Campus News

New Campus COVID-19 Policies to Begin June 14

photo of William T Young Library

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 10, 2021) — President Eli Capilouto sent the following message to the University of Kentucky campus community on June 10, 2021. 

Dear Campus Community,

Throughout our commonwealth and our country, we see growing signs of optimism and hope about emerging from this pandemic and beginning our return to some sense of normalcy.

At the same time, we must remain vigilant. The virus is still present, here and around the world. And that means we must continue to do everything necessary to protect the health and safety of our campus.

Against this backdrop of hope and vigilance, I am announcing campus measures that we will implement, beginning Monday, June 14. These reflect current recommendations of the CDC, direction from state government, guidance from health department officials and the counsel of our own START team of health scientists and clinicians.

The modifications described below apply to campus settings. They do not impact UK HealthCare’s policies regarding COVID-19. UK HealthCare facilities are following a phased approach to reopening based on community prevalence and number of active inpatients. UK HealthCare still requires daily screening and masking of all providers, staff, patients and visitors. Any person who will be in one of the health care facilities should understand the phase that health care facilities are in so they can follow the health care guidelines.

Research that involves human subjects will follow guidelines and policies provided by UK HealthCare for mask wearing and physical distancing. A separate communication to researchers will be forthcoming.

Beginning June 14, on campus, the following changes will be implemented:

Vaccines, Masks, Screening, Testing and Tracing


  • Vaccines are not mandated, but strongly encouraged. We will, of course, continue to monitor this issue and change plans, if necessary, to ensure the health and safety of our campus.
  • At the same time, a robust vaccination communication and engagement plan will continue into the fall.
  • As part of that effort, we will strongly encourage those who have been vaccinated to verify that status with the university so that requirements for steps such as testing and screening can be modified. Upload vaccination documentation here, via our self-report tool.
  • UK will accept all vaccines approved by the World Health Organization.
  • Thus far, about 70 percent of our campus — students, faculty and staff — have been vaccinated. We want this number to continue to increase.


  • People who are vaccinated are not required to wear masks or face coverings in campus outdoor spaces or inside non-UK HealthCare campus buildings.
  • Mask requirements for individuals who are not vaccinated will remain in place. In other words, individuals who are not vaccinated will be required to wear a mask or face covering when inside any campus facility, including recreation facilities. Individuals who are not vaccinated also should wear a mask outside if they are near other people.
  • The best path forward, especially to maximize the safety of you and others, and to be able to take full advantage of all campus resources and privileges is to GET VACCINATED. 
  • Per state guidance, individuals are required to wear a face covering on public transportation.


  • Members of the UK community who have been vaccinated no longer are required to complete the university’s daily screener.
  • Those who have not been vaccinated will be required to respond to the daily screener.
  • If vaccinated individuals are still receiving reminders to complete the screener, it is possible that we do not have their vaccination documentation on file. Upload that information here, via our self-report tool.

Student Testing

  • Students who are vaccinated will not be required to complete COVID-19 entry or ongoing testing.
  • Students who physically come to campus and who have not been vaccinated will be required to complete an entry test and to continue testing on a regular basis, likely once a month, as students did throughout the spring 2021 semester. Non-compliant students will be referred, as in the past, to the Office of Student Conduct.
  • If vaccinated students are still contacted about completing a COVID-19 test, it is possible that we do not have their vaccination documentation on file. Upload that information here, via our self-report tool.

Contact Tracing

  • No quarantine or tracing protocols will be required for vaccinated individuals.
  • All other contact tracing protocols will remain in place for individuals who are not vaccinated.

Offices, Classrooms, Events, Travel, Housing, Dining and Transportation

Offices and Classrooms

  • Given UK’s successful vaccination efforts — and our ongoing efforts to communicate about vaccines — offices and classrooms will return to normal configurations this summer and fall, in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • Over the summer, UK officials — including the START team and in accordance with federal and state guidelines — will monitor this issue as we prepare for the fall. As always, our top priority will be the health and safety of our campus community.

Events, Activities and Athletics

  • We are planning to return our Athletics events to full capacity in fall 2021.
  • Capacity for on-campus events will return to 2019 policies, which allow for greater capacity and attendance.
  • Registered Student Organization (RSO) events will continue to track attendance for contact tracing purposes.


  • The university will follow CDC guidelines, which continue to be updated, with respect to international travel.
  • UK will remove the language and guidance currently in place, which discourages domestic travel. We will add language strongly encouraging members of our community to be fully vaccinated before traveling.

Housing, Move-in and K Week

  • UK will return to the move-in protocols utilized prior to COVID-19, and K Week will return to its traditional format as it was conducted in 2019.
  • The university will return to its traditional format for visitation as it was conducted in 2019, with the above plans. 
  • Isolation facilities will continue to be utilized as needed.
  • UK will add wording to the housing contract for students, strongly encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations.

Dining Halls

  • Dining halls and other related facilities will operate at normal capacity.
  • COVID-19 safety protocols and support — such as plexiglass, hand sanitizing stations and healthy behaviors signage — will remain in place.
  • While not eating, individuals who are not vaccinated are asked to either wear a mask or maintain an appropriate physical distance from others.


  • UK will lift all capacity restrictions on university vehicles.
  • Per state guidance, individuals are required to wear a face covering on public transportation.

This updated information will be posted at As always, you can contact us at if you have questions. We also will be further updating return to campus guidelines this summer as staff begin transitioning back to campus in the next few weeks and as we prepare for the return of most faculty and students this fall.

Although our plans are based on current evidence, we will continue to monitor new evidence as well as state and federal guidelines. Together, we have long awaited the opportunity to plan our return to the vibrant residential campus experience that makes us so special.

Your efforts to keep our community safe make this possible. Our continued work together will make it a reality.

Thank you for what you do for our community.

Eli Capilouto