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About COVID-19

What is COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”)?

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that was first identified in December 2019, with patients reporting cases of fever and acute respiratory illness. Since that time, other countries, including the U.S., have seen cases of the illness.

How is the virus transmitted?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS and SARS. Many of the early patients in the pneumonia outbreak caused by COVID-19 in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, person-to-person spread is now occurring. 

Person-to-person spread is believed to occur via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible for people to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouths, noses or possibly their eyes; but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity and other features associated with COVID-19, and investigations are ongoing. The latest situation summary updates are available on the CDC’s webpage Coronavirus Disease 2019.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of: 

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. 

What is the treatment for COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. 

As a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help inhibit the spread of respiratory viruses, including: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • ​Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 

Who should seek medical attention?

Patients with fever and/or acute respiratory illness who have traveled in the past 14 days to an area affected by COVID-19, or who have had close contact with someone who is getting tested for, or lab-confirmed with, COVID-19 should seek medical attention.  

You should call ahead before going to the doctor or emergency room to describe your symptoms.

What are the differences between self-isolation and quarantine?

Per the CDC, isolation separates sick people with a quarantinable communicable disease from people who are not sick.

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Read more>>

Should I be concerned for my health because there is a confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) case at UK HealthCare?

All UK HealthCare hospitals and clinics have protocols and systems in place to keep patients, visitors and health care workers safe. You should not avoid seeking care out of concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19). If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, call your health care provider first so they can advise you.

Is it necessary to wear a facemask?

Per the CDC website, facemasks are loose-fitting and provide only barrier protection against droplets, including large respiratory particles. No fit testing or seal check is necessary with facemasks. Most facemasks do not effectively filter small particles from the air and do not prevent leakage around the edge of the mask when the user inhales.

The role of facemasks is for patient source control, to prevent contamination of the surrounding area when a person coughs or sneezes.  Patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should wear facemasks until they are isolated in a hospital or at home. The patient does not need to wear a facemask while isolated.

That being said, this is a personal health decision and is at the discretion of the wearer. UK HealthCare employees need to consult with a supervisor.

University Response and Operations

What is UK doing for the safety and wellness of its community?

The University of Kentucky is continuously communicating updates with campus as a result of this health challenge. View our most recent updates here.

We are fortunate to have a nationally ranked academic medical center on our campus, with a highly regarded Division of Infectious Diseases that is working closely with the university on these issues as well.

We also have a workgroup, comprised of campus administrators and health officials, focused on this issue. They have been meeting at least weekly since January to monitor the issue, formulate responses and determine next steps. View more information on the workgroup here. 

How can I help fight bias and discrimination on UK's campus?

As we work together to keep our campus healthy and safe, we should remember that cultural differences can impact the ways in which members of our community respond to this challenge. For example, some of our community members from different cultures—including some of our international students—choose to wear masks as a sign of respect for the health of others as well as a precaution regarding their own health. We should respect cultural difference, not denigrate it. Someone’s country of origin has nothing to do with his or her level of risk in contracting the virus. Let’s be sensitive to our surroundings and celebrate our differences, remembering that diversity and inclusion are at the heart of who we are as a community.

Please feel free to consider filing a report with UK’s Bias Incident Support Services. Also, ISSS staff are here to help international students and scholars navigate how to respond or cope with incidents of bias. Please call 859-323-2121 or email ISSS@uky.edu.

If you have experienced discrimination or harassment on the basis of a protected class, believe you have not been provided a reasonable accommodation, or have experienced sexual misconduct, please contact UK’s Office for Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity at 859-257-8927 or make a report here.

Will the university remain open?

Yes. However, instruction will move to online or other alternative learning formats, effective March 23 through the end of the spring 2020 semester. We will be communicating with faculty, students and their families about how we can support them as we transition to online instruction for the remainder of this semester.

Who is part of the coronavirus workgroup?

A separate page is available for all information related to the university's coronavirus workgroup and its 19 separate work streams related to issues surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19). View the page here.

What new travel policies have been implemented?

All University-sponsored or endorsed travel internationally is suspended indefinitely. There is an appeals process.

All travelers arriving from China, Europe, Iran, Japan, Russia, and South Korea will be required to self-isolate for 14 days after their arrival in the U.S. before they will be allowed to return to campus. The names and contact information of these travelers will be shared with UK HealthCare, who will follow up with them individually with additional guidance.

Due to the U.S. Department of State's travel advisory and UK's suspension on international travel, UK Education Abroad & Exchanges (EA) is not offering summer 2020 education abroad programs. Students who planned to participate in a summer education abroad program have been contacted by EA with this decision and further updates.

EA is working with its overseas partners and providers to ensure consistency in messaging and support. If a student’s partner provider (e.g., Arcadia, ISA, KIIS, etc.) cancels a program unilaterally, students will need to contact the partner directly to determine refunds; however, all UK-related education abroad fees will be refunded to summer participants because of the international travel suspension.

Students with questions about summer education abroad programs should e-mail educationabroad@uky.edu or call 859-257-4067.

All university-sponsored or endorsed domestic travel is strongly discouraged. On Monday, March 30, Governor Beshear also asked Kentuckians not to travel out of state unless it’s for essential business or activities. Those who travel to another state for nonessential business or activities will be asked to quarantine for 14 days upon return.

Will university facilities be extensively cleaned?

UK's Facilities Management employees regularly keep our community safe and healthy by cleaning campus buildings. However, given the scope of the COVID-19 situation, our Facilities Management staff will conduct an extensive, deep cleaning of all campus facilities. We will continue to enhance our regular protocols over the next several months to ensure our campus is as sanitary and safe as possible.

Although transmission of coronavirus appears to occur much more commonly through person to person contact than through surface contamination, additional cleaning measures have been implemented for the university. Housekeeping/custodial groups will be cleaning high touch surfaces in common areas such as door knobs, light switches, elevator buttons and handrails. Cleaning of high touch surfaces in labs, offices and other similar areas that will not be cleaned by housekeeping can be cleaned by individuals following  CDC Interim Recommendations. CDC references the EPA's approved disinfectants list. 

What is UK Dining doing to ensure the health of our community?

UK Dining has responded to Governor Beshear's recent decision requiring restaurants and bars to close in-person dining areas in the state of Kentucky. All UK Dining units open on campus offer only to-go meals. Champions Kitchen in the Gatton Student Center will be open to offer to-go meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Monday through Friday, the Starbucks in the Kentucky Clinic will also be open, offering to-go options. Please visit the UK Dining website for exact hours:  www.uky.edu/diningservices

UK Dining also has worked diligently to implement the best course of action to prevent the spread of germs within the dining facilities.

  1. Removal of salt and pepper shakers from the tables (available at stations).
  2. Removal of napkin dispensers from the tables (available at stations).
  3. Removal of self-service. 
  4. Addition of hand sanitizing stations to the dining halls.
  5. Addition of a two-step cleaning and sanitizing process, using CDC-approved cleaner that kills the coronavirus (COVID-19).
  6. Addition of staff to increase speed of the cleaning and sanitizing.

For UK Dining locations and hours of operations, visit our campus services page here.

How will transportation services be impacted?

For a full list of transportation updates, please our Campus Services page here.

What about mailing services on campus?

UK's mailing services will be operating on its normal delivery schedule. Departments will be able to send out mail as usual using the mail meter cards. Our vendor (United Mail) is operating on a normal schedule and will be making daily pickups as normal. 

How is the university handling research operations?

We understand that our research mission is not one that is easily amenable to pronounced changes in our mode of operations, but we also understand that we need to work together — using our collective knowledge and creativity — to adjust our approach to research during these difficult and rapidly evolving times.

Right now, research at UK is not suspended, and our research support offices will continue to provide base services. However, we are asking our teams to operate in a manner that reduces activities that require researchers to be on campus and that minimizes the possibility that researchers or study subjects experience exposure to the virus. 

We are encouraging our teams to move as much of their research as possible, and quickly, to remote operations. All research-related information can be found here.

Why are some buildings on campus lit green?

In a symbol of compassion, empathy and renewal, Gov. Andy Beshear has ordered the Governor’s Mansion be lit green in honor of every Kentuckian who has died in relation to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In solidarity with that action, University of Kentucky buildings will also be lit green.

Beginning Tuesday, March 24, lights on 21 of UK’s buildings will burn green from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. each night for four nights in remembrance of the four people who have died from the coronavirus in Kentucky.

Student Information

Are classes canceled?

No. Instruction will move to online or other alternative learning formats, effective March 23 through the end of the spring 2020 semester. We will be communicating with faculty, students and their families about how we can support them as we transition to online instruction for the remainder of this semester.

How does this impact students who live on campus?

Instruction will move to online or other alternative learning formats, effective March 23 through the end of the spring 2020 semester.

We will be communicating with faculty, students and their families about how we can support them as we transition to online instruction for the remainder of this semester.

Students should make plans to return to their residences away from campus to continue their studies remotely through the end of the semester. All information regarding moving out of residence halls can be found here.

We are requiring students to return to their homes unless they receive approval to remain on campus. Any students who believe they should qualify for an exemption for move-out should email ukhousing@uky.edu or call 859-257-1866.

We also are developing a process for refunds for parking, housing and dining. We will develop and implement that process and communicate the details soon.

For 24/7 technical assistance, please contact ITS Customer Services at 859-218-HELP (4357) or visit the Technology Help Center at http://techhelpcenter.uky.edu. For assistance with non-urgent matters, email 218help@uky.edu.

Do these move-out changes apply to residents living in graduate and family housing?

No. Residents living in graduate and family housing in Greg Page, Rose Lane, Roselle, Shawneetown, University Flats – Graduate Wing and LTS apartments are not being asked to move out.

If businesses are closed, how will move-out be affected?

Move-out is proceeding as normal. 

Find a list of housing and move-out FAQs here. 

What if I live off campus?

The university is not affiliated with private housing properties. We encourage students to reach out directly to their respective properties for any further questions.

How will classes with studios, labs, clinicals or practicums be handled?

There are a variety of ways to conduct classes that have lab components. In many cases, faculty can conduct online simulations or video. Faculty have been thinking about these issues for some time and have completed plans for how they will deliver high-quality instruction. Please reach out to your respective professor or instructor for more details.

How does this affect my internship, practicum, externship, service-learning project, and volunteer activities?

For credit-bearing internships, externships, service-learning and EXP-prefix courses: UK encourages students to consider ending on-site experiential education participation until further notice.  The following options are available to students:

  • Students may continue to work with organizations and faculty sponsors via remote work arrangements.
  • If your internship or community-based activities are cancelled by your faculty sponsor or host organization:
    • Students may work with their faculty sponsor/instructor to identify alternative assignments or research projects related to the original placement.
    • Students may be eligible to receive an “Incomplete” for the course and will then have a time extension for completing course requirements.
    • Students may have the option of reducing the number of enrolled credit hours for a specific course, thereby reducing the number of field placement hours required to complete the experience. 
    • Students may also opt to withdraw from the course.  The University Senate Council has extended the withdrawal deadline for the spring 2020 semester to the last day of classes for the spring 2020 semester (currently 11:59 pm on May 1, 2020 EDT).
    • Please communicate with your faculty sponsor and/or academic advisor concerning the above options.
  • Students may opt to continue on-site activities only if performing the activities can be done consistent with the health and safety guidelines applicable to their setting.

For practicums and student teaching:  Please see specific guidance provided by your respective colleges.

  • For non-credit bearing internships: Students may continue to work with organizations via remote work arrangements.  Students may opt to continue on-site activities only if performing the activities can be done consistent with the health and safety guidelines applicable to their setting.

Volunteering: Students may continue to work with organizations via remote work arrangements.  Students may opt to continue on-site activities only if performing the activities can be done consistent with the health and safety guidelines applicable to their setting.

UK understands that there may be increased demand for some community services under the current circumstances, or there may be new responses required for this pandemic (such as doorstep food deliveries for the elderly and for others self-isolating, or food deliveries to school-aged children).  Students should ensure social distancing and explore remote volunteering options with community organizations.

Do I have to return to campus during the online course delivery period?

No. However, all students must be moved out of the residence halls by NOON on Friday, March 27. 

For a complete list of FAQs, click here. 

Will Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Graduate Assistants (GAs) be required to work during this time?

TAs and GAs should communicate with their supervisors. All classes will be taught online or by another alternative delivery method. 

Student workers will be able to continue working at their on-campus jobs if they wish to do so. 

What should I do if I need to make changes to my student record?

Given the dynamic situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19), students who need to make changes to their student record can do so by visiting this page.

Who can I talk to if this situation makes me feel stressed or overwhelmed?

If UK students ever feel overwhelmed or sad, or simply wish to talk to someone confidentially, they may contact the UK Counseling Center (859-257-8701) to speak to the on-duty counselor. UK employees can contact Work + Life Connections Counseling.

Will I be refunded for parking, housing or dining?

The University is currently evaluating a process for refunds for parking, housing and dining. We will develop and implement that process and communicate the details soon.

Human Resources and Employee Information

Is remote work an option?

Yes. One of the most important health practices to protect our community is the use and promotion of social distancing to help minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Temporary remote work is appropriate for many units or positions, but not all. We are strongly encouraging college and division leaders to be flexible with employees, understanding that the work of the institution must still be done, but that we must protect the health, safety and well-being of everyone who works in our special community.

If you are interested in temporary remote work during our COVID-19 response, please follow this process outlined below.

Campus employees

  1. Submit an online request form.
  2. Once submitted, the completed form is emailed to the employee’s supervisor and HR; a copy is also emailed to the employee.
  3. Supervisors should review the information, then submit the request to their dean, associate provost or vice president for consideration and approval.
  4. Once approved, the supervisor should contact the employee with the decision. This is also a good time for the supervisor to clarify their expectations and seek to understand what support the employee may need while working remotely.

UK HealthCare employees

Managers/supervisors may use flexible staffing models or permit remote work if clinical operations can be carried out with minimal interruption to workflow.

Remote work options

  1. Managers/supervisors should identify any employee who could address an emergent or urgent issue by whose physical presence may not be necessary during this emergency.
  2. Employees shall be available via computer and phone throughout their normal working hours.

Flexible work options

  1. Managers/supervisors should work with any staff who may be able to do their work during the evening or nighttime hours (especially if this would allow for child care for school-age children).
  2. Employees shall be available via computer and phone to address any issues that might arise.

Following identification of those employees, the manager/supervisor shall vet their list with their immediate supervisor for final approval.

After approval, the manager/supervisor shall discuss options with affected employees and require the employee to complete the Remote/Flexible Work Form.

In areas where temporary remote work is not possible, leaders will be expected to consider other arrangements, such as staggered schedules or flexible hours. If a department or unit has multiple requests for remote work by employees, supervisors and unit leaders should consider a rotating schedule to accommodate employee needs, while ensuring that the work of a department continues.

What if my child’s school or regular care provider is closed?

This is a reality for many UK employees. We have asked colleges and units to think creatively about remote work and offer maximum flexibility for employees who have child care needs during this challenging period. 

However, as we fulfill our health care, research and academic obligations, we know much of our work cannot be performed remotely. In areas where remote work is not possible, leaders will be expected to consider other arrangements, such as staggered schedules or flexible hours to help with child care needs.

We are working actively to identify additional child care resources for employees whose continued services are required on our campus and in our health care settings. 

We also are working with our network of current UK students who offer occasional caregiving through our Big Blue Family Care program. While it is rare for these students to be available for full-day care, we know any available resource could be helpful right now. Please visit our Big Blue Family Care website to explore options. 

We are working to provide as much support as possible. However, employees should be actively working on back-up child care plans. The Child Care Council of Kentucky has provided this list of available openings for child care.

Considering the uncertainty of ongoing child care services, we strongly encourage employees to also establish care support networks among friends as family where possible. Resources such as Lotsa Helping Hands can be invaluable in coordinating care. 

Finally, if an employee cannot locate alternative care options, our HR Employee Relations team can help employees explore options for leave use. Please call them at (859) 257-8758.  

When do I need to request sick time?

Our top priority is keeping our community safe and healthy. If you are sick, it is best to stay home.

If you feel well enough to work, but need to self-isolate or want to avoid spreading a diagnosed viral illness, working remotely may be an option for you. You should consult with your supervisor.

If you are not well enough to work – whether at your office/work location or remotely – you should request sick leave. 

If you are unable to work due to the care of a sick family member, you should request sick leave.   

 

Can I still travel internationally? Domestically?

All University-sponsored or endorsed international travel is suspended indefinitely. Employees with current reservations for international travel should work to cancel them as soon as possible. There is an appeals process. The U.S. Department of State has issued its highest level advisory, warning U.S. citizens against all international travel. The CDC has issued its highest level advisory, warning of the same.

All travelers arriving in the U.S. from abroad will be required to self-isolate for 14 days after their arrival in the U.S. before they will be allowed to return to campus. The names and contact information of these travelers will be shared with UK HealthCare, who will follow up with them individually with additional guidance.

All University-sponsored or endorsed domestic travel is strongly discouraged. On Monday, March 30, Governor Beshear also asked Kentuckians not to travel out of state unless it’s for essential business or activities. Those who travel to another state for nonessential business or activities will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days upon return.

When can I be reimbursed for a UK business travel airline ticket that I purchased with a personal credit card and then cancelled due to COVID-19?

Under current policies, such a cancelled ticket is not reimbursed until the ticket credit is exchanged for future UK business travel and that trip is completed. However, due to COVID-19, we have implemented a temporary travel policy change to reimburse travelers early for cancelled airline tickets purchased with a personal credit card, which are not being refunded by the airlines.

Departments can process reimbursement for the ticket at the point of cancellation through a PRD with supervisor and business officer approval.

It will be the responsibility of the business officers to ensure the exchange ticket is used for UK business travel, and future reimbursement for the exchange ticket is limited to only additional personal credit card airfare/fee expenses related to the exchange.

When processing the PRD, departments should use the "Registration Fees" category from the PRD Product Catalog and change the GL to the appropriate travel reimbursement GL of either 530019 or 530039. Be certain to include in the notes that the reimbursement is related to a UK business trip cancelled due to COVID-19.

Should reimbursement be for a cancelled ticket that combined business with personal travel, then (as with our current policy) a cost comparison for business-only travel must be attached to the PRD and reimbursement will be the lesser of either the actual paid airfare or the cost comparison airfare.

This information is also on the Travel Services website here.

How can I prepare to work remotely, if needed?

Employees and teams who can effectively work remotely can make sure they are prepared to do so. This may include confirming you can access voicemail, email, Zoom and other systems away from your normal work location. Employees who will need to remotely connect to their desktop workstations or UK-hosted servers will need to request Virtual Private Network (VPN) access prior to working remotely. 

How should managers handle concerns about illness in the workplace?

Managers and supervisors should not pressure anyone who is ill to work. Employees who are well should not be persuaded to stay away from work for reasons such as race, ethnicity, home location, having cared for a sick family member (without any indication of COVID-19) or recent travel to unaffected areas. Our HR Employee Relations team is here to help. Please call them at (859) 257-8758. 

What if the university closes?

The University has an emergency closing policy in place. During unusual or extreme conditions, normal operations of the University (except UK HealthCare) may be temporarily suspended or altered by declaration of the President of the University. 

The policy outlines that when normal operations are suspended or altered, regular staff employees with a full-time equivalent (FTE) of 0.5 or greater who are non-designated during emergencies will be paid for their normally scheduled work hours. 

Who can I see if I’m having anxiety or other concerns?

Therapists with Work+Life Connections employee counseling are available for free, confidential appointments via phone or Zoom.

As a supervisor, what should I do if one of my employees is coughing or displaying other concerning symptoms?

Only a medical professional can diagnose an illness and provide care instructions. However, supervisors can err on the side of caution by advising employees who are displaying symptoms of illness contact their health care provider or Live Health Online telehealth/online services. If an employee is not well enough to work – whether at their office/work location or remotely – he or she should request sick leave if applicable. 

What should I do if an employee shows signs of illness but does not want to go home?

Please call HR Employee Relations at (859) 257-8758 to discuss the situation and evaluate the circumstances on a case-by-case basis. 

Additionally, managers and supervisors should not pressure anyone who is ill to come to work. Employees who are well should not be persuaded to stay away from work for reasons such as race, ethnicity, home location, having cared for a sick family member (without any indication of COVID-19) or recent travel to unaffected areas. 

Can an employee stay home if they have a general concern about being exposed to a viral illness such as COVID-19 or the common flu?

If you feel well enough to work but need to self-isolate or want to avoid spreading a diagnosed viral illness, working remotely may be an option for you. You should consult with your supervisor. 

One of my team members reports they have been exposed to someone who is now in self-isolation. What do I do?

If your employee has been directed to self-isolate by a public health professional or their personal health care provider, the employee should follow that guidance. You should please contact Employee Relations at (859) 257-8758. 

If your employee has not been directed to self-isolate and is concerned about coming to work, the employee may request to use accrued leave or work remotely for up to 14 calendar days. Supervisors may or may not be able to accommodate this request based on business needs. If you need assistance in evaluating these requests, please contact Employee Relations at (859) 257-8758. 

One of my team members reports they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. What do I do?

If your employee has been directed to self-isolate by a public health professional or their personal health care provider, the employee should follow that guidance. Please contact Employee Relations at (859) 257-8758. The supervisor should request documentation from the employee and contact Employee Relations at (859) 257-8758.

Do I have access to telemedicine or online doctors under my UK employee health insurance?

Yes. LiveHealth Online is available to our health insurance plan members through Anthem. This service allows you to connect with a medical professional online. If you are not registered, registration is the first step in the process and only takes a few minutes. In the near future, all UK employees on a UK health insurance plan will automatically be registered. More information is available from UK Human Resources.

Is testing and treatment for COVID-19 covered under my UK employee health insurance?

Yes. Testing and treatment for COVID-19 are covered just like any other illness. In addition, UK is covering any out-of-pocket costs, such as co-pays, for getting tested for COVID-19. This means any employee with a UK health insurance plan is not expected to pay any costs associated with being tested for COVID-19. Any subsequent related costs would be covered according to the provisions of the insurance plan, just like any other medical need.

I am concerned about performing my normal work duties as I am immunocompromised. Who can I talk with about options to address these concerns?

 If you have an immunocompromised system and are seeking accommodations due to concerns about possible exposure to COVID-19, you may contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity. You must fill out the ADA Accommodation Form and your provider will fill out the Medical Inquiry Form. You may also find the forms at https://www.uky.edu/eeo/ada-compliance. Possible accommodations could be working from home, reassignment to an area in which exposure risk is reduced or approved leave under the ADA. If leave is the only reasonable accommodation available, you would utilize any accrued time for the preventive measures.

If you are a UK HealthCare employee, the isolation period will not count as an occurrence under UKHC’s Attendance Policy.

You may view control and prevention guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/controlprevention.html.

You should also talk with your health care provider for advice on any additional recommended precautions.

I am not currently in the United States. What does this mean for my health insurance coverage if I get sick?

If you are on official UK business outside the United States and have registered that travel with the university's international travel registry prior to departure, you have travel medical insurance. If you are prevented from returning to the United States due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19, your international travel insurance remains fully intact for up to 365 days from when it began (in addition to your UK health insurance plan), as long as you continue conducting UK business while abroad. The international travel insurance is provided to you by UK at no cost. Learn more from the UK International Center.

If you are on personal travel outside the United States, coverage levels vary by the type of plan you are enrolled in. Please contact our HR Benefits team at (859) 257-9555, option 3.

How does this affect UK's hiring process?

Beginning immediately, we are pausing hiring throughout the campus. This includes faculty and staff, administrative, full-time and part-time, as well as STEPS positions. It does not apply to student employment.

Read the President's full campus message here. 

International Students, Scholars and Visitors

If I have an emergency and need or want to leave the U.S., what should I do?

Any international student or scholar wishing to travel outside the U.S. should be aware that there could be difficulties associated with returning to the U.S., and that returning may become impossible. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Airlines have cancelled many international flights, and it is likely that they will continue to do so as demand for international travel slows. Students and scholars who stay here in the U.S. may find themselves unable to travel back to their home countries, and those who travel outside the U.S. may find themselves unable to return due to these major disruptions in air traffic patterns

If you have specific questions, you should speak with one of the International Center’s immigration specialists by email at  isss@uky.edu or by calling 859-323-2121  NOTE:  Someone is checking this email during normal business hours (M-F 8-5:00 p.m.), even when staff are working remotely from home. This phone number also provides instructions on how to reach a member of the ISSS staff after business hours.

Are there restrictions for nonimmigrants on entering the U.S.?

Any F-1, J-1 and H1B visa holders traveling outside the U.S. should be aware that there could be difficulties and travel restrictions associated with returning to the U.S. if they have traveled to China, Europe or Iran. 

Aside from legal restrictions associated with entering the U.S., international travel in general is becoming very difficult, as countries continue to implement travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines and close borders with little advance notice. It is entirely possible that non-immigrants may not be able to re-enter the U.S. because there are no flights departing their home country, or because their home country’s airports have closed, even if the U.S. would legally allow them to return.

Please check with ISSS if you are in doubt, because this is an extremely dynamic situation. Questions about these travel bans and restrictions should be directed to UK International Student and Scholar Services at 859-323-2121 or via email at isss@uky.edu.

Does UK require me to self-isolate if I travel outside the U.S.?

Yes. Travelers coming to the U.S. from abroad are required to self-isolate for 14 days before coming to UK’s campus. 

On Monday, March 30, Governor Beshear also asked Kentuckians not to travel out of state unless it’s for essential business or activities. Those who travel to another state for nonessential business or activities will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days upon return.

If you have questions about self-isolating, contact coronavirus@uky.edu.

Can I travel home?

Any international student or scholar wishing to travel outside the US should be aware that there could be difficulties associated with returning to the US, and that returning may become impossible. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Airlines have cancelled many international flights, and it is likely that they will continue to do so as demand for international travel slows. Students and scholars who stay here in the US may find themselves unable to travel back to their home countries, and those who travel outside the US may find themselves unable to return due to these major disruptions in air traffic patterns

If you have specific questions, you should speak with one of the International Center’s immigration specialists by email at isss@uky.edu or calling 859-323-2121  NOTE:  Someone is checking this email during normal business hours (M-F 8-5 p.m.), even when staff are working remotely from home. This phone number also provides instructions on how to reach a member of the ISSS staff after business hours.

My college or department has invited a speaker or short-term visitor to come to campus from another country. Is that okay?

No speaker or short-term visitor from outside the US may come to campus from any country or region under a CDC Warning Level 3 unless they self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in the US and before coming to campus. 

If you have questions about self-isolating, contact coronavirus@uky.edu.

Per the Department of State's most recent guidance (dated March 13, 2020), university sponsors are urged to either cancel their J-1 exchange visitor programs altogether or defer their start dates to a date past the current 60-day suspension period. Therefore, UK's International Student and Scholar Services office recommends the following:

All requests to invite a J-1 exchange visitor should include a start date no earlier than July 15, 2020 until further notice. Updates will be posted as the situation changes. Keep in mind that a July 15 start date will allow for entry into the U.S. up to 30 days before or 30 days after that start date. However, a scholar cannot receive payment from UK until the start date on their DS-2019. 

Per university policy, all other international visitors on campus (e.g. guest speakers, lecturers, etc.) are also included in this requirement.

What specific restrictions are in place for travel by nonimmigrants coming to the U.S. from Europe, China, and Iran?

Executive proclamations have been issued by the US government that have suspended entry to the US for all nonimmigrants traveling from ChinaIran and Europe.

What happens if my country imposes a travel ban or restricts travel to persons traveling from the U.S.?

Due to the changing nature of travel restrictions globally, nonimmigrant students should monitor government news sources in their home country as well as other news sources in the US because some countries may require their citizens to return home, while other countries may impose travel restrictions or require self-isolation. Also, it is important to check local embassy’s website through the U.S. Department of State for any updates about visa issuance in your home country, especially if you have any plans to return to your home country. 

What should I do if I experience discrimination or bias?

Please feel free to consider filing a report with UK’s Bias Incident Support Services.  Also, ISSS staff are here to help international students and scholars navigate how to respond or cope with incidents of bias. Please call 859-323-2121 or email ISSS@uky.edu.

If you have experienced discrimination or harassment on the basis of a protected class, believe you have not been provided a reasonable accommodation or have experienced sexual misconduct, please contact UK’s Office for Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity at 859-257-8927 or make a report here.

Does my health insurance work if I go in for the COVID-19 related treatment?

Yes, the Student Health Plan covers treatment for COVID-19, as it does any other illness.

Is COVID-19 testing free?

COVID-19 testing cost is covered at 100% under the Student Health Plan. All other costs related to the office visit or treatment for COVID-19 will be covered on the SHP, according to plan provisions just like any other medical need.

If I am a J-1 exchange visitor and I am not able to access my lab or office, am I allowed to work remotely in Lexington or in my home country?

In either case, it’s necessary to receive approval from your UK supervisor, maintain your program objectives, and have your supervisor inform Marc Invergo at marc.invergo@uky.edu about this change.  If working remotely in your home country, it will be necessary to receive a letter from your supervisor with details of the work so that ISSS can add the Out of Country option in SEVIS.

Should I wear a mask if I have one?

This is a personal health decision and is at the discretion of each individual. Per the CDC website, facemasks are loose-fitting and provide only barrier protection against droplets, including large respiratory particles. No fit testing or seal check is necessary with facemasks. Most facemasks do not effectively filter small particles from the air and do not prevent leakage around the edge of the mask when the user inhales. The role of facemasks is for patient source control (i.e. to prevent contamination of the surrounding area when a person coughs or sneezes). Patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should wear facemasks until they are isolated in a hospital or at home. The patient does not need to wear a facemask while isolated.

International Travel and Education Abroad

What advice is the U.S. government giving to travelers?

Two of the best sources of information from the US government are the Department of State’s Travel Advisories and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Travel Health Notices.

The Department of State has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory, advising U.S. citizens against all international travel at this time. The CDC has also issued its highest level advisory, advising the same.

Can I still travel internationally?

All University-sponsored or endorsed travel internationally is suspended indefinitely. There is an appeals process. Employees with current tickets to travel internationally should work to cancel them as soon as possible. The US Department of State has issued its highest level advisory, warning U.S. citizens against all international travel.  The CDC has also issued its highest level advisory, warning the same.

All travelers entering the U.S. from abroad will be required to self-isolate for 14 days after their arrival in the U.S. before they will be allowed to return to campus. The names and contact information of these travelers will be shared with UK HealthCare, who will follow up with them individually with additional guidance.

Can I travel domestically?

All University-sponsored or endorsed domestic travel is strongly discouraged. 

On Monday, March 30, Governor Beshear also asked Kentuckians not to travel out of state unless it’s for essential business or activities. Those who travel to another state for nonessential business or activities will be asked to quarantine for 14 days upon return.

I am planning future international travel for UK business. Should I still go?

The COVID-19 outbreak is a dynamic and rapidly changing situation. Currently, international travel for UK business is suspended indefinitely, and the U.S. Department of State has issued guidance warning against all international travel. It is unclear when this guidance will be changed. 

All travelers arriving from abroad will be required to self-isolate for 14 days after their arrival in the U.S. before they will be allowed to return to campus. The names and contact information of these travelers will be shared with UK HealthCare, who will follow up with them individually with additional guidance.

I am planning to travel internationally on vacation or personal travel. Is there anything I need to do?

The U.S. Department of State has issued its highest level advisory, warning U.S. citizens against all international travel at this time. The CDC has also its highest level advisory, warning the same.

The University of Kentucky recommends that you not travel internationally for personal reasons at this time. Members of the UK community who are not US citizens should also review the recent presidential proclamations to understand how traveling to China, Europe or Iran may affect their ability to re-enter the U.S., and any member of the UK community entering the U.S. from abroad will be required to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus.

If you choose to pursue personal travel internationally, you should be keenly aware of the dynamic and rapidly changing situation with the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • The US government and/or local governments can enact travel restrictions, institute quarantines and activate additional border screening processes at any time and without advance notice.
  • Other governments can do the same, and you will be subject to the laws and regulations of your host country’s government if they do.
  • Airlines can announce the suspension of travel routes to or from any country at any time.
  • If you travel internationally, you will not be allowed to return to the University of Kentucky’s campus until you have completed a 14-day self-isolation period.

If you have questions about self-isolating, contact coronavirus@uky.edu.

Is UK Education Abroad suspending its summer programs?

Due to the US Department of State's travel advisory and UK's suspension on international travel, UK Education Abroad and Exchanges (EA) is not offering summer 2020 education abroad programs. Students who planned to participate in a summer education abroad program have been contacted by EA with this decision and further updates.

EA is working with its overseas partners and providers to ensure consistency in messaging and support. If a student’s partner provider (e.g., Arcadia, ISA, KIIS, etc.) cancels a program unilaterally, students will need to contact the partner directly to determine refunds; however, all UK-related education abroad fees will be refunded to summer participants because of the international travel suspension.

Students with questions about summer education abroad programs should email educationabroad@uky.edu or call 859-257-4067.

What happens if a UK traveler is already abroad?

UK will work with the affected travelers to help them return to the United States. Upon return to the U.S., travelers must self-isolate for 14 days before coming back to campus. 

If you have questions about self-isolating, contact coronavirus@uky.edu.

I am planning an international trip, or I am already abroad, and I have questions. Whom should I contact?

The UK International Center supports travelers who are planning international trips or who are already abroad. If you are in the planning stage, you should put plans on hold until the COVID-19 outbreak has stabilized. Questions about trip plans can be directed to Director of International Health, Safety and Security Jason Hope at jasonhope@uky.edu. If you are currently abroad and you are experiencing an emergency, call the UK Police Department at +1 859 257 8573. Their line is always answered, and they will triage your call to the appropriate person on campus.

I just returned from an international trip. Is there anything I need to do?

All travelers arriving from abroad will be required to self-isolate for 14 days after their arrival in the U.S. before they will be allowed to return to campus. The names and contact information of these travelers will be shared with UK HealthCare, who will follow up with them individually with additional guidance.

If you have questions, contact Jason Hope at jasonhope@uky.edu.

If you have questions about self-isolating, contact coronavirus@uky.edu.

Events and Athletics

I'm hosting an event on campus. Should I cancel it?

As both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Governor have advised, in-person events will be canceled or postponed until the end of the semester. Organizations may continue to meet remotely when possible.

Please contact the Office of University Events for assistance in postponing or canceling your event at events@uky.edu.

Has May 2020 Commencement been canceled?

May 2020 Commencement has been postponed.

We are postponing Commencement to ensure the safety of our students and their families, as well as our staff and faculty who participate. There will be a Commencement to celebrate the remarkable achievements of our spring 2020 graduating class; we will schedule it for a time when we are able to do so in a healthy and safe environment. We will communicate as soon as possible about next steps to ensure everyone involved can make travel plans.

This does not change the semester completion date for our students, nor does it affect the timeline for students earning their degrees. We are only postponing the graduation ceremony and public celebration.

Visit this page to stay informed of event cancellations. 

Visit this page to learn more about Commencement.

What university-sponsored events have been canceled?

As both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Governor have advised, in-person events will be canceled or postponed until the end of the semester. Organizations may continue to meet remotely when possible.

Visit this page to stay informed of university-sponsored event cancellations. 

What athletic events have been canceled?

Visit this page to stay informed of athletic event cancellations. 

Technical Support

Are UK laptops available for employees who must work remotely?

University-owned portable computing devices might be available to university employees who must work remotely, but do not currently have a UK-issued laptop. However, these devices would be subject to departmental IT policy and any constraints or limitations of departmental IT assets.

If you are needing to work remotely and require a portable computing device, it is highly recommended that you partner with your departmental IT staff ahead of time to coordinate these needs.

Also note that if you plan on working remotely, some university computing assets are behind the network firewall. VPN access is required to access the university network remotely. Please refer to KB0012723 linked below for instructions on how to request VPN access. Check with your department's IT team to see if you need to request VPN access.

For questions, please contact ITS Customer Services: 859-218-HELP (4357) 218help@uky.edu

Can I use my personal device to work remotely on behalf of the university?

Information Technology Services has no official policy that prohibits employees from using their personal computing devices to work remotely. However, departmental IT policy may restrict the use of personal devices to work remotely because of the nature of an individual's position or the security of the data they handle while working. Please check with your departmental IT staff for any IT security constraints regarding the data, applications and systems utilized in your role that may prevent you from using your own personal computing device when working remotely.

Also note that if you plan on using your personal device remotely, VPN access is required to access the university network remotely. Check with your department's IT team to see if you need to request VPN access.

For questions, please contact ITS Customer Services: 859-218-HELP (4357) 218help@uky.edu

Can I take equipment from my regular university work location to my temporary remote work location?

Allowing any UK-owned equipment to be taken off the campus would need to be determined at the department level. Consult with your supervisor or department business officer for details. Additionally, your department will most likely be required to complete an Off-Campus Equipment Report with Capital Assets Accounting. Go to Off-Campus Equipment Report to access the form.

Also note that if you plan on using a university-owned workstation remotely, VPN access is required to access the university network remotely. Check with your department's IT team to see if you need to request VPN access.

For questions, please contact ITS Customer Services: 859-218-HELP (4357) 218help@uky.edu

Can I remotely access my UK workstation from my personal computer?

You can access your Microsoft Windows workstation remotely from your personal computer utilizing the Microsoft Remote Desktop application. 

Accessing your Windows workstation with the Remote Desktop application requires the use of the campus VPN, and your workstation must be preconfigured by your departmental IT staff to support remote connections.  You will also need to do the following:

  • Consult with your IT staff to locate your workstation's hostname.
  • Verify that you have already requested VPN access.
  • Download the Microsoft Remote Desktop application to my personal computer.
  • Have your department IT staff configure your Windows workstation to allow connections from the Remote Desktop application.

If you use a macOS workstation at the university, consult with your department IT team for more information.

For questions, please contact ITS Customer Services: 859-218-HELP (4357) 218help@uky.edu

Connecting to your work computer from offsite (Windows).

Please follow these steps to connect your work computer from offsite for Windows.

Connecting your work computer from offsite (Mac).

Please follow these steps to connect your work computer from offsite (Mac).

How do I forward my work phone to my personal phone?

Please follow these steps to forward your work phone to your personal phone.

Do I need to request access to VPN prior to working remotely?

Yes, it's highly advised that any user who is anticipating working remotely to request VPN access via the UK Account Manager.  Please click here for instructions on how to complete a request for VPN access.

Information Technology Services strongly recommends the use of the university's virtual private network (VPN) when working remotely to better ensure the protection of university data and computing systems. Contact your department's or college's IT department for assistance with VPN client setup on your device.

For questions, please contact ITS Customer Services: 859-218-HELP (4357) 218help@uky.edu

Do I need to request VPN access if I only use Office 365 applications?

No, if your university -elated work only requires the use of Microsoft Office 365 Applications, such as your Outlook email, OneDrive files and Office applications, these apps can all be accessed via Office365.uky.edu and do not require a VPN connection. Use your linkblue credentials to sign in via the Web.

However, Information Technology Services strongly recommends the use of the university's virtual private network (VPN) when working remotely to better ensure the protection of university data and computing systems. You will need to request VPN access if you need it.

For questions, please contact ITS Customer Services: 859-218-HELP (4357) 218help@uky.edu

Prospective Students

Should I expect a delay in the enrollment or application process?

To the extent any delays do occur; for example, if students are not able to access information they need through their high schools, we will be flexible with what we accept to complete the student’s enrollment process.

Have campus tours been canceled?

In accordance with CDC recommendations, we have made the decision to cancel on campus tours for the next several weeks. When tours resume, we will post that information on our social channels and on our website at https://www.uky.edu/admission/visitor-center.

Are Merit Weekends still proceeding as scheduled?

Merit Weekends are still proceeding as scheduled, but will be held virtually. Visit this page to stay informed of event cancellations.