News & Opinion | August 31, 2020 6:00 am

University of Alabama Instructs Faculty to Avoid Discussing Coronavirus

The request comes at a tense time for the university

University of Alabama
The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Does a pandemic still exist in a university setting if that university’s faculty are barred from discussing it in class? That seems to be the approach taken by the University of Alabama, according to a new report from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Reportedly, faculty received an email from the administration telling them to avoid discussing the pandemic in class or on social media. Over 500 students at the school have been infected with COVID-19 since returning for the current semester.

According to a report from The Daily Beast cited by the Journal-Constitution, the administration made the request because they had their own plan in mind for informing students.

Alabama Provost James Dalton sent an email Tuesday telling professors to refrain from informing students about positive cases because the university already had a “robust program” in place to inform and isolate exposed students, the Beast reported.

Among the repercussions of the outbreak: bars in Tuscaloosa are being closed for 2 weeks.

A number of colleges and universities have discovered that their fall semester plans may not have been comprehensive enough to stop the spread of COVID-19. Earlier this month, Notre Dame moved to a system of online classes; more recently, Temple University also announced a temporary shift away from in-person classes.

It’s an unsettling time to be figuring out the logistics of higher education. These examples, along with many others, illustrate that all too well.

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