UA Operations Ready for Return of Students, Employees

  • August 13th, 2020

As the academic year approaches, UA’s Division of Finance and Operations has spent countless hours preparing to provide the safest environment for students, faculty and staff on campus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A classroom that has been modified due to COVID-19
Classrooms have been modified to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The health and safety of all who study or work at The University of Alabama are paramount,” said Matt Fajack, vice president for the Division of Finance and Operations. “With the new semester upon us, we feel confident in our plan and will continue to be proactive in adapting as we learn more about COVID-19.”

Cleaning and disinfecting buildings and residence halls remain a top priority. Custodial Services, in collaboration with Environmental Health and Safety staff, continue to conduct enhanced cleanings across campus. EPA registered disinfectants are routinely used in cleanings with an added focus on high touch surfaces, including doorknobs and handles; handrails; light switches; and buttons that open automatic doors that comply with the American Disabilities Act.

Environmental Health and Safety staff serve on the UA COVID-19 response team and will conduct cleanings in facilities. Staff responded to more than 230 requests over the summer to disinfect spaces or provide guidance on cleaning practices.

Students and employees will be provided two masks so all can easily comply with UA’s facial covering requirement in all campus buildings. Student Life will coordinate efforts to distribute masks to students, and colleges and departments will distribute to faculty and staff.

UA has strategically modified campus buildings to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The following enhancements have been made to numerous facilities.

  • The University has ordered more than 300 hand sanitizer stations that will be placed in buildings across campus.
  • Hands-free modifications have been made to bathroom doors.
  • Signage providing information on preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be placed throughout buildings. Directional signage will also be placed in areas that see heavy traffic.
  • All heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems have been and will continue to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. In addition, high-efficiency air filters that are used in hospitals to capture airborne viruses have been installed.
  • All drinking fountains have been disabled, except for those that allow students and employees to fill personal water bottles.

The following modifications will be seen in classrooms.

  • Seats will have markers that denote where to avoid sitting to allow for proper physical distancing.
  • Podiums will have 4-feet-wide plexiglass shields in the front and red tape 6 feet around the podium to denote where to avoid crossing.
  • Sanitizing wipe dispensers will be installed to allow students and faculty to clean workspaces.

“While the UA experience will look different this year, we feel our safety guidelines will allow all students and employees to take full advantage of their opportunities for productivity and growth,” said Fajack. “We look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus in the upcoming weeks.”

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.