University of Alabama System Releases COVID-19 Guidelines for Fall 2021
COVID-19 vaccinations are not required but masks are for those who aren’t vaccinated at the University of Alabama System.
Alabama state law prohibits universities from requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19, so in accordance, the University of Alabama System will be welcoming all students back this fall, regardless of vaccination status. However, mask-wearing will still be required of unvaccinated students, faculty and staff inside all campus buildings. Fully vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear a mask. Student-led activities and events will be held at full capacity.
This, and more, is part of the university’s back-to-school COVID-19 guidelines, which were sent to incoming students, staff and families in preparation for the fall semester. News 19 published the guidelines last week.
As an incentive to get vaccinated, the University of Alabama will award students $20 to get fully vaccinated before Aug. 28. The university is making the vaccine readily available to students at its Student Health Center.
In a letter to students, the university president said, “We strongly encourage each of you to do your part in protecting yourself, our campus and the community by getting the vaccine before the semester begins.” Included in the statement are links to make a vaccine appointment online.
In addition to dispensing the vaccine, campus health professionals now also have the authority to mandate for-cause COVID-19 testing of unvaccinated people if three or more in a certain geographic location or student group test positive. It’s unclear how Alabama universities, including the University of Alabama System, will enforce masking and testing of unvaccinated students.
Part of the system’s new COVID-19 guidelines include restrictions for remote learning. According to a campus newsletter, faculty teaching in-person classes are not required to provide online coursework, lectures or resources to students who miss class due to COVID quarantine or isolation, unless directed to do so by the Office of Disability Services. Also, the Office of Disability Services will cease COVID-19 adjustments.
University-sponsored travel will be subject to restrictions, based on transmission rates at the time of travel.
The University of Alabama’s guidelines counter those released earlier this week by the CDC, which is now is recommending that those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine wear face masks indoors in public if they are in areas with substantial or high transmission of the coronavirus.
The New York Times reports that the state has seen a 265% increase in COVID cases over the past 14 days. Alabama also has the lowest vaccination rate of any state in America: 34.2%, and every county but one in the state has been deemed by the CDC to be an area with a high transmission rate.
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