UA and COVID-19: Live updates on cancellations, travel bans, confirmed cases

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CW / Carly Farmer

The Crimson White

We’ve compiled all our coronavirus coverage in efforts to bring readers up-to-date with the news surrounding the University and COVID-19. Keep refreshing for live updates.


The Alabama Department of Public Health now has an interactive map with confirmed cases by county. Check it out here for twice-daily updates. 


April 29 – UA to “plan for” on-campus classes in the Fall

In an interview with AL.com on Wednesday morning, UA System Chancellor announced that system schools are gearing up for on-campus courses in the Fall, barring extenuating circumstances. Those extenuating circumstances are still uncertain, so the announcement is by no means a confirmation that classes will resume as normal.

The University did not send out messaging about the Fall semester to faculty or students until five hours after the story broke.

“We have been planning for and will continue to work toward in-person instruction this fall on the regular schedule,” the email stated. “Our campus working group has representation from across the University and will be addressing the various elements of our plan, including academic quality, campus life, and health and safety, and will coordinate with the UA System.”

The email stated that the University is also reviewing the possibility of returning to in-person classes for the second summer term. A decision about the summer 2 courses will be announced before the end of May.

Group 3 Employees

The University also announced that they are planning for Group 3 employees to get back to work.

“As the University approaches the next phase of Limited Business Operations, efforts are focused on safely returning all University employees to a working status as soon as circumstances allow,” the email stated.

According to the email, supervisors have been reviewing the status and will be contacting Group 3 employees this week regarding transition to either Group 1 (on campus) or Group 2 (working remote).

“Only employees who are critical to student move-out and other time-sensitive and essential on-campus operations, and who can meet social distancing and other requirements, will be working on campus at this time,” the email stated. “All other employees should continue to work remotely. Campus leaders are developing safety plans and protocols, which include addressing the use and distribution of personal protective equipment, for those employees returning to campus.  Additional guidance will be provided to supervisors of all Group 1 employees prior to their return to campus.”

April 28 – Maddox announces plan to gradually reopen Tuscaloosa

The Tuscaloosa City Council, each wearing face masks at their separate tables spread across the room, returned to its chambers Tuesday afternoon to hear Mayor Walt Maddox’s proposal to reopen the city. The plan serves to remedy both the economic and social losses the city has succumbed to due to the ongoing coronavirus.

While the dates predicted for each phase of restoration are not set in stone, Maddox will work closely with health officials in hopes that nothing is done prematurely. The council will meet on May 4, 5, 11 and 12 to discuss the particulars of the plan, and the vote will take place on May 12.

Tuscaloosa to reopen mid-May, pending Council vote

April 16 – Student workers will receive final paycheck next week

The University has been paying all student employees, including those who have not been actively working, for the past several weeks. All student employees will continue to be paid through April 17.

Those paychecks will be direct deposited on or about April 24, according to a UA update. This will serve as the final paycheck of the semester for student employees who are not actively working.

Student employees who continue to work will be contacted by their supervisor with instructions regarding recording hours after April 17. The update noted that students with current or future needs may visit the emergency assistance website for links to short-term financial and other assistance programs. More information about employment related issues, including student unemployment eligibility is available on the employee FAQs web page.

Campus Access During Limited Business Operations

The update also noted that students will not have Action Card access to any buildings during limited business operations. Group 1 employees working on campus should coordinate with their supervisors to ensure adherence to guidance related to Limited Business Operations.

“Even for this group, staggered times on campus are encouraged, as is remote performance of duties when possible,” the update stated. “Group 2 and Group 3 employees should have permission from their supervisors before coming to campus.”

April 15 – Bama Bound to be held virtually

The University of Alabama will hold 2020 Bama Bound orientation sessions online. We are working diligently to provide an excellent online experience to provide new and transfer students with a successful transition to UA. For those students who have already paid an orientation deposit, half of that fee will be credited to their account this fall. For students yet to register, the fee will be half of the original price. Go to the orientation website for more info.

April 8 – Interim and early summer courses to be taught remotely

To aid in scheduling and planning, all summer courses with a class start date before June 22 will be taught in an online or remote format, which includes Interim, summer I and full summer term sessions, according to a UA email sent on April 8.

“The University of Alabama is committed to providing consistency and continuity to our students, faculty and staff during this uncertain time,” the email stated. “We remain hopeful of the possibility to return to on-site instruction later in the summer.”

However, until circumstances change, faculty should continue preparing for online/remote course options for the remainder of the summer, including courses with a class start date on or after June 22.

Honors Day: In lieu of an in-person Honors Day Tapping on the Mound ceremony, The University of Alabama’s Office of Student Involvement, Coordinating Council for Honor Societies and Division of Student Life will host a live virtual ceremony April 10 at 1:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on the UA Division of Student Life’s Facebook page.

Extended Deadline: The deadline for returning books rented from the Supe Store for Spring Semester 2020 has been extended to May 31. Avoid shipping charges by using the UPS label available on the Supe Store site. More information on returning book(s) via USPS, UPS or Fedex is also available on the Supe Store website

March 31 – Pass/fail information updated

Both undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to choose a Pass/Fail (P/F) grading option for courses in which they are enrolled during Spring semester 2020, provided that the course has not yet ended. Students have until 5 p.m. on Friday, April 24th to make changes to their grading options. Additional guidance to students on how to make pass/fail selections if they so desire will be provided next week. This may not be applicable to students in professional degree programs, who should contact their program for grading information.

In addition to the P/F grading, the withdrawal deadline has also been extended to 5 p.m. on Friday, April 24th.

Any student considering the change from standard letter grading to P/F grading is strongly encouraged to consult with an academic advisor, pre-professional school advisor, athletics advisor, and/or financial aid advisor to understand the implications of the change on one’s future plans, including progress toward degree completion, future graduate/professional applications, and/or current and future financial aid.

  1. Students may choose a P/F grading scheme on a course-by-course basis for the spring 2020 semester.
  2. If students do not choose the P/F grading scheme, the faculty will continue to report letter grades for courses originally designed to use letter grades.
  3. Students will be allowed to switch to P/F Grading at any point up until the last day of classes (Friday, April 24th) at 5 p.m.
  4. For all graduate programs (master’s and doctoral), and for particular professional programs,* since grades below C do not carry credit toward a degree, a grade of D will be reported as an F under the P/F option.  For other programs, any grade from A+ to D- will be reported as a P if the student elects the P/F option.

* “Professional programs” include particular undergraduate and graduate programs in Nursing, Education, Social Work, and Human Environmental Sciences.  Medicine and Law will institute their own policy. For specifics, please contact your instructor, advisor or department chair.

For more, view a pass/fail FAQ here.

March 30 – UA Graduate School waives score requirements for admissions tests

For incoming UA graduate students worried about paying high fees and spending countless hours studying for entrance exams, the University has a message: Don’t sweat it.

On Monday, March 30, UA News announced that the the UA Graduate School will temporarily waive admission and language test score requirements for the summer and fall 2020 semesters as well as the spring 2021 semester. The goal is to better accommodate applicants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more here.

March 27 at 4 p.m. – UA announces pass/fail grading option for undergraduate students

UA announces pass/fail grading option for Spring 2020 semester

March 27 at 11 a.m. – Ivey orders statewide closure of non-essential businesses

After Alabama COVID-19 cases soared to 538 with three deaths, governor Kay Ivey ordered small businesses to close until April 17. Read the full order below.

March 26 at 8 p.m. – Maddox tightens curfew to 24 hours

Just one day after instituting a night-time curfew, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox issued a citywide lockdown, which will be reassessed daily through April 11. Those who violate the curfew could face a $500 fine or up to 180 days in jail.

Maddox extends citywide curfew to limit coronavirus spread

March 26 – UA to refund housing, parking, dining and graduation fees

Student Refunds

Housing, Dining and Parking will all offer prorated refunds to applicable students based upon residence hall, meal plan or parking permit type. Each affected student will be contacted directly no later than April 15 with more information about their specific refund. Students with a refund will be able to choose from these options:

  • Receive a prorated refund. See studentaccounts.ua.edu/refunds for information about how refunds are issued; OR
  • Apply your refund to your Fall 2020 student bill; students who elect this option will receive an additional credit of 10% of the refund amount. For example, under this option with a $500 refund, an additional 10% or $50 for a total of $550 would be applied to your Fall 2020 student bill; Or
  • Donate your refund to the Tide Together Student Support Fund.

Refunds will be applied to accounts with outstanding balances before distribution of any remaining refund balance. Students with UA scholarships that paid for housing, dining or parking are not eligible for refunds.

More detailed information specific to each student will be provided no later than April 15. Other updates will be posted at healthinfo.ua.edu and related offices’ websites as they become available.

Graduation Fee Error

A number of students have been inadvertently charged a graduation application fee due to an automated process. We apologize and have instituted a process to fully refund them. We are determining alternative means of recognizing the significant achievements of our graduates and students earning honors and will provide that information as soon as possible.

Extension of Limited Business Operations 

The University continues to address and manage issues related to the Covid-19 outbreak, so limited business operations will continue for the time being. Any changes to this policy will be communicated to the UA community. For the latest updates to frequently asked questions, go to https://healthinfo.ua.edu/faqs/.

Honors Week

Honors Week 2020 will be held in a virtual format in late April. Advisers are working with students to plan the alternative event. Updates will be provided when available.

March 23 – Updated FAQs

The University has answered more questions regarding student healthcare, transportation and other vital services:

Crimson Ride: Currently, all Crimson Ride and 348-RIDE services have been suspended. The University does not have a timeline for return as the situation regarding the Coronavirus remains fluid.Mail: The Ferguson Mail Center will remain closed to students for mail and package pick-up services indefinitely. With the exception of packages received that contain medication, all packages will be forwarded to addresses provided by students. If addresses are not provided, packages will be sent to the student’s permanent address in myBama. We strongly encourage all students to ensure their permanent addresses are correct in myBama.

Students who are awaiting the delivery of medications should send an email that includes the student’s name, mailstop code and tracking number for the package containing the medication(s) to the Ferguson Mail Center at fergmailcenter@ua.edu. These items will be placed in the parcel lockers located at Bryce Lawn and if not retrieved by the students sooner will remain in the lockers until March 31, 2020. If medications are not retrieved, they will be sent to the student’s permanent address. When the packages are ready for pickup, students can expect to receive an email notification from the Ferguson Mail Center.

Dorms: Residence Halls are currently closed. Residents who need access to emergency items, such as medication or laptop, should contact Housing and Residential Communities (HRC) by email housing@ua.edu or by phone at (205) 348-6676. Emails are being checked frequently and voicemails are being responded to promptly during the remainder of spring break. Residents may not stay overnight. Entering the residence halls should be at an absolute minimum and should be only to pick-up essential items. Students needing access to Greek houses should call (205) 348-2693.

Student Health Center: At this time, the Student Health Center does not have COVID-19 testing kits. DCH Regional Medical Center is overseeing drive-through coronavirus testing in Tuscaloosa.

Administration strongly encourages students to refer to the healthinfo.ua.edu for the latest information about the University’s response and planning for the pandemic.

UA officials also answered questions regarding searches for new hires.

“There is no active search being conducted at the moment for a dean of students,” a University spokesperson said. “Dr. Myron Pope has been named the new vice president of student life and will begin his work on campus May 4. The search for provost is still underway. At this point in time, the candidates will are still scheduled to come to campus in April, and all of the visits will be open to the public. The committee is working diligently to ensure that finalists will be safe throughout this process.”

March 20 at 4:29 p.m. – UA announces energy conservation plans, work assignments

Beginning immediately and during limited business operations, general building maintenance and normal custodial services will be suspended while stringent energy conservation measures are implemented across campus.

HVAC systems will operate only short periods each day, maintaining warmer temperatures, and all internal non-essential lighting will be reduced. The frequency and duration of HVAC operations will depend on the building and outside air temperatures. An effective campuswide energy curtailment plan is essential. Cooling an entire building for only one or two occupants is expensive and inefficient. We ask for your help to limit costs and save energy.

Exceptions will be made for special buildings or operations, such as medical and animal care facilities, libraries and museums, where HVAC systems are needed to operate at or near normal temperatures. If you are aware of a facility or building that requires exception to these energy conservation measures, please email Campus Energy Engineer/Director Greg McKelvey at gmckelvey@fa.ua.edu with justification for the exemption. All requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Your understanding and cooperation during these unprecedented and difficult times is appreciated.

Limited business operations work assignments

Supervisors will be notifying staff today about their Staff Group classifications (Group 1, 2 or 3) and work assignments for the coming week. Please revisit the announcement of Limited Business Operations for an overview.

Other Updates

  • A few more campus events have been canceled. Please send any campuswide events to be considered for listing on the site to uanews@ua.edu.
  • Bama Dining at Lakeside and Starbucks on Bryant Drive have moved to take-out or drive-through services only this week.
  • On-campus spring commencement will not be held as scheduled, and families should not plan on traveling to campus for that event. We are actively exploring and hope to provide alternative means of recognizing the significant achievements of graduates and students earning honors, but it is too early to make those plans firm.

See our COVID-19 Resource Guide for more University updates on student assistance and local services. 

March 18 at 3:45 p.m. – UA extends online-only instruction for duration of spring semester

For students at the University of Alabama, president Stuart Bell has a message: stay home.

The decision was announced in a semester completion plan emailed to the UA community on Wednesday, following the one-week extension of spring break and a move to online-only classes until further notice. The original policy mandated by the UA System was set to be reevaluated on April 6.

To combat the spread of COVID-19, the plan outlines a continuation of online-only classes and prohibits students from returning to campus for the duration of the semester. Interim and summer abroad classes are cancelled, and commencement will not be held as scheduled. Students who rely on on-campus housing must apply for an exception to this policy through the UA Division of Student Life.

[Read more: UA spring semester will remain online, commencement cancelled]

March 18 at 9 a.m. – UA limits business operations through extended break

It is standard practice for the University to operate under limited business operations during spring break, but with the recent decision to extend the break and move to online-only instruction, staff responsibilities will be cut accordingly.

In a UA News release sent to faculty and staff Tuesday evening, President Stuart Bell announced that the University will continue to operate under limited business operations, which includes essential staffing and remote work assignments, for an additional week, beginning Monday, March 23, through Sunday, March 29. This plan may be extended beyond this time period and any decision to do so will be promptly communicated to the campus community, Bell said.

Key Takeaways: The plan will promote remote work for faculty and will group staff members into three categories: those who are needed for on-campus duties, those who will work remotely and those who will not work. Those in the third group will still be paid for the initial period. Student employees are forbidden from working on-campus unless granted permission from HR.

A University spokesperson said that cases with student workers vary and that student employees should contact their supervisors with any questions regarding pay for the duration of the semester.

March 17 at 9:20 p.m. – Tuscaloosa Police Department closes down east, west, and downtown precinct

The city of Tuscaloosa Police Department has announced that it will close its east, west and downtown precincts until further notice in accordance with CDC and Alabama Department of Health regulations on COVID-19. Their headquarters will remain open to the public.

According to a press release, “The Police Department will remain fully operational during this time.” These safeguards have been put into place to help limit officers’ potential exposure to COVID-19. This will lead to an increase of patrol officers by limiting the number of desk personnel needed. 

For residents who need to file a police report at one of these precincts, call 205-349-2121, and a police officer will meet in the parking lot. As usual, any resident with an emergency should call 911.

March 17 at 12:30 p.m. – Mayor Walt Maddox mandates three-week ban on public gatherings

In response to an early morning address by Gov. Kay Ivey, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox announced new guidelines that will affect most local restaurants, bars and breweries until April 6.

“We are in unprecedented times that require unprecedented actions,” Maddox said in a press conference on Tuesday. “I think we’ve countered chaos with calm courage. Moving forward, we will not be perfect, but we will be relentless in protecting our families and our community.”

Maddox said the City’s priority is “saving lives, reducing sickness and shortening the duration of fear.” This means that, effective Tuesday, March 17, at 5 p.m. until April 6, gatherings of more than 25 people will be prohibited. Nursing homes will immediately close to visitors, and effective Wednesday, March 18, all senior citizen activity centers and private schools, preschools and daycare centers with more than 12 or more children will also close.

The city will extend the cancellation of permits and events from April 6 to April 30, bringing cancelled events to a total of nearly 300. The city will also cancel or reschedule Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre shows and the Mayor’s Cup, which was originally set for April 25. More details will be revealed in the near future.

City hall will also continue to be open but will limit access and entry points. Incident command, which was activated on Feb. 28, will be moved to the Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre.

[Read more: City issues three-week ban against gatherings of 25 or more, City leaders discuss economic impact of COVID-19]

March 17 – ADPH suspends public gatherings, dining out in Tuscaloosa and neighboring counties

Dr. Scott Harris, state health officer at the Alabama Department of Public Health, has issued orders suspending certain public gathering due to the risk of infection by the novel coronavirus COVID-19. These orders are applicable for the counties of Blount, St. Clair, Shelby, Tuscaloosa and Walker.

  • Effective March 17, all gatherings of 25 people or more or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons are prohibited in these counties. This order applies to all events or activities that bring 25 or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time.
  • Effective March 18, all senior citizen centers are to be closed. Senior centers and their partners are urged to assure that their clients continue to receive needed meals via curbside pickup or delivery.
  • Effective March 18 through April 6, all private schools (grades through 12) and preschools and childcare centers with 12 or more children, except for those operated within hospitals, shall be closed. Prior to April 6, a determination will be made about whether to extend these closures.
  • All nursing homes and long-term care facilities will prohibit visitors, except for compassionate care situations such as end-of-life care.
  • Effective at 5 p.m. March 17, any restaurant, brewery or bar shall not permit onsite food or drink to be served for at least one week, with certain provisions. Establishments may continue to offer food for take-out or delivery provided the social distancing protocols including maintaining a consistent six-foot distance between persons are followed. Establishments are strongly encouraged to offer online ordering and curbside pickup of food.  Hospital food service areas are excluded provided they have their own social distancing plan.

If the organizers or sponsors of an otherwise suspended event wishes, they may submit a request for an exemption from this order.

“Our strategy is always to contain the spread of infection, and the most important message for now is that a six-foot distance between individuals be maintained,” Harris said. “We urge people to use common sense and stay home when sick. Everyone in the state has the ability to keep safe, and I know that working together we can get through this.”

March 16 at 6:03 p.m. – County approves emergency declaration

The Tuscaloosa County Commission has approved an Emergency Declaration in response to the potential spread of COVID-19. The declaration activates the Tuscaloosa County continuity of operations plan and authorizes the county to aid in the protection and preservation of life and property and to render assistance to victims of the disaster.

This is a procedural enabling measure in preparation for the period to come. All services of the Tuscaloosa County government are operational but are subject to change at any time. The Commission encourages everyone to take heed and follow guidance from health officials.

Additionally, the County Commission has authorized or shares the following information:

License Commissioner’s Office:

Will waive $2.00 mail-in fee for tag renewals for 60 days.

Alabama Department of Revenue has extended the deadline for obtaining your March motor vehicle registration and paying property taxes on vehicles through April 15, 2020.

Probate Office:

Will soon offer free viewing and printing of online Probate Records for 60 days.

For other recording or document related questions, please call 205-464-8207.

Volunteer Fire Departments (VFD’s):

Annual funding will be allocated immediately, in cooperation with Tuscaloosa County Fire Protection Association. An additional $2,000 reimbursement will also be provided to all 21 VFD’s. This is an effort to provide needed resources to critical first respondersthat serve this county.

Enhanced Courthouse Screening:

All visitors must enter the courthouse through the front or rear entrance for screening.

Civil and Criminal Courts:

At the direction of the Alabama Supreme Court, all in-person court proceedings will be suspended for 30 days. Persons with questions are advised to contact their attorney or the respective courts.

Alerts:

To receive local text message updates on COVID-19, please text COVIDTUSC to 888-777.

Visit Tuscco.com for updates and more information.

March 16 – Rounder’s and Innis close until further notice due to COVID-19

Rounder’s bar announced Monday evening that due to the threat COVID-19 poses they will close until further notice in order to keep their “patrons and staff safe.” 

“As we have followed guidelines and suggestions from the CDC, we believe it to be in our best interest to stay at home and rest and encourage you all to do the same,” a statement on Rounder’s’ Instagram read. 

Six hours earlier, at approximately 3 p.m.,  Innisfree Irish Pub announced that it was closing until further notice and will not be open on St. Patrick’s Day. However, they will be open for delivery from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting on Wednesday March 18. 

These closures stand to cause both of these establishments thousands of dollars of lost revenue over the duration of their closings. These bars have set the precedent of public safety despite the lost revenue while other bars in the area remain open.

The Red Shed also announced changes due to coronavirus, but will cut capacity in half instead of closing.

March 16 at 4 p.m. – President Trump announces new COVID-19 guidelines for all Americans

In a White House press conference, members of the Coronavirus Task Force recommended that all Americans work to engage in schooling from home, avoid gathering in groups of more than 10, avoid discretionary travel, eating and drinking in bars, restaurants and public food courts. Trump, however, said that he’s not currently considering a nationwide quarantine.

March 16 at 8 a.m. – DCH begins coronavirus screening

Druid City Regional Hospital will join institutions around the nation in providing drive-through screening for COVID-19 symptoms. This is not equivalent to testing, but is another tool states can use to prevent the spread of the virus.

CW / Hannah Saad

March 15 at 7:08 p.m. – City requests assistance with social distancing

A press release from the city of Tuscaloosa requested that businesses admit no more than 50 patrons in their establishments and work to ensure customers stay at least six feet apart from each other.

March 15 at 6:20 p.m. – 22 cases confirmed in Alabama, three in Tuscaloosa

The Alabama Department of Public Health has confirmed 22 total cases of COVID-19 statewide, with the most occurring in Jefferson County. An additional cases was reported in Tuscaloosa.

March 14 at 11:12 p.m. – 12 cases confirmed in Alabama; two in Tuscaloosa

The Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed six more cases of coronavirus in Alabama, as well as one more in Tuscaloosa. There are currently no additional details on either of the Tuscaloosa cases.

March 13 at 9 p.m. – After coronavirus case confirmed in Tuscaloosa, Maddox proclaims state of emergency

According to a report from the Alabama Public Health Department, Tuscaloosa County is home to one of six confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state of Alabama.

“Fear is still our greatest threat,” Tuscaloosa mayor Walt Maddox said at a press conference on Friday night, following news of the confirmation. “For weeks we knew this day would come, now that it is here life marches forward. We must continue to live our lives. I believe Tuscaloosa will be fine by meeting this unprecedented moment with unprecedented resolve.”

[Read more: Mayor Maddox addresses confirmed COVID-19 case in Tuscaloosa ]

March 13 at 5:46 p.m. – International students told visas will not be affected by online classes

In order to maintain full-time enrollment, students on F-1 and J-1 visas must maintain 12 hours of enrollment at their respective universities. Under previous visa guidelines, only one online course can count for those 12 hours.

An email from Charter Morris, director of International Student & Scholar Services, stated that the department has received guidance from the Department of Homeland Security that international students’ statuses as an F-1 or J-1 student will not be affected by the move of Spring 2020 classes online.

March 13 at 5:06 p.m. – SOURCE postpones FAC funding, elections, on-campus events

Rosalind Moore-Miller, the Executive Director of Student Engagement in The Division of Student Life, sent an email on Friday evening to student leaders of SOURCE-registered organizations regarding FAC funding, travel, meeting protocol and extended deadlines.

[Read more: CORONAVIRUS: SOURCE updates student organization protocols]

March 13 around 5 p.m. – State opens call center, Ivey calls state of emergency, five cases confirmed in Alabama

In a press conference, Governor Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency for the state of Alabama and announced that public schools would close after March 18 for two and a half weeks.

As of 5 p.m., there have been five confirmed coronavirus cases in Alabama, one of which is in Montgomery County and another in Jefferson County. Details on the other three cases are unknown.

The state is also opening a call center at 8 a.m. for anyone uncertain about needing a COVID-19 test. The number is 1-888-264-2256.

March 13 at 4:28 p.m. – Maddox orders extension of utilities grace period

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox ordered an extension of the non-payment grace period for water, sewer and garbage in Tuscaloosa by 60 days.

“Access to clean water is paramount to prevention of COVID-19,” Maddox said in a press release. “No one should be unable to wash their hands due to an inability to pay.”

March 13 at 3 p.m. – SEC prolongs suspension of competition, team activities until April 15

The Southeastern Conference announced that it will be extending the suspension of team activities, competition, individual meetings and other organized activities through April 15 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

 

The previous suspension was scheduled to last through March 30.

March 13 at 2:33 p.m. – President Donald Trump declares a national emergency

Trump declared a national emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak at a live press conference on Friday afternoon.

“I am officially declaring a national emergency — two very big words,” Trump said.

By declaring a state of emergency, Trump will allow FEMA to tap into its $40-billion Disaster Relief Fund.

During the press conference, Trump announced several new measures to combat the outbreak, including adding partnerships with the private sector, a new website powered by Google that will contain COVID-19 resources and testing advice and temporary waving interest on all student loans held by federal government agencies.

March 13 at about 2:30 p.m. – Drop period extended to April 24

The University’s academic calendar has been changed to reflect the following updates:

  • Priority registration for the summer and fall 2020 terms will begin Monday, March 30.
  • The last day to drop a course with a grade of “W” for the spring 2020 full-term and Spring 2 has been extended to Friday, April 24.

[Read more: Registration timeline shifts with break extension, alternative schooling]

March 13 at 2:05 p.m. – Alabama football suspends spring football practice until further notice

The Crimson Tide was set to take the field for the first time this spring on Friday afternoon, but that has now been postponed until further notice, according to a release from Football Communications. The release did not specify that the postponement was a direct result of COVID-19, but it only can be assumed that UA is following the trend of other college teams

March 13 at 10 a.m. – Ivey announces first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Alabama

Gov. Kay Ivey released a statement Friday morning confirming that Alabama has confirmed its first case of COVID-19. The confirmed case is in Montgomery County, according to state health officials. The person contracted COVID-19 when they came in contact with someone while traveling out of state, according to a tweet  from the Alabama Department of Health.

Ivey encouraged Alabamians to remain calm.

“Alabamians are smart and savvy, and I know they will continue taking appropriate precautions to prevent the spread to themselves or others,” Ivey said in a press release. “We have taken a calm and collected approach in preparation for this first confirmed case, and we need to remember that calm and steady wins the race. Alabamians should not be fearful, but instead, use commonsense to watch out for themselves and others. We will remain engaged on the matter and continue prioritizing the health and wellbeing of all Alabamians.”

Alabama is one of the last states to confirm a case of COVID-19.

March 12 at 5:43 p.m. – Spring break extended to March 30

About an hour after the UA System release, UA News sent a school-wide email signed by President Stuart Bell, which stated that spring break would be extended to March 30 to allow more time for instructors to adapt to alternative teaching methods.

[Read more: University of Alabama extends spring break, moves to alternate instruction]

March 12 at 4:37 p.m. – University of Alabama to transition to online-only/alternate classes

Lily Jackson, a reporter for AL.com, tweeted Thursday afternoon that the University would transition to alternate classes. The policy will be reevaluated on or before April 6.

The tweet was confirmed in a release sent by the UA System on Thursday afternoon, but as of 5:11 p.m., the University has not emailed any school-wide notification.

March 12 at 2:22 p.m. – College of Arts & Sciences sends email dispelling rumors

Joseph Messina, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, sent out an email Thursday afternoon that tried to quell rumors that classes will be cancelled after spring break.

“Given the closure of universities across the country, I understand how some may speculate that UA will do the same; however, as of today, March 12, UA is not planning to cancel classes,” the email said. “We are closely monitoring the ever-evolving situation and will respond accordingly. Recent rumors you may have heard about classes being cancelled after spring break are untrue.”

The email went on to assure students that any notification about classes would originate from President Stuart Bell’s office. Messina referred students to the resources that are available at healthinfo.ua.edu and promised to keep them updated.

March 12 at 1:25 p.m. – City of Tuscaloosa cancels public events held on city property

At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Mayor Walt Maddox announced that all public events hosted at city facilities and on city property have been cancelled through March 31. 

March 12 around 12 p.m. – SEC announces cancellation of Men’s Basketball Tournament, suspends all regular season competition

After limiting the 2020 Men’s Basketball Tournament to essential personnel only on Wednesday, the SEC completely cancelled the remainder of the tournament on Thursday. The cancellation was announced 30 minutes before Alabama was scheduled to face off against Tennessee in the second round.

Along with cancelling the Men’s Basketball Tournament, the SEC announced that all regular season competition for teams on SEC campuses would be suspended until March 30. That puts a halt to all Crimson Tide spring sports, except the Alabama track and field team, who is competing in the NCAA Indoor National Championships today. The release also said all SEC championships in the span will be suspended.

The Tuscaloosa News’ Brett Hudson reported that the University of Alabama sent an email out on Thursday announcing plans for ticket refunds.

March 11 at 11 p.m. – Students petition for online classes

Several Change.org petitions demanding that The University of Alabama take action against the disease circulated on the Facebook group, a community of over 76,000 members. One petition, started by an account named UA Community, asked the University to move classes online. The petition already received over 1,000 signatures within six hours of publication and was still receiving more at the time this article was published.

[Read more: Students take to Ticket Exchange to voice fear of coronavirus’ impact]

March 11 – President Donald Trump announces European travel ban

In a rare public address from the Oval Office on Wednesday night, Trump announced a 30-day travel ban that will suspend arrivals from 26 European countries. However, the U.K. and Ireland are exempt from the list, as well as all U.S. citizens returning home or foreign nationals who are legal, permanent U.S. residents. The ban will go into effect on Friday on midnight on Friday.

March 11 at 6:43 p.m. – UA releases spring break advisory

The University of Alabama notified students and faculty on Wednesday evening that they should be prepared for disruptions to campus operations and to transition to online-only classes.

“Although current plans call for maintaining normal campus operations, be advised that it is possible UA could move to alternative methods of delivery, including online-only classes at some point this semester based on the state of COVID-19 in Alabama,” the UA News email said.

The email did not specify if or when this would happen, but did advise students to plan ahead when they leave for spring break.

[Read more: COVID-19 corrupts, cancels spring break plans, Coronavirus causes students and faculty to rethink spring and summer plans]

March 9 at 5:40 p.m. – UA advises against domestic travel

According to an official UA email, as of March 9, the system of officials have issued “guidance advising against any non-essential domestic travel at this time, particularly to large conferences with attendees from multiple states or locations that have declared a state of emergency due to the virus.” 

The email continued with an advisory against domestic travel for University sponsored events.

[Read more: COVID-19 Update: Ahead of spring break, University advises against domestic travel]

March 4 at 2 p.m. – UA cancels all University-affiliated international travel

As of Wednesday, March 4, the University has canceled all University-sponsored international travel for those departing this month and has suspended travel set to occur after March.

[Read more: As coronavirus saturates media, UA responds]

Feb 1 at 5:14 p.m. – International students alerted to expanded travel ban

Morris Charter, director of International Student & Scholar Services, sent out an email informing international students of travel restrictions and an “expanded travel ban” following the outbreak. 

Following initial news of the outbreak in late December, we talked to students who have family and friends in Wuhan about how the virus was impacting them. 

[Read more: Chinese students discuss coronavirus’ impact]