Colleges and universities are cracking down on students who don’t follow recommended guidelines

Monitoring COVID-19 guideline compliance

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Colleges and universities across the country are cracking down on students who don’t follow recommended guidelines to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

School leaders at UAB are dishing out penalties like suspensions, expulsions and other warnings for those who gather in large crowds and don’t wear face coverings.

At least three UAB students have already tested the boundaries of the school’s policy for ignoring mask and social distancing rules on campus.

“Anytime there is non-compliance we look at our student conduct code and use our processes through the student conduct code to adjudicate alleged behaviors,” said Assistant Vice President for Student Experience at UAB, Mary Wallace.

“A conduct officer is able to sort of look at the situation and the context of the situation and understand what would be most helpful in that situation in terms of sanctioning,” Wallace said.

Students are leading a health promoting campaign called SHOW.

It’s an acronym for Stand 6-feet apart, Handwashing, Owning your responsibility and Wearing a mask.

School leaders said it’s holding students accountable.

“Our students want to stay live and hybrid as long as they can, so you see a lot of our own students confronting one another to make sure that they are able to do that,” Wallace said.

UAB imposed testing before students even stepped on campus.

The university is also betting on a contact tracing app called GuideSafe to monitor trends in the disease.

“We take in what is reported to us with the alleged behavior, so our students use both the ethics hotline, which is our system-wide database, as well as reporting through student conduct directly,” Wallace said.

Students suspended for violating those guidelines could be out school for up to a year.

And in some cases, students may have to reapply.

School leaders said they are looking at each violation on a case-by-case basis.

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