Moratorium lifted as reported COVID positives decline 

Just in time for date party season.

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The University will lift its moratorium on in-person social events on Feb. 15, about two weeks after loosening restrictions on non-social events. The policy was updated on Friday, the same day that the UA System COVID-19 dashboard reported its lowest weekly number of positive test results since the beginning of the semester. 

Myron Pope, UA vice president for student life, said social events include swaps, band parties, date parties and philanthropy events with social elements, among others. All events, on and off campus, must be registered and approved through MySource in advance and adhere to capacity limits. On-campus events are capped at 50 people indoors and 100 people outside, while 150 are permitted off campus. Events outside Tuscaloosa city limits are prohibited. 

In the fourth dashboard update of the spring, the UA System reported 56 positive test results for students, faculty and staff, dipping below 100 weekly reported positives for the first time this semester. This week’s numbers account for about 8% of the positive results reported by the UA System since its first update on Jan. 22. 

The University imposed a similar moratorium on student events in the fall semester. Non-social in-person student activities resumed halfway through the semester on Oct. 1. The remainder of the semester accounted for about 15% of the fall’s reported student cases.

Sentinel testing reported 2.8% positivity rate this week among the 900 students, faculty and staff tested. The University conducted more than 1,000 tests for the first time in the last reporting period. The program aims to test at least 2.5% of campus weekly. The number of cases found through the program’s random sampling of the campus population decreased since the last update, mirroring a decrease in the number of sentinel tests conducted.