Message From the President
The health and safety of the University of Mobile family is the highest priority and we continue to monitor the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Alabama is near the top of the nation in new COVID cases and near the bottom in vaccination rates among its citizens, so we must continue to be vigilant. As the fall semester begins, the university is planning for a full schedule of activities, events and in-person classes, while, at the same time, continuing to follow appropriate health and safety protocols.
Policies and practices for Fall Semester 2021 are listed below. Students and employees should check the university website regularly for updates at umobile.edu/covid.
Masking. Students, employees and guests on the University of Mobile campus and at UM-related activities are strongly encouraged to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for masking. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html Therefore, we are requiring that, as of August 9, all students and employees wear masks while in any indoor setting on campus. This is especially important for unvaccinated faculty, staff, and students.
Masks are not required in the following situations:
- Residence hall rooms.
- Individual offices.
- While eating in public indoor spaces. Masks should be replaced when finished eating.
We will continue to monitor local conditions in cooperation with the Mobile County Health Department as well as the Alabama Department of Public Health. The mask requirement will be reevaluated as we determine the level of infections in the first few weeks of the semester.
Social Distancing. All university classes and activities will be held at full capacity. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated or who have an underlying condition are advised to maintain social distancing, where practicable, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Vaccination. The overwhelming majority of COVID hospitalizations are among unvaccinated individuals. The Alabama Department of Public Health is strongly recommending that all education workers and age-eligible students be vaccinated. In a letter to education officials across the state (8/2/2021), State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris wrote, “For those who are eligible, vaccination remains our most potent strategy for preventing disease among students, faculty and staff, and vaccination also eliminates the need for quarantine among many of the close contacts in our schools. Other mitigation strategies, such as face coverings, distancing, and hygiene measures are also important, especially in those communities that are experiencing high levels of COVID-19 transmission."
The University of Mobile does not require COVID-19 vaccination for students or employees. However, I am encouraging you to consult with your personal physician and make an informed choice about getting the vaccination. We are working with an area hospital to provide a convenient location during the first week of school for students and employees who would like to receive a vaccination. Faculty and students participating in clinicals, student teaching or other internships should be aware that the business/organization sponsoring the experiential learning may have requirements for participants regarding vaccinations, masking and social distancing.
I am thankful for you all.
Dr. Lonnie Burnett