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Falcon Forward!

Parents and Families

The task of limiting the spread of COVID-19 is a partnership between the University and its students and families, and it requires that all of us take personal responsibility by following University guidelines. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this fall semester will bring unique challenges, and each student must take the following actions in order to have the opportunity to successfully complete the term.

Before returning to campus, students should minimize their risk of potentially spreading COVID-19 by completing a 14-day quarantine at home, if possible.

Face coverings will be encouraged in all areas of campus and required in specific areas. Appropriate face masks include a cloth face covering or appropriate paper mask that covers both the nose and mouth. 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. 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.

Campus will operate under a 6-foot social distancing model between individuals at all times. Plans, such as traffic flow patterns and floor markers, are being made for physical distancing in all instructional spaces. All students, faculty and staff must take personal responsibility for maintaining 6 feet of social distancing while on the UM campus.

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 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:

For additional information on sentinel testing, you may visit

To help students better understand the University guidelines that will be in place on campus this fall, we have developed a basic safety and awareness course in Canvas for students to complete before returning to campus. The course covers many of the basic safeguards to keep students, their colleagues and our community safe and healthy this semester. After reviewing the course presentation, students will be asked to complete a brief assessment to demonstrate understanding of the topics covered. The deadline for students to complete the course is Sunday, Aug. 23. Students can access this educational module by logging into Canvas with their UM credentials. To access the Canvas course, visit this link:

This fall, all UM students will be asked to regularly visit the Falcon Healthcheck website, which is a COVID-19 assessment tool serving as a daily reminder to monitor health and understand how one person’s health can impact those around them. Through the site, students will be able to report symptoms and log potential COVID-19 exposure each day. Healthcheck is part of the Falcon Healthcheck platform, powered by UAB. To access Falcon Healthcheck, visit

Everyone at UM should know their own risks, such as underlying health conditions, and should understand how their actions could put others at risk. Everyone on campus must take responsibility for knowing how to protect themselves and others. Students should practice good hygiene, wear face coverings on and off campus and should bring a thermometer with them when they return to campus to regularly monitor for fever. If a student is feeling ill, they should refrain from coming to campus or remain in their residence hall room. For more information, see this video from Student Health Services.

Students who come into close contact with an individual who is positive for COVID-19 will enter an immediate 14-day quarantine unless otherwise indicated by a medical professional. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of an individual who is positive for COVID-19 for 15 or more consecutive minutes. Students are encouraged to quarantine at home. Self-monitoring will be required and testing may be necessary. Active monitoring and medical provider attestation will be required to return to campus.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 will enter an immediate 14-day isolation unless otherwise indicated by a medical professional. Only residential students who are unable to isolate at home will be assisted with campus accommodations. Families should develop a home isolation plan for their student prior to coming to campus, which should include a plan to retrieve their student in the event of a positive test. Self-monitoring will be required and additional testing may be necessary. Active monitoring, campus contact tracing and medical provider attestation will be required to return to campus.

The University will follow current processes for students with disabilities who request accommodations. Students who would like to requests accommodations should contact Disability Support Services at or 205-665-6250.

If you have any additional questions about plans for fall 2020, please review our FAQs on the University’s Falcon Forward webpage.