Coronavirus Graphis

Updates on Coronavirus

Coronavirus Updates

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.

Planning for the fall 2021 semester is focused on returning to course offerings, class schedules and student activities that will resemble a typical fall semester on campus. The University expects to be able to incorporate a more traditional slate of in-person activities and gatherings, along with appropriate health and safety protocols.

Operating guidelines and procedures for the summer and fall 2021 semesters are subject to change, and students and employees should check this website regularly for updates. Listed below are the most current policies and practices.

  • Social Distancing. Social distancing is no longer required for individuals who are fully vaccinated. For the May and Summer terms, social distancing of 3 feet will be maintained in instructional settings. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should continue to maintain social distancing according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

  • Masking. While on University of South Alabama academic campuses or while participating in USA-sponsored activities, employees, students and guests are required to follow current CDC guidelines for face masks. At this time, masks are optional for those who are fully vaccinated and required for those who are not vaccinated. It is the responsibility of each individual to comply with the CDC requirements based on their vaccine status. Noncompliance is subject to University disciplinary processes. Additional requirements may apply, and must be followed as announced, in specific settings.

  • Health and Safety Measures. Keep plastic shields in place and do not dispose of shields that were purchased or installed. Continue all sanitization protocols.

  • Reporting symptoms, exposures and positive cases. Daily health screenings using Guidesafe Jag Healthcheck are no longer required; however 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 listed in the Contact Tracing Requirements section below.
    • 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.

  • Events. 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. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should follow applicable CDC guidelines to reduce risk of COVID-19.

  • Visitors. Visitors (any non-employee or non-student) to the University main campus must complete the USA Guest COVID-19 Screening and display their clearance upon arrival to campus to their hosts. If the visitor indicates symptoms of COVID-19 or exposure to individuals who are positive, access to campus is denied and further instructions will be provided. Visitors who are not vaccinated must follow CDC guidelines for social distancing and masking.

  • Travel. 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.

  • Vaccinations. In Alabama, anyone over the age of 12 is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who would like to receive the vaccine can schedule an appointment for themselves or eligible family members at  https://c19vaccine.southalabama.edu.
    • Employees are encouraged to provide verification of their vaccination status to Employee Health and Wellness, and students are encouraged to provide verification of their vaccination status to Student Health. This helps us gauge overall vaccinations on campus and herd immunity as we adjust our practices and guidelines.

 

▼   Reopening Highlights

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 marcomm@southalabama.edu with your suggestions.

▼   University Committee for Reopening Campus

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 reopening campus in accordance with best practices for health and safety. The members of the committee, along with links to each subcommittee plan, are listed below. 

Committee Members

  • Kristin Dukes; General Counsel
  • Benjamin Estrada; Professor and Assistant Dean, College of Medicine
  • Ryan Ferguson; Director of Student Health Services
  • David Johnson; Professor
  • Andi Kent; Interim Provost and Senior Vice President
  • John Marymont; Vice President for Medical Affairs, Dean of College of Medicine
  • John Smith; Acting President
  • Scott Weldon; Vice President for Finance and Administration
  • Julie Estis; COVID-19 Response Coordinator
Requests for exceptions to reopening policies and practices may be submitted to covid19@southalabama.edu for consideration by the committee.
▼   Reporting Requirements for Students

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 reportcovid@southalabama.edu 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 reportcovid@southalabama.edu.

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.

▼   Reporting Requirements for Employees

Any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to send an email to reportcovid@southalabama.edu and notify Human Resources at (251) 460-1521.

Any supervisor notified by a faculty/staff member testing positive for COVID-19 must send an email to reportcovid@southalabama.edu and notify Human Resources at  (251) 460-1521.

Any USA faculty/staff notified by a student that he/she has tested/is positive for COVID-19 must send an email to reportcovid@southalabama.edu.

For additional instructions and information on these requirements, please visit the Human Resources website.

▼   COVID-19 Testing

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.

Faculty and staff who have been exposed or are symptomatic for COVID-19 may follow up with Employee Health and Wellness at (251) 461-1521 and may be referred for testing to their primary care provider or the USA Health drive-through testing center at the Mobile Civic Center.

▼   Face Mask Requirement
▼   Are face masks required?
While on University of South Alabama academic campuses or while participating in USA-sponsored activities, employees, students and guests are required to follow current CDC guidelines for face masks. At this time, masks are optional for those who are fully vaccinated and required for those who are not vaccinated. It is the responsibility of each individual to comply with the CDC requirements based on their vaccine status. Noncompliance is subject to University disciplinary processes. Additional requirements may apply, and must be followed as announced, in specific settings.
▼   What is an “approved” face mask?
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 are not considered an acceptable form of masking.
▼   How can I get a mask?
You may supply your own mask, and in addition the University will provide two masks, free of charge, to each student and employee. For information regarding mask pickup, students may contact the Office of Student Affairs and employees may contact Human Resources.
▼   Does the University allow any exceptions or exemptions from the masking requirement?
Students who wish to request a reasonable accommodation to the masking requirement for medical reasons should contact the Office of Student Disability Services. Employee requests for reasonable accommodation should be directed to the Office of Human Resources. In limited circumstances, the University may also allow exceptions to this policy when wearing a mask is not deemed necessary by the University. In such circumstances, the University will clearly communicate the exception to those impacted.
▼   Hand Sanitizer and Protective Supplies

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.

▼   Signage and Printed Materials

The Office of Marketing and Communications has created a portfolio of standard and customizable signs and social distancing markers, which are shown below.

Floor/Furniture Stickers

Blue up arrow

10" square

Up arrow red

10" square

Don't Site Here Sticker

4" square

Wait here sign

10" square

Posters or Clings - 8 1/2" x 11"

Elevator sign
Elevator protocol sign
 
 

Posters - 8 1/2" x 11"

How to prevent spread sign
Weare masks sign
Hand Sanitizer Sign
Temperature screening sign

 

Thank you for social distancing sign
Wash hands Sign
Enter Sign
Exit sign


Stairs to go up sign
Stairs to go down sign
Bottle Filler Sign
Found turned off sign


Use sanitizer after equipment sign
Room Unavailable sign
Social Distancing in Restroom sign
Please do not move or rearrange furniture

 

Face masks are required in this office.
Mask Dos and Don'ts
Face masks are required in this building
 

 

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.

▼   Resources and Training

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.

▼   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!