University of Alabama has over 500 covid cases, Auburn University has over 200

Now that colleges are open again for in-person instruction, the covid cases are adding up. The most shocking numbers are coming out of the University of Alabama with over 500 confirmed cases. Check out the Instagram post above, I’m assuming they have more testing than other colleges and that’s why they’re getting more positive cases. Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama has over 200. The University of Missouri has almost 160. There are more and these are just the schools we’re hearing out which have widespread testing and reporting. Other schools, like NC State, are identifying multiple clusters centered around housing. It’s only been a few days since most schools opened, with UNC Chapel Hill being one of the first to open and inevitably have outbreaks. They’ve since gone online only, as have several other colleges. There are now reported cases in just about every school that has students on campus. Other universities are handing out suspensions to students who break the rules, but that may be too little too late. Covid is spreading no matter what precautions and rules schools have. The Washington Post has a good overview of this and I also recommend checking The Chronicle of Higher Education’s coronavirus tracking article, which is updated frequently:

More than 500 cases at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Nearly 160 at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Dozens at the University of Southern California.

Colleges and universities that brought students back to campus are expressing alarm about coronavirus infections emerging as classes have barely started, raising the possibility everyone could be sent home.

“The rise we’ve seen in recent days is unacceptable, and if unchecked, threatens our ability to complete the rest of the semester on campus,” University of Alabama President Stuart Bell said at a news conference on Monday, five days after classes resumed, as the mayor of Tuscaloosa temporarily closed bars and warned that the local health system could become overwhelmed.

While a growing number of schools have backed off reopening, opting instead for online classes, others are hoping a host of new rules and adaptations can keep the coronavirus at bay. They are requiring masks, mandating testing and threatening students and campus groups with penalties for partying. Ohio State University said this week that it had suspended 228 students for virus-related violations.

Despite the precautions, schools are quickly discovering large outbreaks that have prompted new soul-searching about students’ commitment to social distancing and universities’ ability to deliver even a dramatically transformed on-campus experience. Speaking Monday, Bell declined to blame young people’s lack of caution and emphasized that it is up to the university to work with everyone to minimize infections.

“Our challenge is not the students,” Bell said, though he acknowledged that multiple students are facing discipline for breaking coronavirus rules. “Our challenge is the virus.”

[From The Washington Post]

I want to emphasize that last statement from U of Alabama President Stuart Bell, “Our challenge is not the students, our challenge is the virus.” That’s what we were talking about earlier in the week when I covered that editorial saying that blaming the students is unfair. I’ve been checking out the Instagram accounts for some of these colleges and they’re trying so hard to educate students about the virus, to create social distancing reminders, to test, disinfect and make mask-wearing mandatory. This is not easy, everyone has good intentions and most students are adhering to the rules, but it really doesn’t matter. Nothing is perfect and this virus is going to spread. It’s frustrating, it’s creating a situation where young people are getting robbed of experiences and worse than that many are suffering in their current living situations. The only thing we can do is stay home and wear a mask when we go out.

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17 Responses to “University of Alabama has over 500 covid cases, Auburn University has over 200”

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  1. Case says:

    As badly as America wants in-person school to work this year…it’s just not going to, and if they keep pushing it, people will die. I don’t know what else there is to say about this.

    • Miranda says:

      As teacher, even in much-improved NYC, it’s becoming very clear that, even if we’re getting them to wear masks in school, there are parents who refuse to uphold that standard at other times. “The kids don’t like them, they says they’re uncomfortable!” NO ONE LIKES THEM!!!! We’ve just figured out that being dead or having lifelong issues sucks even more.

      • Layla says:

        This is why I chose 100% remote learning for my NYC kids. My older one just hates wearing a mask. He’s paranoid and super careful when he does go out with his mask but it makes him miserable.

  2. EMc says:

    Did anyone really think this was going to work..? I can appreciate that they tried, and they put as many practices in place that they could. I feel like this had disaster written all over it from the start. And I expect the same out of my kids elementary school, middle schools and high schools.

  3. Jess says:

    You should post the pictures from Tuscaloosa last week with hundreds of students/parents without masks standing inches apart in line for cheap beer! It’s a total shitshow because it’s Alabama and half the parents of these college kids follow Trump and don’t believe this virus is a real threat, until it kills someone they know nothing will change their minds. I almost don’t blame the kids, they’re young and selfish and just doing what everyone does at that age in thinking it won’t happen to them, they want a normal college experience, but something has to change.

    I’m in urgent care in Alabama and in a city with a mask mandate, our numbers are finally decreasing, but the positive cases we’ve had the last few weeks are in ages 18 to 25. They got together for graduation parties and continued hanging out as if there’s not a pandemic, and yes they have very mild or no symptoms, but I still get to see the look of shock on their faces when they realize who they exposed with their carelessness. One positive patient is 18 and her father is 70 years old, mother is 59, the age range that has trouble bouncing back. The dad was so upset with her and almost in tears telling me how he begged her to stay home and she just didn’t take it seriously. He kept saying if I get this and die she’ll never forgive herself, then he laughed and told me how she was accident and her siblings are much older and he knew she would take him out one way or another!

    I just don’t understand why colleges are even attempting to have students return in person at this point. Money rules all I suppose.

    • FHMom says:

      No disrespect, but Alabama is going to do Alabama. And, yes, it’s all about money. The universities make a ton of money off housing and food. They even make a ton off parking. They can’t be so stupid as to expect that their ‘safe’ reopening plans are going to work. It’s all about the money. Universities strongly discouraged students from taking a gap year or deferring enrollment. They are basically rolling the dice with everybody’s health. And it isn’t just Alabama; it’s everywhere.

      There is a front page story about this in the New YorkTimes, if anyone is interested.

  4. Sam the Pink says:

    I’m of two minds about this. I blame the colleges for even opening up to put students in this position. But I also blame students who are stupid. There are students doing the right thing. Being young is not an excuse. I said to my husband that if we had a college student (not quite there yet, thankfully), and I discovered that they attended a gathering under these circumstances, they’d be dragged home by their hair. I raise my kids to have empathy for others and care for their communities. Being a teenager is not an excuse in this house. I have 5, 4 of whom are old enough to need masks – all of them are responsible kids who look out for each other and others (my 12 year old figured out how to get more takeout – she bought mini hand sanitizers and then gives them to the delivery people).

    My main fear is that now that we know these kids are getting exposed, and the colleges are sending them back home, how much spread are we going to see from that? How many deaths will happen?

  5. Feedmechips says:

    I am less inclined to believe these schools have “good intentions.” It’s about the money that they want to keep coming in. My alma mater (located in the Northeast and subject to all the weather that comes with it) decided to reopen. They bragged all over Facebook about how they have constructed LITERAL TENTS where classes will be held. Tents with no ac or heat. This school’s tuition is $60k+ a year.

  6. Miranda says:

    My Alabama-native fiance: “Really? That’s all? Shit, did a bunch of students transfer to Mississippi or something?”

  7. Jerusha says:

    Nick Saban needs to announce there’ll be no football unless they get their shit together. Since the Iron Bowl is the most important event in Alabama maybe that’ll get their attention.

    • Hoot says:

      Football for this season should be skipped altogether.

      Like many others, I love watching college sports. My son played college football. His alma mater was one of the first colleges to announce, “No football this season,” because the last thing these schools need is for players on each line facing off against each other in practice and in games. Picture huge linemen, spaced about a foot apart, breathing hard into each others’ faces on each play. That is a recipe for Covid disaster. It will spread the virus through the locker rooms then to other students like wildfire.

      • Jerusha says:

        I don’t know why any school is going ahead with fb since so many have opted out. How do you have a real season when you’re not actually playing so many teams? But, it’s the SEC, so, duh…..🙄

    • summertime says:

      Saban has been begging people to distance properly, follow the guidelines and mask up. Sadly we have a lot of people who are not in agreement and then you also have people from out of state who’s headed to the beach that refuse. I watched a van full of people from Kentucky get out a gas station other day and try to enter without masks and get angry when told put them on or leave.

      • Jerusha says:

        I know Saban has been trying, he’s one of the more responsible coaches, but he’s pushing a boulder uphill, imo.

  8. S808 says:

    I blame both the school and the students. The school has testing facilities and safe guards in place but at the end of the day, they’re going to do what they can to make as much money as possible. It’s also on the students to protect themselves. If partying is that important, then alright. Just know it comes with a risk. I’m so glad I graduated this spring and don’t have to deal with any of this. I would’ve been commuting and had so much anxiety about exposing my family.

  9. Greywacke says:

    I wouldn’t characterize this as a money grab. I have worked at small private universities in the past, and am now at a major public research university. None of these institutions operate for profit. They rely on tuition and room/board to literally stay afloat. Yes, tuition is much more at the privates, but they are actually far more vulnerable to closing than publics because of no state funding, especially those with small endowments. 100s of privates and some publics will close in the next few years due to the enrollment cliff of 18-21 year olds by 2030. COVID-19 is accelerating their demise.

    So, yes, they do need money. And unfortunately, they aren’t changing their model because polling indicates the majority of students want a campus life, not just for the intellectual aspect, but for the social which will exacerbate the spread of COVID-19. I would have preferred remote for all education this fall, but many institutions are fighting for survival. Remote learning means less revenue, increased student attrition, staff layoffs, and the threat of permanent closure for many privates. For publics, job loss in the hundreds if not thousands depending on the size of the institution. Reopening in person is foolish, I agree, but it is driven by desperation in some sense.

    We already lost 250 people where I work…if we operate remotely…I predict 1000 or more. These are major employers across the nation as well as economic drivers generating billions in economic benefit. So the loss of these institutions will have a profound effect on communities, especially rural ones. This is a sad situation, with real negative consequences and not a case of greed.

  10. Alex says:

    Kids and parents can decide as tax paying, tuition paying free thinking adults.