Are masks required while on campus this spring?
Consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Alabama Department of Public Health, all persons on campus, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear face masks in all public indoor settings in all university facilities. Masks should comply with CDC guidance, which can be viewed here.
With this requirement, masks must be worn:
- Inside classrooms and classroom buildings, regardless of distancing
- In personal meeting spaces, such as meetings with faculty and advisors
- When gathering in common spaces, such as the Caf, Reid Chapel, Pete Hanna Center, Leslie S. Wright Center, University Library, University Center (UC), and the common areas of residence halls.
- While riding on the SamTram
- When alone in offices and private workspaces
- In residence hall rooms
- While actively eating or drinking
- While exercising
Requirements for 2021-22 Academic Year
What are the student requirements for the 2021-22 academic year?
As explained in the Aug. 6, 2021 COVID-19 Update, all students are required to complete the following three tasks in order to access campus for the 2021-22 academic year, attend classes, access university technology, or participate in Samford related activities:
- Electronically sign the Student Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk.* (If you are under the age of 19, please see the note below.)
- Respond to the university’s Vaccination Response Form and upload verification if you choose.
- Within seven days prior to returning to campus, submit a negative PCR test result. Please follow the instructions contained in our July 27, 2021 email, “Required Reentry Baseline Testing.” All PCR baseline test results can be uploaded at samford.edu/go/UploadResults.
Please note that missing class due to incomplete reentry requirements will result in unexcused absences.
Remember you can confirm whether you’re deemed to be cleared to access campus using the “Check My COVID-19 Status” feature on the university portal.
*Note: All students are required to complete the Student Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk form. Students under the age of 19 must also have a parent signature on the form. If you are under the age of 19, you should sign the form and provide the email address of the parent who will sign the form. The parent will receive an email, then must create an account, and sign the Student Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk form. For students under the age of 19, both signatures are required before the form will be complete.
What are the employee requirements for the 2021-22 academic year?
All employees are required to complete the following three tasks:
- Electronically sign the Employee Return to Campus Acknowledgement 2021-22 Form
- Respond to the university’s Vaccination Response Form and upload verification if you choose. Employees are required to complete and submit this form, even if they previously notified the university of their vaccination status in Spring 2021.
- Submit Baseline Reentry Testing: Please follow the detailed instructions provided in the Aug. 6, 2021 COVID-19 Update to submit a negative PCR baseline test result.
If you’ve not already completed these tasks, now is the time to do so! Remember you can confirm whether you’re deemed to be cleared for the semester using the “Check My COVID-19 Status” feature on the university portal.
What is Samford’s position on the COVID-19 vaccination?
Samford strongly encourages vaccination against COVID-19. We encourage unvaccinated employees and students, in consultation with their personal healthcare providers, to be fully vaccinated. We recommend vaccinated individuals consult with their health provider to receive a booster shot if eligible. Free vaccinations and boosters are readily available throughout our local community.
International, national, state and local health organizations remain steadfast in their opinion that vaccines approved for emergency use in the United States are safe and have proven effective. While Samford strongly encourages vaccination, it does not require it. Persons will not be restricted from attending classes, eating in the university facilities or attending university events based on vaccination status.
Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use or in development in the US use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, remember that it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. This means that it is possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination.
If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?
Yes. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated even if you’ve already had COVID-19.
Why does the university ask employees and students to identify their vaccination status?
The university’s interest in vaccination status is straightforward: an accurate measure of the aggregate vaccination rate on campus promotes our ability to maintain regular operations. Having an accurate picture of vaccination rates allows us to evaluate and put forth measured policy in response to any surge in COVID-19 cases.
What are my choices on the Vaccination Response Form?
- I am FULLY vaccinated and will upload official documentation verifying my status.
- I am FULLY vaccinated but do not have official documentation. I will complete an attestation form to verify my status.
- I am PARTIALLY vaccinated and will upload official documentation verifying my status.
- I am PARTIALLY vaccinated but do not have official documentation. I will complete an attestation form to verify my status.
- I am not vaccinated.
- I prefer not to say.
Who will have access to my Vaccination Response Form information?
Due to health care and FERPA privacy laws, Samford will not disclose vaccination status of individual students or employees. Access to vaccination information is highly restricted, just as we maintain close control over all health information and student and/or employee records subject to HIPAA and FERPA regulations. Training is required of all persons accessing student and/or employee records.
Will the university accept antibody test results as a substitute for vaccination?
No. CDC guidance currently states, "Antibody testing is not currently recommended to assess for immunity to COVID-19 following COVID-19 vaccination or to assess the need for vaccination in an unvaccinated person.”
Will I be restricted from attending classes, eating in the Caf, or attending university events based on my vaccination status?
No. Please note, however, that external organizations offering internships, student teaching and/or clinical learning opportunities may have different requirements. Contact tracing, isolation and quarantine policies recommended by the CDC and required by local health officials also vary between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals and/or whether a person is symptomatic or asymptomatic. Source: CDC Interim Public Health Recommendations for Vaccinated People.
What do I need to upload in the Vaccination Response Form to verify my vaccination status?
The university will accept any of the following:
- A copy of a U.S. CDC Vaccination Record Card.
- Electronic vaccination records where country policy requires the use of electronic documentation via app or health agency site (e.g. UK NHS App, NHS Certificate, Israel Green Pass, EU Digital COVID Certificate).
- A letter from the medical provider that administered the vaccination which meets the following criteria:
- The Proof of Vaccination must include the name of the vaccinated person that matches the Samford University ID (SUID) with the date of birth (DoB), the dates of the completed vaccination cycle, the administering physical or medical services provider and the manufacturer of the vaccine issued.
- The vaccine is recognized by Samford University as defined above.
- You will be considered fully vaccinated 14 days following the end of the vaccination cycle (after receiving the second dose in a two-dose series such as Pfizer or Moderna or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson).
Has Samford offered COVID-19 vaccinations to employees and students?
Yes, during the spring 2021 semester, Samford University secured COVID-19 vaccination opportunities for all students and employees through a partnership with University of Alabama at Birmingham. The University also conducted on-campus vaccination clinics in March, April and May. All active full-time and part-time employees and students received email communications from the university with details related to accessing vaccination appointments.
Where can I go to learn more about vaccination against COVID-19?
We suggest you visit:
- Alabama Department of Public Health
- Jefferson County Department of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization
Is free COVID-19 testing available on campus?
Yes, as an added measure to promote campus well-being, between Tuesday, Jan. 18 - Friday, Feb. 4, Samford will provide free COVID-19 testing to all asymptomatic students and employees. Testing will be available every weekday from 7-8:30 a.m. in 207 Seibert Hall.
If I am vaccinated, am I still subject to the university's COVID-19 random sentinel testing requirements?
Yes, effective Jan. 7, 2022, the university reinstated required random sentinel testing for all employees and students, regardless of vaccination status. Random sentinel testing of asymptomatic students and employees allows us to be better informed of the existence of COVID-19 on campus and the potential for emerging hotspots.
What are Samford’s protocols for quarantine and isolation?
Samford’s isolation and quarantine* protocols align with CDC Guidance. These protocols include:
- Anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, is required to quarantine away from other persons and seek a COVID-19 test from a healthcare provider. No one is allowed to return to campus without a negative test result** and having remained free of any symptoms for a minimum of 24 hours prior to return. If you live in an on-campus residence hall, you should remain in your room and avoid contact with all residents while you await a test or result.
- Anyone testing positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should notify the university within two hours of the diagnosis and isolate for five days away from other persons. You should then continue to wear a mask for an additional five days in all public settings, on or off campus. Students should email Covid19health@samford.edu and employees should email Covid19employees@samford.edu.
- Anyone who has been in close contact*** with a COVID-19 positive person must quarantine away from other persons for a period of five days beginning the day after your last exposure. You should then continue to wear a mask for an additional five days in all public settings, on or off campus. Before returning to campus after the fifth day of quarantine, you must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result** taken after the fifth day. Test results should be uploaded to https://samford.edu/go/UploadResults and a notification email must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to exit quarantine.
- Individuals may be exempted from quarantine requirements if a) they have received the final dose of their vaccination regimen within the last six months (Moderna), five months (Pfizer) or 2 months (J&J); or b) they have received a booster dose of a FDA approved vaccine; or c) they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days.
To update your vaccination or booster status, please go to: https://samford.edu/go/vaccinationresponse.
*Quarantine is used to keep someone who is reasonably believed to have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine aids in preventing the spread of the disease that can occur before a person knows he or she is ill or infected with the virus. Isolation is used to separate people who test positive for COVID-19 (both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals) from people who are not infected. People in isolation should remain at home until it is safe for them to be around others.
**Your COVID-19 test may be either a PCR or a rapid-antigen test administered by a healthcare provider. At home tests are not acceptable. Samford provides free rapid-antigen COVID-19 testing to all asymptomatic students and employees on weekdays from 7-8:30 a.m. in 207 Seibert Hall. Free testing will continue at least through February 4, 2022.
***Close contact is defined as being within six feet for more than 15 cumulative minutes within a 24-hour period.
What do I do if I am diagnosed with COVID-19?
All employees and students who are enrolled and studying on campus should notify the university within two hours of diagnosis. Students should contact Covid19health@samford.edu and employees should contact Covid19employees@samford.edu.
Will I be notified if I have been in contact with someone on campus who has tested positive for COVID-19?
Yes, you will be notified through Samford’s contact tracing process if the university learns that you are a “close contact” of an infected individual while on the Samford campus. Close contacts are defined by the CDC as someone who was within 6 feet of a COVID-19 infected person for at least 15 minutes cumulatively in a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset.
Are University Health Services available on campus?
Yes, the Health Center is open for students and employees. In partnership with MedHelp, Samford’s on-campus Health Center is staffed by a Physician and a Nurse Practitioner during regular operating hours. Students and staff also have access to MedHelp’s five Urgent Care locations in Birmingham after hours and on weekends.
Hours of Operation
On-campus Health Services
- Monday — Friday, 9 a.m. — 6 p.m.
- Walk-ins welcome
- Appointments available from 10 a.m. — 3:45 p.m.
Birmingham MedHelp Clinics
- Monday — Friday, 8 a.m. — 8 p.m.
- Saturday, 8 a.m. — 6 p.m.
- Sunday, 1 a.m. — 6 p.m.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or believe you have been exposed, call the clinic at 205-726-2835. University Health Center staff will complete a curbside consultation in the Health Center parking lot. All five local MedHelp clinics will also provide COVID-19 testing during clinic operating hours. Routine health insurance coverage practices are applicable.