COVID response update ...

August 05, 2021

Faculty, Staff and Students,

Greetings to all of you. I hope this communication finds you well. I realize this is a busy time for us — some of us are gearing up to return to classes while others have been teaching and supporting our students throughout the summer.

But this message is of great importance, and I feel we needed to discuss it, as it pertains to our continued response to COVID-19.

On Wednesday, UK HealthCare announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for health care providers, staff, trainees, learners and those who work in UK HealthCare facilities. Dr. Mark Newman, Executive Vice President of Health Affairs for UK HealthCare, made the announcement during a town hall (which can be seen on YouTube here), where he also stated that employees will be required to initiate a complete COVID-19 vaccination series by Sept. 15. This mandate is not unlike many of our non-UK clinical rotations that many of you are already aware of. For those of you in your clinical years it is important that you continue to upload your vaccination confirmations via

The requirement includes a declination process for religious or medical reasons as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act — just like the process that is currently used for flu vaccination requirements. 

As of this moment, we do not know if the vaccination mandate will extend to faculty, staff and other students who do not engage with UK HealthCare clinical sites, nor do we know if it includes our satellite campuses in Hazard and Morehead. Still, I encourage you to watch the town hall. The information on the rise of infected cases due to the Delta variant is important to be aware of.

Until further directives are provided I am recommending that College personnel consider returning to our early practices by doing the following:

  • Unless we are eating, we need to wear a mask in CTW common spaces and where you are in close contact with others. CTW is considered a UK HealthCare facility. We have an active UKHC Clinic on the first floor and we frequently engage with patients and UK HealthCare personnel. In those cases, we could contract the disease, or infect others. Therefore, please consider to once again start wearing your masks until we receive additional directives.  
  • Maintain social distancing where possible.
  • Practice regular hand hygiene.
  • Re-start your participation in the daily screening questionnaire as required. When doing a clinical rotation in UKHC, you must complete their screening. Presently, fully vaccinated students are exempt from the general UK screening.
  • Do not congregate, especially while eating lunch.
  • Those on Hazard or Morehead campuses should follow all guidelines from those sites.

During the town hall, Dr. Newman re-emphasized the need to continue to work from home, when your job allows it. However, this directive applies to UKHC employees. As a College, we are still waiting for direction from the Provost and President.

As you can see, this situation can change by the day. And I want you to know that we will keep our communications open, to make sure we all have the best possible idea of what we’re facing, and what we need to do to be safe and successful.

Thank you for all that you have done. We have performed admirably as a College. But to keep progressing, we must continue to persevere.

There will certainly be more information that will come out in the ensuring days, weeks and months regarding the need to be vigilant about our health and the transmissibility of the aggressive COVID-19 Delta variant. Please be attentive to these regular announcements.