University of Alabama Stuart Bell urged students, faculty and staff to remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19 in a message shared Wednesday afternoon and repeated a stern warning that those who do not abide by the rules will face severe discipline.

Bell also thanked Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox for taking steps at the level of municipal government to slow the spread of the coronavirus through the student body, including the issuance of an executive order that closed all standalone bars in the city until September 8th.

Bell's message follows the Monday revelation that the University has detected 531 new positive cases of COVID-19 among the students, faculty and staff of its Tuscaloosa campus since classes resumed last Wednesday.

The publicly shared dashboard showing cases in the UA System has not been updated since it went live Monday evening.

Read the full message from President Bell in full below.

Dear students, faculty and staff:

At this critical time, we must be united and fully committed in our fight against COVID-19. I believe we will be successful this semester, and we all want to remain on campus throughout this fall, but we can only do so with your daily assistance. Whether in class, at home, or out and about in Tuscaloosa, please:

1. Wear your mask;
2. Practice social distancing; and
3. Use the UA Healthcheck.
These measures, along with the limitations on gatherings on and off campus announced last Friday, are mandatory. Those who ignore them will face significant consequences, including suspension.
We will continue to be nimble and proactive in the coming days and weeks. I appreciate the support of Mayor Walt Maddox and the City of Tuscaloosa. We will maintain a constant dialogue with city officials to ensure the safety of the broader Tuscaloosa community. Also, we will continue to meet virtually with faculty, staff and student leaders to hear concerns, share important information and find ways to best serve the needs of our campus and community.

Thank you in advance for how each of you are continuing to do your part and together we stand ready for the challenges.

Stuart R. Bell

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