Potential record number of students head to class at University of Kentucky

Potential record number of students head to class at University of Kentucky
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 11:54 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Class is back in session at the University of Kentucky.

UK spokesperson Jay Blanton says there could be a record number of students filling in classrooms across campus, with more than 32,000 students enrolled for the new academic year.

That number included a record incoming freshman class of more than 6,000 students. That did cause some challenges when it came to housing them.

Blanton says they originally had to convert some multipurpose rooms to accommodate an overflow of students, but he says that issue has since been resolved.

With so many students coming into Lexington from all parts of the state and the country, Blanton says they’re still monitoring any potential concerns with COVID-19. However, for now, their policies have been relaxed in accordance with CDC guidance and masks are optional on campus.

“We have a START [Screening, Testing and Tracing, to Accelerate Restart and Transition] team of health professionals and scientists. We look at what they are seeing out there and then we have an operations team that is constantly looking at what our current policies and procedures are to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep our community healthy and safe,” Blanton said

Fayette County is still in the red. So, Blanton says anyone who would like to wear a mask is encouraged to do so. He says there are still masks and hand sanitizer stations spread across campus for the student body to use.

Students we spoke with say they’re grateful to have these relaxed policies in place.

“I’m just excited to have a more immersive, hands-on learning experience that I haven’t had [for] almost 2 years,” said Alli Wicker, UK student.

The restrictions even kept some from attending school.

“I got out of the army like two years ago and I didn’t want to start college when all the online stuff was going on,” student Sean McFarland said. “I just couldn’t pay attention to it all.”

Blanton says they’re also about 1,000 students that have come from the hard-hit flooding areas of Eastern Kentucky. He says they’re working closely with dozens of those students who needed special accommodations for this school year.