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Here’s how UK plans to handle quarantining students for COVID-19

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 4:42 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The plan for the fall semester at the University of Kentucky includes facilities where students who test positive for COVID-19 can be isolated. Today WKYT learned more about how the university will be helping those students through the process.

Since last week, UK has tested thousands of students for COVID-19. So far, they’ve had a few dozen test positive. What that means is different for each person, but all of them are required to isolate.

For those living off-campus, the newly formed Health Corps will help with the process.

Students living on campus will be moved to isolation. Currently, that’s at Ingels Hall.

“Just that language can be scary but in fact, these facilities are, they feel a lot like our normal residential facilities. Our residence halls,” said Lance Poston with UK Health Corps. “But they have staff in them who are specially trained to respond to student needs but to do that safely.”

The Health Corps will connect them with student health and help with any mental health needs. They also set up meal deliveries, so those students don’t have to leave their room.

The group has contact tracers, who may require students close to those who test positive to quarantine, which is similar to isolation, but could be done in their dorm room.

“We use quarantine specifically as the word when a student has been a high exposure contact, not necessarily tested positive but they fit the CDC guidelines for having had high exposure to a positive case,” Poston said.

They also have an academic coordinator, who works with students to make sure they’re still able to take their classes online if they choose to.

Students in isolation or quarantine will check in daily.

The plan is to keep these resources in place throughout the entire academic year.

“COVID-19 can travel across the world in a day, and across a campus in minutes or a couple of hours. We have to be vigilant in monitoring our campus’s health,” Poston said. “The resources they continue to support this process will correlate that. That close watch.”

Poston says right now they have room for about 140 students to isolate, but that number can grow as needed. There are other locations, like the University Inn, that they can open up if they need additional space.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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