For Immediate Release
July 20, 2021
The University of Alabama System will return to in-person instruction, events and activities for the fall 2021 semester. The UA System Health and Safety Task Force made the recommendation to UA System Chancellor Finis St. John and the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees after assessing statistical data, increased vaccine availability and public health guidelines.
“I am grateful for the extraordinary leadership displayed by our campus administrators and the UA System Health and Safety Task Force,” said Chancellor St. John. “When the COVID-19 pandemic began to emerge in early 2020, dozens of world-class public health, infectious disease and education specialists across the UA System joined together and successfully led our institutions and the nation through a period of great uncertainty. As we enter this academic year, we are fortunate to have a known and readily available solution — the COVID-19 vaccine.”
All members of UA System campus communities must abide by the health and safety guidelines outlined in the updated Health & Safety Plan, which go into effect July 26. Unvaccinated individuals are expected to wear face coverings inside campus buildings and should practice physical distancing wherever possible.
The UA System Health and Safety Task Force, composed of public health and infectious disease experts and administrators from the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Alabama in Huntsville and UAB Medicine, will continue to guide policies and protocols. Dr. Selwyn Vickers, senior vice president of Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine at UAB, says task force members are closely monitoring public health guidance, trends and data points.
“We will continue to make data-driven decisions that are backed by science and best serve our campus communities,” said Dr. Vickers, who chairs the UA System Health and Safety Task Force. “This will require ongoing flexibility. COVID vaccines — which are safe, free and easy to get — are strongly encouraged and the best way to protect your community. Data continue to show that vaccinated individuals remain protected from COVID-19. Widespread vaccination is the best way to sustain continued on-campus operations.”
Since the spring, UA System institutions have offered COVID-19 vaccines to their campus communities and will continue to do so. Pursuant to state law, the UA System will not mandate the vaccine as a condition of attendance. Each campus will continue to provide COVID-19 testing and resources to those affected by the virus.