The University of Alabama announced plans Tuesday to end all its COVID-19 protocols as new cases drop on campus and around the U.S.

In an email sent to students Tuesday morning, UA announced that effective next Monday, February 21st, masking will no longer be mandated inside University buildings, and quarantine/isolation spaces on campus will be phased out and return to their regular uses.

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“Our campus team has thoroughly reviewed the best available information and considered our own experience in addressing COVID over the past two years,” said Dr. Ricky Friend, dean of the College of Community Health Sciences. “The University has provided the indispensable service of education, while protecting our community. This is the next phase in continuing our essential mission.

Masking will still be in place in areas where patients are being treated including the Student Health Center and University Medical Center as well as on public transport like Crimson Ride buses, which is mandated by federal law.

The University has tracked and reported COVID cases on campus since last year, and only 23 students and 24 UA employees were COVID-positive last week.

Citing the sharp decrease in cases and the widespread availability of COVID vaccines and boosters, University officials have decided it is appropriate to return to normal operations.

The statement sent to students Tuesday says experts will continue to monitor the situation and will re-convene UA's Situation Response Team if a new wave of cases makes it necessary.

Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for updates on this developing story as they become available.

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