More than a thousand students at the University of Alabama have tested positive for the coronavirus since the school began classes less than two weeks ago. The university opened on August 19 and a total of 1,043 students have been confirmed as COVID-19 positive. No students have been hospitalized for the virus so far.
In a statement made on August 23, Stuart R. Bell, the university’s president, calls the rapid rise in cases “unacceptable” and said he was “deeply disappointed” that many students did not follow guidelines set by the school to avoid spreading the disease. On August 26, Bell urged the campus to limit the spread of the virus.
“At this critical time, we must be united and fully committed in our fight against COVID-19. I believe we will be successful this semester, and we all want to remain on campus throughout this fall, but we can only do so with your daily assistance,” he said.
Only nine faculty and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Tuscaloosa campus. According to Dr. Ricky Friend, dean of the college of community health sciences, said in a statement that there is no evidence that the virus was transmitted during in-person classes.
To help stop the spread of the coronavirus on campus, Tuscaloosa’s mayor ordered that bars in the city close for two weeks.
It should be noted that many of the students counted in the COVID-19 numbers tested positive for the virus before arriving on campus. More than 300 received a positive test during entry testing at Alabama and were not permitted to report to campus at all. The university boasts an enrollment of 38,103 students for fall 2019 and just over 4,000 of them identify as Black.