The Blackburn Institute continues to provide our students, Fellows, Advisory Board members, and community partners with the high quality leadership and civic engagement programing they have come to expect while staying healthy and safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Institute staff are working a blended home and office schedule to reduce our physical interactions in the workplace. At least one staff member will be in the office every day. No matter where we are working, staff are available via email, phone (leave a voicemail if necessary), or Zoom during normal office hours 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To minimize physical interactions with guests, the door to the office remains locked throughout the day, and we take in-person meetings by appointment only. Masks are required when two or more individuals are in the office. We have a plentiful supply of masks, wipes, and hand sanitizer in case guests find themselves without. We have also removed porous furniture and rearranged the remaining furniture to ensure social distancing in the meeting area.

When University guidelines allow, the Blackburn Institute holds events in person (e.g. Small Group Values Discussions, Burt Jones Rural Community Experience, and advising appointments). For these activities, we abide by strict health and safety protocols which include wearing masks, cleaning surfaces, providing hand sanitizer, and maintaining social distancing. For events required as part of the new student curriculum, we are committed to providing online options for students who are away from campus, isolating/quarantining, or feel unsafe meeting in person.

When we are unable to host in-person events, we modify them for a virtual format (e.g. Annual Symposium, Daniel Community Scholars Poster Presentations, Protective Life Government Experience, New Student Interest Sessions, and 2021 Group Interviews). In order to foster intergenerational networking opportunities between Blackburn students, Fellows, and Advisory Board members at these events, we have provided them with multiple opportunities to be matched according to goals or using the speed-dating-style networking on the Hopin Platform. We also encourage all of our members to communicate via our networking platform, Blackburn Connect.

The Blackburn Institute continues to follow university policy regarding health and safety protocols, which change often. Please check https://healthinfo.ua.edu/ for the latest information.

Wishing you and your loved ones well in this challenging time,

Jerran, Darcel, and Kathryn