The University of Alabama on Monday released the latest preliminary results from its student population testing for COVID-19.
Each student returning to campus for the fall 2020 semester is mandated under the university’s plan to take a test to determine whether they have the virus. Classes commence on Wednesday.
So far, results from 25,948 students are available, showing only 237 students tested positive.
This equates to a positivity rate of 0.91%, which is significantly lower than the general population both statewide and nationwide. Experts have identified positivity rates of under 5% as being ideal for reopening, making the university’s rate exceptional.
Under the University of Alabama’s return-to-campus plan, all students who test positive must undergo mandatory isolation and quarantine. They must each submit confirmation of a subsequent negative COVID-19 test before attending class. The comprehensive plan, developed with the input of leading medical professionals and subject-matter experts, includes a myriad of other heightened health and safety protocols that go above and beyond state, local and CDC guidelines. It additionally builds on the cornerstones of the University of Alabama System’s return plan.
A release from the university stated that the institution will provide another update on student test results upon the conclusion of return-to-campus testing. The university will reportedly also provide an update every two weeks, at a minimum, once it begins sentinel testing to be conducted throughout the semester.
Monday’s UA test results came as Alabama’s statewide COVID-19 numbers also continue to trend in a markedly positive direction.
Alabama saw an increase of 516 cases this morning, bringing the 7-day avg down to 743 (the lowest since June 26th) pic.twitter.com/7SCOCjuUXO
— Bama Tracker: Alabama COVID-19 (@BamaTracker) August 17, 2020
It should further be noted that the UA System last week announced the first preliminary student testing results from across its three campuses: the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Out of 30,000 students tested, there was a positivity rate of 0.83% for that initial set of data.
This comes after the UA System back in March announced its ambition to provide America’s safest campuses when students returned after the pandemic-shortened spring semester. The System has been considered an exemplary national model for return-to-campus planning.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn