HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — During a COVID-19 news conference Wednesday, Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said post-secondary campuses are doing their best to keep students safe and healthy.
Many campuses in the state required students to present a negative COVID-19 test result before returning to campus.
But Landers said schools are unable to really control what students do or who they gather with in their downtime.
“We expected to see some cases of COVID-19 on college and university campuses and indeed we have,” she explained.
Some campuses are requiring students to log their symptoms with the state’s GuideSafe app, and other campuses have designated quarantine dorms for students who have tested positive.
“I think given the circumstances that we have now a college campus is just like any other population,” Landers said. “We appear to be having a very reasonable approach here, appear to have a reasonable plan here, and appear to be able to provide instructions in those settings as well as manage those students on those campuses.”
Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong said to his knowledge, many of the area college students who have tested positive have shared similar symptoms.
“I think that in most cases our college students, whether it be at UAH, Alabama, Auburn, Alabama A&M, the symptoms are very similar,” he said. “The body aches, the headaches, the loss of taste, but the big thing is the severe respiratory distress.”
However, Strong said the continued application of safety protocols will help keep college numbers down, just like every other population.
“Testing is essential,” Strong added. “Separation, I think that’s what’s gone on to this point. It’s been treated well, especially here locally. We are seeing those numbers diminish at some of our larger colleges and universities in Alabama.”