BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Spring semester starts next week at the University of Alabama and several thousand of those students must get tested for coronavirus before they come back to class, but not all of them.
University of Alabama senior Shelby Carpenter is ready for Spring classes to start, despite some of the health concerns that come with it.
“It’s definitely nerve racking to be here and have everybody flood back into town,” Carpenter told WBRC.
She said health and safety concerning coronavirus have been on her mind since school started in the Fall. Carpenter is happy some students must be tested for COVID-19 before returning to class.
“That’s definitely a good idea, especially because they went home. A lot of people went home for the Fall. We saw that when people went home for the break, that a lot of the cases went up,” Carpenter continued.
The University of Alabama requires students who live on-campus to get tested for COVID-19. They can do that on campus at Coleman Coliseum starting Thursday.
“We need some time to test all 10,000 residential students so we are trying to get that done in the week between the 7th and the 13th before classes start,” said Dr. Richard Friend, Dean of the College of Community Health Sciences.
Dr. Friend added students can also present proof of their COVID-19 status from an outside provider. He said proof of status from students living in dorms or Greek housing is required of them because they are at a higher risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus because they live in tight quarters.
The following statement is from Kellee Reinhart, the spokeswoman for The University of Alabama System.
In consultation with public health and infectious disease experts led by The University of Alabama System Health and Safety Task Force– and having reviewed COVID-19 trends and projections as well as data and lessons learned from the fall semester – we have made the decision to increase testing throughout the semester.
For the spring semester UA, UAB and UAH will require students living in residence halls or Greek housing to be tested within seven days of returning to campus or furnish documentation of test results from their private health care provider.
Entry testing provides a single, point-in-time confirmation that an individual is negative for COVID-19, which can mitigate the spread of the virus in close-contact environments, such as housing, early in the semester. Throughout the spring semester, we will rely more heavily on significantly increased sentinel and for-cause testing, which were proven to mitigate transmission of the virus last semester.
Reinhart said lessons learned relate to the effectiveness of the sentinel testing and for-cause testing programs. That is where our primary emphasis will be focused this Spring.