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UK will require students on campus to be tested for COVID-19

University of Kentucky
Photo via University of Kentucky

Photo via University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky will hold in-person classes for students this fall, but if students elect to be on campus, they’ll be required to take a coronavirus test.

This morning, UK President Eli Capilouto sent out a campus-wide email detailing the university’s student COVID-19 testing policy. In short, tests will be mandatory for all students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) who are coming to campus and will be provided at no cost. Students who elect to take their classes online will not be required to take a test. Testing will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. August 3-22 at five sites on campus. Students who test positive will be required to quarantine in accordance with CDC and state public health guidelines.

Here is the entire message from Capilouto:

Dear Campus Community, I want to provide you with details for how we will test our student population of some 30,000 as part of our restart for the fall 2020 semester. This step is the first in a series of announcements we will make over the next few weeks that will detail our efforts to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our campus community. Our plan is high-tech and high touch. It is designed to make it as easy as possible to be safe.  Our efforts also are guided by a UK Health Corps. team made up of public health experts and professionals with experience in contact tracing and screening. This team will, throughout the semester, connect the campus community with health resources and other necessary support. How student testing will work:

  • Between August 3 and August 22, testing for all students— undergraduate, graduate and professional — will be available at five sites on campus and offered through a third-party expert — Lexington-based testing and genomics company, Wild Health — that has been retained by the university.
  • This test will be provided at no cost to students.
  • Student testing will take place between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day. The university can test up to 2,000 students a day, with projected test results delivered in about 24 hours.
  • Information about student testing sites can be found here.
  • Students will receive a text message with a link to a secure website portal where they can schedule their test. Private health information will be maintained.
  • Students should schedule their test before arriving at a testing location. 
  • Multiple staff from our testing partner and UK will be on-site each day, at each location, to assist students.
    • Students who test negative will be notified via email that their results are available; those results can be accessed via a link to a secure portal on the web-based application.
    • Students who test positive will be contacted by phone by a member of the UK Health Corps. team. The team will provide the students with instructions, resources and other necessary support.
  • Students who are under the age of 18 will receive a consent form for their parent or guardian to sign before they come to campus.

What is required for students:

  • All students — undergraduate, graduate and professional — who are, or will be, coming to campus are required to be tested for COVID-19.
  • Students who take all their classes online and do not plan to visit campus for any reason are not required to be tested.
  • Students also will have the option to supply the university with test results conducted outside of initial testing on campus. That test must be an approved PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test and conducted within seven days prior to the student’s arrival date on campus.
    • For students living in on-campus housing, their arrival date is defined as their scheduled residence hall move-in date.
    • Students living off campus, who want to complete their test off campus, should do so within seven days of the date they first plan to arrive on campus for any reason (e.g. to buy books, etc.)
  • UK is making arrangements for students who utilize off-campus testing to send or upload those results to University Health Service. We will provide more information directly to students and families about that process.
  • Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine in accordance with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and state public health guidelines. UK Health Corps. will support them with the resources they need to ensure their health and well-being.
  • The university is working on a follow-up student testing protocol for the rest of the semester.

Information for UK faculty and staff returning to on-site work locations:

  • UK faculty and staff returning to an on-site work location are not required to take a test prior to returning to their on-site work location.
  • If you are symptomatic and need to take a test, you will not incur any co-pays or out-of-pocket costs if you are an employee on a UK health insurance plan. However, the cost of a test may not be covered through your insurance plan if you are not symptomatic.

Every UK student, faculty member and staff member — or someone who is about to come on campus — also will be asked to conduct daily screening. We will communicate more about this process — and our efforts to make it as simple and convenient as possible — very soon. Some resources for more information can be found at the following:

  • You can read more about Wild Health here.
  • You can read an FAQ about the student testing process here.
  • You can read more about our plan to reinvent operations on our restart site: uky.edu/fall2020.

Even as we roll out our plans for testing, many critical health and safety initiatives are underway — recommendations and plans for on-campus and remote work, screening and contact tracing across campus, how we will provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and ongoing cleaning of classrooms and shared spaces. We ask for your patience as we finalize these plans. We know there are a number of questions and no small amount of anxiety and uncertainty. That is entirely understandable; it is a concerning time. Our pledge, though, is to provide more details about each important step in the near future. We will answer questions with the best available information. And, we will strive to be flexible as we will, undoubtedly, have to adjust to ensure that we’re always doing what’s right for our students and our community. If we work together, we can emerge from this time of challenge positioned to thrive. Throughout, we will be utilizing the best practices technology has to offer. But, as always, our most important asset is you, the talented and dedicated members of our community, who put our students and mission of education, health, service and care first. Everything we do is guided by the principle of ensuring the health, safety and well-being of every member of the UK community. With the expertise and tireless efforts of more than 500 community members, we have created a detailed and thoughtful restart playbook for our campus. Now, it is time to implement those plans and communicate regularly and consistently with our community as we continue this journey together. Thank you. Eli Capilouto

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

3 Comments for UK will require students on campus to be tested for COVID-19



  1. lexslamman
    12:44 pm July 21, 2020 Permalink

    This policy is so full of holes calling it Swiss cheese is an understatement. It would take just one off campus party and the entire institution could end up exposed/infected.



  2. lexslamman
    12:45 pm July 21, 2020 Permalink

    I mean, if UK can hold in person classes with such weak protections, then why bother shutting anything down at all?



  3. Jesus H. Chrysler
    1:15 pm July 21, 2020 Permalink

    They need to test students for STDs.