AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – An unprecedented fall semester began Monday with 30,000 Auburn University students, faculty, and staff returning to the classroom. Meanwhile, the City of Auburn announced it would be doing more to proactively enforce statewide safety guidelines, including Alabama’s mask mandate.
Over the weekend, reports of large crowds of returning students gathering off-campus are being noticed by city leaders and even Auburn football players.
Monday morning, Auburn’s mayor welcomed AU students back to campus in a video sent out to every student via email.
“You will be greeted with our “Healthier You” campaign, reminding you to wear a face covering, practice social distancing, wash hands and monitor your health,” said Ron Anders in the video to students.
Greyson Malone says he is thrilled to return to campus for his senior year. He’s hopeful AU can continue in-person instruction.
“I am excited to be back here; I was pretty happy about it. It’s been a long time since we left back in March. I’ve only been back to campus today, but from what I’ve seen, people are following the rules as best they can during this odd time. There is always room for improvement. For the most part, I think we are doing what we can,” said Malone.
Reports of AU students clustering without masks caught attention on social media over the weekend. One Auburn football player tweeting, “boy, it’s not a single person wearing a mask on campus.” Another football players tweet, “Coachs and medical staff have been doing their absolute best to keep us safe, I don’t want them to be blamed for whatever happens going forward.”
News 3 spoke with Auburn’s Public Safety Director, who says with more complaints and concerns being voiced regarding non-compliance of pandemic safety guidelines, the city will continue to educate while pro-actively enforcing the mask and other safety mandates. We expect a news release from the City of Auburn to be released late Monday, with more specifics, and will share the information with you.
Mayor Ron Anders urged students to do their part and follow the guidelines to keep businesses open.
“As you venture off-campus, you will hear from your favorite establishments and local business community about how these same practices will keep your favorite restaurants, stores, and businesses open,” shared Mayor Ron Anders.
Meanwhile, as of Monday, AU medical clinic reports only one AU student is in the isolation dorm on campus with eight in the quarantine dorm. Those numbers are expected to increase as the weeks wear on. We are still waiting on the total number of AU students, faculty, and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.