REMINDER: UK resumes student testing Thursday

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Administering of Covid-19 vaccine on December 17, 2020. Photo by Mark Cornelison | UKphoto

UPDATE: (1/14/21, 11:30 A.M.) – Starting Thursday, University of Kentucky students returning to campus will need to get tested for COVID-19.

According to the university, COVID-19 testing is mandatory for all students and strongly recommended for faculty and staff. Reentry testing will be done through the end of the month.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/UK Public Affairs) — The University of Kentucky starts testing students returning to campus later this week and is working on a plan to help vaccinate staff in the Fayette County school system.

Those and other updates were among coronavirus-related updates Monday from UK President Eli Capilouto

He emailed faculty, staff and students. The email follows below:

Dear Campus Community,

I want to update you on several significant issues regarding our response to COVID-19 in early 2021 — issues that will require a collective effort by our entire community. Specifically, things are moving quickly with respect to:

  • Plans for campus vaccination as we are beginning our work to vaccinate most of the faculty and staff on our campus in the coming weeks and months.
  • Processes for student entry testing and ongoing testing for employees and students.
  • Development of mitigation and health promotion efforts throughout the semester.

Here’s what we know today:

Vaccinations

  • Since December, in accordance with the plans outlined by state public health officials and Gov. Andy Beshear, front-line health providers have been receiving vaccinations.
  • To date, more than 5,700 UK HealthCare front-line workers – those working in the hospital and in direct contact with patients – have been vaccinated.
  • We expect several thousand more to be vaccinated over the next several days, largely completing the first-priority list for health care workers, as set forth by the state.
  • UK HealthCare, in accordance with state guidelines, will be moving forward with plans to vaccinate high-risk patients being treated at the medical center.
  • In accordance with those guidelines, we will also be moving forward – in conjunction with UK HealthCare – in ensuring that faculty, staff and students in our health care colleges who interact with patients, function in clinical settings or work in research settings will be vaccinated as quickly as possible.
  • We are also moving to begin vaccinating more members of our campus community, as increasing supplies of the vaccine are becoming available.
  • At the same time, UK HealthCare will begin vaccinating its patients and working with the state on a plan to vaccinate other health care personnel and first responders regionally.
  • We also have been asked by the Commonwealth to assist in vaccinations for employees in the Fayette County Public School System. Officials with our Emergency Operations Center and UK Health Corps are working on that plan and coordinating with the school system. As that plan is more fully developed, we will communicate about it as well.
  • In the meantime, we have started to compile basic information regarding vaccines, their safety and other related issues here: go.uky.edu/vaccine. This site will be updated regularly.
  • If you are a UK student or employee and have already received a COVID-19 vaccine from a provider who is outside of the University of Kentucky system, please use the UK Health Corps self-report tool to submit your vaccination documentation. That self-report tool can be accessed at hcselfreport.uky.edu.
  • If you have already received a COVID-19 vaccine through a University of Kentucky location, you do not need to take any additional steps to share your vaccination documentation.
  • We have established a special email address for our campus community –  vaccine@uky.edu – to answer questions about this important issue. It is closely monitored, and we will work to respond as quickly as possible to questions.
  • You also may contact UK Health Corps at 859-218-SAFE or at vaccine@uky.edu for more information about vaccinations as well.

This is a lot of information as the issue is moving quickly – a good thing for our campus and our community. We will communicate often about this issue to make sure you have the latest information. Find the latest information at www.uky.edu/coronavirus.

Entry testing and testing for our entire community

  • As in the fall, we are requiring all students who are physically returning to campus for any reason to receive an entry test. https://www.uky.edu/coronavirus/students/testing-screening-and-tracing
  • That process starts Jan. 14 and will continue through the first week of classes, Jan. 30. Students received their first communication about this process over the weekend. Students are being encouraged to go ahead and schedule tests now.  
  • Testing sites for students, faculty and staff include:
    • The Blue Lot at Kroger Field (drive-thru)
    • K-Lair, located in Haggin Hall on the central campus (walk-up)
    • The Blue Box Theater in the Gatton Student Center (walk-up)
  • As in the fall, tests will be provided at no cost. Students and employees should bring their IDs to the testing sites. For more information about the entry testing plan, students can go to this site: https://www.uky.edu/coronavirus/students/testing-screening-and-tracing-faqs.
  • Employees can continue utilizing the Blue Lot at Kroger Field site before testing begins at the other locations on Jan. 14. This site has remained operational throughout the winter intersession. Employees can schedule tests here: https://wildhealthcovid19testing.as.me/schedule.php

Ongoing maintenance and other testing details

  • UK is making plans for ongoing maintenance testing of students throughout spring 2021. More information on that process will be available soon. Numbers of those who will be tested, as well as the frequency of testing, will change as more members of our campus, including students, are vaccinated over the next several weeks and months.
  • As in the fall, UK will continue conducting wastewater testing on residence halls.
  • As in the fall, UK will continue testing specific student subpopulations when data indicate a higher prevalence of the virus.
  • As in the fall, UK students and employees are being asked to complete the daily screener.
  • If students or other members of the community have any questions or need help, please contact us at healthcorps@uky.edu or 859-218-SAFE.

These are dynamic and fast-moving issues. My commitment is to provide constant and detailed information as quickly as possible when we are in a position to do so.

I hope, too, that this information provides both a sense of hope about our path forward over the next several weeks, as well as assurance about our commitment to honoring the primary principle we set forward nearly one year ago – to do everything possible to keep our entire community healthy and safe.

That remains our most important principle as well as our enduring commitment to you.

Eli Capilouto

President