Another new semester, another new normal: COVID dashboard as well as COVID protocols not to return for new year 

Sarah Clifton, Staff Reporter

The UA COVID-19 dashboard, which displayed data for cases reported on campus for the past two years, has been discontinued and will no longer be accessible starting this academic year.

According to Lynn Cole, director of system communications for The University of Alabama System, the decision came from a combination of “persistently low cases, readily available vaccines and testing, and effective treatments.” 

This follows the University’s decision to phase out COVID protocols in February of this year, which involved discontinuing mask mandates inside campus buildings, phasing out campus-provided quarantine housing and limiting the number of COVID case management services. 

Despite this move to phase out COVID-19 measures, Shane Dorrill, assistant director of communications for The University of Alabama, said that “campus medical officials remind students, faculty and staff that COVID infections are still occurring, and vaccinations and boosters are the best way to combat infections and serious illness.”

McKenna Schmidt, a sophomore majoring in criminal justice, said that she is okay with the University phasing out COVID protocols, but would be more comfortable if the University had easily accessible data.

“I do think that the COVID data should still be available online for people to monitor and respond to the situation as they see fit,” Schmidt said. “There are obviously high spikes [of COVID] and students should have the ability and right to know about it.” 

Richard Friend, dean of the College of Community Health Sciences, said that the University will continue to “actively monitor” COVID cases on campus. 

Cole said that COVID data for the area will still be available on the Alabama Department of Public Health’s website. Cole directed questions about whether campus case data could be requested to the University. The University did not provide comment on the question.