Alabama’s college COVID plan for the fall–what you need to know

Registration time…Photo via Birmingham-Southern College on Facebook.

As we grow closer to the fall semester, colleges are making plans to prepare for the safety of all individuals on their campuses. Governor Ivey has been working alongside experts at UAB to develop programs that will contain the spread of COVID-19–these include widespread tests for students in addition to an innovative self-check app system.

Note: All plans are evolving and we will update the story with more information about housing, move-in times, etc. Plans are subject to change as we anticipate what will come in future weeks.

Testing for Alabama + Stay Safe Together programs

Governor Ivey recently announced two programs that will be carried out:

  1. Testing for Alabama
  2. Stay Safe Together

Both programs will play an essential role in helping to control the spread.

Testing for Alabama will provide each college student attending a public four-year and two-year college the opportunity to be tested before returning to campus.

“Our ability to test every student returning to campus will go a long way in helping us maintain a safe environment.”

Ray L. Watts, UAB President

Stay Safe Together involves a COVID-19 self-check that allows individuals to assess their health with symptom monitoring. This includes an exposure notification app that will anonymously alert someone if they’re at risk of being in close proximity of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. This app is expected to be live by the fall.

In addition to these programs, universities are introducing measures such as hybrid models to minimize person-to-person contact in classrooms.

Before we dive in, what’s the hybrid model?

Many colleges including UAB and the University of Alabama are implementing a new way of attending class through a hybrid model. Instead of a class being solely online or solely in-person, students will attend both ways to limit the amount of people in one classroom.

Lectures could also be recorded using software installed in the classroom. As plans still develop, this is just one in the works for keeping students and teachers safe.

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, Alabama, UAB Science and Engineering Building, college students
UAB student studying. Photo via UAB’s Facebook page

Through a combination of in-person and online classes, UAB plans for students to return August 24 and end classes on November 20. Although students will not return after Thanksgiving break, classes during the week of November 30-December. 4, as well as final exams during the week of Dec. 7-11, will be conducted remotely.

Birmingham Southern College

Student musicians practicing on campus pre COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Birmingham-Southern College.

BSC will start on August 24 and not include a break for Labor Day or fall break in order to conclude the in-person semester after November 25. Students will complete their final exams online November 30-December 4.

Samford University

Photo via Samford University Facebook page

The University has been gradually welcoming back staff, but the latest update via their website confirms that the campus still remains closed to all visitors. However, Samford does plan to invite students back to campus for in-person learning and they are preparing for the semester by implementing safety precautions and social distance guidelines.

Miles College

Photo courtesy of Miles College SGA

At Miles College, the first day of classes with be Monday, August 10, and include in-person and online classes. Instruction will officially end on Wednesday, November 25, for the holiday break. The College is scheduled to reopen on Monday, January 4, 2021. This fall Miles College will debut the first BLM mural on a university campus.

University of Montevallo

Katie Weiland at Regions Bank
Collaboration at Montevallo’s MBA program. Photo via Hannah Chambley for Bham Now pre-COVID-19

The University of Montevallo is planning to resume in-person instruction for the 2020 Fall Semester. They will continue to monitor the situation and make appropriate updates as events progress.

University of Alabama

university of alabama
Photo via The University of Alabama’s Facebook

With heightened precautions set into place, classes at UA will resume August 19. Among others, some safety measures included requiring students, faculty and staff to wear masks in situations where social distancing is not possible, staggered schedules for employees, and regular testing.

Auburn University

auburn
Student bonding with Aubie pre COVID-19. Photo via Auburn University’s Facebook

Auburn will resume classes August 17 and replace fall break, October 8-9, and the first two days of the Thanksgiving week with class. Instruction will officially end on November 24 and students will not return, but instead complete final exams remotely December 8-9.

On June 22, the University also announced they are requiring face coverings inside university buildings, including classrooms and laboratories. This requirement applies to everyone on campus and also extends to those attending university events in non-university buildings

In the coming weeks, Auburn will continue to make announcements in regards to student affairs, operations and academics.

University of North Alabama

una
Photo via the University of North Alabama’s Facebook

The University is planning to welcome students back to campus in the fall on a modified and phased-in schedule to limit the amount of interaction. However they are still making plans for safety guidelines and best practices.

Right now, they’ve outlined how in-person classes will look and what safety measures and precautions should be take.

Huntingdon College

Photo courtesy of Huntingdon College on Facebook

Huntingdon announced early-on they’d be returning for fall. A look at their calendar confirms classes will begin August 10 at two weeks earlier than usual so the semester can conclude before Thanksgiving on November 12. To prepare, the University has established a campus Health and Wellness Task Force.

University of South Alabama

The University of South Alabama. Photo via the University of South Alabama’s Facebook

While student-athletes and nursing students have already returned to campus, classes will officially begin a day early, on August 17. The semester will no longer include two fall break days and classes will end just before Thanksgiving. Students will not return to campus and instead, take final exams online.

A hybrid method of in-person and online classes is set in motion, but the University is encouraging faculty who teach in-person classes to develop the course so that students who need to complete it online can do so.

Troy University

Photo via Troy University on Facebook

According to the 2020 school calendar, Troy’s first day back will be August 10 and the semester will conclude December 10. The University is working with its Coronavirus Taskforce to make plans for the fall and discuss best-practice methods for keeping students and faculty safe.

Jacksonville State University

Safety first. Photo courtesy Jacksonville State University on Facebook.

The University has mandated the use of face coverings for all students, faculty, and staff to wear when in common areas or when socially distancing isn’t possible. Their COVID-19 Task Force is also performing contact tracing for the University if anyone reports being diagnosed with the illness.

Right now, they have not announced anything out of the ordinary as far as the fall schedule goes.

Spring Hill College

Photo via Spring Hill College on Facebook.

Extended days, hybrid learning and alternative classrooms that allow for more social distancing are all being set into place for Spring Hill. Additionally, there will be no Fall Break (October 5-6) and instead, a shortened Thanksgiving break with classes held on November 23 and 24. Students will not return to campus after those dates and complete final coursework and classes online.

Alabama A&M University

Graduation pre COVID-19. Photo via Alabama A&M University on Facebook

The University has not yet outlined a plan for how the school will look in the fall. However, they are working to welcome back students safely and with precaution.

Alabama State University

ASU’s famous marching band. Photo courtesy Alabama State University on Facebook.

Alabama State University has not made any public announcements pertaining to changes in its fall schedule. However, they are releasing information in regards to financial aid through the CARES Act.

Check back in with us as we continue to update you on local and state colleges’ plans for fall 2020.