Comprehensive Health and Safety Plan

Message from Chancellor Finis St. John

In March, when COVID-19 was identified as an emerging global pandemic, The University of Alabama System and the Board of Trustees responded quickly and thoughtfully to determine how to best safeguard our students, faculty, staff and their families. Our goal from the outset was to utilize the resources and world-renowned medical experts at UAB to guide our planning, and to lead in developing guidelines we can share with other schools and businesses across Alabama and the nation.

In early April, we appointed a new UA System Task Force, and asked Dr. Selwyn Vickers, the Senior Vice President of Medicine and Dean of Medicine at UAB, and Katie Osburne, Director of Risk and Compliance and System Counsel for the UA System, to serve as co-chairs to lead those efforts. The charge to the Task Force was to provide the tools necessary so our campuses could set the gold standard for the health and safety of our students. Our goal is to prepare for our students to return to in-person and hybrid forms of instruction and to a campus environment where they can learn, live and flourish.

The contents of this report are the work of hundreds of colleagues at UA, UAB, UAH, the System Office, and the UAB Health System. They have all diligently analyzed the needs and developed strategies that inform these recommendations. The work of the Task Force will continue, and these recommendations will be updated as our research teams gain new knowledge and a more precise timetable for the return to our campuses is developed.

With the diverse academic and administrative strengths of our universities, and the eminent medical teams at UAB, we are confident the contents of these reports will lead us to our goal of being the safest campuses in America when our students, faculty and staff return. I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard during these difficult times to help us move forward. Your work is exemplary.




Finis St. John IV
University of Alabama System

Task Force Membership

Selwyn Vickers, M.D.

Senior Vice President and Dean of School of Medicine, UAB—Co-Chair

Katie Osburne

Director of Risk and Compliance and System Counsel, UA System – Co-Chair

Charlie Taylor

Director of Governmental Affairs and Economic Development, UA System – Director of Operations

Academic Affairs Subcommittee

Chad Tindol

Chief Administrative Officer, UA

Pam Benoit, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost, UAB

Christine Curtis, Ph.D.

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, UAH

Communications and Reputational Risk Subcommittee

Kellee Reinhart

Senior Vice Chancellor for Communications and Community Relations, UA System

Ryan Bradley

Interim Vice President of Communications, UA

Monica Watts

Associate Vice President of Communications, UA

Jim Bakken

Interim Chief Communications Officer/ Associate Vice President of Strategic Communications, UAB

Rosie O’Beirne

Interim Associate Vice President/Digital Strategy and Marketing, UAB

Ray Garner

Interim Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications and Chief of Staff, UAH

Finance and Administration Subcommittee

Stan Acker

Assistant Vice Chancellor For Finance and Administration, UA System

Cheryl Mowdy

Assistant Vice President for Administration, UA

Allen Bolton

Vice President of Finance and Administration, UAB

Todd Barre

Vice President of Finance, UAH

Health Subcommittee

Edward Crump

Senior Director of Environmental Services, UAB

Toni Leeth, M.P.H.

Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and Administration, UAB

Jeanne Marrazzo, M.D.

Director for Division of Infectious Diseases, UAB Medicine

Craig J. Hoesley, M.D.

Senior Associate Dean, Medical Education, UAB School of Medicine

Michael Faircloth, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer, UAB Health System

Amber McPhail

Nurse Practitioner, Director of Student Health Services, UAH

Paul Campbell Erwin, M.D., Ph.D.

Dean, UAB School of Public Health and Professor in Health Care Organization and Policy, UAH

Richard Friend, M.D.
Dean of the College of Community Health Sciences, UA

John Higginbotham, Ph.D.

Senior Associate Vice President for Research & Economic Development, UA

Research Subcommittee

Russ Mumper, Ph.D.

Vice President of Research and Economic Development, UA

Chris Brown, Ph.D.

Vice President of Research, UAB

Rob Lindquist, Ph.D.

Vice President of Research and Economic Development, UAH

Safety Subcommittee

Mike Rodgers

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Construction Management, UA System

Kristy Olive

Director of Office of Environmental Health and Safety, UAH

Greg Parsons

Associate Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer, UAB

Darryl Crider

Interim Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management, UAB

Kevin Bennett

Director of Risk Management, UAH

Student Affairs Subcommittee

Myron Pope, Ph.D.

Vice President of Student Life, UA

John Jones, Ph.D.

Vice President for Student Affairs, UAB

John Maxon

Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, UAH

Matthew Kerch, Ph.D.

Director of UA Housing & Residential Communities, UA

A special thank you to others who have made significant contributions towards the Task Force and in the development of the STAY SAFE TOGETHERTM platform.

Project Leads

Sue Feldman RN, MEd, PhD

Director, Graduate Programs in Health Informatics, Associate Professor, School
of Health Professions, Department of Health Services Administration, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Senior Scientist, Informatics Institute

Mohanraj Thirumalai, MS, MEng, PhD

Director of ICT, UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative, School of Health Professions

Supporting Members

Selwyn Vickers, M.D.

Senior Vice President and Dean of School of Medicine, UAB— Co-Chair

Chris Brown, Ph.D.

Vice President
of Research, UAB

Paul Campbell Erwin, M.D., Ph.D.

Dean, UAB School
of Public Health and Professor in Health Care Organization and Policy, UAH

Curtis A. Carver, Jr.

Vice President and Chief Information Officer, UAB

Toni Leeth, M.P.H.

Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and Administration, UAB

Rosie O’Beirne

Interim Vice President for Digital Strategy and Marketing, UAB


The SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 (“COVID-19”) pandemic is a disruptive event requiring extraordinary measures. Under the direction of the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama, Chancellor Finis E. St. John IV set a goal to make the UA System campuses the safest universities in America. The Chancellor appointed the Comprehensive Health and Safety Task Force, which was co-chaired by Dr. Selwyn Vickers, Senior Vice President of Medicine and Dean of Medicine at UAB, and Katie Osburne, Director of Risk and Compliance and System Counsel. The Task Force membership was comprised of student life, academic, environmental health services, student health, facilities, and finance administrators from all three System campuses, as well as our world-renowned experts at UAB on infectious diseases.

In this unprecedented time, campus health and safety is a top priority. New protocols must be developed, implemented, and consistently reviewed to ensure the safe return of our faculty, staff, and students. The Task Force has established these guidelines to mitigate the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19 across all UA System campuses.

Principal to accomplishing this mission, the Task Force developed plans and created resources related to:

  1. obtaining documentation providing reasonable clearance, with respect to COVID-19, of students, faculty, and staff on each campus
  2.  health status, symptoms and exposure reporting
  3. exposure notification by infected persons
  4. sentinel testing
  5. proper procurement and utilization of personal protective equipment
  6. appropriate training and education
  7. heightened cleaning and sanitation standards

These guidelines apply to all students, faculty, and staff at UA System institutions, and they are to be executed in a phased approach, as outlined by the UA System Phased Return to Operations. This model is endorsed by the Task Force and is to be used by each campus to develop cooperative and comprehensive policies. Due to the fluidity of the COVID-19 situation, this plan is subject to modification.

Health & Safety

Phased Return

Each campus will make a gradual return to modified normal operations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in its community. The implementation of a phased model will allow UA System and campus leadership to assess the effectiveness of its mitigation measures.

The gradual phasing in of campus operations, including auxiliary and extracurricular, should be based on each campus’s ability to manage its population density within these guidelines. Phases should have clearly defined density thresholds, and may be identified by number or color (see Addendum A for additional phasing requirements). Campus phasing plans should be developed consistent with this plan, and CDC and state public health guidance, and should plan for instances of both minimal-to-moderate and severe spread.

Click here to see CDC guidance to higher education for instances of minimal- to-moderate or severe transmission.

Health Protocol


All returning faculty, staff, and students at a UA System campus must participate in an online educational module that includes general information on COVID-19 and its prevention, and on the Stay Safe TogetherTM platform.

Initial Testing for Re-entry

Subject to the availability of adequate testing, all returning students on UA System campuses will be tested for COVID-19 before or immediately following their return to campus. Any student arriving on a UA System campus from a location currently experiencing increased COVID-19 transmission will be tested or re-tested upon arrival. Student health, in conjunction with the infectious disease experts at UAB, will identify the locations with increased transmission of COVID-19. In the event universal testing is not available, UA System campuses should have alternate procedures that, at a minimum, test any student with COVID-19-related symptoms or who is arriving from an area identified as experiencing increased community transmission.

Sentinel Testing

Sentinel testing of faculty, staff, and students is strongly desired to signal trends, identify outbreaks, and monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 on each campus. Sentinel testing would involve conducting COVID-19 tests on a randomized sample of 2.5% of employees and students. Testing will be voluntary for most students.

Students living in on-campus residential housing or participating in university-sponsored extracurricular activities may be required to participate in sentinel testing. A subcommittee has been developed to create a specific process for randomization, notification, testing, and the handling of test results. The implementation of this guideline is dependent on the availability of reliable testing.

Campus Clusters/Exposure Notification

As part of each campus’s standard protocol to manage outbreaks, a trained team will be sent where there have been multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a single location, a “cluster”. The team will offer COVID-19 testing, outside of the sentinel process, to faculty, staff, and students who may be part a cluster. Each campus should develop protocols to manage larger groups who may be required to quarantine/ isolate in-place. Campus plans should offer technology- facilitated exposure notification to augment exposure notification performed by the Alabama Department of Public Health. The campus team will also provide appropriate guidance based on consultation with the local or state health departments, and campus infectious disease experts.


Stay Safe TogetherTM Platform

The UA System will use the Stay Safe TogetherTM platform to promote a safe re-entry and ongoing COVID-19 monitoring. The platform has three tools to help mitigate the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19: the Healthcheck, an Exposure Notification Application, and an Event Passport.

Stay Safe TogetherTM Healthcheck

Faculty, staff, and students will be required to participate in the Healthcheck portion of the Stay Safe TogetherTM platform. Healthcheck is a COVID-19 assessment tool that allows users to report COVID-19 related symptoms and exposure. The frequency of required reporting will be determined by public health and medical guidance relevant to each campus community. Campus health experts will continually reevaluate the recommended reporting frequency, and may alter the requirements as the number of positive COVID-19 tests fluctuate.

Stay Safe TogetherTM Exposure Notification Application

Developing a reliable and secure mechanism for exposure notification is a top priority for the UA System. The Stay Safe TogetherTM Exposure Notification is a partnership of Apple, Google, the Alabama Department of Public Health, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Participation in technology-facilitated exposure notification is voluntary. The opt-in resource alerts participants if they have been in close contact with a person who has reported a positive COVID-19 test within the past 14 days.

Stay Safe TogetherTM Event Passport

Campuses should consider using the Event Passport function to facilitate access to on-campus facilities or events having ten or more people. Event attendees will be approved to enter a facility or event only after having completed the Healthcheck assessment tool. The Passport can also be used to ensure compliance with reporting requirements by denying facility or event access to individuals who have not completed the required assessment.

Medical Protocol Based on Testing, Reported Symptoms, and/or Exposure

Symptomatic Confirmed Positive


Immediate isolation for minimum of 10- days since symptom onset, including at least 72 hours since symptom recovery and compliance with local public health quarantine orders

Active monitoring by Student Health or Employee Health

Requires medical clearance by Student Health or Employee Health prior to return to campus

Symptomatic Confirmed Negative


Immediate isolation while awaiting test results May return to normal activities 24 hours after symptom recovery

Requires medical clearance by Student Health or Employee Health prior to return to campus

Asymptomatic Confirmed Positive


Immediate 10-day self-isolation and compliance with local public health quarantine orders

Active monitoring by Student Health or Employee Health

for symptom development, check temperature (subjective or measured) twice daily, and keep a log of the results

Requires medical clearance by Student Health or Employee Health prior to return to campus

Asymptomatic Close Contacts of COVID-19 Positive Cases


Immediate 14-day* self-quarantine unless released earlier by Employee Health

and compliance with local public health quarantine orders

for symptom development, check temperature (subjective or measured) twice daily, and keep a log of the results

Requires compliance with local public health quarantine orders

Customized protocols may be utilized particularly for healthcare workers/ clinical staff




Immediate 14-day* self-quarantine unless released earlier by Student Health and compliance with local public health quarantine orders

Active monitoring by Student Health

Self-monitor for symptom development, check temperature (subjective or measurable) twice daily, and keep a log of the results

Requires compliance with local public health quarantine orders

Ongoing Evaluation by Campus Incident Command Centers

UA System campuses should establish an Incident Command Center (ICC) to address COVID-19 infections. Each campus president has the discretion to use their existing emergency management team as its ICC, or create a new team. Members of a campus ICC may include representatives from communications, compliance, environmental health services, emergency management, human resources, student and employee health, and student housing, or others designated as vital to the monitoring and reporting of COVID-19 activity on the campus.

ICCs should be formed no less than two months before students return in the fall, and should participate in simulations to prepare and inform their response to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases. ICCs should work with campus administration to regularly assess and evaluate COVID-19 crisis management plans.

Campus ICCs will monitor and report on activity and compliance metrics to enable rapid decision making. ICCs should have a direct line of communication with local hospitals and healthcare providers, and should maintain an awareness of the current capacity of local healthcare providers.

Senior Leadership Dashboard

Campus ICCs will review and report on dashboard metrics for UA System and campus senior leadership. Leadership metrics should be consistent for all System universities. Metrics may change based on guidance from federal, state and local public health authorities and/or recommendations from our infectious disease experts:

Consistency in guidance across all campuses will inform decisions related to expansion and re-entry. Decisions to expand or retreat from a defined phase will be evidence- based [i.e., not date or event driven] and will account for the dynamics of community transmission. See infection-based milestones below as an example. The gradual addition of campus operations in each phase should be based on an individual campus’s ability to manage the population density within these guidelines.

Metrics to be included (subject to change):

testing results, changes in the numbers of confirmed positive cases requiring hospitalization, results and compliance with Stay Safe TogetherTM Healthcheck.

Campus Incident Command Dashboard

Campus ICCs will review and report on dashboard metrics for campus-level monitoring and response. Although certain metrics should be consistent for all UA System universities, each campus may add additional metrics specific to their campus.

Time-based milestones and recommended action
  • Rolling 14 day incubation period—will define expansion to next phase OR retreat to prior phase
  • Monitoring by unit level (i.e., department, residence hall, student organization)

Infection-based milestones

  • Exposure Reporting
  • Symptom Reporting
  • Prior Positive Result Reported
  • Confirmed new positive cases per day (based on testing)
  • Clusters/grouped infections by physical domain/co-location (i.e., area of campus, building, floor in a building)
  • Changes in hospitalizations
  • Serology/Antibody testing (once available, and if recommended as a reliable indicator of population exposure to COVID-19)

Process-based milestones

  • Compliance with ongoing use of Stay Safe TogetherTM Healthcheck by group (i.e., students, employees)
  • Participation in sentinel testing

Safety Protocol

On-campus Instruction


Campuses can resume in-person classes according to their academic calendar if there is a reasonable expectation
that the campus can adequately comply with these recommended protocols, including consideration of the availability of adequate testing as outlined herein. Any delay in the resumption of in-person instruction should be clearly communicated to faculty, staff, and enrolled students.


Developing plans to end in-person instruction by Thanksgiving may reduce the need for travel and limit the likelihood that the virus is brought back to campus following the break. Each campus should evaluate its academic calendar and consider ending in-person instruction for the fall semestser by Thanksgiving. To achieve the necessary instruction time, each campus should consider limiting or eliminating holiday(s) or breaks during the semester. Campuses should also evaluate moving courses on-line after Thanksgiving if the semester cannot be completed before Thanksgiving.

Hybrid / Continuous Remote Learning Options

Campuses should utilize a combination of in-person and remote delivery of instruction to maintain recommended social distancing. Campuses should also utilize remote delivery to ensure continuity of instruction for students needing accommodations, and to enable return to fully remote delivery if in-person instruction is halted due to increased transmission. Campuses should develop contingency plans for continued instruction in the event a faculty member is unable to teach.

Physical Distancing/Social Distancing

Physical distancing or social distancing is defined as at least six-feet circumferential distance regardless of space size. Physical/social distancing measures must be implemented in all university facilities whenever possible. Practicing physical/social distancing should be strongly emphasized and encouraged among the campus community.

When practical, campuses may utilize assigned seating and seating charts in classes, and strategically space seating in public areas to respect physical distancing requirements.
A list of attendees participating in an on-campus event should be captured and maintained by the organization hosting the event (i.e., student group meetings, social events, speakers). Campus administrators should also consider measures such as alternating workdays and class schedules, or staggering arrival and departure times to promote social distancing.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)


When physical distancing cannot be achieved, all faculty, staff, and students are required to wear face coverings. Face coverings are not a substitution for social distancing. All faculty, staff, and students must wear face coverings in classrooms, labs, communal office space, on-campus gatherings, or in any campus-setting where social distancing is difficult to maintain. Cloth face coverings provide adequate protection for most students, faculty, and staff. Reasonable accommodations will be made for those who are unable to meet this requirement.

Face coverings are not required in one’s own dorm room or suite, alone in an enclosed office or study room, in one’s personal vehicle, or in public outdoor settings where physical distancing requirements are met. Although not required
in these instances, use of a face covering in all settings is strongly encouraged.


Faculty, staff, and students in a clinical setting must follow the official PPE guidelines of the local clinical facility.


In addition to campus requirements, all faculty, staff, and students must comply with local ordinances for face coverings.



Campuses should coordinate the purchasing and distribution of PPE ( face coverings, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, etc.) through a central procurement mechanism on each campus. Faculty and staff will be provided two non- disposable face coverings. If available, students may be able to purchase face coverings from the campus with no mark-up on the per-mask cost. IF available, disposable face coverings should be made available to visitors who arrive without a face covering. Faculty, staff, and students are responsible for maintaining their personal PPE.

Student Isolation Related to Positive or Suspected Positive Case

Campuses must develop student isolation protocols for positive or reasonably suspected cases to slow the spread of disease, and to provide a safe work, learning, and living environment. In accordance with medical advice, the campuses should work with students requesting to return home for safe and supportive isolation/quarantine. In furtherance of that commitment, the campuses will implement isolation and quarantine measures as outlined below.


The campuses must designate space for isolation/ quarantine, including protocols for providing support (academics, food, other necessary items), and active monitoring. On campus housing should designate a separate residence hall or floor for isolation/quarantine of COVID-19 positive cases. Asymptomatic individuals who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 may remain in their on-campus residence if the room has no common areas (including bathrooms). Off-campus accommodations (i.e., hotel, contract apartment) should be considered if no suitable on-campus housing is available to house positive cases.


UA System campuses must strongly encourage off-campus residents to follow isolation/quarantine guidance.


UA System campuses should adopt and implement clear and actionable procedures for cleaning and sanitization. Cleaning and sanitization procedures should focus on prevention and controlling the spread of COVID-19 in UA System facilities. To accomplish this, campuses should adopt protocols consistent with the following measures:


UA System campuses should develop a plan for cleaning and disinfecting to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses. Campus plans should identify surfaces and objects that require routine cleaning and those that require heightened disinfecting (such as high-touch areas including doorknobs, common areas and break rooms, light switches, handrails, etc.). Campuses should remove items in common areas, such as break rooms and lobbies, that can be touched by multiple people. Plans will be monitored and revised based on updated guidance and current circumstances.


Campuses must develop a plan for enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of areas or buildings where a confirmed or suspected positive case of COVID-19 is identified.


Students, faculty, and staff are responsible for cleaning/ sanitizing personal workspace. Sanitizing wipes or disinfectant should be made available to promote the cleaning of individual spaces. This requirement applies in settings where others may come into contact with items touched by another individual. This includes offices, classrooms, dining facilities, libraries, and housing facilities..


Custodial staff must be adequately trained on the implementation of the campus’s cleaning and disinfecting plan . Additional training must be provided for cleaning and disinfecting protocols related to a positive or suspected positive COVID-19 case.

Click here to see CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces.





To effectively minimize the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19, proper training and education are necessary
to ensure an understanding of applicable protocols, and to encourage individuals to be advocates for prevention. Education and training will be required prior to participation in university-sponsored activities.

Signage should be installed in prominent and visible locations, and should provide instructions on the proper use of PPE, adherence to campus social distancing guidelines, CDC guidance, and inform individuals of the cleaning and sanitation steps taken to protect them.

Floor markings should be used to indicate proper distancing and flow of foot traffic in dining facilities, residence halls, classrooms, and other points of ingress and egress.

Campuses must develop education and training videos, and maintain a website for COVID-19. Campuses should also consider using other methods to communicate requirements specific to COVID-19.

CDC tools for social media, print resources, and videos are available here.

Student Affairs

In addition to the adoption of all requirements outlined in the Health & Safety protocols, the following applies to all UA System campuses related to Student Affairs. Detailed policies must be submitted to the UA System Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs by June 30th.

Student Organizations/Events

Limitations on Events/Event Attendance

Student Affairs must create and implement a phased approach consistent with this plan before resuming on- campus events. Event plans must consider modified capacity for event spaces, personal protective equipment requirements, overall capacity restrictions, and limitations on the number and type of university-sanctioned events. Student organizations must submit social distancing plans in advance of events. Campuses should strongly encourage student organizations to move events outside, or use on-line meeting platforms to conduct meetings and other larger gatherings. The UA System cannot monitor or mandate limits on student attendance at events that are not held on or sponsored by a UA System campus.

Coordination with Greek Life

Student Affairs departments must coordinate with campus Greek organizations, and national fraternity and sorority chapters, to develop plans for recruitment and education of new members. All plans associated with Greek life should also adhere to guidelines published by the chapters’ national governing bodies, provided, however, each UA System campus shall have the discretion to implement more stringent requirements consistent with this plan.

Modified plans for recruitment should consider innovative ways to conduct events previously held in-person, including modified or extended scheduling of recruitment events and the use of video or teleconferencing capabilities.

Chapters must work with Student Housing to develop and implement guidelines for move-in and living in chapter houses, meals, as well as practices for cleaning and disinfecting. Chapters should encourage the use of PPE, and social distancing consistent with the UA System and campus plans. Student Affairs may consider mandating sentinel testing for students living in Greek houses, provided such requirements are consistent with the requirements placed on students living in residence halls.

Greek organizations should implement standards consistent with campus plans for all on-campus events, and should strongly encourage adherence to the same standards when hosting off-campus events. To ensure chapter leadership is familiar with all campus requirements, campuses should develop targeted education for prospective new members, general membership, and chapter leadership/advisors. Chapter education should include the use of the Stay Safe TogetherTM Healthcheck assessment tool.

Chapter leadership should be simultaneously informed of all changes related to the campus’s movement between re-entry phases.

Recreational Facilities

Limited Close Personal Contact

In accordance with addendum A, campus recreational facilities must reduce their total capacity during the phased return to modified normal operations. Recreational facilities should control points of entry, utilize floor markings to indicate proper spacing, and leave doorways open where possible to facilitate ventilation. All equipment should be properly spaced to comply with social distancing guidelines. Use of drinking fountains should be prohibited.

The use of face coverings may not be possible or practical during certain physical activities. Face coverings should be encouraged, but not required. Campus recreational facilities should consider CDC guidance, and must remain consistent with state and local public health orders and ordinances.

Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols

Campus recreational facilities must maintain enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols, which include the removal of hard-to-clean exercise equipment. Facilities will also provide sanitizers and disinfecting supplies to promote the cleaning of equipment following use by facility patrons.

Click here to see CDC guidelines on recreational facilities

Academic Affairs

In addition to the adoption of all requirements outlined in the Health & Safety protocols, the following measures and procedures apply to all UA System campuses related to Academic Affairs.

Population Density Reduction On Campus

Academic Affairs departments across UA System campuses must implement policies to reduce population density on campus during instruction. Measures should include limitations on classroom capacity, an increase in online course offerings, and an adjustment of class schedules. Instruction delivery methods may be modified to provide for delivery in a hybrid format whereby students may participate online in courses taught in-person, with rotating in person attendance. Other methods to be considered are an overall cap on class size for courses taught in-person or through a hybrid format. Appropriate safety measures should be implemented for courses necessitating in-person instruction such as labs, and special protocols for performance courses such as music and theater. Detailed academic policies should be submitted to the UA System Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs by June 30.

Finance and Administration

In addition to the adoption of all requirements outlined in the Health & Safety protocols, the following applies to all UA System campuses related to Financial Affairs.

Centralize and Manage Purchasing of COVID-19 Related Equipment and Supplies

Financial affair departments for each campus should create and implement a centralized process to request and distribute PPE to ensure the delivery of PPE to all faculty and staff on campus. Each campus should consider providing students an opportunity to purchase face coverings at purchase cost, if sufficient reserves are available. Reserves of additional PPE are encouraged to ensure departments have access to disposable face coverings for students and visitors arriving to events without proper PPE. Bulk, centralized orders of PPE should be made as soon as possible through identified supply chains based on projections of need through the fall semester. PPE should include protective barriers for residential and dining staff.

Financial Affairs departments will also procure disinfectants such as hand sanitizers, wipes, and sprays to fulfill the enhanced cleaning and sanitization policies established by the campus in accordance with the UA System Health & Safety Plan.

Limitations on Travel

Unless modified by the Board of Trustees, campuses shall prohibit all university-related non essential travel for all students, faculty, and staff. The campuses shall implement or use existing waiver processes to grant limited exceptions. Regardless of the phase, all university related travel shall adhere to existing policy requiring notice or approval.

Track All Expenses Related to COVID-19 for Potential Reimbursement

For the purpose of potential reimbursement under FEMA or the CARES Act, or any other existing or future stimulus program, Financial Affairs departments shall track all expenses related to COVID-19 and maintain a projection of future expenses. For assistance in determining whether an expense should be considered “related to COVID-19,” Financial Affairs departments should contact the UA System Office of Finance and Administration, which must coordinate with UA System Governmental Affairs. In accordance with Board Rule 409, all requests for reimbursement of COVID-19-related expenses from state or federal resources should be coordinated through the UA System Office.

Management of Ongoing Construction Projects

Financial Affairs departments on all campuses must promote healthy and safe practices on construction sites by placing signage on site entrances reminding employees of CDC guidelines related to COVID-19, such as not entering the workplace if a worker is symptomatic. Financial Affairs departments must work with general contractors and others to ensure compliance with federal guidelines related to construction projects during the pandemic. Financial Affairs should make information about the Stay Safe TogetherTM symptom assessment tool available to campus contractors. Contractors choosing to use the symptom assessment tool shall be solely responsible for the implementation and management thereof.


Human Resources Considerations


There should be consistent UA System and campus messaging to employees for COVID-19 related matters. Campus Human Resource offices should work with their Communications department in accordance with the communication guidelines in this plan.

Changes to Delivery of Services

Human resource services will be performed online or by mail to the greatest extent practicable. This includes meetings with employees, completion of employment-related documents, and the distribution of paychecks.

Reasonable Accommodations for Employees

UA System campuses should follow their current accommodation process, and, as appropriate, should consider temporary reassignment, modified duties, modified workspace, telework options. All training and associated guidelines should be developed in consultation with the respective campus’s Office of Counsel.

Health and Emotional Well-being

Campus Human Resource offices will provide adequate support and counseling to promote mental health and well- ness among all faculty and staff. This may include increased educational/training opportunities, and increased service availability provided through telehealth.

Athletics and Athletic-Related Activities

In addition to the adoption of all requirements outlined in this Health & Safety protocols, the following applies to all UA System campuses related to Athletics and Athletic-related activities. For the purposes of this plan, “athletic-related activities” include coaches and all athletic staff (inclusive of student-assistants), student-athletes, band, cheer, dance, and color guard. When club-sports are permitted to resume, campuses should strongly recommend adherence to these guidelines, including mandated screening of participants before engaging in any club sport-related event or activity.

Resumption of Athletic Activities

UA System campuses should develop comprehensive phased plans for the return of athletic staff and student athletes, and the resumption of athletic events. All athletic plans should adhere to NCAA and conference regulations, and CDC guidelines, and should be consistent with this plan where possible. Prior to the resumption of activities, all staff and student-athletes should receive targeted education on COVID-19 and be fully informed of relevant prevention measures.


Resumption plans for athletics may be more stringent than other portions of a campus plan due to the frequent contact of staff and athletes. Plans should account for limitations inherent in conducting certain athletic activities while implementing more general safety measures, such as social distancing and the wearing of face coverings. Screening of student-athletes and staff should occur daily in the early phases of a campus plan. Campus athletic departments should develop and enforce compliance plans related to the use of the Stay Safe TogetherTM symptom assessment tool by staff and student-athletes.


Student-athletes should be tested for active COVID-19 upon return to campus and prior to engaging in any university- sponsored athletic activities. In addition, randomized screening of student athletes may be mandated for continued participation in athletic activities. Mandated re-entry and sentinel testing for staff and student athletes are important to develop a baseline and to monitor changes (positive or negative) across the department.


All university-sponsored athletic events must be conducted in compliance with all governing regulations (i.e., CDC,
state and local public health ordinances, and NCAA and conference guidelines), and consistent with this plan. Because of the uncertainty surrounding future COVID- 19-related restrictions, campuses should develop multiple models for the admission of event spectators at various density levels. To the extent warranted and practicable, campuses may consider incorporating event-specific prevention measures, including but not limited to a symptom assessment in connection with event ticketing, distributed seating, and mandatory face coverings for spectator attendance.


In addition to the adoption of all requirements outlined in the Task Force Health & Safety protocols, campus return to research plans should also incorporate the principles provided herein.

Phased Approach

Campus return to research plans should be developed using a phased approach consistent with this plan. Research departments should identify essential and non-essential projects, and  develop an approval process for the resumption of specific projects.

Exposure Management

To reduce the exposure to campus and community members, trials involving human subjects should be suspended while campuses are operating under limited business operations. Human studies deemed “essential” by the campus vice president for research may continue provided they adhere to all state, local, university, and Task Force Health & Safety protocols. Researchers should promote the use of the Stay Safe TogetherTM Healthcheck assessment tool to determine when subjects should be allowed on campus. Human studies involving medical procedures should also adhere to all local pre-procedure testing guidelines.

Access and Density Control

Badge access protocols should be developed to manage facility access and lab density. The plans should include specific methods to control density in collaborative spaces during all phases of return. Access should be limited to students, faculty, and staff who must be in the lab. Student participation may occur, provided formal permission has been granted by a supervising faculty member and the campus vice president for research.

Consideration should also be given to creating or rotating shifts for shared lab space, and should limit or eliminate the use of shared equipment. In-person collaborative research with off-campus partners should be limited as appropriate for a campus’s given phase. During the more restrictive phasing, research personnel should continue to use virtual meetings and work remotely as much as possible. Attendance at gatherings, such as meetings and conferences, should be avoided or restricted until each campus enters its final phases of return to modified normal operations.

Compliance with Laws and Regulations

All campus return to research plans should continue to adhere to all federal guidelines governing research projects and labs, including, but not limited to, continued compliance with all NIH guidelines regarding animal welfare, and all campus existing health and safety protocols.



In addition to the adoption of all requirements outlined in the Health & Safety protocols, the following applies to all UA System campuses.

Consistent Messaging

Each campus should develop a communication plan to disseminate information surrounding the return to normal operations. Communication plans should address messaging for diverse campus constituents, including, leadership, students, faculty, staff, alumni, local community, media, and appropriate governmental entities. Campus plans should utilize a variety of communication methods to effectively target groups with information on campus COVID-19 mitigation efforts and changes in operational guidelines, academic calendars, and policies.


Campuses should develop communication plans to educate students and employees on the UA System Comprehensive Health & Safety Plan, and their respective campus plans.

Campus communication plans should include detailed plans to notify students of updated COVID-19 guidelines, available campus and community resources for assistance, and to promote the general health and well-being of the campus population. To ensure continuity of information and adherence to all applicable privacy requirements, campus plans should provide for targeted training on managing official campus websites and social media, and privacy requirements.

Continuation of the Activities of the Task Force

The Task Force understands that circumstances may necessitate modification of this plan or the implementation of additional policies and procedures to continually ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff across our three campuses. Therefore, the Task Force will remain empaneled, will periodically receive updates from campus incident command centers, and will continue to execute, analyze, and amend these procedures on a regular, as needed basis. This plan is not meant to limit the discretion the campus or system representatives have to respond in any given situation, except as otherwise specifically stated.

Addendum A

UA System Phased Return to Operations

Campus plans will utilize a phased approach in accordance with the parameters of this plan. Circumstances may necessitate modifications to this approach, which shall be approved by the Chancellor in consultation with the Board of Trustees.

Click here for a PDF version of this plan.