Skip to main content
Falcon Forward!

FAQ

Fall 2020 Frequently Asked Questions (Updated September 11)

HEALTH AND SAFETY

How will sentinel testing be conducted?
If I am taking all of my classes online, will I need to participate in UM’s COVID-19 sentinel testing?
Will students be required to wear a mask?
Will the University provide any masks to students?
What if I don’t want to wear a mask?
In what ways will the administration monitor students’ health?
Will the University seek to discourage students from leaving campus on the weekends?

SENTINEL TESTING

What is sentinel testing and why is it important?
How will I know that I have been selected to participate in sentinel testing?
Can I participate if I am currently experiencing symptoms?
Where do I get tested?
What do I need to bring with me?
How long does it take to be tested?
Does the test hurt?
When will I get my results?
What if I test positive?
Who can I contact with questions?

ACADEMICS

When will school start?
What will in-person classes look like?
Is there going to be an option to have remote learning from home?
How will smaller class sizes affect professors? Will they be expected to teach additional classes or provide online material to help keep class sizes smaller?
Will alternative grading be extended for the fall term?
How will the increased concern over keeping surfaces clean affect students’ ability to check out books and use the other resources in the library?
What about graduate programs?

HOUSING AND DINING

Are we going to be able to move in this fall?
Will we still have roommates? What are the safety protocols in place to keep residents and their roommate(s) safe?
How many students will be allowed to sit at a single table in the dining hall?
Where will the additional outside seating for the dining hall be located, and how large will it be?

STUDENT LIFE

Since events are being adjusted to accommodate fewer students, can we expect to see fewer events?
Will there be a size limit on socially distanced outdoor gatherings?

ATHLETICS

Will we have athletics and what will that look like?

FACILITIES

Where will physical distance barriers be located on campus?
Will the locking of facilities include spaces such as Farmer, which were previously open during the day?
Will locations that see more traffic than others, like the dining hall or library, receive more frequent cleaning sweeps?

OTHER

If some, or all, of my classes go online or are hybrid, will there be a refund for some of the tuition?
How will the new restrictions on visitors affect campus tours?
What measures will be put into place to ensure that students follow the new rules being implemented? Specifically, how would the University handle students who chose to ignore the new safety precautions?
What is the reasoning for the University switching over to distance learning after Thanksgiving?
Looking at the Falcon Forward plan, it seems like most students will not be allowed to stay on campus if they test positive. For many students, leaving campus would mean risking exposing their families to COVID-19, which puts any who test positive in a very difficult situation. The Falcon Forward plan states that “only students who are unable to isolate at home will be assisted with campus accommodations.” How likely are students to be allowed to stay on campus?
For the students allowed to stay on campus, will they stay in their residence hall rooms, or will there be a set location for infected students to quarantine?


HEALTH AND SAFETY
How will sentinel testing be conducted?

To support a safe and healthy environment at UM, we are implementing weekly sentinel testing across campus beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8, through the end of the fall semester in the Farmer Hall meeting room. Sentinel testing is a random sampling of all asymptomatic students, faculty and staff to understand the underlying prevalence of infection on campus so we can respond promptly to any outbreaks or increases in infection rates. All members of the University community are expected to participate in this important preventive measure. Students will receive a voucher for a free meal on-campus for participating.

As the semester progresses, you may be selected for testing. If so, you will receive an email from Healthy@Verily.com asking you to schedule an appointment for COVID-19 sentinel testing on campus. After receiving your sentinel testing email, log into your Verily account to complete the pre-test symptom screen and schedule your COVID-19 sentinel test. 

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 12 weeks, please do not retest at this time. If you are having symptoms or have a recent exposure, follow the UM Falcon Forward plan and do not participate in sentinel testing. The Falcon Forward plan can be found here: Montevallo.edu/falconforward

For additional information on sentinel testing, you may visit GuideSafe.org.

If I am taking all of my classes online, will I need to participate in UM’s COVID-19 sentinel testing?

Students who chose all remote learning and who are not living on campus or using campus facilities (dining, recreation, library, etc.) this semester will not be involved in sentinel testing.

Will students be required to wear a mask?

Until further notice, face masks will be required indoors and outdoors on campus at all times except in private residence hall rooms, alone in private offices, alone in private automobiles and during strenuous exercise. Appropriate face masks include a cloth face covering or appropriate paper mask that covers both the nose and mouth. Full details can be found at montevallo.edu/falconforward.

Will the University provide any masks to students?

Yes, the University will provide a mask to each student, faculty and staff member upon their return to campus. Residential students will be given a face mask when they check into housing. Commuter students can pick up a mask at Health Services or Student Life. Thanks to a project by the UM National Alumni Association, students can stop by the Dean of Students office weekdays from noon to 2 p.m. to select an additional mask. Be sure to enter through the automatic door near the Disability Support Services office behind Main Hall. The Alumni Office will replenish masks periodically. For more information about the UMNAA mask initiative, visit montevallo.edu/alumni/alumni-association/mask-making.

What if I don’t want to wear a mask?

There are no exceptions to the face mask requirement. Individuals refusing to wear a face mask will be subject to progressive discipline through the student conduct process.

In what ways will the administration monitor students’ health?

The Student Health Services Office is planning to monitor the GuideSafe responses and contact anyone who reports a positive COVID-19 test along with anyone who falls into the high risk category based on their responses to the screening questions.

Will the University seek to discourage students from leaving campus on the weekends?

Yes. Any activities in which students are involved off campus could affect the campus community as a whole. Students are encouraged to limit travel off campus and be responsible in all of their off-campus behavior.


SENTINEL TESTING
What is sentinel testing and why is it important?

Sentinel testing involves testing a random sample of UM’s population each week to help monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 in our campus community. Every week, we intend to randomly test 3-5 percent of our on-campus population. Sentinel testing helps monitor levels of COVID-19 on campus and identify potential outbreaks. We all have a role to play in keeping our campus as healthy as possible.

How will I know that I have been selected to participate in sentinel testing?

Each day, randomly selected individuals will receive an email from Verily (healthy@verily.com) directing them to sign up for a testing appointment on campus during the next seven days. Please check your UM email regularly to see if you have been selected. Some of these emails have been found in spam/clutter folders so be sure to check those as well.

Can I participate if I am currently experiencing symptoms?

Sentinel tests are intended for individuals who are not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. As part of scheduling your test through Verily, you will be asked to report if you are currently experiencing any NEW symptoms not related to other conditions. If your responses show you are symptomatic, you will be asked to not test through this program and will be directed to contact your personal medical provider about alternative testing options.

Where do I get tested?

Testing will take place on the second floor of Farmer Hall in the Farmer Hall Meeting Room.

What do I need to bring with me?

You will need a photo ID (driver’s license or UM ID) and your confirmation email. Please wear a mask as directed by campus policy.

How long does it take to be tested?

The sentinel testing process typically takes 5 to 7 minutes from arrival to departure.

Does the test hurt?

The test may tickle your nose and make you sneeze, but it should not be painful. You will be given a test kit including a nasal swab that you will self-administer with observation. The observer will help guide you through the testing process.

When will I get my results?

Results are typically provided within 24 to 48 hours. You will be notified by email when your test results are ready to access online. The University will also be notified of your test results.

What if I test positive?

If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive a call from Student Health Services to discuss next steps.

Who can I contact with questions?

If you have any questions, please contact deanofstudents@montevallo.edu or GuideSafe™️ at testing@guidesafe.org or 1-866-839-5308.


ACADEMICS
When will school start?

Fall 2020 classes begin Monday, Aug. 24, 2020.

What will in-person classes look like?

University administration and faculty have worked diligently to plan for in-person classroom/instructional spaces. UM is requiring face coverings and 6 feet of distance between students and faculty. All courses have been assigned in spaces that will allow for social distancing.

Is there going to be an option to have remote learning from home?

For fall 2020, students, including those living on campus, have the option of choosing the remote/online modality for one course, multiple courses or all of them. If a student makes this decision in advance, then that modality will need to be consistent for the entire fall term unless a situation arises preventing them from doing so. Students should notify each professor by email for any courses they are choosing to take remotely. Due to delays with testing and other documented student hardships, the deadline for students opting into remote instruction will be extended.The deadline for students to make the remote learning choice has been extended to Aug. 21.

Student-athletes who choose to take all online courses should take care to ensure they continue to meet NCAA eligibility requirements. 

If a student chooses the in-person/hybrid option but at some point during the semester develops COVID-19 symptoms, a positive COVID-19 test or is exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the student will be required to move to the remote option until they have a negative COVID-19 test result.

How will smaller class sizes affect professors? Will they be expected to teach additional classes or provide online material to help keep class sizes smaller?

Professors are planning for remote learning and in-person/hybrid learning to facilitate successful experiences for our students. There likely will be a combination of these modalities. In general, professors will not be teaching additional courses.

Will alternative grading be extended for the fall term?

Yes. For full details, visit montevallo.edu/alternative-grading-for-fall-2020.

How will the increased concern over keeping surfaces clean affect students’ ability to check out books and use the other resources in the library?

The library will offer a retrieval service for circulating material and will also continue to offer curbside pickup service in the fall. Returned books will be quarantined for three days, and equipment such as laptops will be sanitized upon return. Library staff and student workers will be wiping down frequently used surfaces on a regular basis throughout each day.

What about graduate programs?

If you are enrolled in a graduate program with a log-in/drop-in or asynchronous, online format, then nothing will change. Due to COVID-19, UM is extending flexibility to its undergraduate students with a remote learning option. This has always been the case with the log-in/drop-in graduate programs such as the MBA or the Instructional Leadership Masters and RHO. The Professional Educators Masters as well as all Educational Specialist programs remain 100 percent online.


HOUSING AND DINING
Are we going to be able to move in this fall?

Yes. Move-In Day for new students will be Friday, Aug. 21, 2020. The process for Move-In Day as well as information about move-in dates for returning students and special groups can be found in the University’s Falcon Forward plan.

Will we still have roommates? What are the safety protocols in place to keep residents and their roommate(s) safe?

Yes, you will be assigned a roommate if you are in a double room. A number of precautionary guidelines have been added for the residence halls:

  • A mask/face covering and 6 feet of distancing are required in the buildings at all times unless the resident is in their room.
  • No outside visitors will be allowed. Visitation within the building will be limited to regular visitation hours and four total people in the room. Both roommates must agree to allow visitors who live in the building in the room.
  • Public areas such as laundry rooms, kitchens, TV rooms, etc. will have a capacity limit (plus mask and social distancing requirements).
  • Efforts will be made to educate all residents on the best safety practices and stress that visitation guidelines are dependent on residents agreeing to allow a guest in the room.

Students who do not follow the guidelines will be sanctioned to include possible removal from living on campus.

How many students will be allowed to sit at a single table in the dining hall?

Four people at large tables and two at small tables.

Where will the additional outside seating for the dining hall be located, and how large will it be?

Picnic tables will be placed on Tutwiler Quad.


STUDENT LIFE
Since events are being adjusted to accommodate fewer students, can we expect to see fewer events?

We will not have fewer events, but events will mostly be virtual. Students will receive information via email about how to register to receive the links to virtual events.

Will there be a size limit on socially distanced outdoor gatherings?

State regulations do not limit size, but mandate that there must be enough space to allow for social distancing of 6 feet per person. Events with more than 20 people will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and student organizations will need to submit a comprehensive social distancing plan to the Student Life office.


ATHLETICS
Will we have athletics and what will that look like?

Athletics will follow all guidelines as directed by the NCAA along with federal, state and local authorities and will adhere to social distancing guidelines for campus training and weight rooms.


FACILITIES
Where will physical distance barriers be located on campus?

Throughout campus in high-traffic areas.

Will the locking of facilities include spaces such as Farmer, which were previously open during the day?

Farmer Hall, in general, will not be locked during the day but other areas wherein social distancing cannot be maintained or oversight is not available will be locked or closed. For example, the game room and some residence hall lounges.

Will locations that see more traffic than others, like the dining hall or library, receive more frequent cleaning sweeps?

Yes. An emphasis will be placed in high-traffic, public areas.


OTHER
If some, or all, of my classes go online or are hybrid, will there be a refund for some of the tuition?

Tuition and fees will not be altered in the event that the mode of instruction is changed for any course for all or part of the semester. The University remains committed to offering the highest quality academic experience and will maintain the high-quality instruction that students expect while earning their degrees, regardless of the mode of course delivery. UM faculty will continue to teach courses, and the course curricula will continue to prioritize the learning outcomes that faculty have established.

How will the new restrictions on visitors affect campus tours?

Campus tours will proceed as they have throughout the summer. One family per visit with safeguards in place.

What measures will be put into place to ensure that students follow the new rules being implemented? Specifically, how would the University handle students who chose to ignore the new safety precautions?

Students will go through the student conduct process. There will be very little tolerance for students who do not abide by the guidelines.

What is the reasoning for the University switching over to distance learning after Thanksgiving?

Air travel concerns were the main reason for the decision to go to distance education after Thanksgiving.

Looking at the Falcon Forward plan, it seems like most students will not be allowed to stay on campus if they test positive. For many students, leaving campus would mean risking exposing their families to COVID-19, which puts any who test positive in a very difficult situation. The Falcon Forward plan states that “only students who are unable to isolate at home will be assisted with campus accommodations.” How likely are students to be allowed to stay on campus?

Most students live within driving distance, so most will be required to isolate and/or quarantine at home. The safety of the University community is our main concern. Families should begin now developing an action plan for retrieving their student from campus in the case of quarantine or isolation.

For the students allowed to stay on campus, will they stay in their residence hall rooms, or will there be a set location for infected students to quarantine?

Students who cannot go home will quarantine in their rooms. Rooms will be provided for residential students who need isolation due to a positive test and cannot go home.