UK unveils restart plan concepts


Haley Blackburn

UPDATE: Though only two days were allotted for feedback on the restart plans, UK has received more than 3,000 responses to the feedback surveys said UK spokesperson Jay Blanton.

“And we plan to offer multiple opportunities over the next several weeks for people to view different iterations of our plans and provide feedback,” Blanton said.

Blanton said the goal of the process was to return to a “reinvented normal campus this fall.”

“At UK, that means providing the robust, residential campus experience that is so valued by our students, families, and the entire community,” Blanton said.

In order to do this, Blanton said the planning teams had to plan for all scenarios that may occur.

“We have to be flexible and be able to pivot in ways that ensure the health, safety and well-being of our students and entire community. That means planning for different potential scenarios if the trajectory of the virus changes,” Blanton said.

The planning process now moves on to the next step where there will be one, comprehensive plan that will once again be presented to the community for feedback in the coming weeks. Restart plans are expected to be finalized in June.

UK has released four possible scenarios for the upcoming fall semester: a “normal” start, a delayed start, a hybrid semester and a fully online semester.

The “normal” start plan would begin with in-person instruction on Aug. 24 and end on Nov. 24, before Thanksgiving break. In order to do this, the plan suggests eliminating fall break and moving finals week to Nov. 16-24, with finals being offered either in-person or online.

The delayed start plan would start with in-person instruction on Sept. 14 and move online instruction starting Nov. 30. This would once again eliminate fall break but allow finals week to remain the same as originally scheduled on Dec. 14-18 with finals administered online.

The hybrid semester plan would begin with online instruction on Aug. 24 and change to in-person instruction on Sept. 14. The in-person instruction would continue until Thanksgiving break on Nov. 24. This plan also included eliminating fall break, but it did not outline a specific time for finals week, saying, “semester could end at Thanksgiving break or afterward, online.” Either way, finals will be administered online.

The fully online plan would start on Aug. 24 and run completely online through the end of finals week on Dec.14 – 18.

Aside from dates, each of the plans laid out specific adjustments to be made to campus and student life, including possible extensions of instruction time to evenings or weekends to accommodate for the shorter semester and redesigning classrooms to meet CDC physical distancing guidelines.

UK spokesperson Jay Blanton said that there is not a frontrunner for which reopening scenario will most likely happen, but that the goal and hope is to get back to campus and in-person instruction.

The plans cover 14 areas that will require adjustment: move-in/K Week, course delivery, student support services, academic facilities, outdoor spaces, events, campus recreation, housing, health and wellness, dining, transportation,  testing and screening, employees and communications.

Each plan also lists benefits and challenges for that scenario. 

In an email, UK president Eli Capilouto invited students and members of the campus community to share feedback on each of the plans. 

Feedback will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, May 15.

The concept plan website lists stages for revision and approval. The next step in finalizing the plans for the fall 2020 semester would be to use the feedback to create a comprehensive final concept plan, tentatively by May 16-17. The final plans are set to be released sometime in June.