UA students respond to reports Alabama doesn’t want instructors talking about COVID cases

Updated: Aug. 31, 2020 at 4:28 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Whether it’s students wearing masks or signs posted around the University of Alabama campus, there’s no escaping coronavirus talk right now.

“I think the students should be kept in the know for sure,” Jake Russell from Massachusetts said.

That kind of talk may not include the classroom. Two groups reported some professors at the university told them in emails not to tell students if others in the class tested positive for COVID-19.

Sunday, a university spokesperson gave a statement that said in part, “Procedures have been put in place to strike this balance while complying with federal privacy laws, primarily the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, WBRC asked students if it’s appropriate for instructors to share that kind of information. “I think it’s just them trying to let the university handle it. I don’t feel like it’s a professor’s place to really make announcements like that,” UA student Max Burch said.

Others feel the more information that’s shared, the better - even if it involved them. “I think it’s good if everybody knows who has it. But I don’t really know if it’s my decision. If you had COVID, would you want your classmates to know? Yes. Really? Yeah well, I want them all to be safe. I would just quarantine myself,” according to Cameron Machado.

The university has a COVID Support Program in place to alert students about coronavirus on campus and if students may need to get tested. That includes “if some or all members of a class may have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and how they should respond,” according to that statement.

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