The University of Kentucky will now begin updating its COVID-19 data dashboard twice a week, President Eli Capilouto said in his weekly update on Thursday.
As of Sept. 15, 85.4% of students and employees who physically come to UK’s campus are fully vaccinated or are in the process of being fully vaccinated, according to UK’s COVID-19 dashboard. That percentage includes UK HealthCare employees.
When broken down:
82.9% of students are vaccinated
92.8% of faculty are vaccinated
87.9% of staff are vaccinated.
There are 117 active COVID-19 cases at UK, as of Sept. 15.
Here’s what to know about UK’s COVID-19 data.
What does “fully vaccinated or in the process” mean?
Fully vaccinated means that a person has received the final dose of the vaccine, plus 14 days. People who are taking fully online classes, work fully remotely or attend a campus at an off-site location are not included in the vaccination percentages.
In most cases, “in the process” of being vaccinated means the person has received one dose of the vaccine, but has not yet received the second dose, said Todd Brann, executive director of institutional research, analytics and decision support.
A small percentage includes people who have notified the university that they are fully vaccinated, but have not completed the self-report tool or provided complete documentation. Being “in the process” of being vaccinated does not include people who have a vaccine appointment, but have not yet gotten the first dose, Brann said.
Will UK require the COVID-19 vaccine?
At this point, there is no COVID-19 vaccine requirement on campus. UK HealthCare employees are required to get the vaccine. Capilouto has said discussions about a mandate are ongoing, and things could change depending on the COVID-19 situation.
Over 2,300 people signed an open letter calling on the UK administration to implement a vaccine requirement. On Monday, the university senate passed a resolution asking for a vaccine requirement on campus.
Molly Blasing, an associate professor of Russian studies and university senator, said a vaccine mandate is “a tool for the administration to expeditiously bring us to 90-95% vaccinated.”
“UK instructors are back in full-capacity classrooms, with masks, but no social distancing and few opportunities to move to remote instruction,” Blasing said in an email. “We are stepping up to meet the educational needs of our students, but we need UK to step up and protect students and employees who are immunocompromised or living with vulnerable family members or children under 12.”
Speaking to the university senate on Monday, Capilouto said the university will not implement a vaccine mandate at this time.
“(Vaccines) are the best tool we have in our efforts to return to something more normal,” Capilouto said. “And although a mandate has many benefits, I will continue to take in all of the available information. I believe we have the right approach at this time to continue increasing campus vaccination levels.”
UK HealthCare employees had a deadline of being vaccinated by Sept. 15. UK is sorting through vaccination documentation that was submitted this week, and will update the dashboard with more specific information about UK HealthCare employee vaccination rates next week, Blanton said.
UK has reached its initial 80% vaccination goal. What’s next?
As of Sept. 15, over 85% of students, faculty and staff have reported they are either fully vaccinated or are in the process of being fully vaccinated.
The goal is now to “hopefully push toward 90%” being vaccinated, UK spokesperson Jay Blanton said.
For students and employees who get vaccinated and submit their documentation, there are chances to win several prizes, like scholarships, tickets to football and basketball games, and for employees, an extra week of vacation.
How do you notify the university if you have been vaccinated?
If you get vaccinated at a UK-affiliated location, like Kroger Field or on campus, the university will be automatically notified.
If you got vaccinated at another location, UK has a self-report portal online where you can upload your vaccine documentation.
What happens if you’re not vaccinated?
Students and employees who are not vaccinated are required to be tested for COVID-19 once per week.
COVID-19 tests are available on campus for students and employees, and employees are able to get tested while on the clock.
Once someone is fully vaccinated (14 days after receiving the final dose of the vaccine), and submits the documentation, they are no longer required to get tested weekly.
If someone does not participate in weekly testing, there will be consequences for both students and employees. For students, the first time they miss a COVID-19 test, a hold is placed on their account, which prevents them from registering for classes. For employees, the first time they miss a COVID-19 test, a letter is sent to the employee and their supervisor, Capilouto said.