LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 11, 2022) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto sent the message below to the campus community today.
- It will be a busy weekend on our campus as we welcome hundreds of prospective students and their families. We will be monitoring the potential for inclement weather as we ensure as safe an experience as possible for our community and visitors.
- The budget proposal adopted this week by the Kentucky Senate represents critical investments in UK, higher education and Kentucky. We will continue to work with legislative leaders and the governor’s office to make the case that investments in this place today are down-payments on a brighter future for Kentucky tomorrow.
- We announced last week changes to our masking policies on campus, opening up a number of spaces as mask-optional while continuing to require them in classes, health care spaces and labs. A summary of the masking guidance is below.
- Get vaccinated. Get your booster shot. Irrespective of any other protective measure, vaccines are our best defense against the virus.
Spring is close, but as always in our Commonwealth, the potential for winter weather lingers longer than we might like.
This weekend, UK is host to a Merit Weekend for hundreds of new Wildcats and their families, in addition to a number of other activities occurring on our campus.
With the prediction and potential for inclement weather, our facility and safety crews – along with so many others who support our efforts – will be working to ensure a safe experience for everyone on our campus.
We will be monitoring weather conditions and will communicate frequently, if and when conditions dictate. You can go to uky.edu/alerts for the latest information.
The State Budget
The Kentucky Senate earlier this week passed its version of a state budget for the next two years. As with proposals from Gov. Beshear and the House, the Senate’s budget would make critical investments in higher education and the University of Kentucky.
In short, the budget proposes increases in general appropriations and performance funding. Dollars are proposed for Bucks for Brains (a program that leverages resources we raise to hire outstanding scholars) and modernization of the core of our campus.
There also would be funding for our new Health Education Building, which will help us significantly grow the numbers of health professionals serving Kentucky.
Now, legislative leaders will work together to reconcile differences between the House and Senate proposals before ratifying and sending a final budget to the governor for his signature.
We still have weeks to go and much work to do, but all of these proposals reflect a growing Kentucky economy and the recognition among policymakers that investments in this place today are down-payments on a brighter future for Kentucky tomorrow.
Earlier this week, we modified our masking policies to create more spaces on campus where masks are optional. This is the result of ongoing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and consultation with a number of leaders and groups across the campus.
Even with a positive trajectory with respect to the virus, it’s critical as a community that we respect this fact: many people will want to continue wearing masks, even in places where it is optional, just as many will choose not to do so.
Both views should be respected. As always, if conditions warrant, we won’t hesitate to make changes to ensure the health and safety of our community.
The following are highlights of our policy:
Masks are optional:
- In common areas across campus, such as the Gatton Student Center; common areas or hallways of classroom buildings; dining halls; libraries; workout facilities; and residence halls.
- During voluntary events, such as Campus Ruckus, concerts, theatrical performances and at athletics venues.
- For performances. For performing arts classes — music, dance and theatre — masks are optional during performance situations (whether lessons, labs or performances). Masks must be worn, though, in classes when not performing.
Masks are mandatory:
- In classrooms during classes.
- In private offices/suites and conference/meeting rooms where more than one person is gathered.
- In research and classroom laboratories.
- In health care facilities and settings. Current masking policies will remain in place in UK HealthCare settings, per UKHC policies.
- Recognizing the variability of mask policies across the state, Cooperative Extension employees should follow the mask policies consistent with their county government policy. For 4-H programs and youth under 12, the guidelines of local public-school systems will be followed.
- If the positive trajectory of the virus continues, our hope is to expand the mask optional policy throughout the campus — not including health-care facilities and settings — following commencement ceremonies in May.
Vaccines represent our best defense against serious illness and hospitalization from COVID-19. Here are the numbers:
- UK Community: 92.1%
- Students: 89.9%
- Faculty: 97.7%
- Staff: 94.1%
- UK HealthCare: 94.2%
- Campus: 91.3%
You also can sign up for incentives after receiving your booster shot:
Thank you for all you do in support of this remarkable community.