With reference to lower COVID-19 numbers for students and staff and the widespread availability of vaccines, the University of Alabama will no longer require indoor masking from February 21st.
Case management and hotline services will remain, but on a “limited basis”, with UA-provided quarantine and isolation rooms phased out during the remaining spring semester.
“Our campus team has thoroughly reviewed the best available information and considered our own experience managing COVID over the past two years,” said Dr. Ricky Friend, Dean of the College of Community Health Sciences, in a written statement.
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“The university has provided the indispensable service of education while protecting our society. This is the next stage in continuing our essential mission.
“Services will remain available (at the UA Student Health Center and University Medical Center), and those who are ill or symptomatic – especially those at risk, immunocompromised as defined by the CDC and / or unvaccinated – should take precautions. is sick, so stay home, quarantine yourself and mask yourself around others. ”
Masking will still be required in UA medical care areas and on public transportation; the latter is mandated by federal law. Students who feel ill or think they may have been in contact with the virus should test at the Student Health Center or University Medical Center, seek treatment, and isolate themselves when asked.
UA continues to strongly urge vaccinations and boosters, masks and limited personal contact for those at increased risk. Vaccines have been available at UA health centers and several other places around Tuscaloosa for more than a year.
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The figures UA cited as declining “dramatically” over recent weeks:
• Study cases fell from a maximum of 393, 17-23. January, to 23 last week.
• Weekly cases for employees fall from 140, 10.-16. January, to 24 last week.
• UA-supplied quarantine isolation sites have fallen as low as zero.
The UA’s Situation Response Team, which includes epidemiologists, medical staff and others, made the recommendation, taking into account input from other state health officials. UA plans to continue monitoring COVID-19, and the situational response team can be recalled as needed. The plans for outbreaks are still in place.
On Tuesday, Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa also announced the end of the indoor mask requirement, which takes effect at 6 p.m.
“For students, staff and guests, face masks / masks will be optional, but encouraged for those who have not been vaccinated,” according to an email from Shelton State.