Administrators from the University of Kentucky saved a seat for The New York Times in some of the recent Zoom meetings about reopening campus in the fall. The New York Times was not there to contribute to any of the four concepts for the fall semester — that wouldn’t make sense — but to report on how a wonderful place like UK is dealing with the times.
That story is now online, and in it, we learn UK’s Dean of the College of Medicine painted one potential scene that includes distributing thermometers to students to self report their temperatures each day to a cell phone app:
“Can you hear me?” Dr. Robert DiPaola, the medical college dean, asked during one of the meetings, in what has become an oft-repeated line in the days of virtual conferencing.
Sitting alone at a gleaming oval conference table in his office, Dr. DiPaola injected some of the grimmest reality into the discussions, with concerns about sanitation and testing. The university might have to distribute thermometers to everyone, he said, and require students to report symptoms on a cellphone app every day to be cleared for classes.
The administrators studied complex models, considering if Kentucky could hold in-person classes before Thanksgiving and then online classes for the rest of the fall semester; if it could reduce classroom crowding through a longer day; or if it should allow only certain groups of students on campus, like freshmen, who administrators said would benefit the most from the experience.
It’s only one of many options UK is considering, but at least one option has been completely thrown out and that’s returning to the “normal” of this time last year.
“That’s not going to happen,” Sue Roberts, an associate provost, says in the story.
For more from behind the scenes of UK’s planning process and other universities around the country, read the New York Times’ story, “Fever Checks and Quarantine Dorms: The Fall College Experience?”