Anyone who chooses to travel, regardless of vaccination status, should self-monitor symptoms and follow masking and other safety protocols. Employees should follow all updated University travel protocols for international and domestic travel.
The guiding principle of the University’s reopening plan is to provide as safe an environment as possible for students, faculty and staff. The University is continually monitoring the health of the campus population and the public health of our region. The campus is poised to move back to remote work and remote instruction if necessary to protect the health of students and employees.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a dynamic and unpredictable situation. In order to adapt to this environment and to execute decisions related to its operations, the University of South Alabama has developed a set of parameters that are constantly evaluated. These parameters include federal, state or local government mandates, the level of regional risk as classified by the Alabama Department of Public Health, the percentage of COVID-19 positive tests in Mobile county, the healthcare capacity in Mobile and neighboring counties, the number of cases among students and employees at the USA campus, the percentage of positive tests among students and employees, and the University’s ability to provide essential services including quarantine and isolation.
The cumulative assessment of these criteria is routinely utilized in determining the level of activity within the University. This involves multiple operational options which range from regular academic and athletic engagement to the University physical closure with fully remote academic activities.
The University’s policies and procedures are evolving in response to changing conditions. This website will be updated as new information becomes available. Please check back frequently for updates. If you see errors or omissions on this website, please email email@example.com with your suggestions.
The COVID-19 Response Team (formerly called the University Committee for Reopening Campus) is composed of representatives from the main campus and USA Health system. The overall guiding principle of this committee's work is to provide as safe an environment as possible for students, faculty and staff.
The committee continues to work on all aspects of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with best practices for health and safety. The members of the committee are listed below.
- John Cleary; Associate Professor, Faculty Senate Past President
- Chris Cleveland; Assistant Vice President of Auxiliary Services
- Kristin Dukes; General Counsel
- Julie Estis; COVID-19 Response Coordinator
- Benjamin Estrada; Professor and Assistant Dean, College of Medicine
- Ryan Ferguson; Director of Student Health Services
- Charlie Guest; Executive Vice Provost
- Mike Haskins; Vice President for Marketing and Communications
- Andi Kent; Interim Provost and Senior Vice President
- John Marymont; Vice President for Medical Affairs, Dean of College of Medicine
- John Smith; Interim President
- Scott Weldon; Vice President for Finance and Administration
Requests for exceptions to COVID-19 policies and practices may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration by the committee.
Students who are attending classes or activities on campus, or who are living in USA Housing, are required to report positive COVID-19 tests to the University for followup contact tracing.
Any resident student, or any student present on campus for classes or activities, who tests positive for COVID-19, is required to immediately send an email to email@example.com so that contract tracing processes can be initiated. The email should include the student's name, student’s JAG number, student’s phone number, date of positive COVID-19 test, and any additional relevant information. The student will receive a reply email confirming email receipt from firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the student receives the reply email, it serves as confirmation that the contact tracing staff has been notified and USA’s contact tracing protocol will be initiated. If the student does not receive a confirmation reply email within 24 hours, they should call the Student Health Center at (251) 460-7151 and provide their information.
Once the University has been notified of a student who has tested positive for COVID-19, a member of the Student Contact Tracing Team will be assigned to that case. The assigned staff member will contact the individual who is COVID-19 positive to interview them about any and all individuals who may have been exposed. The contact tracer will then contact all exposed individuals who fall under the purview of the University and provide instructions based on the type of interaction that person had with the infected individual.
The names and relevant information regarding exposed individuals who fall outside the purview of the University will be provided to Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) for contact tracing either by MCHD or the appropriate jurisdiction.
Contact tracers will not disclose the name of the infected individual to any of the exposed persons and measures will be taken to protect the infected individual’s information.
Any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to send an email to email@example.com and notify Human Resources at (251) 461-1521.
Any supervisor notified by a faculty/staff member testing positive for COVID-19 must send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and notify Human Resources at (251) 461-1521.
Any USA faculty/staff notified by a student that he/she has tested/is positive for COVID-19 must send an email to email@example.com.
For additional instructions and information on these requirements, please visit the Human Resources website.
Students who have been exposed or are symptomatic for COVID-19, or indicate areas of concern, will be referred for testing to their primary care provider or through the Student Health Center.
Wearing a mask has been shown to slow the spread of COVID-19. By not wearing a mask, you are potentially endangering the health of others. Analysis of the COVID-19 virus shows that it can be spread by those who are not showing symptoms.
- Face masks are required to be worn in all instructional settings, such as classrooms and labs, and in all indoor areas where 6-feet distancing can not be consistently maintained.
- Face masks are required when riding JagTran buses and University transportation.
- Face masks are not required in residence hall rooms unless non-resident guests are present.
- Face masks are not required outside of University buildings (i.e. sitting outside, exercising outside, walking to and from classes).
- Face masks are not required while actively eating.
Any mask distributed by the University, any cloth mask that covers the nose and mouth, or any commercially available medical grade face mask. Neck gaiters and plastic face shields are not considered acceptable forms of masking.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on masking calls for masks to fit snugly on the face and for the materials to be layered. For masks that do not have multiple layers, consider wearing a disposable mask under a cloth mask.
The following recommendations are published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
To put on and wear your face mask:
- Wash your hands before putting on your face mask.
- Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
- Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.
- Make sure you can breathe easily.
- Keep your mask on your face the entire time you’re in public.
- Don’t put the mask around your neck or up on your forehead.
- Don’t touch the face mask, and, if you do, wash your hands.
To remove your face mask:
- Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops.
- Handle only by the ear loops or ties.
- Fold outside corners together.
- Place covering in the washing machine.
- Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing.
- Wash hands immediately after removing.
Wearing a mask has been shown to slow the spread of COVID-19. By not wearing a mask, you are potentially endangering the health of others. Analysis of the COVID-19 virus suggests that it can be spread by those who are not showing symptoms. To protect the health and safety of our entire campus community, the masking guidelines outlined on this website are required of all members of the University community. Students not following these requirements may be referred to the student disciplinary process. Employees not following these requirements will be subject to disciplinary action by their supervisor or Human Resources.
The Facilities Management office installs, maintains and restocks new hand sanitizing stations in public areas of campus and regularly deep cleans and sanitizes common areas of buildings and offices.
For supplies of hand sanitizer and disinfectant, campus offices and departments should follow the ordering guidelines on the Office of Finance and Administration website.
Offices that need Plexiglass/acrylic barriers for reception areas should contact Safety and Environmental Compliance at SafetyandEnv@SouthAlabama.edu.
The Office of Marketing and Communications has created a portfolio of standard and customizable signs and social distancing markers, which are shown below.
Posters or Clings - 8 1/2" x 11"
Posters - 8 1/2" x 11"
Offices in need of supplies of this signage for your office or have custom signage needs should contact Publication Services, which will work with you to develop, print and deliver the signage you need.
Employees and students are required to complete training regarding various issues related to COVID-19. This training includes hygiene, social distancing, and other infection-control issues.
The Division of Student Affairs communicates with students about training resources and requirements via email and through the Canvas platform.
The Office of Human Resources has provided educational and awareness materials to employees and departments. This offers general guidance on maintaining a safe workplace with respect to infection control and hygiene as well as specific guidance related to COVID-19. Training must be completed within a reasonable time of returning to campus in order for the employee to remain on campus. Training is typically completed electronically; however, alternative methods have been established for employees who do not have access to computers.
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!