The latest news from Tuscaloosa is about more than Alabama Football
Alabama football fans we’ll discuss the good news first. The Alabama football, fall camp continues unabated. Fall camp, like everything on the Tuscaloosa campus these days has changed. Based on comments this week from the two Crimson Tide coordinators, those changes have not deterred progress.
The players have been commended for their attention to detail, including following all virus protection protocols. Both Steve Sarkisian and Pete Golding the team is not stuck in catch-up mode from a missed spring practice program.
Elsewhere on campus, there are causes for concern. Choosing to concentrate on optimism, we’ll cause the latest concerns the ‘not-so-good’ news.
Reported by The Crimson White, University of Alabama, Vice President for Student Life, Myron Pope released the latest on-campus COVID testing. According to Pope, arriving students tested positive at a rate of just one percent. Only days later, students who were symptomatic, or believed to have been in contact with an individual who tested positive, were tested again. The rate of positive tests among the group rose to 29 percent at one location.
If we increase at the rate we did this week, give us a week and a half and we’re going to be at full capacity.
The capacity of which Pope is speaking are the 450 beds in designated quarantine areas for students. As of Friday, less than 10 percent of those beds are in use. Pope is concerned enough about capacity, he reported new quarantine beds will be added as needed.
The new 14-day moratorium applies to all student, in-person “activities, social or otherwise.” The otherwise does not include classroom settings, which will continue to be carefully controlled. What is covered are dormitories, eating halls, commons spaces and fraternity houses.
Compliance will be difficult to monitor, particularly off-campus. Enforcement is not expected to be sufficient without the compliance of most students. Penalties are in place for violators. According to one news report, “repeated violations will result in suspension.”
The University of Alabama has no authority off-campus, but city of Tuscaloosa and state of Alabama restrictions will be relied upon.
Also, a System-wide Data Dashboard will be used giving students access to updates on testing results.
The near-bubble Alabama football players are protected in allows for fall camp to continue. And that is good news for all Alabama football fans.
Will no in-person classes quickly follow? Students are already doing remote learning. If the moratorium is successful, perhaps the fall term will not require remote learning for all students. It is also important to remember the one percent of positive tests of more than 30,000 re-entry students remains an encouraging indicator.