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University of Kentucky to test students for COVID-19 before fall classes

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) –  The University of Kentucky has unveiled plans for testing up to 30,000 students for COVID-19 as part of its plan to restart in-class instruction next month.

From Aug. 3 to Aug. 22, testing for all students, undergraduate, graduate and professional, will be available at no cost at five sites on campus.  It will also be offered through Lexington-based testing and genomics company Wild Health, which has been retained by the university.

The hope is to create a baseline for university officials as plans are implemented for ongoing daily screening, contact tracing and other health measures.  Utilizing a third party for testing also will enable UK HealthCare to maintain its capacity for testing health workers, first responders and the community.

“Our plan for testing and our campus restart is designed to be high-tech and high-touch,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “We will be utilizing the best practices technology has to offer while also increasing our staffing capacity to provide our community with the health connections and resources necessary to continue to provide the education, research and service so crucial to our mission for Kentucky. We want to make it as easy as possible to be safe.”

The sites include the Blue Lot at Kroger Field for drive-through testing, along with walk-up testing at:

–UK-owned houses between State Street and University Street.

–The area between Boyd Hall and the former Blazer Dining facility.

–Greek Park off Rose Lane.

–William T. Young lawn at Hilltop Avenue and Woodland Avenue.

Students who test negative will be notified via email that their results are available and can be accessed by a secure online portal.

Students who test positive will be contacted by phone by a member of the UK Health Corps. team. The team will provide the students with instructions, resources and other necessary support.  They will also be required to quarantine in accordance with CDC and state public health guidelines.  UK Health Corps. will support them with the resources they need to ensure their health.

For on-campus residents, UK has reserved the University Inn and what previously was graduate housing on Rose Lane for quarantining. Students who live off campus should be prepared to quarantine in their private residences or in other accommodations.

The testing details, unveiled Tuesday, are the first in a series of announcements UK will make over the next few weeks regarding steps to protect the health, safety and well-being of the campus community as it prepares for the fall 2020 semester, which begins Aug. 17.