LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – In response to the growing concern over the spread of coronavirus, the University of Kentucky is going to online-only classes from March 23 to April 3, the two weeks following spring break, President Eli Capilouto told the university community Wednesday afternoon.
“The coronavirus (COVID-19) is already proving to be an unprecedented disruption to our University, Lexington community, Commonwealth, and world.
The course it will take is uncertain, but the days and weeks ahead will be even more challenging,” Capilouto wrote.
He outlined a number of steps and changes in response.
Chief among them was the university remaining open with instruction continuing through online or other alternatives from March 23 through April 3, which are the two weeks after Spring Break for most of our students.
The goal is to resume normal course delivery April 6.
Students can return to campus residence halls or take their classes from their apartments, home community, or any other location.
UK will accommodate all students, regardless of their choice about living options. Over the next 48 hours, the university will communicate information about campus services, including housing and dining, that will remain open.
The administration will work with faculty, staff, and students about the specifics of online and alternative course delivery. There will be challenges for some students with accessing online or alternative platforms. UK’s Information Technology Services staff will be following up with more information about plans to ensure access.
He also warned colleges, units, and faculty should create contingency plans should the suspension be extended.
He said staff operations will continue as normal and research and health care enterprise activities will continue as planned. Furthermore, all university-sponsored or endorsed travel internationally is suspended indefinitely.There is an appeals process.
The names and contact information of these travelers will be shared with UK HealthCare, who will follow up with them individually with additional guidance.
Students who had planned to participate in a Summer Education Abroad program will be contacted by the UK Education Abroad and Exchanges Office by March 20 with a decision about the program.
All University-sponsored or endorsed domestic travel is strongly discouraged.
UK’s voluntary travel registry will continue indefinitely so it can continue to monitor travel plans to provide members of the campus community with the most up-to-date guidance and assistance.
Campus events will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
“We are especially sensitive to the fact that during the Break so many members of our community are traveling to countries throughout the world and to states with some of the highest incidence rates of the virus. Creating a two-week window after the break reduces the risk of transmission; provides the opportunity for self-isolation for those who are sick; and allows us to prepare for the return of students,” the UK president advised.
“We will use the next week to deep clean campus facilities; decide how best to accommodate students who return to campus immediately after Break; and prepare for full resumption of regular course delivery April 6,” he continued.
“As we work together to keep our campus healthy and safe, we should remember that cultural differences can impact the ways in which members of our community respond to this challenge,” he counseled.
“For example, some of our community members from different cultures — including some of our international students — choose to wear masks as a sign of respect for the health of others as well as a precaution regarding their own health.
“We should respect cultural difference not denigrate it. Someone’s country of origin has nothing to do with their level of risk in contracting the virus. Let’s be sensitive to our surroundings and celebrate our differences, remembering that diversity and inclusion are at the heart of who we are as a community,” he concluded.
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