UAB officials answered student questions and concerns at a virtual town hall held on Jan. 12. They emphasized the danger of the COVID-19 virus, the services available to UAB students and the flexibility with which the university is handling the ongoing pandemic.
Jeanne Marrazzo, Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UAB, offered simple advice on how to manage the latest surge of COVID-19.
“Our advice, of course, is don’t get it if you can help it,” said Marrazzo.
Marrazzo and other UAB officials would advocate for vaccinations and masking to prevent contracting COVID-19, noting that the two are best methods for preventing infections.
Michael Faircloth, director of Student Health Services, reminded students that Student Health is available to provide comprehensive primary care. He also laid out the options that Student Health provides with regards to helping student manage COVID-19.
Provost Pam Benoit explained the university’s decision to return to in-person classes. She noted that classroom environments are low-transmission settings and that many other institutions are making the same decision, including all other public universities in Alabama.
Benoit said that she is hopeful that spring break and in-person commencement would happen as scheduled but would not commit to saying when a final decision would be made.
“We continue to consult with our experts,” Benoit said. “Even though I would like to know today or next week, they provide the best advice about when we feel like we could make that decision so I can’t put an exact date on that.”
Benoit told students to watch the commencement website for more information and that students expecting to graduate will be notified when a decision is made.
USGA president Angela Lee, Graduate Student Government president Jazmine Benjamin, UAB president Ray Watts, Interim graduate school dean Lisa Schwiebert, director of student housing and dining Marc Booker vice president for student affairs John Jones III, head of student counseling services Angela Stowe and epidemiologist Suzanne Judd also delivered remarks.
The full town hall can be viewed below.