Table of Contents

Guiding Principles

Samford’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is focused on mitigating the risks for contracting and transmitting the virus among employees, students and others while continuing to be a place of superior learning and personal development.

The health and welfare of everyone at Samford is a shared responsibility. Living, learning and working together will require discipline and personal responsibility of everyone.

The university will be guided by the orders and ordinances of the City of Homewood, Jefferson County and the State of Alabama as well as recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Jefferson County Department of Health, the United States Department of Education, the Equal Employment Opportunity, and Samford’s Pandemic Response Team and Continuity of Instruction Task Force, among others.

Our knowledge and understanding of the COVID-19 virus continue to evolve and our plans will be updated as more information becomes available. Be sure to regularly visit samford.edu/go/coronavirus for new information.

Return to Campus

Expectations and Guidelines

Every student, employee, campus contractor, vendor, volunteer or visitor must comply with the requirements set forth in this document. Failure to do so not only increases the risk of viral transmission to you and others, but also may result in disciplinary action. Please read this document thoroughly and carefully. We each have a personal responsibility to guard our health and the health of others.

Disclaimer of Contract

The COVID-19 Protocols document is for information and instruction purposes only. It does not constitute a contract between Samford University and any student, employee, contractor, agent or other person or entity. None of its provisions are to be construed as or deemed to be contractual in nature.

Academic Calendar

The calendars for the university’s various undergraduate and graduate programs are available at samford.edu/departments/registrar/academic-calendars.

All undergraduate and non-CHS graduate programs commence classes on August 30, 2021. Fall Break will be October 11-12, 2021. The last day of Fall 2021 classes is December 9 with final exams administered December 13-16 and Fall Commencement taking place on December 18, 2021.

Classroom Setup and Practices

Classrooms shall be governed by university standards for traffic flow, circulation and capacity. Additional information for specific courses and classrooms may be provided in course syllabi.

COVID-19 Vaccination

Samford strongly encourages vaccination against COVID-19. We encourage unvaccinated employees and students, in consultation with their personal healthcare providers, to receive the vaccine this summer in order to be fully vaccinated before coming to campus in August. 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.

The university follows state law, local health orders and CDC guidelines for vaccinated persons. Those who choose to provide verification of vaccination will be suspended from random sentinel testing requirements; face reduced or eliminated quarantine requirements; and not need to maintain distancing from other persons.

Unvaccinated and unverified individuals must adhere to the following protocols:

  • Quarantine if exposed to a COVID-19-positive person
  • Participate in the university’s ongoing program of random sentinel testing
  • If living in a residential hall, arrange for off-campus living arrangements for the duration of the quarantine period resulting from exposure to a COVID-19-positive person
  • Use face coverings inside campus buildings and when proper distancing is not possible

The University does not accept antibody testing in lieu of vaccination. 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.”

For persons vaccinated in the United States, the university only recognizes vaccines approved for emergency use authorization by the FDA: Pfizer-BionNTech, Moderna and Jansen (Johnson & Johnson). Consistent with CDC guidelines, for individuals vaccinated outside the United States, Samford also recognizes three additional vaccines approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use: AstraZeneca/OxfordSinopharm and Sinovac.

All students and employees are required to identify their vaccination status by completing the Vaccination Response Form  before the start of the Fall 2021 semester. Having an accurate picture of the vaccination rates across the campus community will help Samford to evaluate and put forth measured policies in response to any surge in COVID-19 cases. Your response will be confidential and the form provides an option to not disclose one’s vaccination status.

The university accepts any of the following proof of vaccination:

  • 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).

COVID-19 Testing

NOTE: Vaccinated persons may have certain testing requirements suspended as circumstances and CDC guidance allow. As of July 2021, the university has suspended vaccinated persons from its random sentinel testing.

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.

Required Fall 2021 Baseline Testing

Samford requires a negative PCR test for all employees and students at the start of the Fall 2021 semester. A negative PCR test is required in order for employees and students to be cleared to access campus, attend class or access residence halls. All baseline PCR test results must be administered within seven days of your return to campus. It is the responsibility of all employees and students to ensure you have a negative test result submitted to Samford before the start of the Fall 2021 academic semester.

Required community testing allows us to establish a clear baseline independent of prior experiences, potential exposures, new variants and unknown caseloads. Baseline testing also allows any potential cases to be identified before returning to campus. Access to free test kits on campus or through the mail will be provided to all students and employees in August. Alternatively, students and employees may choose to provide a negative PCR test result obtained from their personal healthcare provider at their own expense. If providing your own test result, you must upload a copy of your PCR test result to be cleared for entry to campus.  To upload your results, or in the event that you are notified that the university does not have your result on file, the upload link for submitting all test results is located at samford.edu/go/UploadResults

Either way, regardless of whether you are using a kit supplied by Samford or submitting a result from a PCR test administered by your healthcare provider, all PCR tests must be taken no more than seven days prior to your return to campus.  Only those who test negative and have a test result on file will be permitted to return to campus.

In order to verify your PCR test results have been received and you are cleared to reenter campus, you may visit samford.edu/go/MyCovidStatus.

Students enrolled in a fully online program who will not be on campus at any time during the Fall 2021 semester are not required to participate in Fall 2021 baseline testing.  

Students and employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 since June 1, 2021 should not retest but instead should upload documentation of the previous positive COVID-19 test result at samford.edu/go/UploadResults.

Random Sentinel Testing

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.

The university will continue to conduct random PCR sentinel testing on a regular basis with results available usually within 36 hours. For the Fall 2021 semester, students and employees who choose to provide verification of vaccination will be suspended from random sentinel testing requirements. For additional details related to the university’s COVID-19 testing program, visit  this web page.

Focus Testing

The university also conducts focus testing on an as-needed basis using rapid-antigen testing for early identification of potential hotspots on campus.  Any student, employee, recognized student organization or department may request focus testing at no cost. To receive this service, students should contact covid19health@samford.edu and employees should contact covid19employees@samford.edu.

Symptom Monitoring

All Samford employees and students are encouraged to perform self-health checks daily. Prior to entering the campus or leaving your residence hall, everyone should screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms. You must be free of ANY COVID-19 symptoms in order to report to work or class, or otherwise interact with others on campus. These symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Students experiencing any of the above-listed symptoms should call University Health Services at 205-726-2835 to be assessed. University Health Services will help you make arrangements for COVID-19 testing, if needed. Employees with any of the above-listed symptoms should contact their health care provider and be tested.

All employees and students must report confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases to the university within two hours of developing symptoms or receiving a confirmed test result. Likewise, employees and students are required to report any “close contact” exposure to an individual with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Reports should be made within two hours of first obtaining any reportable information. Students should contact Covid19health@samford.edu and employees should contact Covid19employees@samford.edu.

Quarantine and Isolation

Samford’s isolation and quarantine protocols align with CDC Guidance. These protocols include:

  1. Anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, is required to quarantine away from other persons and seek a PCR test from a healthcare provider. No one is allowed to return to campus without a negative PCR test result and having remained free of any symptoms for a minimum of 24 hours prior to return.
  2. Anyone testing positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should notify the university within two hours of the diagnosis and isolate for 10 days away from other persons. Students should email Covid19health@samford.edu and employees should email Covid19employees@samford.edu.
  3. Any unvaccinated individual who has been in close contact* with a COVID-19 positive person must quarantine away from other persons for a period of 10 days. Alternatively, unvaccinated persons may exit quarantine after 7 days provided they obtain a negative test result from a PCR test taken no sooner than the fifth day of the quarantine period. To minimize time away from campus, the University encourages students to pursue the 7-day option for meeting quarantine requirements. Test results should be uploaded to https://samford.edu/go/UploadResults and a notification email must be sent to covid19health@samford.edu in order to exit quarantine.
  4. Asymptomatic, vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine after close contact* with someone testing positive for COVID-19 but must test for the presence of the virus 3-5 days following exposure. Should symptoms develop, persons should follow the guidelines described in #1 above.

All quarantined persons should continue to monitor for symptoms for 14 days following exposure and may come to campus only if free of any symptoms for at least 24 hours prior to return. 

*Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes cumulatively within a 24-hour period.

Source: CDC Interim Public Health Recommendations for Vaccinated People.

Health and Safety Guidance

Personal Practices

Face Masks

Consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), all persons on campus, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear face masks in all public indoor settings in all university facilities. Face masks must meet or exceed the standards outlined by the US Centers for Disease Control.

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 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.
  • When riding on the SamTram

Exceptions include:

  • When alone in offices and private workspaces
  • In residence hall rooms
  • While actively eating or drinking
  • While exercising

Social Distancing

Maintaining space between yourself and others is one of the best ways to avoid exposure to COVID-19 and to slow its spread. Since the virus can spread by people before they have symptoms, it is important to maintain an appropriate distance from others at all times.

In some campus locations, such as some laboratory instruction, separation may not be possible. Risks can still be minimized by limiting close contact to the fullest extent possible, using engineering controls such as physical barriers, and wearing personal protective equipment such as face masks, face shields, goggles and gloves.

Hand Washing

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or touching your face. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands with the sanitizer and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash or sanitize your hands after touching your face. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed in building entrances and exits.

Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene

If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, you should still cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Promptly dispose of used tissues. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Cleaning/Disinfection

Custodial services are performed in Samford buildings by SSC Services for Education, a subsidiary of Compass Group. The campus is sanitized using CDC/EPA approved products prior to the fall semester. Thereafter, all common areas, classrooms, shared bathrooms, locker rooms, meeting spaces, etc., will be sanitized daily.

Residence halls are cleaned by SSC according to university standards. High touch surfaces in common areas such as doorknobs, handrails and elevator buttons are cleaned daily. Shared or community bathrooms are cleaned with an electrostatic sprayer or comparable method on a regular basis.

Students should clean their personal spaces and items daily, giving particular attention to high touch items such as light switches, cell phones, doorknobs, furniture handles, bathroom sinks, toilets and bathing areas.

Employees should sanitize their office spaces and high-touch surfaces in their offices daily. This includes desks, computer keyboards, staplers and surfaces on the desk, light switches, doorknobs, copy machines, phones and cell phones. Cleaning supplies can be requested from supervisors or the purchasing department.

Students and employees should maintain disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer for their personal use. Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer will be available for purchase in the Samford Shop. Employees may also request those supplies through the purchasing department.

Food Service

Food service will be provided by Sodexo pursuant to applicable government health standards, including those for ServSafe operations, and university requirements, including the following:

  • High touch surfaces in dining areas will be sanitized at scheduled intervals throughout the day.
  • Food service operations will comply with university standards for traffic flow, pedestrian circulation, signage and social distancing.
  • Stanchions, hand sanitizers, plexiglass, signage and other controls will be installed in queue areas and other locations in the Caf.
  • When practicable, contactless service techniques will be used, such as cashless payment, card “tap” wireless payment technologies and door props.
  • If needed, food service hours will be extended to align with extended class schedules.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) is required for all food service employees, including gloves and face coverings.
  • Food service employees will receive specific COVID-19 training.

Menus and Food Distribution

  • Food distribution points such as food trucks, concession areas and catering are provided.
  • Grocery boxes may be available for sale to allow students to prepare their own meals.
  • Self-service food and drink stations are open.

Health and Wellness Resources

University Health Services

Samford University Health Services will be available to assist students and employees on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For additional details related to making appointments or COVID-19 testing, visit the University Health Services website.

If weekend or after-hours care is required, patients should contact MedHelp Urgent Care or their preferred health care provider.

IMPORTANT: If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, then CALL University Health Services at 205-726-2835. DO NOT visit the clinic without first calling for an assessment and instructions. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, please email Covid19health@samford.edu (students) or Covid19employees@samford.edu (employees).

University Counseling and Support

University Counseling services are offered to all Samford students. If you have questions about your eligibility for services or need to speak with a counselor, contact the University Counseling staff at counseling@samford.edu or 205-726-4083.

The CARE Team is available to support students with academic and personal concerns. If you or someone you know might benefit from contact with the CARE Team, please submit a CARE form to initiate support.

The Office of Spiritual Life staff are also available to students and employees for pastoral support and spiritual encouragement. You can reach them at osl@samford.edu or 205-726-2825.

Residence Life

Limiting COVID-19 in Residence Halls

Students with confirmed COVID-19 or exposure to a person with COVID-19 should make plans to complete his/her isolation/quarantine at home. Samford will have limited isolation and quarantine space on campus for residential students while they make plans to return home. If permissible by the Jefferson County Department of Public Health, students should return to their homes to isolate or quarantine. Campus housing charges will not be refundable for students who leave campus to quarantine or isolate at home.

The university may require students identified by the Jefferson County Department of Health or appropriate agency as a contact to a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, as well as healthy students sharing spaces with those confirmed or exposed, to relocate to a different housing location for an indeterminate amount of time.

Samford may close a portion or the entirety of a residence hall if the incident(s) of COVID-19 in the facility is classified as moderate or substantial spread or if deemed necessary by the university or the Jefferson County Department of Health.

Samford will endeavor to provide for the needs of students who must quarantine or isolate on campus, including food, wellness checks and mental health support.

In order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Office of Residence Life is implementing the following practices:

  • Extended schedules for move-in and move-out days to minimize populations and proximities in hallways and stairwells.
  • Only Samford students will be admitted to any residence hall facility. Non-Samford students/guests are not permitted in the residence halls, except during the designated move-in days.
  • Students must register guests of the opposite gender and receive a pass in the Residence Life Office for his/her area of campus. Residence Life Office locations are below:
    • Beeson Woods - Evergreen Hall
    • Central Campus - Third Floor Vail Hall
    • West Campus - Mountainview Hall
    • West Village - Building 300
  • Visitation times for opposite gender Samford students are:
    • Sunday-Thursday - 12 p.m. (noon) until 10 p.m.
    • Friday-Saturday - 12 p.m. (noon) until 12 a.m. (midnight)
  • Each resident may have one guest in the room (maximum of 4 people in the room).
  • Windows and doors should be opened daily to allow fresh air into buildings where possible.

Non-compliance with residence hall COVID-19 protocols and practices will result in disciplinary action.

Throughout the fall semester, we will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases and exposures on campus and will make changes to the visitation guidelines as appropriate.

People at Increased Risk

According to the CDC, some people are more likely than others to become severely ill as a result of contracting COVID-19. They and those who live or visit with them need to take precautions to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.

Employees who, according to the CDC’s guidelines, need to take extra precautions to protect themselves from getting COVID-19, may submit a request for administrative or engineering controls for evaluation by Human Resources by contacting covid19employees@samford.edu.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines indicate that most Samford job positions do not have heightened risk of COVID-19 exposure, although some employees who have particular off-campus responsibilities (e.g. hospital clinical experiences) may have heightened exposure risks. Employees who are working in higher risk situations may request administrative controls, engineering controls and additional safe work practices. Faculty should contact the Office of the Provost, and staff should contact Human Resources.

Travel

Only essential business travel shall be permitted for employees and paid for by Samford. For their personal well-being and in consideration of the health of others in the campus community, students and employees are encouraged to refrain from personal travel outside of the United States through the fall 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, especially if traveling internationally.

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.

Events and Visitors

Beginning August 1, 2021, the campus is open to visitors subject to the university’s normal policies. For the Fall 2021 semester, Samford-sponsored events and those with whom the university has a pre-existing relationship are invited to inquire about hosting an event on campus. 

If you would like to plan or book an event on campus, please contact Events Management at events@samford.edu or visit samford.edu/departments/event-planning. A calendar of events on campus can be found at samford.edu/events/calendars.

Starting August 1, 2021, the Bulldogs resume public athletic events on campus with full seating. Schedules for all athletic games are available at samfordsports.com.

Resources

COVID Resources

University Resources

External Resources