University of Alabama System updates health and safety guidelines for fall semester

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The University of Alabama System will return to in-person classes this fall with updated health and safety guidelines amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidelines will take effect July 26th at all three of the system’s campuses in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Huntsville.

The University of Alabama System Health & Safety Task Force, made up of public health and infectious disease experts and administrators from the UA, UAB, and UAH, released the updated guidelines on Tuesday. They include requirements for unvaccinated individuals to wear face coverings inside all campus buildings. Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear face coverings.

The guidelines also give campus health professionals the authority to mandate for-cause COVID-19 testing of unvaccinated individuals if three or more people in certain geographic location or student group test positive for COVID-19. Campus events, including events sponsored by student organizations, can take place in accordance with pre-pandemic university policies.

The system also says university-sponsored travel will be subject to restrictions based on transmission rates at the time, the vaccination status of the traveler, and guidance from the U.S. Department of State. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of State issued a ‘Do Not Travel Warning’ to the United Kingdom.

It’s unclear how the universities plan to enforce masking and testing requirements for unvaccinated students. The Crimson White, the University of Alabama newspaper, reports that university officials have said they will not confirm an individuals vaccination status. Alabama state law prohibits universities from requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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