As UK Reports Hundreds of COVID-19 Cases, Officials Await More Data Before Making Major Decisions - Higher Education


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As UK Reports Hundreds of COVID-19 Cases, Officials Await More Data Before Making Major Decisions

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The University of Kentucky (UK) has reported hundreds of positive coronavirus cases three weeks into in-person fall classes, but school officials say they are waiting on “further data” before deciding whether to transition to online learning, reports the Courier Journal.

According to the Courier Journal, UK’s COVID-19 reporting dashboard reported 254 positive test results as of Aug. 22, but that number only includes data from the first testing phase. The school still awaits data from the second phase, which includes retesting roughly 5,000 students in fraternities and sororities.

UK Photo by Mark Cornelison

The second phase “will be completed soon and, clearly, will help inform our next steps with respect to further testing and mitigation strategies,” UK spokesman Jay Blanton told the Courier Journal, stressing that the decision to move online would still be based on “more factors than just positive results.”

Those factors include critical care beds, quarantine space, safe housing and dining options and the ability to provide a residential research experience, to which Blanton said, “We remain in a good space in all of those factors.”

Meanwhile, The Lexington Health Department reported 760 positive cases among UK students on Monday.

“We are continuing to see a rise in cases among University of Kentucky students,” the Lexington health department wrote on Facebook . “This includes testing from multiple sources and not just the specialized on-campus testing done by the university.”

In a press briefing Tuesday night, Gov. Andy Beshear partly echoed Blanton, saying the decision to send university students home would still depend on multiple factors.

“The pro to keeping somebody where they are is that they don’t go back to a community and potentially spread it,” he said. “The con is they’re much less likely to go out and do something public and spread it if they’re home with mom and dad, who’s worried about their child that has COVID.”

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