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Across Kentucky and the country, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise. As always, we are closely monitoring these numbers.

Numbers of active cases on our campus also have increased over the recent weeks— 309 cases, for example, as of Nov. 12. That number remains significantly below the active cases we had in our campus community earlier in the semester.  Nevertheless, it is an increase, and we do not take that lightly.

Against that backdrop, last week President Capilouto, Vice President for Student Success Kirsten Turner and Student Government Association President Courtney Wheeler each wrote to the campus, encouraging the community to remain vigilant as we close the semester. These recommendations are more important than ever, given what the data show. Accordingly, the university recommends the following, as students and employees make plans for Thanksgiving:

  1. Get a COVID-19 test before traveling. Community members should receive a test as close to departure as possible, while still allowing time to receive results. For this reason, UK recommends 3-4 days. People who have contracted COVID-19 are generally most contagious from 3-4 days after exposure (which is usually a day or two before symptoms, and is also about when they would be positive on a test) to about 4 – 7 days after symptoms start.
  2. Get your flu shot. UK medical experts say that there has never been a more important year to get your flu vaccination. This is required for all UK students and is provided on campus at no cost. For more information, or to schedule a flu shot, visit: go.uky.edu/flushot
  3. Make plans with your loved ones in mind. If community members are planning to see high-risk family members over the break, quarantining for 14 days before departing would be ideal, according to UK medical experts. Everyone, however, should remain very focused on reducing any exposures through distancing and masking before they head home. 
  4. Share your plans with your family. Talk with your loved ones about how you, and they, plan to stay safe and vigilant during the time you are away from campus. 
  5. Think carefully about safety precautions while traveling. Airlines have ramped up safety requirements, but individuals should nevertheless remain very cautious in the terminals and in getting to and from the airport. If you plan to drive with anyone else, remember that the inside of a car can be a very high-risk environment for catching the virus if another passenger is infected.
  6. Continue making good decisions while you are away. Keep practicing the healthy behaviors that have kept the UK community safe throughout the semester. Wear a face covering. Wash your hands. Avoid large gatherings. Stay updated on guidance from local, state and federal public health officials. 

Let’s do everything we can to keep each other—and our loved ones—safe.