The old normal: UA returns to class in pre-pandemic fashion


CW/ Shelby West

Raelee Sents, Staff Reporter

For the past two years, plans for returning to campus have consisted of mask mandates, social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions. 

Returning to campus this year is going to look more like it did pre-pandemic. 

Dr. Richard Friend, dean of the college of Community Health Sciences, said the University looks forward to welcoming students back “for another normal semester.” 

However, Friend said the University will continue to “encourage common sense precautions like vaccinations and boosters, and emphasize masking and medication when needed.” 

“We’ve had a wonderful summer on campus,” Friend said. 

The University announced earlier this year that it would be ramping down its COVID-19 protocols and quarantine spaces following the end of the campus mask mandate that was implemented following the nationwide case spike caused by the omicron variant last winter.  

The University of Alabama System Office continued to maintain the dashboard displaying weekly case counts until the end of the spring semester. It has not been updated since May.  

Friend said he expects the “wonderful summer on campus” to continue into a normal fall semester. 

With fewer restrictions in place, some students think it will be easier to get involved on campus. 

Annie Hart, a junior majoring in marketing, said her freshman year was “definitely a weird, difficult and isolating time.”  

Hart said that being an out-of-state student and not being able to meet in-person for classes, organizations and events made getting involved and meeting people hard for her. 

“Living on your own for the first time is super weird and difficult anyways, but adding remote classes and limited opportunities for involvement definitely made it way harder,” Hart said 

Since Get On Board Day was online in the fall of 2020, Hart felt that she missed out on joining clubs and meeting people her freshman year.  

According to the Division of Student Life’s website, Get On Board Day is a “tabling fair where student organizations, departments, and community partners set up booths to provide information about what they offer.” 

Hart added that with the University returning to normal, she encourages the incoming freshmen “to get involved in everything they can.”  

“The University has so much to offer in terms of involvement opportunities and clubs and organizations, there’s something for everyone,” she said.  

According to the New York Times, on July 11, there was a daily average of 62 COVID-19 cases in Tuscaloosa.  

According to a July 7 update from the CDC, the community level of COVID-19 in Tuscaloosa County is low based on cases and hospitalizations.  

“The test positivity rate in Tuscaloosa County is very high, suggesting that cases are being significantly undercounted,” the article reported.