Due to the extraordinary need for social distancing, The University of Alabama is operating under limited business operations, which includes essential staffing and remote work assignments. Our goal is to promote social distancing and limit on campus work to the fullest extent possible.
While employees in the department of communications are working remotely, they are available to assist members of the media. Reporters are encouraged to contact the sources below or to use our experts directory to find contact information for other subject matter experts.
UA MUSEUMS GOES ONLINE TO PROVIDE EDUCATIONAL CONTENT – University of Alabama Museums is livestreaming daily educational content. The videos will be on the Facebook pages of the Alabama Museum of Natural History, Gorgas House Museum, Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum and Moundville Archaeological Park. While UA museums are closed because of COVID-19, each museum will continue to provide educational outreach through daily programming featuring experts in various fields, offering Q&A time for those watching at home. For more information, contact Rebecca Johnson, UA Museums, at 404-790-6617 or email@example.com.
UA LIBRARIES CLOSED PHYSICALLY BUT OPEN VIRTUALLY – Due to COVID-19, all University of Alabama Libraries are physically closed until further notice, but the Libraries’ support of the UA community will continue virtually. UA Libraries is now offering full access to its numerous resources – journals, databases, streaming video, ebooks, librarian assistant, etc. – online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Michael Pearce, director of strategic engagement for UA Libraries, said one of the featured online offerings is Scout, the UA Libraries’ discovery interface that provides one-stop shopping for articles, ebooks, streaming video and other resources. Students are prompted to login using their myBama credentials. For more information, contact Michael Pearce, UA Libraries, at 205-348-1416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
UA GREEK LIFE DONATES UNUSED FOOD TO LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS – UA’s fraternity and sorority houses donated food and supplies left unused after classes moved online amid COVID-19. “It is imperative that The University of Alabama continue to serve our community in every way possible during this uncertain time,” said Courtney Thomas, director of UA’s center for service and leadership. Over 4,000 pounds of food and supplies have been donated to the West Alabama Food Bank. Other donations have been made to the City and County Boards of Education for student meals, as well as to the Tuscaloosa Fire Department. For more information, contact Melissa Parker in UA communications at email@example.com.
UA GRADUATE SCHOOL WAIVES TEST SCORE REQUIREMENTS IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 – To better accommodate applicants to UA’’s Graduate School in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UA will temporarily waive admission and language tests score requirements for the summer and fall 2020 as well as spring 2021 semesters. As of March 24, most admission test scores, including the GRE, GMAT, MAT and MCAT, will be waived. The change is effective immediately and will affect all applicants, both on campus and online, whose scores have not been received as of March 15. In addition, international applicants required to submit a language test score have the option to take the Duolingo English test. For more information, contact Dr. Andrew Goodliffe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UA EXPERTS AVAILABLE TO DISCUSS ISSUES AROUND K-12 SCHOOL CLOSURE – Faculty at The University of Alabama are available to discuss aspects of continuing the academic year for primary and secondary schools remotely across the state. For assistance with reaching any of these sources or for topics not highlighted, please contact Shane Dorrill, assistant director of communications, at email@example.com.
RURAL ALABAMIANS PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK –
Social distancing is vitally important for rural Alabamians, according to a University of Alabama social work researcher. Dr. Avani Shah, a gerontologist and health psychologist, says certain chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease — both related to COVID-19 complications — are higher in Alabama, especially in the rural Black Belt counties. “Unfortunately, with closures of our rural hospitals, transportation issues, financial issues and fewer healthcare providers, rural older Alabamians with chronic health conditions may face a double hardship in accessing COVID-19 testing and treatment,” Shah said. “If you are a grandparent raising grandkids or a caregiver, each member of your family should be staying at home to protect one another.” Shah is available for interviews on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1-4 p.m. and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SELF-CARE CRITICAL FOR POPULATION AMID COVID-19 – When the most basic human needs for survival – food, shelter, clothes, safety and security – are threatened, people grapple in a variety of ways, such as overeating, panic-buying and overspending, according to Dr. Sha-Rhonda Green, assistant professor of social work at UA. Unfortunately, Green says, people “abandon” themselves, leaving their emotional health susceptible to mental health crisis. “As one in five Americans have a mental illness, including mood disorders, the pandemic will likely exacerbate this number, resulting in strain on other systems of care like child welfare, juvenile justice and mental health systems.” Self-care is vital, Green says, and people should do simple things such as change their daily routines, eat healthy and exercise. Green can discuss other strategies for self-care amid COVID-19 and can be reached at email@example.com. She can speak with media Monday through Friday between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
CORONAVIRUS’ EFFECT ON TRANSPORTATION – Steven Polunsky, director of the Alabama Transportation Policy Research Center, is available to talk about how COVID-19 has impacted the transportation industry including public roads, public transportation, ride-sharing services, freight traffic and air traffic. “Transportation, both the industry and the public utility, is changing every day,” he said. “One downside of reduced traffic is the potential effect on motor fuels tax revenue that pays for the highway work. To arrange an interview, contact Polunsky directly at 205-348-4574 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For assistance, contact Adam Jones in UA communications at email@example.com or 205-348-4328.
COPING WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING – Social distancing has become a new way of life in recent weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but some may have a tougher time than others adjusting to staying at home and away from family and friends. “The term ‘social distancing’ is really a misnomer,” said Dr. Crystal Dillard, psychology clinic director at UA. “It’s actually physical distancing, while social interaction (albeit virtually) should continue, and can be a useful coping strategy during crises like this one.” Dillard is available for interviews and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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