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Due to the need for social distancing, UA  is operating under limited business operations, which includes remote work assignments. 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 KICK-STARTS SIX PROJECTS RELATED TO COVID-19 AND FUTURE PANDEMICS Six projects designed to deepen understanding of the coronavirus pandemic and future pandemics and positively influence society will receive seed funding from UA. The projects come from across disciplines on campus, and were selected through the University’s Joint Institute Pandemic Pilot Project, sponsored by the UA Office for Research and Economic Development and UA’s research institutes.“It is essential as the flagship university in the state that UA contributes to improving the lives of Alabamians in the face of this pandemic and future pandemics,” said Dr. Russell J. Mumper, vice president for research and economic development. “All of our institutes are coming together in recognition that the nature of the problem and its solutions require an inherently interdisciplinary approach.” For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at

UA PARTNERS TO PROVIDE COVID-19 TESTING IN CHOCTAW COUNTY – UA’s Office for Research and Economic Development and University Medical Center are collaborating with Alabama Power, the Rural Alabama Prevention Center and Go2 Foundation for Lung Cancer to provide COVID-19 screenings in Halsell June 2. Screenings will take place at Fairfield CME Church from 9 a.m. to noon, or as long as supplies last. Attempts will be made to screen all who come, but only those meeting Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines will be tested for COVID-19. Participants don’t need health insurance to be screened. For more information, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, at

STARGAZING THROUGH CYBERSPACE – UA Astronomy Professor Dr. Bill Keel has set up the UA Observatory for digital stargazing while the facility is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The public can now use electronic devices to see what UA’s telescope views at any time. To schedule an interview, contact Jamon Smith at


2020 HOME SALES FALL BECAUSE OF PANDEMIC – “Closed sales data from April shows that total residential sales declined 8.9% year-over-year,” said Stuart Norton, research coordinator with the Alabama Center for Real Estate in the Culverhouse College of Business. In addition to lower sales, Norton says the number of properties listed for sale, or inventory, declined 16% from 2019. “As expected, sales activity for the foreseeable future when compared to the prior year is likely to decline due to the growing economic impact of the pandemic,” Norton said. To schedule an interview, contact Norton at

RESTAURANTS STILL CLOSING AS HEALTH GUIDELINES ADJUST – “As far as factors that contribute to restaurant closures, the biggest impact is not generating revenue for the past two months,” said Dr. Kimberly Severt, director of UA’s hospitality management program, and Dr. Shatina Chen, assistant professor in the department of human nutrition and hospitality management. “Many businesses in the hospitality industry operate on a low profit margin and depend on volume to create profitable business outcomes. Many restaurants and hotels in saturated markets didn’t have the financial security to ride out two months of very limited or no revenue being generated and still having expenses.” To schedule an interview, contact Severt at, or Chen at

MILLIONS OF CICADAS EMERGING AFTER NEARLY 20 YEARS – After 17 years, millions of red-eyed periodical cicadas are emerging from the ground to swarm the East Coast. Dr. John Abbott, director of museum research and collections at UA, is available to discuss details of the cicada swarms. To schedule an interview, contact Jamon Smith at

UA EXPERTS AVAILABLE TO DISCUSS ISSUES AMID CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC  – Faculty at UA are available to discuss aspects of the coronavirus pandemic including topics related to health care, education and the economy. This list will be updated, so check back often for new sources. For assistance with reaching any of these sources or for topics not highlighted, contact Shane Dorrill at

NEED A SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT ON TOPICS MAKING NEWS? – See our frequently updated experts directory here.