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UK releases plans for fall semester

In-person classes begin August 17th.

Sea of Blue

The game plan is set for the start of the 2020 fall semester at the University of Kentucky, as President Dr. Eli Capilouto has released a “Playbook for Reinvented Operations” that lays out a winning formula to combat ongoing concerns due to COVID-19.

The semester will begin on August 17th with in-person classes taking place for the first time since late March when students were asked to move out of residence halls due to the risks associated with the coronavirus. The remainder of spring classes, and summer session classes, were moved to an online format and Capilouto’s “playbook” includes additional remote learning options as part of a backup plan to combat future outbreaks.

The 187-page “playbook” includes the following highlights and is available on the UK website:

Fall Calendar:

  • Undergraduate students will begin classes on August 17.
  • The academic calendar will not include fall break and will include in-class instruction and campus operations on Labor Day.
  • Final examinations will be administered remotely after Thanksgiving break.

Safety Guidelines:

  • Based on the strong recommendations of health officials, the university will require that all faculty, staff and students self-assess for symptoms daily.
  • Viral testing will be offered for all students when they return to campus. Testing also is encouraged for faculty and staff with underlying conditions, such as chronic lung disease, and for those who are over the age of 65. And, we will be working with at-risk populations to minimize exposure and mitigate risk of contracting the virus.
  • Masks will be required unless individuals are alone in a room, eating, drinking or exercising or when it interferes with required curricular activities.
  • Social distancing practices will be utilized. Specifically, individuals should be at least six feet apart unless required by specific curricular requirements and activities.
  • Physical health protection barriers will be utilized to reduce aerosolization spread, where appropriate (e.g., plexiglass or clear plastic sneeze guards at reception areas, food services and other areas with a high frequency of face-to-face contact).

Residence Halls:

  • Room assignments in residence halls may change to ensure UK meets appropriate CDC and UK’s START team’s guidelines. The university will contact students should any changes occur. Safety measures will emphasize social distancing and promote a clean environment.
  • Housing assignments will align with health and safety protocols in terms of room capacity.
  • Common areas will remain open where possible to allow for student engagement and community building.
  • The university will implement and enforce visitation policies consistent with health and safety protocols.

Food Service:

  • Residential dining (Champions Kitchen and Fresh Food Company): To comply with CDC and state guidelines and to boost guest throughput, both residential facilities will operate with reduced seating with served (rather than self-serve) stations and carry-out services.
  • Retail dining (all other dining locations): To comply with CDC, state and brand guidelines, retail facilities will operate with reduced seating and carry-out services.

“Reopening and returning to the distinctive residential and classroom experience we provide will mean, in some cases, changing old habits and thinking of different ways to accomplish long-standing goals,” said Dr. Capilouto in a message to the campus community. “And, even as we take these steps, we must ensure that in social distancing to protect our health we find ways to draw closer together as a community, united in common purpose toward a greater sense of understanding around shared values. We can do this. I am convinced we will thrive.”

Employees will begin to return to campus in a phased approach in mid-to-late July.

Information on athletic events will be forthcoming as UK athletics is working on an operations plan in coordination with the Southeastern Conference.

For further information, please refer to the following press release.