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Members of the University Community,

On Friday, we experienced our first confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Kentucky. That patient is currently at UK HealthCare, where they are receiving the best care available. The University and the Commonwealth are fortunate to have our world-class, nationally-ranked academic medical center, which houses substantial expertise on how best to diagnose and treat infectious diseases. We have the resources necessary to be as prepared as possible to manage the virus as it runs its course.

The patient is not a member of our community. But that does not lessen the anxiety we feel about a virus with so many unknowns. This is an uncertain and unsettling time. If you have any questions about the coronavirus and UK’s plans and preparedness for addressing this issue, please reach out to cmp@uky.edu . This email address is closely monitored by the workgroup we have established to monitor the coronavirus and prepare contingency plans for any number of issues we may need to address, given what remains a fluid and dynamic situation.

Here’s the latest we know as well as some important points of information we want faculty, staff and students in our community to be aware of and planning for:

SPRING BREAK TRAVEL:

As spring break quickly approaches, every member of our community must carefully consider any and all travel plans both domestically and internationally.

We strongly encourage and ask anyone who is traveling domestically or internationally during spring break to fill out this travel form, so we can support returning travelers and safeguard the community as much as possible.

In addition, we encourage our community to download UK’s LiveSafe mobile safety app, in which users can connect with safety and wellness resources on campus.

As of today, UK Education Abroad and Exchanges (EA) is moving forward with its spring break programs in areas other than China, Italy, and South Korea.

Any students who no longer feel comfortable participating on their spring breakEducation Abroad programs should immediately notify their program directors and EA. 

We also know many students and employees may have already made personal travel arrangements in the United States and abroad. You need to educate yourself and consider the risks associated with your destination, especially if it is a country where the Department of State or Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) have issued specific guidance related to the coronavirus(COVID-19) outbreak.

Travel to China, Iran, Italy, or South Korea is strongly discouraged and will result in a prolonged period of self-isolation upon return to the U.S. and prior to return to campus.

Members of the UK community who are not U.S. citizens should also review recent United States presidential proclamations to understand how traveling to China or Iran may affect their ability to re-enter the U.S.

If you choose to pursue personal travel, you should be keenly aware of thedynamic and rapidly changing situation in regard to COVID-19:

  • The U.S. government and/or local governments can enact travel restrictions, institute quarantines, and activate additional border screening processes at any time and without advance notice.
  • International governments can do the same, and you will be subject to thelaws and regulations of your destination country’s government should any such events occur.
  • Airlines can announce the suspension of travel routes to or from any country at any time.
  • If you travel to China, Iran, Italy, or South Korea, you will not be allowed to return to UK’s campus until you have completed a 14-day self-isolationperiod.
  • If other countries are added to the CDC list during the break for a heightened travel advisory, returners from those countries will have to complete the same protocol — including a 14-day self-isolation period — before returning to campus.

If you have questions about warning levels or travel plans, contact UK’s Office of International Health, Safety, and Security within the UK International Center at 859-218-4961.

CAMPUS PREPARATIONS:

As I mentioned, our workgroup of senior administrators and health experts is working together every day to manage this evolving challenge. We have created 15 teams of leaders from around the campus to assess how we best ensure thehealth of our people and continue the functions of our University. Our first priority is the wellness of every member of our community. And we are discussing contingency plans for every aspect of campus life, should any changes to normal operations be necessary. We will do what is necessary and we will be as prepared as possible.

We will continue to communicate regularly with you. For more information onCOVID-19 as it relates to UK, please visit this website.

YOUR HEALTH AND SAFETY:

There are simple, straightforward steps we all can take to protect our health andthe health of our community. We share equally in the safety of our campus.

  • 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.

If you have concerns about your health, contact the University Health Service at 859-323-4636.

If you are feeling anxious or have concerns, students should reach out to our Counseling Center at 859-257-8701; and employees should reach out to Work-Life resources at 859-257-8763.

We will get through this with our community’s health and our University’s operations fully protected.

Eli Capilouto

President