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JSU prohibits student gatherings in response to increased COVID cases

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacksonville State University changed policies regarding housing and in-person events held by student organizations, school officials announced Wednesday.

According to a post on JSU’s Facebook page, the school halted all in-person student organization events, both on- and off-campus, until Sept. 9, “due to concerns regarding COVID-19.” The school also limited housing visitation to members of each building only.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the school’s website was reporting that JSU was tracking 129 active cases associated with the school, a sharp jump from the 44 cases reported Friday.

On Friday, JSU’s COVID-19 task force had calculated that the number of students who had tested positive was under 1 percent of the total students tested. The positivity rate at that point was 0.48 percent.

Attempts late Wednesday afternoon to contact school officials were unsuccessful.

Myles Chamblee, an officer with the Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency, said the agency was unsure what prompted the school’s policy changes. 

While JSU and other local schools have taken precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Chamblee said, it’s possible the start of the new school year could cause an increase in cases.

“Any time you have in-person stuff going on in schools, there’s a possibility,” Chamblee said.

Contact Staff Writer Mia Kortright at 256-235-3563.