Planning Process

Since May 18, 2020, the university has implemented a gradual return to campus in order to minimize the occurrence and transmission of COVID-19 on campus. Samford has utilized a collaborative process for making important decisions about our operations. Individuals across campus and throughout the community joined together to develop comprehensive plans to Bring Back the Bulldogs.

Two groups were formed to facilitate planning—the Pandemic Response Team and the Continuity of Instruction Task Force. These two groups were critical in our efforts to develop instructional and operational strategies in order to form the university’s comprehensive plan for the 2020-21 academic year.

Pandemic Response Team

The Pandemic Response Team organized and directed the formal processes developed for key areas of campus including residence life, operations and planning, health and safety, sanitization, testing, isolation and quarantine, OSHA administrative and engineering controls, social distance and traffic management plans, signage, athletics and finance. This group brought together leaders from across the university to prepare a roadmap for returning to residential life and on-campus instruction.

Samford University COVID-19 Standard Protocols

As a condition of entering and remaining on Samford-owned property, all employees, students and visitors are required to follow all applicable Samford protocols and directives. These requirements include the following:

  • Constantly practice personal hygiene measures such as minimizing touching surfaces, frequent hand washing for 20 seconds with soap and water, using hand sanitizers throughout the day, and avoiding touching your face, nose and eyes.
  • Wear face coverings in all public spaces on campus, including classrooms. This does not include times when alone in an office or your assigned dormitory room.
  • Comply with all controls and measures for employees and students who are within the CDC vulnerable populations categories.
  • Follow standard social distancing and traffic flow guidelines in campus spaces. In most cases, a minimum of six feet between persons is required.
  • 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 and employees should contact
  • 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 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 for more than 15 minutes cumulatively within a 24-hour period.
  • Only essential business travel is permitted and funded for Samford employees during the 2020-21 year.
  • 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.
  • Event and group gatherings must comply with applicable federal, state, and local directives and Samford policies. These limitations are subject to change based on, among other things, the extent of community spread of COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 testing is an integral component of Samford University’s efforts to prioritize the health of our campus community and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. A two-pronged approach to on-campus testing is underway, consisting of focused and random sentinel testing. All employees and students who will be on campus during the 2020-21 academic year are required to participate in the university’s testing program.
  • COVID-19 testing will be required of all employees and students upon reentry to campus for the fall and spring semesters.
  • Non-invasive daily health checks are required of all students and employees.
  • Prior to your initial entry to the Samford campus, students are required to sign and return a Waiver, Release and Assumption of Risk. This will be delivered to your email address. You must read, sign and return the document prior to attending your first class, moving into your residence hall, beginning any on-campus athletic training or otherwise entering the campus.

Every student, employee, campus contractor, vendor, volunteer or visitor must read and comply with the protocols and directives set forth in the campus protocols.

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Pandemic Response Team Members

  • Buck Brock, Executive Vice President and Vice President for Business & Financial Affairs, Co-Chair
  • Colin Coyne, Chief Strategy Officer, Co-Chair
  • Nancy Biggio, Associate Provost for Student Success and Institutional Research
  • Michael Crouch, Dean of McWhorter School of Pharmacy
  • Denise Gregory, Assistant Provost for Diversity & Intercultural Initiatives
  • Betsy Holloway, Vice President for Marketing & Communication, Professor of Marketing
  • Lisa Imbragulio, Senior Associate Vice President, Business Affairs
  • Marci Johns, Associate Provost for Accreditation and Online & Professional Studies
  • Melissa Lumpkin, Interim Dean of School of Public Health
  • Deanna Smeltzer, Budget Manager
  • Lauren Taylor, Assistant Vice President for Campus and Residential Life
  • Tommy Taylor, Director of Public Safety
  • Wade Walker, Director of Business Services
  • Clark Watson, General Counsel

Continuity of Instruction Task Force

The Continuity of Instruction Task Force developed operational plans for continued instruction in the various learning environments throughout the pandemic. They also created a scenario analysis based on emerging progression models for COVID-19 and developed plans for the various scenarios we could experience during the 2020-21 year. The task force includes representatives from academic affairs and all 10 schools as well as students, parents, business and financial affairs and external advisors. Their work ensures the university will continue to uphold the highest academic standards despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.

The Continuity of Instruction Task Force agreed to the following general principles:

  1. The mode of instruction must be consistent with federal (CDC), state (Alabama Department of Public Health), and local (Jefferson County Department of Health) guidelines and requirements
  2. Continuity of instruction plans must conform with decisions of the Samford University Pandemic Response Team—Operations.
  3. The COVID-19 situation is fluid, and the science continues to evolve; instruction will need to flex between identified scenarios.
  4. The university’s emergency communication plan for COVID-19 must supply up-to-date and prompt information to all stakeholders (e.g. RAVE, email, website).
  5. The university will provide a safe and healthy learning environment consistent with Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines and recommendations from the CDC, Alabama Department of Public Health, and Jefferson County Department of Health.
  6. The university will supply technology support ensuring all academic units can continue instruction (e.g., laptops for faculty and staff) and remote student testing (e.g., webcams, funding to support remote proctoring, supervision/observation).
  7. The university will set up a procedure for certain students and employees to learn and teach from home during this pandemic (e.g., those at higher risk for severe illness).
  8. The university will address added faculty workload to implement this continuity of instruction plan (e.g., faculty with nine-month appointments) and develop applicable work policies to limit density on campus.
  9. Modes of teaching should match the present setting of instruction (e.g. face-to-face, hybrid/blended, online, remote) and faculty members will need to flex their teaching quickly should the scenario change.
  10. This framework supports consistency across campus, but to be effective each academic unit must develop a specific continuity of instruction plan considering the provided “Checklist for Academic Units.”

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Continuity of Instruction Task Force Members

  • Michael Crouch, Taskforce Co-Chair and Dean of McWhorter School of Pharmacy
  • Melissa Lumpkin, Taskforce Co-Chair and Interim Dean of School of Public Health
  • Ahinee Amamoo, Chair of Faculty Senate Committee on Academic Affairs—2020-2021
  • Mark Baker, Parent and Physician
  • Cindy Berry, Faculty member in Ida Moffett School of Nursing
  • Nancy Biggio, Associate Provost for Student Success and Institutional Research
  • Karen Birkenfeld, Chair, Department of Teacher Education
  • Sean Coleman, Parent and Physician
  • Catherine Craig, Secretary of Staff Advisory Council
  • Hope Dawson, Student and SGA President—2020-2021
  • Alyssa DiRusso, Faculty in Cumberland School of Law
  • Matt Ford, Chair in School of Health Professions—Physical Therapy
  • Tom Fuller, Associate Dean of Beeson Divinity School
  • Denise Gregory, Assistant Provost for Diversity & Intercultural Initiatives
  • Lisa Gurley, Chair of Faculty Senate—2019-2020
  • Kim Herndon, Dean of University Library
  • Joe Hopkins, Dean of School of Arts
  • Emily Hynds, Associate Dean of Howard College of Arts and Sciences
  • Lisa Imbragulio, Senior Associate Vice President, Business Affairs
  • Marci Johns, Associate Provost for Accreditation and Online & Professional Studies
  • Jane Martin, Interim Dean of Ida Moffett School of Nursing
  • Anna McEwan, Dean of Orlean Beeson School of Education
  • John Petrella, Chair in School of Health Professions—Kinesiology
  • Corky Strickland, Dean of Cumberland School of Law
  • Michael Thomas, Faculty member in McWhorter School of Pharmacy
  • Angela Thomason, Chair of Faculty Senate Committee on Business Affairs and Faculty Welfare
  • Jeremy Thornton, Associate Dean of Brock School of Business
  • Brian Viliunas, Chair of Faculty Senate Committee on University Curriculum—2019-2020
  • Luke White, Student
  • Geoffrey Wright, Faculty in Howard College of Arts and Sciences

Scenario Planning

Planning Framework

As part of its planning process, Samford developed a generalized framework to help guide decision-making based on the level of community spread of COVID-19 on campus and in our region. This framework defines four scenarios and applies more stringent protocols as community spread increases.

The protocols outlined on this site primarily center on the two frames under which we expect to operate during the 2020-21 academic year: Safer SAM and Contain SAM. At any time, the university may adopt recommendations from multiple scenarios in order to help safeguard the campus community. It is acknowledged that all plans must be nimble and flexible and are subject to change based on current circumstances.

SAM Scenario Framework


Public Health Measures

General measures to prevent spread of infectious diseases:
  • Stay at home when sick
  • Cover cough and sneezes
  • Wash hands often
  • Routinely clean surfaces
  • Yearly flu vaccination (recommended)

Instruction and Assessment Options

Usual instruction and assessment, but academic units must be prepared for alternative approaches.

Safer SAM

Public Health Measures

Includes general measures PLUS active prevention:
  • Physical (social) distancing
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Prominent hand sanitizers
  • Physical barriers
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures
  • Could also include elements of Contain SAM

Instruction and Assessment Options

Face-to-face instruction and assessments must have proper physical distancing
  • Alternative instruction approaches include
  • Hybrid/blended
  • Modified lab teaching
  • Online instruction
  • Remote instruction

Assessment can be face-to-face (proper distancing) or remotely

Contain SAM

Public Health Measures

Includes general measures, active prevention, PLUS containment:
  • Testing
  • Contact tracing
  • Isolation and quarantine
  • Active monitoring

Instruction and Assessment Options

May include:
  • Suspending certain face-to-face activities
  • Converting to exclusive online learning for part or all campus

Home SAM

Public Health Measures

Includes mitigation and isolation following local, regional and national mandates
  • Campus access restricted

Instruction and Assessment Options

Across campus:
  • Remote/online instruction
  • Remote/online assessments

We learn more about the virus each day and are mindful of the need to be proactive in our planning and responsive to changing circumstances. As local, state and national health standards evolve, Samford will adjust accordingly. Please check this website regularly for updates.