Alabama college students sanctioned for COVID violations

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — More than 600 students at the University of Alabama have been sanctioned — including 33 who were effectively suspended — for violating rules intended to curb the spread of COVID-19 cases on campus, a school spokesman said Thursday.

The university had issued 639 individual student sanctions as of Tuesday as the university tries to clamp down on gatherings that could spread the virus, spokesman Shane Dorrill said. Thirty-three students have been suspended from campus while their cases proceed, he said.

The university did not provide examples of behavior that led to the disciplinary action, but said student suspensions could range in length depending on the severity of the conduct. Suspension is pending for one student organization, while three others have received COVID-related sanctions, Dorrill said.

More than 2,000 students tested positive for the coronavirus since classes resumed last month on the Tuscaloosa campus, which has more than 30,000 students. The outbreak led university officials to issue a moratorium on in-person student events through Sunday. The university also has banned visitors from dorms and fraternity and sorority houses.

Public health officials are worried about an uptick in cases in Alabama that began after public schools, colleges and high school football games all resumed last month.

More than 135,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state, and more than 2,200 have died.

State Health Officer Scott Harris said officials are working on a database for K-12 schools to report cases and make the information available to the public. He did not give a timetable for when that would be available.

“Generally speaking, there has not been a spike in pediatric cases to this point since schools started,” Harris said, but he added that many of the largest school systems have been meeting virtually instead of in person.

While the virus causes only mild to moderate symptoms for most people, it can be deadly to the elderly and people with other health problems.

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Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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