UK expands widespread testing to include staff

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — Starting Monday, the University of Kentucky will offer free on-campus testing to any UK campus employee who will be working on site this fall.

This expansion follows the successful kickoff of student COVID-19 testing with UK’s partner Wild Health, which began Aug. 3. This testing is available for on-site faculty and staff, regardless of how frequently they will work on site.

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UK HealthCare will continue its employee testing that has been in place since the beginning of the COVID-19 response in March.

In a campus email, President Eli Capilouto noted the expansion was a result of both thoughtful feedback from the UK Staff Senate and University Senate Council, as well as recommendations from the Fall 2020 Playbook for Reinvented Operations.

The playbook called for making additional employee testing available once student baseline testing had begun for the semester.

“In this unsure time, the Staff Senate has been proud to be heavily involved in the design and implementation around the restart process,” said UK Staff Senate Chair Jon Gent. “The expansion of testing for staff and faculty shows how much this administration listens to and cares for the entire UK community.”

Completing a COVID-19 test is not required for returning to on-site work, at the recommendation of the team of UK HealthCare providers and other clinical and research leaders at UK. In addition to free testing sites available throughout the state, on-campus testing will be a new option.

On Monday, employees will receive an email with instructions to schedule a test time and select a location, using their 8-digit UK employee ID. After scheduling, employees will receive a follow-up communication with instructions to registerduring which time employees will provide additional important information.

Individuals should complete both steps before arriving at a testing site.

The same on-campus testing sites now used for students will be available for employees. Employees will need to show their UK employee ID.

More information on how to complete a test will be available in the coming days. Drive-through testing will be available at the Blue Lot at Kroger Field. Walk-up testing locations include:

Testing is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week. Employee testing at these locations will be free, regardless of health insurance.

The institution will immediately communicate any adjustments to testing locations or hours after the student testing period concludes on Aug. 22.

While testing is not required for employees, individuals should consider getting a test if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or if they have traveled to an area with significant community spread of the virus.

If employees are symptomatic, they should not come to campus for testing; instead, they should immediately contact their health care provider.

Contact the UK Health Corps with any questions about this at healthcorps@uky.edu or 218-SAFE.

“The decision to make COVID-19 testing available to faculty and staff employees is an investment in reducing the risk to our employees,” said Aaron Cramer, chair of the UK University Senate Council. “Providing the opportunity for employees to determine their COVID-19 status will help protect the health of individuals, the campus and the larger community.”