Fraternity, sorority students selected for first round of expanded testing


University of Kentucky students get tested for COVID-19 at a drive through testing site on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Lauren Campbell

An email sent from President Capilouto announced that UK has begun “Phase II of our institution’s testing and retesting plan.”

The plan, part of the reopening playbook, will begin with the retesting of all students involved in UK Fraternity and Sorority Life. 

Approximately 5,500 students involved in FSL will be retested for COVID-19 starting this Sunday, and the rest will be retested within “about a week.”

“This is not an act to blame the students who reside in these facilities or who belong to these organizations,” wrote Capilouto. 

After FSL retesting is complete, UK will begin retesting other campus populations that may have a higher risk of exposure.

“We believe a number of factors associated with communal living spaces likely contributed to the high positivity rates in these residences. It is important to move quickly to keep students safe and to mitigate potential spread of the virus.”

Testing will be conducted through a continued partnership with Lexington provider Wild Health, the same company that did UK’s mandatory testing for students returning to campus.

Capilouto listed two “challenging statistics” causing UK to enact Phase II:

– UK’s overall positivity rate is approximately 1%, but students in FSL have a positivity rate of approximately 3%.

– 30 of the 49 students currently in isolation on campus live in two fraternity houses.

“We believe FSL houses have some challenges around communal living space and arrangements that may make it more difficult to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus. We want to examine the numbers even further to determine next steps,” wrote Capilouto.

The underlying factors sued to monitor how UK operates and the health and safety of students has not changed and include:

-Supply of PPE

-The umber of critical care beds in UK HealthCare

-Positivity rates

– Daily screening and ongoing contact tracing capacity

– Isolation and quarantining capacity

– UK’s ability to provide residential experience on our campus

– Guidance from local, state and federal health and public policy officials

Capilouto said that UK will begin to report statistics such as quarantine capacity and the number of students in isolation.

“We remain in a good place on each of those measures, although it is critical that we undertake retesting now, as our restart playbook outlines. As we move forward with this process, we will report these numbers along with our continued plans for how we will keep our campus community healthy and safe,” wrote Capilouto.

After retesting of FSL students, UK test other groups according to “baseline data”, said a media release from UK Public Relations.

UK has also been conducting voluntary testing for employees. 600 employees have been tested and fewer than five received a positive result, said the media release.