UK mandates weekly COVID-19 tests for unvaccinated faculty, staff and students

Emily Girard

All unvaccinated UK faculty, staff and students will be required to take a weekly COVID-19 test, UK President Eli Capilouto announced in an email Thursday. 

As part of UK’s return to normal operations for the fall 2021 semester, unvaccinated students are required to take an entry test between August 19 and August 27 and continue weekly testing. This requirement was expanded to faculty and staff after UK’s START team recommended it in a meeting this week, Capilouto said in the email.

“We are moving quickly to continue bolstering our efforts to keep our community safe and healthy,” Capilouto said. “We are evaluating our policies and plans every day to ensure we are putting our community first in everything that we do.”

Employees should sign up for their tests beginning August 30, and weekly testing will begin September 1. Tests will be offered in the Gatton Student Center, University Health Service and the community site on College Way. The email stated that non-compliance will result in disciplinary action, though details about this action were not specified.

“We are optimistic that our community will comply with this measure because it’s the right thing to do,” Capilouto said. “You care about the health, safety and well-being of your community.”

If an individual is fully vaccinated, they will no longer be required to take weekly tests. The email said that as of Tuesday, 74 percent of UK’s campus is vaccinated. 82 percent of faculty and 70 percent of returning students have received vaccines; new students will be factored into these numbers in early September. Capilouto’s email said that campus leaders “continue to actively consider” other measures such as mandating vaccines.

“Such a move may be necessary, but it is complicated and must be done thoughtfully,” Capilouto said. “It raises further questions around who is exempted and how is the policy enforced equitably among those impacted.”

To schedule a test or self-report test results, visit