LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Some Fayette County parents say they want University of Kentucky students to go home and learn virtually, so their students can get offline and back in the classroom because they blame them for pushing the county into the red zone, but some students say it’s not fair to blame them all.
Meanwhile, a new program the university announced Thursday would crack down on students not following guidelines off campus.
Videos showing students partying close to each other and with no masks during the first football game of the season partially led to a letter to the editor in the Herald-Leader from a Fayette County parent.
The parent, Teri Neal, wrote, “No one has to babysit college kids. If they can’t make good choices regarding the pandemic, then let them go home, learn virtually, and continue on with their partying and pandemic ignorance.”
UK freshmen Cameron Wishmeyer and Everett Gati say they feel for the parents, but they can’t go home because they’d have a hard time learning online too.
“I don’t think that’s a fair assessment at all because when it comes to the interaction with other people, it’s pretty much confined to campus,” says Wishmeyer.
They say they’re hopeful about a new partnership between UK and the city that would patrol neighborhoods near campus for large student gatherings.
“It’s for the betterment of all our safety,” says Gati. “I believe it should happen.”
Starting Friday, police will be able to break up any large parties, and students could face penalties ranging from a warning up to getting kicked out of school.
“It has to be a group mentality,” says Wishmeyer. “I think that if everyone takes a step back this semester you can prevent more cases and it’ll be better for the whole school.”
But the whole school doesn’t agree. UK law student Shawn Harkins says the new program is too much.
“I personally think it’s a bit of an overreach,” says Harkins. “You may force those parties and everything else underground.”
He says sure, some students are being irresponsible, but this could push them out of town, and maybe even to drive back drunk.
“If you take the view that people are going to go do it regardless, just encourage people to do it safely,” says Harkins.
But he’s not just a UK student, he’s also the parent of a kindergartner whom he chose to send to private school so she could learn in-person, a choice not all Fayette County parents have.
UK reports it’s only responsible for 5.5-percent of coronavirus spread outside of campus. This data that has several parents upset. They say Fayette County Public Schools is using UK as a scapegoat instead of coming up with a re-opening plan.