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Petition to Modify COVID-19 Safety Protocols in the University of Alabama System


Petition to Modify COVID-19 Safety Protocols in the University of Alabama System

July 19, 2021



Whereas contracting COVID-19 risks serious short- and long-term harms—both to oneself and, via subsequent transmission, to the community—including long-term psychological, neurological, cardiovascular, and pulmonary harms;[1]


Whereas only 34% of Alabamians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as of July 19, 2021;


Whereas even in several countries with more highly vaccinated populations than Alabama (such as the U.K. and Israel), daily COVID-19 cases are surging due to the Delta variant. Since May 19, 2021, new cases have increased 2300% in the U.K. and 2800% in Israel. Closer to home, since June 3, 2021, daily cases have increased 630% in Arkansas, 390% in Missouri, and 260% in Louisiana. Since July 3, 2021, daily cases in Alabama have increased 300%;[2]and


Whereas the state of Alabama prohibits University of Alabama (UA) System schools from requiring that their students be vaccinated against COVID-19, and also prohibits them from verifying student vaccination status;[3]


Whereas the UA System Comprehensive Health and Safety Plan states that “All [and only] unvaccinated faculty, staff, and students are required to wear face coverings inside all University buildings,”[4] even though, with no legal way of verifying community members’ vaccination status, such a protocol is unenforceable;


Whereas the UA System Comprehensive Health and Safety Plan requires “at least three-feet circumferential distance, regardless of space size, between individuals not from the same household … in all university facilities whenever possible,”[5] and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) claims that this requirement “is consistent with revised Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] considerations for operating schools during COVID-19,”[6] even though current CDC guidance restricts the “3 feet” social distancing recommendation to fully vaccinated or masked K-12 students,[7] and recommends that unvaccinated adults wear masks and “stay 6 feet away” from people who do not live in their household;[8]


Whereas the UA System requires all regular faculty and staff to return to campus workspaces for the 2021-2022 academic year (with few exceptions), and the UAH administration has ordered some faculty, against their best judgment, to teach in person;


Therefore, the undersigned faculty and staff urge the administrators of the UA System to:


1. Require mask use of all persons inside classrooms and all university facilities (with few exceptions);


2. Require six feet of distance between all persons inside classrooms and all university facilities (with few exceptions); and


3. Permit any faculty and staff who are concerned about the safety of returning to campus workspaces to (a) work remotely or (b) take unpaid leaves of absence.



July 22, 2021 Postscript: This petition was distributed for signatures on July 19, 2021. On July 20, 2021, the UA System Comprehensive Health and Safety Plan was revised.


The revised plan is less protective than the plan described above: it eliminates the universal "3 feet" social distancing policy and replaces it with an unenforceable honor system of "3 feet" of social distancing for the unvaccinated only.


In response to this revision, we again urge the administrators of the UA System to require six feet of distance between all persons inside classrooms and all university facilities (with few exceptions).


August 16, 2021 Postscript: On August 9, 2021, UAH implemented a mandatory and universal indoor mask mandate, thereby satisfying the first of this petition’s three demands. We applaud UAH for enacting this policy.


However, we continue to urge UAH to adopt universal social distancing indoors and to permit faculty, staff, and researchers to teach and work online (or choose to take unpaid leave).



UAH Signatories


1. Gary Zank, Trustee Professor, Eminent Scholar, Aerojet-Rocketdyne Chair, & Department Chair, Space Science; Director, Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR)


2. Gary Maddux, Principal Director, Systems Management and Production Center (SMAP Center)


3. Anthony P. D'Costa, Eminent Scholar in Global Studies & Professor of Economics, College of Business


4. Phillip M. Ligrani, Eminent Scholar in Propulsion & Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Propulsion Research Center


5. John R. Mecikalski, Professor & Chair, Atmospheric and Earth Science


6. J.A. Schneider, Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Co-Director, Materials Science Program; Adjunct, Chemical and Material Science Engineering

7. Jeffrey Neuschatz, Distinguished Professor, Psychology


8. Robert Preece, Associate Professor, Space Science; Assistant Director, The Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR)


9. Nicholaos Jones, Professor, Philosophy; Chair, Philosophy and Political Science


10. Eric Smith, Professor, English; Director, Humanities Center


11. Max Bonamente, Professor, Physics and Astronomy


12. Lingze Duan, Professor, Physics and Astronomy


13. Junpeng Guo, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering


14. Xiaotong Li, Professor, Management, Marketing and Information Systems


15. Pavica Sheldon, Professor, Communication Arts


16. Wolfram Verlaan, Associate Professor & Department Chair, Curriculum and Instruction


17. Joe Conway, Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Studies, English


18. Vinny Argentina, Associate Professor, Art, Art History, and Design


19. Angela Balla, Associate Professor, English


20. Anne Marie Choup, Associate Professor of Political Science, Philosophy and Political Science


21. Jeremy Fischer, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Philosophy and Political Science


22. John Harfouch, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Philosophy and Political Scienc


23. Qiang Hu, Associate Professor, Space Science


24. Chang-kwon Kang, Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


25. Mark Lin, Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


26. Sherri Messimer ,Associate Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering


27. Sharon Melissa Morphew, Clinical Associate Professor, College of Professional Studies


28. Nicole Pacino, Associate Professor, History


29. Milton Shen, Associate Professor, Accounting


30. Bruce Stallsmith, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences


31. Christina Steidl, Associate Professor, Sociology


32. Ming Sun, Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy


33. Joseph Taylor, Associate Professor, English


34. Huaming Zhang


Associate Professor, Computer Science

Computer Science

Science

35. Melissa Foster


Clinical Assistant Professor, College of Nursing

College of Nursing

36. Robert Thomson


Assistant Professor, Sociology

Sociology

37. Kristin Weger


Assistant Professor, Psychology

Psychology

Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences

38. Heather Cross


Senior Lecturer, English

English

Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences

39. Mary Snow


Senior Lecturer, Chemistry

Chemistry

Science


40. Nizar Abudiab

Lecturer, Mathematical Science

Theatre

41. Andrew Bisto


Lecturer, Sociology

Sociology


42. Bethany Boswell

Lecturer, English

English


43. Rebecca Chapman

Lecturer, Mathematical Science

Mathematical Science


44. Valdez Gant

Lecturer, Mathematical Science

Mathematical Sciences

Science


45. Augusta Gooch

Lecturer, Philosophy and English

Philosophy, English

Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences


46. Michael L. McGinnis

Lecturer, English

English

Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences


47. Colleen Noletto

Lecturer, English

English


48. Kerrin Ramachandran


49. Joseph Robertshaw

Lecturer, IEP


Lecturer, English

English

Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences


50. Kelly M. Smith

Lecturer, History

History

Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences


51. Jessica Tischler


52. William Bishop

Lecturer, Mathematical Science


Part-Time Faculty, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Electrical and Computer Engineering


53. Jennifer Case

Instructor, Music

Music


54. Justin Clay

Part-Time Faculty, Art

Art, Art History, & Design


55. Meghan Dunning

Clinical Instructor, College of Nursing

College of Nursing


56. Terryn Fredrickson

Part-Time Faculty-Lecturer, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Electrical and Computer Engineering





57. Julia Graham

Part-Time Lecturer, College of Business

Departmental Instruction, College of Business


58. Robert Pirtle

Part-Time Faculty-Lecturer, Physics

Physics


59. Sue Verlaan

Part-Time Lecturer, Education

Education


60. Kimberly Fletcher

Academic Advisor, Engineering

Academic Advisement


61. Jana Savanapridi

Academic Advisor, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


62. Linda Haynes

Academic Technology Specialist, College of Nursing

College of Nursing


63. Maryann Bierer

Administrative Assistant, Computer Science

Computer Science


64. Jessica Rodgers

Assistant Director, Office of Sponsored Programs

Office Sponsored Programs


65. Melissa "Christine" Lewis, Program Administrator, Industrial and Systems Engineering

and Engineering Management


66. Jonathan Hicks

Computer Scientist I, S1, Rotorcraft

Rotorcraft


67. Telly Polychroniades

Computer Scientist I, S1, SMAP

SMAP


68. Slesa Adhikari

Computer Scientist II, S3, Earth System Science Center

Earth System Science Center


69. Muthukumaran Ramasubramanian

Computer Scientist II, S3, Earth System Science Center

Earth System Science Center


70. Iksha Gurung

Computer Scientist II, S4, Earth System Science Center

Earth System Science Center


71. Tim Miller

Contracts and Grants Accountant


72. Rokiem Roberts

Contracts and Grants Specialist I, Office of Sponsored Programs

Office Sponsored Programs


73. Calpurnia Garner

Contracts and Grants Accountant

Contracts & Grants Accounting


74. Charles Upton

Contracts and Grants Accountant

Contracts & Grants Accounting


75. Rebecca England


Coordinator II, Research Programs, Office of Technology

Commercialization

Office of Technology Commercialization


76. Melodie Cates

Coordinator, Nursing Accreditation and Regulation

College of Nursing


77. Mia Hardy

Desktop Support Specialist, Office of Information Technology

Office of Information Technology


78. Johnna Doty

Director of Music Technology, Lecturer

Music/Theatre

Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences


79. Brian French

Group Fitness Instructor

University Recreation


80. Hunter Cowing

Information Tech Specialist, College of Nursing

College of Nursing


81. James Hardy

Laboratory Manager, College of Engineering

College of Engineering


82. Anita Daniel

Manager, Professional Development Solutions

Professional and Continuing Studies


83. Marianna Wester

Nurse Practitioner

Student Health Center


84. Bingbing Wang

Postdoctoral Research Assistant II, S4, CSPAR

CSPAR


85. Andrew Menz

Postdoctoral Research Assistant III, S1, CSPAR

CSPAR


86. Charles O'Brien

Principal Research Scientist I, S1

College of Nursing


87. Narayana Bhat

Principal Research Scientist II, S2

CSPAR


88. Mehrnaz Doustmohammadi

Principal Research Scientist II, S3

Civil Engineering


89. Gilmer Gary

Principal Research Scientist III

CSPAR


90. Philip Alldredge

Principal Research Scientist III S1

Rotorcraft


91. Jeffrey Levasseur

Principal Research Engineer

Research Institute


92. Veronica Belser

Program Administrator, CSPAR

CSPAR


93. Katie Greene

Program Coordinator, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


94. Rachel Ward

Program Coordinator, CSPAR

CSPAR


95. Gabriele Cromartie

Program Coordinator, Propulsion Research Center (PRC)

Propulsion Research Center


96. Cheyenne Overton

Research Assistant I, S1, SMAP Center

SMAP


97. James Faw

Research Assistant I, S3, Research Institute

Research Institute


98. Alisa Brewer

Research Assistant II, S1, SMAP Center

SMAP


99. Marco Garcia

Research Assistant II, S1, SMAP Center

SMAP


100. Jonathan Mayo

Research Assistant II, S1

CCRE


101. Aubrey Northam

Research Assistant II, S1, Rotorcraft

Rotorcraft


102. Emily Risher

Research Assistant II, S1

CCRE


103. Shelby Tull

Research Assistant II, S1

SMAP


104. Dara Mulford

Research Assistant IV, S1, Rotorcraft

Rotorcraft


105. Tammy Smith

Research Associate I, Information Technology and Systems Center

ITSC


106. Michael Burleson

Research Associate I, S2, Optics

Optics


107. Christine Evans

Research Associate I, S2, Earth System Science Center

Earth System Science Center


108. Vanesa Martin

Research Associate I, S2, Earth System Science Center

Earth System Science Center


109. Maya Hannon

Research Associate I, S3, SMAP Center

SMAP


110. Leah Kucera

Research Associate I, S3, Earth System Science Center

Earth System Science Center


111. Camille Woods

Research Associate I, S4, Earth System Science Center

Earth System Science Center


112. Thomas Bennett

Research Associate II, S2, SMAP Center

SMAP


113. Jares Doverspike

Research Associate II, S2, SMAP Center

SMAP


114. Yanan Zhu

Research Associate II, S2, Earth System Science Center

Earth System Science Center


115. Justin Goldsmith

Research Associate II, S3, CSPAR

CSPAR


116. Chandler Kramer

Research Associate II, S3, SMAP Center

SMAP


117. Dana Waller

Research Associate II, S3, CSPAR

CSPAR


118. Jennifer Killen

Research Associate II, S4, SMAP Center

SMAP


119. Jane Kim

Research Associate III, S2, Rotorcraft

Rotorcraft


120. Amit Patel

Research Associate III, S3, Propulsion Research Center

Propulsion Research Center


121. Marc Byrd

Research Associate III, S4, Rotorcraft

Rotorcraft


122. Amanda Banks

Research Associate IV, S1, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Industrial and Systems Engineering


123. Xuanli Li

Research Associate V, S2, Earth System Science Center

Earth System Science Center


124. Danielle Denno

Research Engineer I, Rotorcraft

Rotorcraft


125. Nishanth Goli

Research Engineer II, S2, Rotorcraft

Rotorcraft


126. Tae Kim

Research Scientist II, S2, CSPAR

CSPAR


127. Danielle Groenen

Research Scientist II, S3, Earth System Science Center

Earth System Science Center


128. That Dai Hai Ton

Research Scientist II, S4, Earth System Science Center

Earth System Science Center


129. Charles Collins

Research Scientist III, S2, Information Technology and Systems Center

ITSC


130. James Laney

Sculpture Shop Technician, Art, Art History, & Design

Art, Art History, & Design


131. Caitlyn Schoenig

Security Assistant, Research Security Administration

Research Security Administration


132. Brianna Calhoun

Senior Accounting Assistant, Contracts and Grants Accounting

Contracts & Grants Accounting


133. Margaret Parker

Senior Staff Assistant, Space Science

Space Science


134. Christopher Pearson

Systems Engineer I, Office of Information Technology

Office of Information Technology


135. Janice Roberson

Warehouse Operations Clerk, Business Services

Business Services



[1] “Post-COVID Conditions,” updated July 12, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects.html. [2] “Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count,” updated and accessed on July 19, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/covid-cases.html. [3] SB267, signed into law on May 24, 2021, https://legiscan.com/AL/bill/SB267/2021. [4] “Comprehensive Health and Safety Plan,” updated May 21, 2021, accessed on July 19, 2021, https://uasystem.edu/covid-19/plan. [5] “Comprehensive Health and Safety Plan,” updated May 21, 2021, accessed on July 19, 2021, https://uasystem.edu/covid-19/plan. [6] “Campus Update: Update to UAH COVID-19 Health and Safety Requirements,” April 7, 2021, accessed on July 19, 2021, https://www.uah.edu/covid-19/campus-updates/16221-campus-update-update-to-uah-covid-19-health-and-safety-requirements. [7] “Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools,” updated July 9, 2021, accessed on July 19, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-12-guidance.html. [8] “Guidance For Unvaccinated People: How to Protect Yourself & Others,” updated June 11, 2021, accessed on July 19, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html.

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