Page 26 - Campus Technology, October/November 2020
P. 26

FEATURE > Emergency Response
Campus Technology: You’re just a week into the start of your fall semester. To provide some context, can you give a brief overview of the University of Ken- tucky’s reopening plan and what your fall semester is looking like?
Eric Monday: I’m excited that we have 93 days more on our journey to Nov. 25 [the planned last day of in- person classes]. When you think about our reopening plan at the University of Kentucky, it was focused on a couple very high and key principles. One is making it easy to be safe for our students, our faculty and staff. And by our words and actions, to show that UK cares. It’s a multi-step, big table, over 500 faculty, staff and students involved in a multi-month process that dated back to March of earlier this year, of how we focused on looking at how can we achieve those principles.
So, a big table, a lot of people involved: We acti- vated the Emergency Operations Center, we stood up 19 different work streams focused on looking at a wide range of options, including opening in a residen- tial, nearer to a reinvented normal experience, all the way to fully online, and two other strategies in between. So we followed the process, followed the data. We brought in other groups like our healthcare colleges, and led by our dean of the College of Medi- cine, Bob DiPaola, who started something called the Start Group Force that integrated into the Emergency Operations Center, provided guidance and support ultimately to the president, to make the decision that we believed we could achieve those principles. And that we were going to be able to open in a reinvented normal based on a residential experience, and with various safety strategies and protocols — the best
position for us to move through the fall semester.
CT: In the news, we’ve been seeing large universities like University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill switching to remote learning after just one week of in-person classes. How does that impact your pan- demic response planning?
Monday: We’re looking on a daily basis at various indicators, and we made a decision, based on advice and counsel from that start team, to have a baseline [COVID-19] test of all student members of our com- munity. We’re nearly complete with that first testing regimen for our students. We’re seeing a positivity rate of about 1 or 1.1 percent. Additionally, about a week, week-and-a-half in, we heard from a number of our faculty and staff who said, “We would like to get tested as well.” So we made an adjustment — and that’s what you have to do in incident response and incident planning — we made an adjustment and we’ve tested nearly a thousand of our faculty and staff. The positivity rate for our faculty and staff is even lower than our students: out of nearly a thou- sand, about three positive tests.
So we’re aware of those other institutions, but every institution is different, every state environment is different, every locality is different. We’re looking at Kentucky statistics, we’re looking at more local statis- tics to Lexington, KY, where we are, we’re looking at our healthcare engines on the campus and our multi- ple hospitals to understand where we are on capacity and PPE, we’re looking at our positivity rate, we’re looking at our contact tracing strategy, we’re looking at all of those things as we work to achieve those principles I shared earlier.
CT: Could you share what specific factors would lead you to close the campus?
Monday: There’s a number of indicators we look at. We do not use the word “triggers” — we do not have a defined “if x means y.” So we’re looking at positivity rate in and around ourselves, we’re looking at posi- tivity right on the campus, we’re looking at number of beds and bed capacity in our healthcare engine, we’re looking at PPE, we’re looking at our ability to isolate within our isolation facilities and nearly 200 beds that we have set aside for isolation on the cam- pus. We’re looking at our contact tracing component
UK has upgraded classroom technology across campus to support hybrid learning.
Photo: Pete Comparoni | UK Photo

   24   25   26   27   28