More Than 550 Coronavirus Cases Reported at University of Alabama a Week Into the Semester

August 25, 2020
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    More than 550 people have tested positive for coronavirus at the University of Alabama.

    The spread of the novel virus on campus comes a week after classes began for the semester.

    NBC reports a total of 566 cases with the school’s tracker reporting 531 total cases at the university’s main campus in Tuscaloosa.

    The publication notes this doesn’t include the 310 students who tested positive prior to Wednesday, August 19.

    Kellee Reinhart, senior vice-chancellor for communications and community relations at the university, said that many students have “chosen to go home to recuperate” though she said the university had “ample amount of quarantine space for COVID-positive students."

    Selwyn Vickers, dean of the School of Medicine at UAB and co-chair of the UA System Health and Safety Task Force, said that "over the past week, due to student behavior, we have seen a spike in the number of students who have sought re-testing because they became symptomatic or were exposed to a COVID-positive individual. That trend prompted the decision to take further steps to reduce the chance that the COVID- 19 virus will escalate dramatically.”

    University officials pushed for Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox to close all bars for two weeks beginning Monday night. This includes bar service at restaurants. Alcohol will only be served at seated tables.

    "Although our initial re-entry test was encouraging, the rise in COVID cases that we've seen in recent days is unacceptable and if unchecked threatens our ability to complete the semester on campus," University of Alabama President Stuart Bell said at a news conference.

    He added: "The goal of all of these protocols is to keep our students on campus, and allow our classes to be delivered in that way, and by doing that we're able to flatten this curve and move forward in our semester. This is a very dynamic situation. We value our students' health, their ability to get the most out of their Tuscaloosa and Alabama experience.”

    The rise in cases are high among fraternities and sororities, per CBS News.

    Universities nationwide are struggling to restart in-person instruction amid the pandemic.

    UNC-Chapel Hill announced all of its undergraduate courses are switching to virtual classes after another 130 students tested positive for COVID-19.

    The announcement, made on Monday, comes after four clusters of cases were reported among the school’s dorms, apartments and a fraternity house in three days.

    Central Michigan University administrators are also cracking down on large gatherings amid a surge of cases, less than a week after classes resumed.

    The Central Michigan District Health Department reports 38 cases of COVID-19 connected to students after classes started up again on Monday, August 17.

    The University of Southern California's (USC) fraternities were hit hard with 40 cases of COVID-19 involving students living on 28th Street, which is known as Fraternity Row.

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