The state House yesterday adopted a proposed two-year budget and spending plan for the Commonwealth.
The spending plan, which now goes to the Senate, underscores the importance of higher education and this institution — in creating a Kentucky that is healthier, wealthier and wiser.
A few highlights of the plan include:
Additional investments in performance funding and an initiative to help produce more health care workers, such as nurses, where there are currently dire shortages.
Resources for continued revitalization of critical buildings in the core of our campus — dollars we would partially match to leverage even greater investment in classroom and research spaces.
New investments in the Bucks for Brains program, again, matched by UK, that would allow us to invest in stellar scholars and researchers across the enterprise. Through this program, we’ve endowed hundreds of faculty in areas directly responsive to the needs of our state — cancer research, Alzheimer’s, fine arts, equine research, cardiology and diabetes, literacy and engineering.
Funding for the Health Education Building we are planning to construct that will house the College of Medicine and other health colleges and programs, so crucial to the well-being of our state and its workforce needs.
Earlier this week, I had the privilege to represent you — and tell your story — in front of a key budget committee in the House. I talked about these critical investments and how you would use them — through education, research, service and care — to advance our state.
As this spending proposal moves through the Senate and, ultimately, to the Governor for his consideration, we will continue to vigorously advocate for a compelling idea — investments in UK today are really investments in our state tomorrow and for the long-term future of the Commonwealth we were created to serve.
I will update you as the legislative session continues. Thank you for all you do to make this potential progress possible. COVID-19 You’ve continued to maintain the health and safety of our campus through your commitment to vaccinations — the single best measure we can take against COVID-19. Here are the numbers:
Community: 91% partially or fully vaccinated
UK Campus: 90%
UK HealthCare: 93%
Go to our coronavirus dashboard, which is updated twice each week, for the latest vaccine numbers and other indicators about the health of our community: https://www.uky.edu/coronavirus/covid-19-data-dashboard.
A critical added layer of protection against the virus is booster shots. The available evidence, from numerous studies and those still emerging, is that boosters significantly decrease the risk of severe illness or hospitalization.
As we did with vaccines last year, we will start a booster incentive program for students, faculty and staff, beginning the first week in February. Each week, several cash prizes will be drawn among students and employees who have entered with proof of their booster shot.
You can read more about the booster incentive program and enter for a chance to win at these sites:
Student Booster Incentive: http://go.uky.edu/CatsGetBoosted
Employee Booster Incentive: https://www.uky.edu/coronavirus/employee-vaccine-incentives
Other important health reminders:
Wear a mask indoors. Mask-wearing continues to be required in all indoor spaces on campus. Compliance with this measure is even more important with a highly transmissible variant.
The university made an initial purchase of two KN95 masks for everyone who comes to the main campus. And we have more as needed. These masks have been delivered to all colleges and units. If you have not received yours, please check with your unit leadership.
If you see that people are not compliant with mask-wearing and want to report it, you have several options. Learn more here.
Get your flu shot. The flu is particularly harsh this season, as our health care facilities continue to manage increased cases from the Omicron variant. Sign up for your flu shot today if you haven’t already. Learn more here.
This is a remarkable community as evidenced by the support policymakers are providing for our efforts and the way you work together to keep each other safe and well.
Thank you for all you do as a community that cares and as a community that is committed to each other and to Kentucky.