Information for Students

This website contains general information for students and links to additional information from University departments and offices.

▼   COVID-19 Testing

All University of South Alabama students who expect to be on campus for classes or activities this fall will receive a free COVID-19 test as part of the GuideSafe™ entry to campus program, provided by the University of Alabama at Birmingham and supported by CARES Act funding through the State of Alabama. These tests will be administered free of charge to every student.

If you have additional questions after receiving your testing email and reviewing the frequently asked questions below, please contact OneStop@SouthAlabama.edu.

▼   Who needs to be tested?

Any student who plans to physically be present on the USA campus for classes, meetings, jobs, extracurricular activities, events or any other reason will have to provide documentation of a COVID-19 test.

▼   Who does NOT need to be tested?

Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 12 weeks do not need to be tested, however they must provide documentation of their test result and a medical clearance document from a health care provider to StudentHealth@SouthAlabama.edu.

Students who have tested negative for COVID-19 within 14 days of returning to campus do not need to be tested, however they must provide documentation of their test result to StudentHealth@SouthAlabama.edu.

Students participating in all fully online courses and who will not be physically present on campus for activities do not need to be tested.

▼   How will I be tested?

You will receive an email from testing@GuideSafe.org about scheduling your COVID-19 test. Please look for and promptly complete the instructions in the email. You may be directed to the University’s testing center on campus at the Mitchell Center or another site within Alabama, or you may be provided with a self-test kit to administer at home and send in.

NOTE: Due to FDA restrictions, minors (under 18) living outside Alabama and residents of New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Rhode Island will not be able to participate in the at-home testing kit option for entry testing provided by GuideSafe Testing. If you are an out-of-state student who is under the age of 18, or if you live in one of the states listed above, your options for testing are:

  • Use a testing option such as a drug store, your primary care physician, or a drive-thru testing center in your area. Send your results to StudentHealth@SouthAlabama.edu.
  • Use a testing center in Alabama once you arrive in the state. GuideSafe Testing has 13 test sites set up across Alabama. To use this option, please email testing@guidesafe.org now to register to receive a test at one of these locations once you are in Alabama.
▼   Can I be tested by my own physician or at another testing center? How do I submit my results?

Yes, you can be tested at another testing center or healthcare provider. A nasal swab polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is required; rapid testing and antibody tests will not be accepted. You must send documentation of your test and results to StudentHealth@SouthAlabama.edu.

▼   What do I need to bring to my testing appointment?

A confirmation email with the testing appointment and instructions of what to bring and information about what to expect with sample collection will be sent to you. When you arrive at the testing site, you will present the confirmation email and your identification.

▼   How will my test be conducted?

After identity verification, you will complete your sample collection under observation at the testing site. The test involves a self-administered swab just inside the nostril, which is less invasive than the nasopharyngeal swab you may have seen as another sample collection method.

▼   What will happen after my test?

The sample is transported by the testing site to the testing lab. The testing lab reports the test result to the student, the student's state department of public health, GuideSafe™ Testing and USA. If your results are positive you will need to contact USA’s Student Health Center for follow-up.

▼   How soon will I be notified of my test result?

Your test will be processed within 48 hours, and the results will be emailed to the email address you provided.

▼   What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

If your test result is positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted by a healthcare coordinator who will review your results, offer education and explain the next steps you should take. The healthcare coordinator may leave a voicemail message, but will not include your test results in a voicemail message. If you are not able to be reached by telephone, the healthcare team will mail a letter to the residential address you provided (the letter will include your test results).

▼   What happens if I test negative for COVID-19?

The University will be notified of your test results.

▼   What if I’ve already tested negative for COVID-19?

Students who have tested negative for COVID-19 within 14 days of returning to campus do not need to be tested, however they must provide documentation of their test result to StudentHealth@SouthAlabama.edu. If your test is more than 14 days old, you must be retested.

▼   What if I’ve already tested positive for COVID-19?

Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 12 weeks do not need to be tested, however they must provide documentation of their test result and a medical clearance document from a health care provider to StudentHealth@SouthAlabama.edu.

Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 must be cleared by Student Health before they can be physically present at the University

▼   How will my private medical information be protected?

Your information will be safeguarded under the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The reason you are being asked to share information about yourself during the testing process is because of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and mandates by the Alabama Department of Public Health. To protect your privacy, data will be de-identified when shared with the CDC.

▼   GuideSafe™ Jag Healthcheck and Exposure Notification App

As part of USA’s ongoing efforts to provide the safest possible environment, the University is making available two new tools that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

GuideSafe appThe first of these tools is the GuideSafe™ Jag Healthcheck, a simple health screening tool that must be completed daily by all USA general division employees (not USA Health employees) and all USA students, except those who are fully remote (i.e. not coming to campus for any classes or activities). This daily health screening will take only a few minutes to complete, and will help identify possible cases of COVID-19 in our community. Jag Healthcheck is required to maintain your ability to come to campus.

Our second new tool is the GuideSafe™ Exposure Notification App, an anonymous system which, if you test positive for COVID-19, will allow the Alabama Department of Public Health to notify those you do not know — or cannot remember coming into contact with — that they may have been exposed. Users of the app exchange anonymous codes among their phones using Bluetooth — no location data is ever stored or exchanged, and your personal information is never shared. This tool is strongly encouraged for all members of the University community.

Both of these tools can be accessed through the GuideSafe App, which is available for Apple and Android devices. Please search for GuideSafe in the app store or for more information and to download the app, please visit the GuideSafe website.

In addition, Jag Healthcheck can be accessed directly from any device by going to the website jaghealthcheck.southalabama.edu.

Through Jag Healthcheck, employees and students report whether or not they have had symptoms or exposure to anyone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19. If symptoms or exposures are reported, this information will be shared with Student Health or Employee Health (Human Resources). Based on responses, Jag Healthcheck assigns users one of three categories: Green/Least Risk, Yellow/May be at Risk, or Red/Greater Risk — each with its own instructions on how to proceed to campus or work. Regardless of the results, a secure compliance report will be sent to Student Health or Human Resources.

Students and employees may be asked to display their dated “Clear”/Green result prior to entering areas of USA’s campus or participating in activities.

Jag Healthcheck is not a substitution for self-monitoring of symptoms. If an employee experiences any COVID-19 related symptoms, the employee should not report to work and should report the absence in accordance with the department’s call-in procedure, even if working remotely.

FAQ

▼   Why is the University of South Alabama using Jag Healthcheck?

Jag Healthcheck, a COVID-19 assessment tool, informs public health and University officials about emerging symptom hot spots. It also helps University health officials prioritize participants who might need COVID-19 testing.

▼   What am I required to do as a student/employee?

Students and employees are encouraged to complete Jag Healthcheck daily, but completion is required at least every three days. Reminders can be set up though Jag Healthcheck. New COVID-19 symptoms or exposures are to be reported immediately in Jag Healthcheck.

▼   Is Jag Healthcheck secure? Is my privacy protected?

Jag Healthcheck is compliant with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It is a tool for you to report COVID-19 symptoms and any exposure. University of South Alabama Student Health, Employee Health and Human Resources receive the information to ensure those coming on campus are not showing symptoms.

▼   Will I remain anonymous?

Your responses are linked to your identity, and the University of South Alabama Student Health, Employee Health and Human Resources will receive your information submitted with Jag Healthcheck. The information is to ensure compliance and to identify employees or students who may need to be tested to further prevent the spread of COVID-19.

▼   How do I access Jag Healthcheck?

You can access Jag Healthcheck, a password-protected system, through the GuideSafe App on your phone, or by using your computer or table to go to JagHealthcheck.SouthAlabama.edu. The site can be pinned to your smartphone home screen so that it appears as an app.

▼   Will I receive notifications or reminders to fill out GuideSafe™ Healthcheck?

There will be an option for you to receive reminders to report how you are feeling.

▼   What happens if I do not screen Green in Jag Healthcheck?

You will be instructed to call Student Health (251-460-7151) or Employee Health and Wellness (251-461-1521) to assess the need for testing or medical evaluation.

▼   What happens if I do not complete Jag Healthcheck as required?

Students should complete the Jag Healthcheck assessment daily. After three days of non-compliance, students will be notified with an email and a text message regarding non-compliance.  On the fourth day of non-compliance, the student will receive a contact from the University reminding them that non-compliance with Jag Healthcheck may result in a negative impact on their good standing with the University.

Employees should complete the Jag Healthcheck assessment daily. After three days of non-compliance, employees will be notified with an email and a text message regarding non-compliance. The Employee Health & Wellness Coordinator (EHWC), using the Jag Healthcheck report, will monitor employees completion of the survey to identify employees who have failed to complete Jag Healthcheck at least every three business days. The EHWC will refer non-compliant employees to their immediate supervisor for appropriate action. Non-compliant employees will be addressed in accordance with the University’s disciplinary guidelines.

▼   Academic Classes

In almost all cases, classes will be delivered either in a hybrid model (Web-Blended) or fully online (Web-Online). For hybrid courses, some portion of the courses will generally be offered face-to-face while adhering to social distancing guidelines

For all classes held on campus, social distancing must be practiced by all students, faculty and other employees. All persons must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from one another at all times.

The first day of Fall 2020 classes will be moved up one day to Monday, Aug. 17, and Convocation will be canceled.

Fall break, scheduled for Thursday and Friday, Oct. 8-9 , will be canceled and those days will be used as class days.

Fall 2020 Classes will end Tuesday, Nov. 24, and students will not return to campus after the Thanksgiving break.

Final exams will be given during the last class meeting between Nov. 18 and Nov. 24, or virtually during a scheduled final exam period between Dec. 1 and Dec. 4.

▼   USA Libraries
 

The Charles M. Baugh Biomedical Library will open when College of Medicine classes resume on August 3.

Marx Library and the Mitchell College of Business Library will open to USA students, faculty and staff  on August 17.

USA Libraries’ online collections are available 24/7 while the libraries are closed. Beginning July 6, students can request materials from the print collections by filling out this request form. The Marx Library will serve as the distribution point for all library materials.

For more information, please visit the USA Libraries COVID-19 website.

▼   Health Screenings
All students are required to complete a health screening form before attending on-campus classes or activities, and may be referred for testing if the screening indicates issues or concerns. This screening questionnaire will be emailed to students this summer. 
▼   What if I have COVID-19 Symptoms?
 

You should not attend in-person classes or activities on campus  if you have symptoms like fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle, body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and/or diarrhea. If you have any questions about testing or are not feeling well and become symptomatic, stay home or in your residence hall room and call Student Health at (251) 460-7151 to set up a telehealth appointment with a provider.

▼   What if I have close-contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19?
Current CDC guidelines recommend that if you have close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer) with someone who is positive for COVID-19, you should self-quarantine for 14 days after exposure. If you become symptomatic, you should call Student Health at 251-460-7151 for further guidance
 
If the positive person is a faculty, staff, or student at USA, please encourage them to report their positive test to reportcovid@southalabama.edu.
▼   Contact Tracing Requirement

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.

▼   On-Campus Living

The Housing Office has implemented a number of new health and safety protocols for the 2020-21 year. These include:

  • Check-in for Fall 2020 will be spread over a two-week period. For more information on check-in processes and requirements, see the Housing website.
  • USA has reduced overall resident capacity by approximately 300 beds, with up to 50% private rooms.
  • USA has reserved 42 rooms to be used as private quarantine units, if needed.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be located at entrance/exits, lobbies and laundry rooms.
  • Masks are required in all public and common areas of USA residence halls, and when guests are in resident rooms.

Frequently Asked Questions

▼   What will happen if I test positive for COVID-19?

Any student in a University-operated residence hall who tests positive for COVID-19 may need to be relocated temporarily to a private residence hall room to be quarantined. Roommates and others who have come into contact with any student who tests positive will be notified, through contact tracing, that they have had close contact with a person who has tested positive and may have to quarantine per recent CDC guidelines. For more information on quarantine requirements, please see the Housing Office website.

The State Health Officer has issued an order mandating that any individual testing positive for COVID-19 must be quarantined to his or her place of residence for a period of time according to recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Any individual under quarantine may not leave his or her place of residence for any reason other than to seek necessary medical treatment. Under Alabama law, violation of this order is punishable by a fine of up to $500, and any student who violates a quarantine order will be subject to the student conduct process and may be immediately removed from student housing and/or the University.

▼   What if my roommate tests positive?

If you live in the same room or share a common bathroom, you will be considered a close contact. You may have to quarantine for up to 14 days from last exposure. USA Contact Tracing will be in touch to give exact details and answer any questions.

▼   What is considered a “close contact?”

CDC currently uses a 6/15 rule, meaning if you are within 6 feet of someone for longer than 15 minutes you are considered a close contact even if both people are wearing masks. If you share a bathroom, this is considered a household contact because surface touching is inevitable, so even if you are not around the positive individual you can still contract COVID-19 from shared surfaces.

▼   How long will I be in isolation/quarantine?

Each individual case will be different. Current CDC guidelines require a person to quarantine for 14 days from last exposure to a positive COVID person. If you test positive you will have to isolate for at least 10 days with 24 hours without fever and not taking any medications, and improvement in all symptoms.

▼   If I am quarantined, where will I be? Will meals be provided for me while I am in quarantine?  

Students who need to quarantine due to a positive test or exposure may be required to remain in their room, or they may be moved to a private room. Meals for on-campus resident students will be delivered daily. For more information on quarantine requirements, please see the Housing Office website.

Students living off-campus in privately owned housing facilities who are asked to quarantine should do so at their place of residence. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention offers these guidelines.

▼   If I get a test during quarantine and it is negative do I have to continue to quarantine?  

Yes. You will have to continue to quarantine for a full 14 days after last exposure because you can develop symptoms and start shedding the virus up to 14 days after exposure.

▼   Can I isolate/quarantine at home or do I have to stay in my residence on campus?  

If it is safe for you to go home and isolate/quarantine we encourage you to do so. We have quarantine rooms available on campus if needed.

▼   What symptoms do I need to look for with COVID-19? What do I do if I become symptomatic?  

Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. If you start to develop any of the above symptoms please stay in your room and contact student health at 251-460-7151 for further guidance.

 

▼   What if I develop symptoms on the weekend?  

If you develop symptoms and they are mild, please stay in your room and contact Student Health on Monday morning. If you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, new confusion, inability to stay awake or bluish lips or face, or feel like you need to see a medical professional, please go to the nearest Emergency Room or call 911.

 

▼   Dining Facilities

The Dining Services Office has implemented a number of new health and safety protocols for the 2020-21 year. For detailed information, please see the Dining Services website or plan to reopen.The changes include:

  • Reduced dining hall and retail seating capacity by 50%.
  • Elimination of self-service at all food operations.
  • Offering remote pre-ordering/takeaway at retail dining locations.
  • Requiring customers to wear face masks unless sitting and eating.
▼   Student Health Center
 

Students should continue to contact the Student Health Center with health concerns, whether routine or COVID-19 related. When making appointments at the Student Health Center, the following processes will be required:

  • All students will be required to make an appointment.
  • All students will be asked to wear their own mask if they have one. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided.
  • Student Health will continue to utilize tele-health for the majority of visits.
  • All high-touch areas will be cleaned twice daily.
  • Student Health will implement a system to provide 24/7 phone access.
  • The Intramural Field House will serve as the COVID-19 testing site.
▼   Student Recreation Center
 

The following protocols will be in place at the Student Recreation Center:

  • Rec Center hours will be revised to incorporate additional cleaning, and capacity will be reduced. Members will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis until capacity is reached.
  • The Rock Wall, Locker Rooms and Kids Play Zone will be closed.
  • Enforcement of social distancing will be managed by professional staff.
  • There will be a no-touch check-in procedure at the front desk.
  • All equipment at the Rec Center that is handled by patrons will be cleaned during the scheduled cleaning periods.
▼   Frequently Asked Questions
▼   What is the plan for in-person classes?

In most cases, classes will be delivered either in a web-blended (hybrid) model or fully online. For web-blended courses, some portion of the courses will generally be offered face-to-face, adhering to social distancing guidelines. Small classes (with low enrollment relative to classroom size) that allow for social distancing may be held fully face-to-face. Other classes will be reconfigured to reduce density and allow for social distancing.

▼   How can I tell if a class I’m registering for will be online, in-person or blended?

The format is listed in the course schedule. Courses which are listed as web-enhanced in almost all cases will actually be taught in a web-blended format. Students will be notified by their professor of the specific schedule for course meetings. In all cases where the course format differs from that listed in the schedule, faculty will communicate the changes and expectations to enrolled students prior to the beginning of the term.

▼   Will course offerings be limited because of smaller class sizes? How will this affect my ability to graduate on time?

USA does not anticipate limiting course offerings. As always, students planning to graduate who are unable to register for a required course should contact their advisor.

▼   Will advising be in-person or online?
Plans are being made to have both virtual and face-to-face advising options through Academic Advising and Transfer Services and through college advisors.
▼   If I do not feel comfortable coming to class, can I take the class remotely? What if I’m at high risk?
Faculty teaching on-campus courses are encouraged to develop their courses so that students who need to complete the course at a distance may do so online.
▼   What is the plan for moving classes online in the event of a significant outbreak of COVID-19?
After reopening, the University will continually monitor the health of the campus population and the public health of our region. The campus will be poised to move back to remote work, if conditions warrant, to protect the health of students and employees. In this event, faculty will be prepared to quickly move all courses to an online format.
▼   Are admission requirements for freshmen different this year?
Due to limited availability to take the ACT or SAT, those testing requirements were suspended for students with GPAs of 3.0 and above. Students with GPAs of 2.5 to 2.99 will be considered for admission, but may be asked to submit additional materials such as essays and letters of recommendation.
▼   How will student events work?
Large traditional campus-wide programs such as Week of Welcome and Convocation, and all Jaguar Productions events, will be modified to accommodate social distancing, moved to a virtual format or postponed.
▼   Will there be an increase in single-occupancy residence hall rooms? How can I get a private room?
Yes. Up to 50 percent of all rooms will be private, single-occupancy rooms to reduce capacity. To reserve a private room, visit USA Housing.
▼   Will there be a curfew for on-campus students?
There are no plans for a curfew. The University will continue to monitor the pandemic. The health and safety of members of our community will be the focus of any changes in operations.
▼   Are there social distancing requirements for off-campus housing?
The University does not have oversight over independently operated off-campus housing facilities, however social distancing should be practiced in all circumstances. Operating procedures for those facilities are the responsibility of the respective management.
▼   How will you be cleaning residence halls? Will someone be cleaning private rooms?
Common areas of residence halls will be regularly cleaned. Private rooms and suites will be cleaned before check-in; students are responsible for cleaning their rooms after occupancy.
▼   Will the dining hall and the food court be open? Will there be delivery or takeout options? Will food service employees be required to wear a mask?
Both the dining hall and food court will be open with reduced seating capacity with takeaway encouraged. The addition of a new mobile ordering platform for advance takeout ordering is being planned for use at retail locations in the food court. Self-service will be eliminated at food stations in the dining hall and prepacked selections will be offered where appropriate. USA's food service operations, managed by Aramark, will be required to follow all local health guidelines and recommendations including the use of face coverings.
▼   Will I be able to take clinical courses? Can I still participate in an internship? What about student teaching?
Field experiences such as clinical training, practica, internships, and student teaching, will be allowed. Programs will take appropriate measures to protect the health of students and will coordinate with placement sites to ensure compliance with site-specific guidelines.
▼   How will labs or studios that traditionally require peer-to-peer collaboration be taught this fall?
In many cases, class laboratory experiences will be converted into virtual laboratories. Some lab courses may be converted to a hybrid model in which physical labs are interspersed during the term with virtual labs. This hybrid laboratory model will allow for reduced class size for the physical lab experiences to allow for social distancing. All laboratory experiences that are held in physical laboratories must be designed to allow for social distancing.
▼   How are faculty members being assisted in delivering online lessons?
South’s Innovation in Learning Center will provide training and assistance to help faculty develop high-quality online course materials and to assist them with the transition to web-blended instruction. The center will also develop and maintain online resources for instructors that identify best-practice strategies and examples for the hybrid environment that allow for social distancing while facilitating the achievement of student learning outcomes.
▼   When will Study Abroad programs resume?
  • USA full-semester study abroad programs for fall are suspended. Students will be given the option to defer their participation to a future semester or participate in a virtual study abroad opportunity.
  • The Office of International Education will evaluate the feasibility of short-term international experiences during the fall semester 30 days from the program start date.
  • Decisions on spring 2021 semester programs will be made on November 16, 2020.

For more information, visit the USA Office of International Education.

▼   Will tutoring centers be available?
The Center for Academic Excellence will continue to offer 24/7 online tutoring via ThinkingStorm. The center is also making plans to have tutors and academic coaches available for in-person sessions while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
▼   Will the Student Center common areas be open for study, dining or small group gatherings?

The Student Center will be open with reduced capacity, as will the food court inside the Student Center. Furniture throughout the building will be spaced to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

▼   Will the Student Recreation Center be open? What recreational sports will be available?
The Student Recreation will resume operations, though certain areas, including the rock wall, locker rooms and Kids Play Zone, will remain closed. In addition, intramural sports will be suspended for fall semester, as will non-South Fit group activities on the indoor basketball and soccer courts. Equipment will be cleaned during scheduled cleaning periods, machines will be spaced to adhere to social distancing and there will be a no-touch check-in process at the front desk.
▼   Will the JagTran system be in operation, and, if so, what social distancing measures will be required?

The JagTran system will be in operation, although capacity will be limited and riders should leave extra time for their trips in case capacity is reached. Students and operators will be required to wear masks while on the JagTran. Vehicles will be regularly sanitized, and riders must follow posted rules.

▼   I am feeling stressed and anxious? Who can I talk to?

It’s normal, at times, to feel overwhelmed and stressed. The key component is knowing how to manage stress in a healthy manner. Strategies such as getting plenty of sleep, time management, exercise, and increasing your social support network are often enough to effectively manage stress and emotions; however sometimes students feel “stuck” and notice difficulty moving toward their goals. That’s when it is important to reach out for help. Two resources that are available to students are:

The Jag Student Support Network is a peer support program that includes a group of dedicated students from a wide variety of groups and backgrounds on campus. JSSM peer mentors have been trained in mental health and provide support to all USA students.

The University Counseling and Testing Center provides free, confidential counseling and standardized testing services for all enrolled students. The Center strives to facilitate the academic, emotional, social, and career development of all USA students.