Message from Chancellor Finis St. John

The University of Alabama System looks forward to returning to in-person instruction, events and activities for the fall 2021 semester with the endorsement of the UA System Health and Safety Task Force.

A robust, on-campus educational experience is important. Prioritizing the health and safety of our campus communities is also essential. The best way to protect your community and sustain continued on-campus operations is to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The UA System Health and Safety Task Force, composed of public health, infectious disease and education specialists throughout our System, will continue to guide our policies and protocols. Flexibility will be required as the Task Force closely monitors public health guidance and trends and makes data-driven decisions.

I want to thank the Task Force members for their extraordinary leadership over the last 18 months. Their work, and that of thousands of System employees, enabled our steady progress.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and our System leadership, thank you for your enduring efforts. While we are individually distinct, we are altogether stronger.

Signature of Finis St. John IV.

Finis St. John, Chancellor
The University of Alabama System


  1. Task Force Membership
  2. UA System Health and Safety Task Force
  3. Return to Operations
  4. Continuation of Activities of the Task Force

Task Force Membership

  • Selwyn Vickers, M.D.,  Senior Vice President and Dean of the School of Medicine, UAB – Chair
  • Charlie Taylor,  Director of External Affairs, UA System – Director of Operations

Campus Incident Command Subcommittee

  • Chad Tindol,  Chief Administrative Officer, UA
  • Mary Kathryn Crenshaw,  Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, UAB
  • Kristi Motter, Ph.D.,  Vice President for Student Affairs, UAH

Academic Affairs Subcommittee

  • James Dalton, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Provost, UA
  • Pam Benoit, Ph.D., Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, UAB
  • Robert Lindquist, Ph.D., Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, UAH

Communications and Reputational Risk Subcommittee

  • Lynn L. Cole, Director of System Communications, UA System
  • Ryan Bradley, Interim Vice President of Communications, UA
  • Monica Watts, Associate Vice President of Communications, UA
  • Jim Bakken, APR, Chief Communications Officer, UAB
  • Rosie O’Beirne, Chief Digital Strategy and Marketing Officer, UAB
  • Elizabeth Gibisch, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, UAH

Finance and Administration Subcommittee

  • Stan Acker, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, UA System
  • Cheryl Mowdy, Assistant Vice President for Administration, UA
  • Brian Burnett, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, UAB
  • Todd Barré, Vice President for Finance and Administration, UAH

Health Subcommittee

  • Richard Friend, M.D., Dean of the College of Community Health Sciences, UA
  • John Higginbotham, Ph.D., Senior Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development, UA
  • Edward Crump, Senior Director of Environmental Services, UAB
  • Toni Leeth, MPH, 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 for Medical Education, UAB
  • Michael Faircloth, M.D., Director of Student Health Services, UAB
  • Amber McPhail, MSN, CRNP, Director of Student Health Services, UAH
  • Paul Campbell Erwin, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of School of Public Health and Professor in Health Care Organization and Policy, UAB
  • Michael S. Saag, M.D., Associate Dean of Global Health and Professor in Medicine and Infectious Diseases, UAB
  • Sarah Nafziger, M.D., MSHA, Vice President of Clinical Support Services and Professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Neurology, UAB

Research Subcommittee

  • Russ Mumper, Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Economic Development, UA
  • Chris Brown, Ph.D., Vice President of Research, UAB
  • John Christy, Ph.D., Interim Vice President for Research and Economic Development, UAH

Safety Subcommittee

  • Mike Rodgers, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Construction Management, UA System
  • Greg Parsons, Associate Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer, UAB
  • Darryl Crider, Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management, UAB
  • Kristy Olive, Director of Office of Environmental Health and Safety, UAH
  • Kevin Bennett, Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, UAH

Student Affairs Subcommittee

  • Myron Pope, Ph.D., Vice President of Student Life, UA
  • Matthew Kerch, Ph.D., Director of UA Housing and Residential Communities, UA
  • John Jones, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Affairs, UAB
  • Ronnie Hebert, Ed.D., Dean of Students, UAH

UA System Health and Safety Task Force

The UA System Health and Safety Task Force is increasingly concerned about the rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the state, as well as the prevalence of the Delta variant. Widespread vaccination is key to mitigating further increases.

The Task Force will remain intact and will continue to monitor data points such as vaccination rates on campus and in the community, COVID-positive cases per 100,000 individuals, age-specific hospitalization rates, rate of breakthrough infection or reinfection, and prevalence of emerging variants. This Plan remains subject to change based on these factors.

Return to Operations

Effective July 26, 2021, the UA System shall operate with the following guidelines in place:

  • Face coverings are required while indoors on all System campuses. This section shall expire on October 29, 2021.
  • Campus events, including events sponsored by student organizations, shall be approved in accordance with university policies. Unvaccinated individuals are expected to use face coverings while inside campus buildings.
  • Athletic events and student-athlete protocols shall follow all NCAA and conference guidelines.
  • Campus-sponsored travel shall be approved under campus guidelines, which may include restrictions based on risk of COVID-19 transmission, vaccination status of the traveler and/or guidance from the U.S. Department of State.
  • All UA System employees and returning students have been offered vaccination. UA System campuses shall continue to offer vaccines to all members of their respective campus communities. Vaccines are strongly recommended for members of each campus community. Campuses shall implement plans to incentivize student vaccination.
  • UA System campuses shall offer symptomatic and exposure testing for any unvaccinated member of the campus community and should maintain adequate testing availability. UA System campuses shall continue to offer symptomatic testing for fully vaccinated members of the campus community. Regardless of their vaccination status, students may be required to test for COVID-19 at the discretion of campus healthcare professionals.
  • Campus healthcare professionals have the discretion to perform for-cause testing when there have been three or more positive COVID-19 tests in a common geographic area or group of people. Participation in for-cause testing is required for students who live on campus, as well as members of student organizations that are the focus of for-cause testing. Those who refuse to participate in for-cause testing will be referred to Student Conduct officials.
  • All members of the campus community who test positive for COVID-19 shall report their positive diagnosis to their university, follow all guidance from campus medical professionals and abide by public health orders, such as the completion of a 10-day isolation following a COVID-19 diagnosis. The failure to abide by these requirements is considered a violation of student/employee conduct policies.
  • Unvaccinated students must:
    • Quarantine for 14 days following exposure to a COVID-19-positive individual. Students who are unable to quarantine in place will be asked to return to their permanent residence to complete quarantine or isolation. For those unable to return to their permanent residence, UA System campuses shall maintain a limited amount of housing for quarantine and isolation purposes.
    • Submit to for-cause testing at the discretion of the university.

Campus Command Centers

Campus command centers will monitor ongoing compliance, health clearance, utilization of isolation space, community trends, and the capacity of local healthcare providers. Campus command centers must provide routine monitoring updates to campus leadership and updates to System leadership on a weekly basis. The System Office shall be notified if a campus becomes aware of any common location exposure, for-cause testing administration, or known COVID-19-related hospitalization of a student or academic faculty/staff member.

Continuation of 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.