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University of Alabama responds to 'COVID parties' being thrown in Tuscaloosa

ABC 33/40
ABC 33/40
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The University of Alabama responded to the news about alleged "COVID parties" or "corona parties" being thrown by students in and around Tuscaloosa.

Earlier this week city council member Sonya McKinstry told ABC News that Tuscaloosa students diagnosed with COVID-19 have been attending parties as part of a disturbing contest to see who can catch the virus first. McKinstry said she recently learned of the behavior and informed the city council of the parties occurring in the city.

She did not say which schools the students attended.

READ: Alabama students throwing 'COVID parties' to see who gets infected: Officials

Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Patrick Smith, at a city council meeting on Tuesday, said they confirmed rumors of the parties by checking with local doctors and the Alabama Department of Public Health.

The University of Alabama in a written statement on Thursday said they have been aware of the rumors about the parties for weeks but they could not identify any UA students who may have participated.

"The University of Alabama is unwavering in its commitment to the safety and well-being of our community. We have in place strict rules about on-campus activities and will enforce them stringently." the school said in the statement. "We will continue to follow up on any information we receive and educate our students about essential precautions."

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The university said students who want to have on-campus classes and extracurricular activities next year should follow health guidelines.

"We fully expect them to safeguard their personal health and safety and that of everyone at the university and in our city."

The university said there will be several health and safety guidelines in place on-campus once the school year starts in August.

Additionally, the Tuscaloosa city council voted to require masks in public places for everyone in Tuscaloosa starting on Monday, July 6th.

Tuscaloosa is home to several colleges and universities, as well as high schools. Officials did not say what schools the students attended who participated in the parties.

READ: Ivey extends State of Emergency to September

The state of Alabama has continued to see a large spike in new coronavirus cases, with record numbers of hospitalizations reported this week.

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Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday extended the state's state of emergency deceleration for virus recovery to September 9, 2020.

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