UK president outlines fall reopening planning, process

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — University of Kentucky President  Eli Capilouto communicated with UK faculty, staff and students Wednesday evening via email about fall restart plans for the University.

The email is below.

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Dear Campus Community,

We are at an important point in our planning process for a reinvented “normal” academic experience this fall. I want to update you on our progress; ask you to assist that process over the next few days; and outline our next steps.

Here’s where we are:

  • Over the last week, a group of health science researchers and clinical and operational experts has been wrestling with the complex health issues we need to address. We call it the START team (Screening, Testing and Tracing to Accelerate Restart and Transition).
  • At the same time, three teams – comprised of faculty, staff and students – have been meeting independently from each other to create high-level, conceptual plans around four basic scenarios and questions surrounding our academic operations:​
    • What would restarting campus and returning to in-person instruction entail?
    • What would a delayed start to the fall semester look like?
    • What might a hybrid approach look like, in which we examine different approaches to both in-class and online instruction and consider different starting and ending times for the semester?
    • How would we approach a semester where instruction is delivered completely online or through other remote learning options?
  • That process yielded this result: three teams; four questions for each team to answer; 12 thoughtful plans to consider.
  • This week, the 12 conceptual plans were presented to a team in our Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and to our Deans. View videos of the presentations made to the Deans.
  • The planning team in the EOC consolidated the three independent conceptual plans around the four questions into one report for each scenario. View the scenario reports.

Your feedback:

  • Here you can learn more about our process and review a consolidation of all planning materials into four plans – one for each question above.
  • Members of our campus community are invited to provide feedback on each plan through 5 p.m. on Friday, May 15. Your input is important as we refine this work.

Our next steps:

  • We will further refine the plans, overlay ideas developed by our START team, include your feedback and produce a final planning document. We will share that with you for input later this month.
  • Finally, the 19 workstreams – groups of faculty, staff and students that have been working on coronavirus-related issues since February – will create specific, operational plans to bring our ideas to life. We will communicate regularly about our progress.
  • Over the last week, thanks to the input of elected faculty, staff and student leaders, we have added more members of our community to workstream teams, which cover areas as diverse as research and course delivery to community relations, dining and housing. Nearly 500 people are directly involved in this work. It is the definition of a community-wide, team effort.

I especially want to thank the planning team leads – Associate Dean Anna Bosch in the College of Arts and Sciences; Assistant Provost Katie Cardarelli; College of Medicine Dean Robert DiPaola; and Associate Provost Sue Roberts. In addition, we are grateful to our colleagues concurrently planning our research restart efforts. They are soliciting feedback and will soon communicate their work to the campus.

Across our campus, our people stepped up to lead when our community needed them most.

Many more community members have stepped up as well. You have figured out ways to work effectively from remote locations. You have been on the frontlines in our hospitals and clinics. You have changed the ways you teach and conduct research. And, you have created new ways to honor our historic mission of service. You embody what we always have been – and always will be – as the University of, for and with Kentucky.

Thank you. Eli Capilouto