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University of Kentucky will require students to get tested for COVID-19

Each student who elects to go on campus must take a COVID-19 test.

University Of Kentucky Scenics Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The University of Kentucky’s president, Dr. Eli Capilouto, released a statement Tuesday that outlined the university’s policy in regards to being on campus.

In his statement, he relayed that the school will require any student (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) that plans to attend campus to take a COVID-19 test before they are allowed to.

The tests will cost the students nothing and they will take place between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. from August 3rd-22nd at five different sites on campus. Students who test positive will be required to quarantine in accordance with CDC and state public health guidelines.

Any student that chooses to remain online for the upcoming semester won’t have to take a test.

This is exactly the way to handle it. As we’ve seen with the athletics program, testing is necessary in order to make sure all students on campus are safe and healthy.

Here’s how student testing will work:

  • Between August 3 and August 22, testing for all students— undergraduate, graduate and professional — will be available at five sites on campus and offered through a third-party expert — Lexington-based testing and genomics company, Wild Health — that has been retained by the university.
  • This test will be provided at no cost to students.
  • Student testing will take place between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day. The university can test up to 2,000 students a day, with projected test results delivered in about 24 hours.
  • Information about student testing sites can be found here.
  • Students will receive a text message with a link to a secure website portal where they can schedule their test. Private health information will be maintained.
  • Students should schedule their test before arriving at a testing location.
  • Multiple staff from our testing partner and UK will be on-site each day, at each location, to assist students.
  • Students who test negative will be notified via email that their results are available; those results can be accessed via a link to a secure portal on the web-based application.
  • Students who test positive will be contacted by phone by a member of the UK Health Corps. team. The team will provide the students with instructions, resources and other necessary support.
  • Students who are under the age of 18 will receive a consent form for their parent or guardian to sign before they come to campus.

What is required for students:

  • All students — undergraduate, graduate and professional — who are, or will be, coming to campus are required to be tested for COVID-19.
  • Students who take all their classes online and do not plan to visit campus for any reason are not required to be tested.
  • Students also will have the option to supply the university with test results conducted outside of initial testing on campus. That test must be an approved PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test and conducted within seven days prior to the student’s arrival date on campus.
  • For students living in on-campus housing, their arrival date is defined as their scheduled residence hall move-in date.
  • Students living off campus, who want to complete their test off campus, should do so within seven days of the date they first plan to arrive on campus for any reason (e.g. to buy books, etc.)
  • UK is making arrangements for students who utilize off-campus testing to send or upload those results to University Health Service. We will provide more information directly to students and families about that process.
  • Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine in accordance with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and state public health guidelines. UK Health Corps. will support them with the resources they need to ensure their health and well-being.
  • The university is working on a follow-up student testing protocol for the rest of the semester.

Information for UK faculty and staff returning to on-site work locations:

  • UK faculty and staff returning to an on-site work location are not required to take a test prior to returning to their on-site work location.
  • If you are symptomatic and need to take a test, you will not incur any co-pays or out-of-pocket costs if you are an employee on a UK health insurance plan. However, the cost of a test may not be covered through your insurance plan if you are not symptomatic.

Every UK student, faculty member and staff member — or someone who is about to come on campus — also will be asked to conduct daily screening. We will communicate more about this process — and our efforts to make it as simple and convenient as possible — very soon. Some resources for more information can be found at the following:

  • You can read more about Wild Health here.
  • You can read an FAQ about the student testing process here.
  • You can read more about our plan to reinvent operations on our restart site: