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UK reviewing COVID-19 steps as students head home for the holidays

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 5:37 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Fall classes at the University of Kentucky are coming to a close after a semester full of challenges and adjustments.

“If you would’ve asked me when we first came back from campus, I thought we would’ve been gone by mid September. Didn’t think we would make it into October,” UK student Brandon Brown said.

After a rocky start with several COVID-19 cases, in-person classes are winding down at UK as scheduled. Students are packing up and won’t return until next semester.

Final exams will be done online, but the calendar is just one of the changes the university has made this year.

“We created a group called the health corps, which is about 50+ administrators. So that’s the group that does contact tracing for us, they help do the testing. They also have wellness connectors so any time a student may have to go to quarantine or isolation, there are people standing by ready to help them,” Vice President for Student Success Kirsten Turner said.

Even though this semester is coming to a close soon, there are still several challenges to prepare for when students return to campus on January 25.

The university will have mandatory tests for students returning to campus in January, but juniors Samantha Valentino and Brandon Brown want more frequent testing required throughout the spring.

“Because one test in August doesn’t mean I never got it while I was on campus and possibly spread it to other people, you know?” Valentino said.

Based on their own experiences, they’re also hoping for more in-depth contact tracing.

“They didn’t ask me anyone that I came in contact with once I reported that I had it. Thankfully we were responsible about it and didn’t go out and we quarantined and stuff like that,” Brown said.

While the semester brought new challenges, the university says it also brought new lessons.

“It will carry that onto the spring semester and maybe even beyond,” Turner said.

Resources and daily health screenings will continue while students are home for the holidays.

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