Lifestyle Health University of Alabama Reports More Than 500 Cases of Coronavirus Since Classes Began Last Week At least 566 people affiliated with the university have tested positive since school started on Aug. 19 By Nicholas Rice Nicholas Rice Instagram Twitter Nicholas Rice is a Staff Editor for PEOPLE Magazine. He began working with the brand as an Editorial Intern in early 2020, before later transitioning to a freelance role, and then staff positions soon after. Nicholas writes and edits anywhere between 7 to 9 stories per day on average for PEOPLE, spanning across each vertical the brand covers. Nicholas has previous work experience with Billboard, POPSUGAR, Bustle and Elite Daily. When not working, Nicholas can be found playing with his 5 dogs, listening to pop music or eating mozzarella sticks. People Editorial Guidelines Published on August 25, 2020 02:08 PM Share Tweet Pin Email University of Alabama. Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Less than a week after starting the fall semester, the University of Alabama has reported more than 566 coronavirus cases across several campuses. According to data from the University of Alabama's COVID-19 dashboard, the main campus in Tuscaloosa has recorded 531 total cumulative cases for students, faculty and staff, while the campus in Birmingham has 6 cases and the Huntsville campus has 8. The University of Alabama at Birmingham also reported 21 cases among other employees. Despite the increase in numbers, UA President Stuart Bell said student behavior was not to blame for the rise. "Our challenge is not the students," Bell said during a press conference on Monday, according to AL.com. "Our challenge is the virus and there’s a difference, folks. What we have to do is identify where does the virus thrive and where does the virus spread and how can we work together with our students, with our faculty and with our staff to make sure that we minimize those places, those incidents." "It’s not student behavior, OK. It’s how do we have protocols so that we make it to where our students can be successful, and we can minimize the impact of the virus," he added. Indiana College Students Plead 'Don’t Make Us Write Obituaries' in COVID-19 Newspaper Editorial University of Alabama. Vasha Hunt/AP/Shutterstock In an email statement obtained by WVTM13, Bell released a message to all students, faculty and staff regarding the COVID-19 situation. "Despite the robust testing, training, health and safety measures we carefully and clearly implemented, there is an unacceptable rise in positive COVID cases on our campus," he wrote. He noted that "testing, mask wearing, social distancing, personal hygiene and compliance with crowd size limits" will be enforced throughout the remainder of the semester and added that "violations to our health and safety protocols, both on and off campus, are subject to harsh disciplinary action, up to and including suspension from UA." RELATED VIDEO: WestJet Flight Attendants Hold In-Flight Ceremony for College Team After Their Graduation Canceled Over Coronavirus During the Monday press conference, Bell also added that the goal is to keep the university's students on campus and to continue to have in-person classes. "What we are focusing on, these steps, these protocols, those are critical in order for us to continue that goal [of keeping campus open]," Bell said. "We know that early intervention has the best chance at changing the trajectory of where we are going. The early reading on that trajectory is not one we like. What we are trying to do is to change that with these changes of protocols." UA joins a growing list of other colleges across the nation struggling with virus containment this fall. Last week Notre Dame halted in-person classes for two weeks following a surge of COVID-19 cases just eight days after beginning its fall semester. Similarly, an Oklahoma State University sorority is under quarantine after 23 members tested positive for the respiratory illness days before the start of the fall semester. As of Tuesday afternoon, at least 5.7 million people in the U.S. have tested positive for the coronavirus, while at least 177,500 patients have died, according to the New York Times' database. As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.