University of Kentucky plans to reopen campus for fall semester

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky plans to reopen its Lexington campus for the fall semester.

In a letter published Friday from UK President Eli Capilouto, the university president outlines UK’s plan to “reinvent or re-imagine what is normal in the wake of this public health crisis.” Capilouto says the university must act quickly over the next six weeks to put the process into motion to reopen campus.

As part of the plan, the university will use three planning teams to address questions about how to execute the reopening. An additional team will be used to develop strategies for screening, testing, tracing and treating individuals on-campus, with the possibility those resources could be used for the general public, the letter says.

UK Athletics is also working on an operations plan in coordination with the Southeastern Conference, the letter says.

According to the letter, the university is working to address such questions as how to return to in-classroom instruction, complimented by and enhanced by digital instruction. A plan for a scenario that would see the semester being delayed is also in the works, as are plans for if the situation at the time makes a fully online approach necessary.

See the text below for Capilouto full letter.


May 1, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

It’s a question that confronts us every day: How do we return to the
vibrant and safe campus we are committed to when so much around us still
seems so uncertain and there is still so much we don’t know?

You start with a goal.

You create a thoughtful, flexible plan to achieve it.

Our goal: 

We plan to open in August for our Fall semester. 

The distinctive residential educational experience we provide at UK
has attracted thousands of students from across Kentucky, the country
and the globe. That experience is critical for the future. This
differentiated education will be more necessary than ever to help us and
our students meet the ongoing and daunting new challenges our world
must now confront.

Our plan: 

To reach our goal, we must act quickly over the next month-and-half
to reinvent or reimagine what is normal in the wake of this public
health crisis. To that end, we want to share with you the process we
will undertake and the guiding principles to be followed: 

  • Three broad-based planning teams will work quickly
    to think about the most important questions that must be addressed to
    re-start campus.
  • At the same time, an additional team is being created to develop
    strategies for screening, testing, tracing and treating on our campus to
    help ensure health and safety as part of our reinvented normal
    operations. Such strategies may also, potentially, assist the broader
    community and state we serve. 
  • The best ideas from that process will be handed off to our existing
    COVID-19 workstreams – 19 teams that have, for months, been addressing
    implementation issues related to the coronavirus.
  • That collective work will form the basis of a campus operational plan that will be prepared and communicated by mid-June.

As always, we start with guiding principles:

  • ​​We will plan for a reinvented sense of normal operations on the first day of classes.
  • We will, in everything that we do, work to ensure the health, safety and well-being of everyone in our community.
  • We will incorporate other mission-critical areas into our overall
    plan. Health care, research and facilities management are working
    through detailed re-start plans. Athletics also is working on an
    operations plan in coordination with the Southeastern Conference.
  • We will think through issues that may alter our plans, create planning scenarios and communicate clearly at each step.

Here are the details of this process:

  • Three teams led by Associate Dean Anna Bosch
    (College of Arts and Sciences), Assistant Provost Katie Cardarelli
    (Office of Faculty Advancement), and Associate Provost Sue Roberts (UK
    International Center) and comprised of students, faculty and staff from
    across the campus will think through issues and make initial reports by
    We’ve asked these three groups to work independently
    from each other to encourage creative thinking and distinct ideas. The
    teams already have begun meeting and brainstorming.

There are four major sets of questions the planning teams will address:

  1. How do we return to in-class instruction that now must be complemented by – and enhanced with –digital
    instruction for faculty and students living on or off campus? And, how
    do we do that within a reinvented normal, fully prepared to prevent,
    detect, manage, treat and contain COVID-19? How do we make possible
    learning, healing and service for our entire community, including those
    who are at risk for serious illness?
  2. What if we have to delay the start of the semester? What does that look like, and how do we shift those dates?
  3. What would a hybrid approach look like, in which we are online for
    part of the semester and in class for another part, if there is a
    re-emergence of the virus.
  4. What if events make a fully online approach to instruction
    necessary again? How would that transition take place, and what do we do
    with a campus that is about to begin operations or is already open?
  • College of Medicine Dean Robert DiPaola
    is creating a team – Screening, Testing and Tracing to Accelerate
    Restart and Transition (START) – that is exploring a process for
    increased screening, testing and tracing across our campus community. 
    team will work on strategies for screening and testing that will
    complement each of the contingencies for which we are preparing in our
    plans to re-start the campus. We also recognize the potential to scale
    these strategies, down the line, for the broader community and industry
    in our state.
  • Existing Emergency Operation Workstreams will take ideas and convert them into operating realities:
  • Our senior leadership team will take the best ideas and provide them to the 19 workstreams already in place across campus.
  • Final operational plans from those workstreams will be completed by the end of May.  The
    workstreams – which cover issues such as academic course delivery,
    student success, dining, housing, facilities and faculty affairs, among
    others – have been continuously working for more than two months in
    response to COVID-19 issues. 
  • We will have a final campus plan in place in mid-June,
    keeping in mind that we will continue to be flexible as health
    conditions, as well as state and federal guidance related to the virus,

All of this information can be found at Importantly, we encourage you to provide input. Email us at with feedback.

In an uncertain world, we must think about new challenges that we’ve
never before confronted. And, we do so as the world seems to shift daily
under our feet. You’ve handled every stress and strain with the grace
and grit that defines this place. 

You make us the University of, for and with Kentucky.

Thank you.

Eli Capilouto

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Source: Mountain Top