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Last week, we celebrated a successful conclusion of in-person courses for the fall semester. We achieved this success by orienting our approach around a simple, but crucial question: did we care?

That means asking ourselves: are we doing everything possible to show our students that their health and well-being are our top priority. We believe that the modern public health infrastructure that we’ve built answers that question in compelling ways.

We know that we must remain vigilant. We must continue to learn. We must continue to lean on our experts. We must continue to let data and science drive everything we do. Guided by all of these principles, we are optimistic about our capacity to manage this virus in the spring.

As a core element of our public health infrastructure, our robust contact tracing and data analysis operations will continue into the spring.

UK Health Corps, a team that has grown to more than 50 members, is at the heart of our efforts. Each contact tracer receives training-- the Johns Hopkins course on contact tracing—and has spent time with UK HealthCare professionals and/or county health department officials.

This team has become smarter and more efficient. They are poised to begin the spring semester, having made improvements as circumstances with the virus evolved throughout the fall. Ultimately, these improvements have allowed for more sophisticated and complex data analysis and review.

They allow us to act quickly and comprehensively to support our community members who may be infected.

The team utilizes a matrixed approach, as each area is connected and interrelated to the other, from contact tracing, case management, communications, technology, wellness connection and academic support. This team will be operating throughout the winter break and spring semester.

They are on the front lines of keeping us safe. They play a key role in answering the question: did we care.