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‘To see the campus be re-energized is really exciting:’ UK students return to campus

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 11:55 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Monday is the first day of classes at the University of Kentucky, and while it may not be as crowded as normal, thousands of students are still returning to campus.

The people in charge of getting the campus ready for the return of students told us they’ve been working on this since students were sent home in March.

The process started before students arrived, with the university testing tens of thousands of students and staff for COVID-19. The testing is set to finish at the end of this week.

Mary Vosevich, vice president for facilities management, told us that, including the healthcare facilities, they have about 20 million square feet of campus to consider when making plans for safety.

A lot of that was spacing out classrooms. She told us they removed about 10,000 seats across campus.

She gave one example of a 300 seat auditorium, that now has room for 58 people.

We were also allowed to go inside of a ballroom that has been converted into a classroom, with distance between the desks, but there are also cameras in those classrooms so students can take the classes online.

We talked to one student Monday morning who told us while she was taking a full load of classes, only one of them is on campus, the rest of them she can take from her apartment.

Vosevich told us it was good to see students back on campus.

“You know, the first couple of weeks when everybody left I would walk around campus and I wouldn’t see anyone,” Vosevich said. “So, to see the campus be re-energized is really exciting. It kind of tugs at your heartstrings a little bit too to see what is going on.”

A big part of this effort is educating students about the steps I can take to keep other people safe. They’ve printed up more than 35,000 signs to be displayed across the university reminding students and staff of the safety precautions that were in place.

The university does have a residence hall set aside for students who need to quarantine if they test positive.

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