Update: Aug. 19, 2021 — The links to Fall 2021 Guidebook reflects changes made Aug. 19, 2021.
Update: Aug. 16, 2021 — The university is providing an extra day for the UK community to provide feedback. Please submit feedback by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2021) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto has announced the Fall 2021 planning guide, which provides an overview of policies, recommendations, guidelines and expectations for members of the UK community.
The president will continue providing regular updates about UK’s response to COVID-19 with the campus community on a weekly basis. You can read the president's message from Friday, Aug. 13 below.
Dear Campus Community,
As we move closer to the start of another academic year, I am committed to increasing the level of communication throughout our campus about important issues that impact our community.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve already been providing regular updates about our response to COVID-19. I plan to continue those on a weekly basis — each Friday — to ensure the latest information is available to our campus community.
Some important updates:
- Below, you can view a draft of our Fall Planning Guidebook that will continually provide updates about processes and procedures with respect to our COVID-19 response. This draft was put together by a workgroup comprised of elected faculty, staff and students, along with administrators.
- There is also a feedback form below where you can provide input and ask questions about the guidebook. We ask you to provide any feedback by the end of the day Tuesday. We will review that feedback on Wednesday and finalize the Fall Planning Guidebook on Thursday for distribution to the campus. It will be updated throughout the semester as necessary.
- Our data dashboard for fall 2021, which will be updated weekly, will provide our latest numbers regarding the percentage of current students, faculty and staff on campus who have been vaccinated or are in the process of being vaccinated. It will also include our latest numbers for COVID-19 incidence levels and isolation space on our campus. The dashboard is being finalized for this week and will be updated by the end of the day today.
- The percentage of current students, faculty and staff on campus who have been vaccinated or are in the process of being vaccinated as of this morning stands at 71.4 percent. This is up from 68.9 percent at the end of July when we started reporting community numbers (returning students, faculty and staff). We are making real progress toward our goal of meeting and exceeding 80 percent.
More details about our efforts:
Fall Planning Guidebook (Updated 8/19/2021)
The fall planning committee has worked for weeks to examine and modify, when necessary, many of our processes and procedures with respect to COVID-19.
The virus is nimble. We need to be as well.
For example, on Monday, a university-wide mask requirement for indoor spaces went into effect. While the requirement applies broadly on campus, there are a number of details and nuances to any policy like this that have to be thought about and hammered out. That’s what we’ve done in this planning guide.
Feedback from the campus and the fall planning group has been instrumental in helping us think about the specifics of the masking policy. For example, initially, our thought was that if you are in an office with one other person — or a small group — and everyone is vaccinated, masks shouldn’t be required.
But from the discussions and input we’ve received, that nuance can be confusing when you start to think about people who work in cubicles or other spaces or when you consider such questions as what constitutes a small group?
As a result, in the fall planning guide, we’ve tried to simplify and create greater consistency by deciding that masks should be worn indoor in all offices, regardless of the setting, unless a vaccinated individual is alone.
At the same time, a residence hall room should be treated as a private living space, so we ask students to use their discretion about deciding whether masks should be worn in that space, even as they are required in hallways and common areas such as lobbies.
It’s that kind of detail that you can only successfully navigate when you have partners who are willing to work together in the best interests of the entire community.
That’s what we had with our fall planning committee, which will continue to provide me with feedback throughout the semester on our efforts. I want to thank the elected faculty, students and staff who took time out of their schedules to think deeply — and discuss extensively — how we can be ready for a successful academic year. Their work was outstanding and I’m deeply appreciative of their commitment to our community and our shared values. You can view a list of committee members here.
We must — and I know we will — focus intently on two important things throughout this semester:
- Keeping our community healthy and safe.
- Doing everything we can to ensure a vibrant experience for our campus, particularly our students.
That will require partnership and commitment to putting our people, all of our people, first. I’m pleased with how we are starting on that path for this semester.
Finally, a little more detail about vaccinations:
- Our current vaccination percentage on our dashboard reflects that of returning students, faculty and staff who have been fully vaccinated or are in the process of being vaccinated.
- Over the next several weeks — in early September — we will incorporate new students (first-year, first-time students; graduate students and transfers new to our community) into those numbers. Right now, we are asking them to either be vaccinated or, if they are willing, to submit to us their vaccine documentation. This will allow us to have a more accurate picture of the number of individuals on our campus who have been vaccinated or are in the process of being vaccinated.
- We have more work to do, but in the last few weeks nearly 5,000 students have uploaded their vaccination documentation via our self report tool, which has helped us move toward our goal. If you were vaccinated at a non-UK HealthCare provider, please upload your vaccination record as well, if you haven’t already.
Vaccinations are our best defense — now and in the future — against this foe. COVID-19 will be a presence in our lives for years to come. However, I hope it will soon transition from a virus that has managed and controlled so much of our lives to one we manage and control.
Vaccines are the primary tool for how we will do it.
As a community, we should lead in that effort. We should be the example for how partnership and commitment can save lives, maintain health and ensure that we meet our mission of service in educating our students and in advancing Kentucky.
Once again, I know we will meet the moment.