Colleges and universities trying to manage COVID-19 on campuses

Updated: Sep. 7, 2020 at 6:44 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -With a rise in COVID-19 cases on college campuses around the country, some people suggest shutting things down and sending students home. Local health experts say that may do more harm than good.

The University of Alabama system reports between August 28th and September 3, 846 UA students tested positive for the virus in Tuscaloosa. The university says it’s seeing a decline in daily averages since its last report. On September 3, UA reports student positives had dropped to 65 for the day. University officials say nothing has gone wrong with its approach to combating the virus and spread.

Some have asked should campuses close to try slow the spread further? UAB’s Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo and others caution against that.

“If you have the capacity to maintain some semblance of comfort and order, safety and security and education virtually for the students on that campus, it actually makes sense probably to keep those students on campus,” Dr. Marrazzo said.

Dr Marrazzo says that gives universities more control and allows them to track the virus. She says sending students home may increase the public health risk.

“It also really critically keeps them from returning to vulnerable communities and reintroducing the chain of transmission into those other places,” Marrazzo added.

Health experts say student behavior and compliance are some of the fundamental components of managing an outbreak. They are urging students to heed the warnings and do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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