It has been announced that the University of Kentucky has temporarily ceased in-person classes due to concerns over the coronavirus. The ongoing pandemic, which spurred President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency, will change the university's plans for the semester going forward until at least April 6. While students are on spring break beginning Monday, they will not have to return to campus if they do not wish on March 23.
From March 23 to April 3, all classes will be conducted online, giving students two weeks to limit exposure to others in an attempt stop the spread of COVID-19. The university says they expect normal classes to resume on April 6, but presumably, that could always change. The college, which is based in Lexington, Kentucky; is also doing all it can to help students successfully make the transition. This includes students who wish to return to on-campus living quarters despite the pandemic.
"Our students can return to campus residence halls or take their classes from their apartments, home community or any other location. We will accommodate all students, regardless of their choice about living options," the university claims on their "Frequently Asked Questions" site. "Over the next 48 hours, we will communicate information about campus services, including housing and dining, that will remain open. We will be working with faculty, staff and students about the specifics of online and alternative course delivery. There will be challenges for some students with accessing online or alternative platforms. Our Information Technology Services staff will be following up with more information about plans to ensure access.
"Our health workgroup will continue evaluating the trajectory of the virus and engaging in ongoing conversations with our community as we move toward April 6."
The move comes after the Lexington Herald Leader reported that local Catholic school, Christ the King, was shutting down on Monday for cleaning, after the school's principal — Paula Smith — advised parents and students that "a parent in our community has treated a patient who has a confirmed case of COVID-19."
"We will do this in order to make every effort we possibly can to keep our community healthy. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but the safety of our children and staff is paramount," Smith added.
The case of coronavirus in Lexington is one of 14 known cases in the state of Kentucky.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, previously declared a state of emergency, due to the outbreak of the virus, and has consistently been updating citizens with what information is available about the spread, as well as on the status of the state's work to limit it, and how to avoid testing scams.
Additionally, WKYT reports that Baptist Health hospital in Lexington has implemented new visitation restrictions, due to worries over the coronavirus.
According to a press release from the hospital, "Only parents and grandparents will be allowed to visit the NICU," and patients in Intensive Care Units, Telemetry, and Medical/Surgical areas "will be allowed up to two visitors at a time from immediate family."0comments
Hospital staff have also reminded all those visiting that it is important to "wash your hands with soap and water when entering and leaving patient rooms." They add, "Those with fever, runny nose, body aches, or respiratory symptoms should not visit."
Bill Sisson, president of Baptist Health Lexington, further stated, "The well-being and safety of our patients and the community is always our top priority. Our healthcare professionals are highly trained and ready to handle any kind of emergency. We ask that visitors adhere to these temporary restrictions so that we can maintain the safest possible environment for everyone."