TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — University of Alabama President Dr. Stuart Bell tells CBS 42 there will be football in Tuscaloosa this fall despite the Coronavirus emergency. He also says he expects 38,000 students to return for the fall semester.

“As we look forward to accomplishing another great fall semester welcoming back students and welcoming back our sports teams to be able to have competition.  Those are our plans and it’s a high bar and anticipates that we will be able to meet that,” Bell said.

UA, like many universities across Alabama and the United States, ended the spring semester early back in March due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, which also caused the university to cancel trips abroad.

The university has its own task force that has been monitoring the spread of the virus and when it would be safe for the majority of students and faculty to be back on campus. Bell says classrooms and dorms will be cleaned and disinfected.

“We will make sure we have it clean, but it will also be about how we accomplish social distancing to help our students. How do we make sure they have the best experience in the classroom,” he said.

Dr. Bell says with students returning and Alabama football games coming back to Bryant-Denny Stadium, those are both winning combinations for the community.

“We certainly our plan is that we will have a football season and fans will be a part of it in our stadium. So we are working on that and our first games are in September. So we have time and we also know we have work to do,” he said.  

The fall semester classes get underway August 19.