Update on Our Campus Re-start Efforts May 8, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has initiated a phased approach to re-opening health-care facilities, businesses and other sectors of the state’s economy. Our hope is that thoughtful efforts to flatten the curve of the coronavirus can take hold and be sustained.
With guidance from both state and federal governments, the University of Kentucky is underway with a comprehensive planning process for how we reinvent normal operations as we work toward the fall semester.
You can read more about that process here: https://www.uky.edu/coronavirus/campus-restart.
The restart planning process that I outlined for the campus last week is moving quickly. Based on productive feedback from members of our Board of Trustees, we are in the process of adding faculty, staff and student leaders to a number of the workstreams we created in March. More voices, and thoughtful feedback, will only make our work stronger. We plan to have these additions to our teams next week.
In the meantime, you can read more information about the planning process and the current composition of our teams at: https://www.uky.edu/coronavirus/campus-restart.
Against a backdrop of so much activity on campus and in the Commonwealth, I want to provide updates about the guidance we are receiving and how these efforts will be coordinated to ensure we honor our most important principle – ensuring the health, safety and well-being of everyone in our community:
First, Governor Beshear’s Healthy at Work guidelines for re-opening workplaces will take effect May 11.
I want to be clear: employees who have been working remotely should continue to do so for the immediate future. The university will provide ample advance notice to our community when we are ready to move back toward in-office operations.
Second, the limited number of individuals who have been reporting to their normal work location will continue to do so. While our academic campus remains on limited operations, employees who are reporting to work will continue to maintain the guidance around appropriate social distancing; limited face-to-face meetings and interactions; and frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer. You can read some additional guidance about best health practices here:https://www.uky.edu/coronavirus/faqs.
Wearing a mask or cloth face covering is also strongly recommended. If an employee is reporting to work and does not have access to a mask or face covering, they should contact their unit supervisor.
The university has been working to source Personal Protective Equipment. You can read guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about face coverings and how to wear them here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick-cloth-face-coverings.html.
Third, UK HealthCare is underway with a phased approach to restarting clinical operations. That process is in accordance with state and federal guidelines and includes:
- Screening every employee, patient and visitor to UK HealthCare facilities for fever and symptoms.
- Enforcing social distancing in all areas.
- Employees, patients and visitors wear masks.
- Maintaining visitor restrictions, with limited exceptions.
- Implementing alternative waiting processes using phone calls or texting.
- Maintaining a 14-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) as UK hospitals and clinics increase activity levels. Ensuring capacity is maintained in event of a surge.
Fourth, Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis and research leaders across campus continue to work on a restart plan for our research enterprise. Details about that plan will be here: https://www.research.uky.edu/resources/covid-19-guidance-researchers.
So much about our world has changed during a time of heightened concern and anxiety. But one thing has not changed – your commitment to this campus and our mission of service to our Commonwealth. Thank you for all you continue to do to honor that mission.