Course Delivery Methods
The university plans to host in-person commencement ceremonies for spring 2021 graduates. There also will be a celebration of spring and summer 2020 graduates to be held on campus in Seibert Stadium at 10 a.m. on April 24.
The spring 2021 commencement schedule is as follows:
- Friday, April 23, CHS graduate students, Siebert Stadium, 10:00 am
- Friday, May 7, CHS undergraduate students, Siebert Stadium, 10:00 am
- Saturday, May 8, Siebert Stadium, 10:00 am – graduates and undergraduates of:
- Howard College of Arts and Sciences
- Brock School of Business
- Orlean Beeson School of Education
- School of the Arts
Gates will open one hour before each ceremony. Ceremonies will be outside rain or shine, unless there are unsafe weather conditions. Due to event and social distancing protocols, there will be follow-up communication shared with graduates, including the number of guests for each graduate.
Plans for ceremonies for Beeson Divinity and Cumberland School of Law are underway and details will be shared soon.
January 4, 2021 will be the first day of classes for Jan term and January 25, 2021 marks the beginning of the spring semester. The calendars for the university’s various graduate programs are available at samford.edu/events/academic-calendar.
All on-campus instruction will end on April 29, 2021. Spring commencement ceremonies are tentatively scheduled for May 7-8, 2021. Graduate students will hear directly from their academic dean or program director regarding the end of the term for their respective programs.
In an effort to minimize travel and possible transmission of the virus, Spring Break 2021 will not be observed as a holiday, allowing for an earlier conclusion of the spring semester. As usual, Samford will observe Easter Holiday on Monday, April 5, 2021.
Yes, with the exception of online degree programs, most courses across undergraduate and graduate programs will include in-person learning this spring. If you are unsure about the delivery method of your course, please consult Banner and use the course delivery guide to help you better understand your schedule. Faculty will provide students specific information about the format and schedules for instruction.
Samford University Library is open only for enrolled students, faculty and staff. Visitors and community users are not permitted in the library through the end of the spring semester, May 11, 2021.
Each facility will observe university standards for traffic flow, circulation, signage, maximum capacity and social distancing. Maximum occupancy requirements will be implemented based on a minimum 6-foot separation between persons. Access and occupancy levels will be managed by card swipe when possible and furniture will be configured to accommodate 6-foot social distancing requirements.
To promote equitable access for all students and employees, libraries may implement a reservation system. Books may be reserved or checked out by phone or at the websites for the respective libraries. Special collections, microfiche and other areas requiring personal service by library employees will operate by appointment only.
Contactless transactions will be available for many services such as photocopy equipment and check-outs. Sanitization of high touch surfaces will occur at least twice daily and employees and students will be equipped with disinfectant wipes to sanitize after use of spaces. Returned books will be allowed to “cure” in accordance with National Library standards before being returned to stacks.
The decision to transition to online learning is complex and does not rely on any one factor. In making operational decisions, Samford administrators consider a number of variables beyond positive cases of COVID-19 on campus. The administration is closely monitoring the public health situation within our local community and throughout our state. In addition to our own assessments, operational decisions also are influenced by guidance from the Jefferson County Department of Health, the Alabama Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. A team of dedicated administrators, faculty and staff are assessing the situation regularly and any anticipated changes to course delivery and on campus operations will be communicated promptly.
Classrooms will observe university standards for traffic flow, circulation, signage, maximum capacity and social distancing. Face coverings and social distancing will be required in all public spaces, including classrooms, for employees and students. Additional information may be provided in the course syllabus.
Athletics and Events
Until further notice, unless attending a) a Samford-sponsored event; or, b) a pre-scheduled appointment with a Samford employee for the purpose of conducting University business, visitors are not allowed on campus. Exceptions include family members assisting with move-in or move-out of a residential hall (subject to guidance from Residence Life), prospective students registered for campus tours or recruitment events, and approved vendors.
The Southern Conference announced that all fall league competition was postponed until the spring of 2021 due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
The Bulldogs have resumed public athletic events with limited seating and in compliance with pandemic protocols. Schedules for all athletic games are available at samfordsports.com.
In order to mitigate COVID-19 related risks, non-Samford sponsored events are not being scheduled at this time. All internal events must be limited to group sizes compliant with the COVID-19 adjusted capacity of the venue, and face coverings and social distancing are required. When feasible, events should be held virtually using the previously mentioned collaboration tools. In-person gatherings will be limited in accordance with applicable local, state and federal requirements and should not exceed the established social distancing maximum occupancy, with individuals maintaining 6 feet of separation.
Anyone wishing to submit an event or reserve a space for more than 50 persons will follow our normal procedure by registering with Bulldog Central. As part of this process, organizers will agree to post signage and make an announcement promoting safe practices. An additional approval from the appropriate university vice president will also be required. The Bulldogs have resumed public athletic events on campus with limited seating and in compliance with pandemic protocols. Schedules for all athletic games are available at samfordsports.com.
The best way to experience the Samford spirit is to meet our people and walk our campus; however, we know that COVID-19 has impacted us all differently. Browse our visit options at samford.edu/visit for your opportunities to meet Samford, both virtually and in person, and when you feel comfortable, we'll see you on campus soon.
For current undergraduate applicants and admitted undergraduate students, we have a special opportunity to experience Samford. Beginning February 5, Choose Samford is your opportunity to spend time on campus, meet your future classmates and get an in-depth look at academics at Samford. Take a look at our tentative schedule to start planning today.
Yes, the university’s Employee Assistance Fund exists to support the unforeseen financial challenges our colleagues may face now and in the days ahead.
Campus dining is provided and managed by Sodexo Operations, LLC. Food service operations will be in accordance with applicable government health standards, including those for ServSafe operations. On-campus food service in Spring 2021 will be provided pursuant to the following requirements:
- High touch surfaces in dining areas will be sanitized on a determined schedule throughout the day.
- Food service operations will follow university standards for traffic flow, circulation, signage and social distancing of at least six feet.
- Stanchions, hand sanitizers, plexiglass, signage and other controls will be installed in queue areas and throughout the Caf.
- Whenever practicable, contactless service techniques will be employed, such as cashless payment, card “tap,” wireless payment technologies, and door props.
- Food service hours will be extended to align with extended class schedules.
- Students and employees shall wear face coverings when standing or moving about food service areas or when queueing for entrance. Face coverings may be removed and properly stored while eating.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required for all food service employees including gloves and masks. Face shields also are required for front-line employees (i.e. those with direct customer contact).
- All food service employees must receive COVID-19 specific training.
Samford Dining will provide a range of new dining options on campus this spring as we continue to work with students to meet their needs. This includes more outdoor seating, food trucks, more grab-and-go prepackaged options, online ordering, new locations that will accept students’ card swipes. The Caf will remain open with many new options including a rotisserie.
All students and employees can dine in the Caf on a first come, first served basis; reservations are not required.
- All dining patrons are encouraged to order take-out food, which will be available for all meals. Grab and go menu options will be expanded.
- Additional food distribution points will be established across campus, such as food trucks, concession areas and catering.
- Utensils, plates, cups and condiments will be single-use and disposable.
You can view the Caf menu online or in the Bite app before visiting the Caf.
Yes! The Grubhub app is available for easy online ordering and pick-up from most food venues on campus. Online ordering is not available for the Caf.
Samford Dining is committed to serving your needs and your feedback is always appreciated. You can share your ideas or concerns through this feedback form or by emailing email@example.com. Samford Dining also works alongside the SGA Food Committee to ensure student voices are heard.
At the present time, Samford does not require COVID-19 vaccinations of its students or employees. The University, upon consultation with one’s personal healthcare provider, does strongly support and encourage vaccination. We are pleased to note that as of April 5, full-time employees reported an 86% vaccination rate with 74% of those having been facilitated by Samford.
Vaccination may be required as part of clinical rotations in the College of Health Sciences in order for students to complete program requirements.
The university will continue to closely monitor the situation and base decisions on a wide body of research, the recommendations of healthcare professionals, state and local public health requirements, and holistic consideration of the physical, emotional, social and intellectual well-being of our students and employees. As we continue to develop working knowledge of SARS CoV-2 vaccines in practice, we reserve the right to modify our policies as circumstances warrant.
Yes. Face coverings are required in all public spaces on campus including classrooms, libraries, event venues, public or shared restrooms and dining facilities. Face coverings must be worn even if alone in these non-private spaces. Face coverings also are required in outdoor spaces where 6 feet of physical distancing is not possible, including parking lots, on sidewalks, in building entrances, and other areas where individuals are likely to pass in close proximity. Face coverings may be removed while actively eating or drinking while stationary and physically distanced.
Face coverings are critical in minimizing COVID-19 risks to you and those near you. Masks and cloth face coverings are not substitutes for social distancing. The CDC provides specific guidance for using effective face coverings to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The CDC recommends use of masks that have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric; completely cover the nose and mouth; and fit snugly against the sides of the face without any gaps.
Yes, Samford University has secured COVID-19 vaccinations through a partnership with University of Alabama at Birmingham. All active full-time and part-time Samford employees and all students are eligible to receive the Pfizer SARS CoV-2 vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Employees and students have received email communications from the university with the details related to accessing the vaccination.
In appropriate consultation with your health professional, Samford encourages all employees and students to vaccinate against COVID-19. We would like to thank our friends at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for working with us to make this opportunity possible. If you have questions, employees should contact firstname.lastname@example.org and students should contact email@example.com.
Yes, all campus members will be required to wear face coverings and maintain social distance when on campus this spring, regardless of whether they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
University Health Services is open for students and employees, but has adjusted its operations in response to COVID-19.
- All services are by appointment only.
- All patients are required to call University Health Services for a health screening prior to visiting university health services. No walk-in patients will be accepted.
- To make an appointment or to discuss your symptoms, call 205-726-2835 or visit the University Health Services website.
- For urgent care needs after hours visit St. Vincent's Urgent Care or your preferred provider.
- 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Well Hours - For patients needing non-illness care (ex. injuries, x-ray, allergy shots, physicals, women’s care, vaccination)
- 1 – 4:30 p.m.: Sick Hours - For patients needing illness care (ex. cough, earache, fever, congestion, sore throat)
- 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.: Virtual Visits - Virtual visits with our Nurse Practitioner are available for all patients.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should call the clinic at 205-726-2835 for a telehealth appointment with our nurse practitioner. University Health Services now provides COVID-19 testing options in the clinic.
University Health Services will not facilitate COVID-19 testing required for returning to campus. If you have questions about return to campus testing, students should contact Covid19health@samford.edu and employees should contact Covid19employees@samford.edu.
Employees with a fever, cough, sudden loss of smell or taste, or other symptoms of COVID-19 shall be promptly tested by their primary health care provider, or contact University Health Services for a telehealth visit and assessment.
All students and employees shall immediately report confirmed cases of COVID-19 and/or exposure to someone with (i) COVID-19 symptoms or (ii) confirmed cases of COVID-19. The report shall be made within two hours of first obtaining any of the foregoing information. Students should contact Covid19health@samford.edu and employees should contact Covid19employees@samford.edu.
The university will help facilitate quarantine or isolation, as appropriate, pursuant to one or more of the following measures:
- Employees, students, and regular campus contractors with confirmed COVID-19 are required to isolate for 10 days from the date of the positive COVID-19 test if asymptomatic, or for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, and be symptom-free without medication for 24 hours before returning to campus.
- Students, employees, volunteers, contractors and visitors residing in a dwelling with a person who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of whether there has been close contact, must quarantine for 10 days following last exposure and carefully monitor for symptoms for another four days thereafter.
- Students, employees, volunteers, contractors and visitors who have been in close contact with a person who tests positive for COVID-19 must self-quarantine for 10 days before returning to campus. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of a COVID-19 positive individual (or individuals) for more than 15 minutes cumulatively within a 24-hour period.
- Individuals in quarantine shall self-monitor their symptom development (check temperature twice daily) and keep a record of the results.
- Anyone exposed to a person with COVID-19 shall quarantine at their home if possible. Samford will have limited quarantine and isolation space on campus for residential students while they make plans to return home. Quarantine requires that a person remain exclusively in the assigned space for 10 days, except to attend medical appointment or get food.
- Quarantine may also be required if employees or students travel to areas of wide community transmission (i.e. “hot spots”), as determined by the CDC.
- The university will facilitate regular check-ins and social support to students who are isolating or quarantined on Samford’s campus or in facilities assigned by Samford.
- Assistance for loss of resiliency, stress, and depression is particularly important. As part of its case management protocol, Samford will seek to inform diagnosed individuals of accessible and confidential support services available through web-based, mobile and other traditional modalities.
The university’s spring protocols for contact tracing, quarantining and isolation can be viewed here.
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. People in quarantine should remain at home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow instructions from their state or local health department and primary health care provider.
Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus (those who are sick with COVID-19 and those who are asymptomatic) from people who are not infected. People in isolation should remain at home until it is safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone who is sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available).
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. 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.
Return to Work
Before you return to campus it is important that you accomplish each of the following:
- COVID-19 testing will be required of all employees and students prior to returning to campus in January, 2021. Samford is utilizing the Everlywell home collection molecular PCR test kit and is providing kits at no charge to all employees. All PCR tests must be taken no more than seven days prior to your return to campus. Everyone must upload a copy of your PCR test result to be cleared for entry to campus. The upload link for submitting test results is located here (samford.edu/go/UploadResults).
- Read “Bring Back the Bulldogs: Spring Guide for Returning to Campus”. All employees and students must read the revised (Spring) Guide and agree to comply with the practices contained in the Guide.
- Commit to not come to work if you are ill, have any COVID-19 symptoms, or are exposed to someone who has known or suspected COVID-19 disease or exposure.
- If you develop symptoms or believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, you must immediately email COVID19employees@samford.edu and self-isolate or quarantine for up to 10 days per university and CDC guidelines.
- Commit to wear, care for and replace all personal protection equipment (PPE) that is required for your job function (e.g. masks, gloves).
- Discuss with your supervisor your workspace and schedule, and the potential for alternate spaces and schedules.
- Commit to maintaining a clean workspace (e.g. desk, equipment, phone and tools) and sanitize the work area at least twice daily (in the morning and before lunch). If you need supplies, request them from your supervisor or the Purchasing Department.
The Facilities Management and Creative Services offices are collaborating to ensure that all internal and external spaces on campus are fully equipped with COVID-19-related signage. Please do not make your own signs. If you have needs for your area, please contact Sarah Howard or Jeff Poleshek with your request.
The following employee related engineering controls will be implemented across the campus for Spring 2021:
- HVAC chilled water coils disinfected and drain pans treated
- Replaced HVAC Air filters
- Increased the outside air flow to 100% inside buildings
- Treated and tested water for bacteria
- Water fountains disabled
- Sanitization of high touch surfaces based on CDC requirements, including use of electrostatic sprayers
- COVID-19 signage is being posted throughout campus
- Traffic flow, such as one-way hallways and queue management will be implemented across campus
- Social distancing will be implemented across campus, as feasible, including in offices where desks are shared or co-located
- Proper isolation and quarantine procedures will be required
- Plexiglass and/or sneeze guards will be installed in high traffic/high transaction locations
- Hand sanitizer will be installed at every building entrance
- PPE will be provided, as required for job functions, and face coverings will be required in all public spaces (not in individual cars, private offices, or private residence hall rooms)
No, chairs and other furniture have been carefully spaced in many areas of campus to allow for social distancing. Examples include the food court, Caf, classrooms, etc. Given this, please do not move tables and chairs. If they must be moved you must allow for social distancing and return them to their original placement before leaving the room.
Samford uses a risk assessment tool and survey to define vulnerable populations and categorize employee and job risks and locations as either (1) Very High, (2) High, (3) Moderate, or (4) Lower Risk.
Every employee should complete the survey and self-identify risk factors that are included within the vulnerable population. This includes personal medical conditions and persons who serve as a primary caregiver for someone else who qualifies for the vulnerable population category. Employees may request a personal discussion with a confidential Human Resources (HR) representative who will not disclose this employee information except for purposes of offering reasonable accommodations.
Accommodations can be requested by those who are in the CDC vulnerable population classification and/or who are primary caregivers for vulnerable populations. Human Resources will work closely with employees and supervisors to consider reasonable options in alignment with the essential functions of their job.
HR will work closely with these employees to define appropriate options for them to perform the essential functions of their job.
The ability to perform the essential functions of the employee’s job applies to all employees, including all higher risk employees. Examples of reasonable accommodations include telework, workplace adjustments, leave and adjusted schedules.
Supervisors may request that Human Resources help them define appropriate administrative controls for employees who self-identify as a vulnerable population. This interactive process is intended to identify a reasonable accommodation that does not constitute an undue hardship to the university.
Ongoing testing is an important part of Samford’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among Samford’s campus community. Random 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. The test information is critical to our efforts to continue in-person instruction and on-campus residential life. As a member of the Samford community and as a condition of being on campus this academic year, all students and employees have agreed to participate in Samford’s COVID-19 testing program.
A multi-level approach to on-campus testing is underway, consisting of focused rapid-antigen and random PCR sentinel testing. All testing is administered on the ground floor of the Beeson Alumni Center, across from Seibert Gymnasium. Test results are available either at the test site or online usually within 36 hours.
For additional details, visit this page to learn more about the university’s spring COVID-19 testing program. Questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org (students) or email@example.com (employees). General information about sentinel PCR testing also is available on the GuideSafe website.
Yes, as a member of the Samford community and as a condition of being on campus this academic year, all students and employees have agreed to participate in Samford’s COVID-19 testing program, including those who have received the COVID-19 vaccination.
Yes. All employees who will be on campus at any time during the spring semester are required to participate in reentry testing. If you have questions about reentry testing, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
No. Reentry testing is paid for by the university.
Employees and students who have tested positive for COVID-19 based on a PCR test administered on or after November 1, 2020 can be admitted to campus without a negative test result if the individual:
- Has on record with, or provides to, the university a copy of the prior positive COVID-19 result. The upload link for submitting all test results is located here (samford.edu/go/UploadResults).
- Shows no current symptoms associated with COVID-19; and,
- In the 48-hour period prior to returning to campus, has not been in close contact with someone infected with or showing symptoms of COVID-19.
View this page to learn more about the university’s spring COVID-19 testing program.
Sentinel testing is a COVID-19 testing program that tests a random sample of individuals within our Samford community (faculty, staff and students) to monitor campus prevalence. This data will help us understand the underlying prevalence of COVID-19 within our campus community and will allow us to promptly respond to changes in infection rates on campus.
Yes, participation in the sentinel testing program is mandatory for all employees and students who will be on campus. Sentinel testing is an important component of the university’s plan to have students and employees on campus. This testing allows us to identify increases in infection rates and promptly respond.
- Samford employees and students will receive an email from Healthy@Verily.com asking you to schedule an appointment for COVID-19 random sentinel testing.
- If you receive this e-mail, please promptly click on the link provided to log into your Verily account and complete the pre-test symptoms screen and select an appointment time from the options listed.
No, sentinel testing is provided through GuideSafe supported by CARES Act funding through the State of Alabama.
Yes, the following individuals are excluded from sentinel testing:
- Students enrolled in a fully online program who will not be on campus.
- Employees who are telecommuting and will not be on campus.
- Students or employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the previous 12 weeks.
Yes. You can continue to be on campus as long as you are without COVID-19 symptoms.
View this page to learn more about the university’s spring COVID-19 testing program.
All university-sponsored international student programs and travel are canceled through August 6, 2021. The university will resume international student programs for the Fall 2021 term, including the semester program at the Daniel House in London.
Only essential business travel shall be permitted for employees and paid by Samford. For their personal well-being and in consideration of the health of others in the campus community, students and employees are strongly encouraged to refrain from personal travel outside of the United States through the spring semester.
Samford will follow the travel guidelines and recommendations of the CDC with respect to domestic and international travel, including potential reentry testing and quarantining. The CDC guidelines related to international travel continue to evolve, and students and employees should monitor the CDC website for both travel risks and travel notices.
All Samford employees and students are encouraged to follow normal preventative steps including social distancing, masking and handwashing, and monitor their health upon returning from all travel.
The plan to Bring Back the Bulldogs is continually evolving, and some of our planning may change as new information becomes available. We recommend that you return to this website often, in the event that pertinent updates have been communicated.