Hundreds of students and three student organizations have been sanctioned by the University of Alabama for violating its COVID-19 safety guidelines in the midst of an outbreak. A fourth group is facing suspension, reports NBC News. Students must "strictly adhere" to the guidelines issued last month, which promote face coverings and social distancing and prohibit large social gatherings. Indoor gatherings are limited to 50 people, and outdoors gatherings to 100. "Band parties, swaps, formals, out-of-town and off-campus parties or large gatherings of any kind" are prohibited. However, the university had issued 639 individual student sanctions as of Tuesday. Thirty-three of those students have been effectively suspended from campus "while their conduct cases proceed through due process," per the New York Times.
The school—which reported 1,935 COVID-19 cases across its system in the two weeks after classes resumed on Aug. 19—did not describe what offenses had occurred. Individual students receive a notice for a first offense. A second offense brings a disciplinary warning and mark on their student record. A third offense means disciplinary probation for up to two semesters. But "egregious offenders will be met with significant sanctions up to and including suspension after as little as one offense." The same goes for student groups, which are otherwise placed on probation after a second violation. A third violation means a group "will lose all privileges for the remainder of the academic year." The school is to report its case numbers since Sept. 4 on Friday, per AL.com. (Read more University of Alabama stories.)