University of Alabama System appoints task force to improve campus safety

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CW File

Rebecca Griesbach | @rebach97, News Editor

While students are away, the University of Alabama System is rethinking health and safety on campus.

The UA System has created a task force led by UAB Health System experts to develop plans for University of Alabama System campuses to be the “safest universities in America” when on-campus instruction resumes, according to a System press release sent on Tuesday.

Chancellor Finis St. John has appointed Dr. Selwyn Vickers, dean of the UAB School of Medicine, and Katie Osburne, director of risk and compliance/system counsel, to lead this effort. According to the release, the task force will consider testing measures, enhanced cleaning, classroom procedures, housing policies, security and wellness programs, and the provision of personal protective equipment in developing a comprehensive plan to protect students, faculty and staff. Other task force members include:

• Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, Director, Division of Infectious Diseases, UAB Medicine;

• Dr. Craig J. Hoesley, Sr. Associate Dean, Medical Education, UAB School of Medicine;

• Edward Crump, Sr. Director, Environmental Services, UAB Hospital; and

• Student health, academic and student life administrators from the three campuses.

Dr. Marrazzo is an internationally renowned expert in infectious diseases and has appeared frequently on national news as the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded. Dr. Hoesley oversees all undergraduate and graduate medical education programs at UAB and is also a highly accomplished infectious disease researcher. Crump oversees all efforts to ensure that the stringent sanitary measures required at the 5.5 million square foot University Hospital are maintained daily.

This announcement is not a confirmation that in-class learning will resume in the Fall, and it did not specify how the series of programs will be funded. The Crimson White will update this story with any new information.

“Our trustees expect us to use every resource available in the System for the benefit of our students, faculty and staff,” St. John said in a press release. “We are fortunate that the scientists, doctors and staff at UAB are on the leading edge of efforts to resolve this health crisis. While it remains uncertain when students, faculty and staff will resume normal activities, no one is better positioned to develop a plan for the health and safety of our campuses than these world-class experts.”

The release stated that plans will be developed and announced using all available research and data prior to reopening the campuses of the System. Once the task force has completed its work, the UA System will make the plans available to other two- and four-year colleges and universities.