September 8, 2020

A timeline of U of L’s COVID-19 response

By Eli Hughes–

The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to changes in many aspects of everyone’s lives.  Universities have been some of the environments most impacted by this change, so the University of Louisville has made numerous adjustments over the past few months to protect students, faculty and staff.

Spring Semester

Governor Andy Beshear confirmed Kentucky’s first case of COVID-19 on March 8. The patient was from Harrison County and received medical treatment in Lexington. By March 10, the confirmed cases had risen to eight and the first case was reported in Louisville.

On March 11, U of L President Neeli Bendapudi announced that spring break would be extended until March 17 and when students returned to classes, they would do so remotely until at least April 5. She also took that time to announce that all international travel by the university would be canceled immediately. On March 18, Bendapudi announced that U of L’s remote learning plan would remain in place until the end of the semester, April 28.

Later that week on March 14, Bendapudi announced that all campus events would be canceled or postponed. She also informed U of L faculty and staff that anyone eligible should switch to working remotely.

Provost Beth Boehm announced on March 20 that the university would give students the choice to switch any of their classes to pass/fail. This decision came after students expressed concerns over adapting to the online environment. Switching to pass/fail means that as long as the student earns a D- in a course that class will count as a pass and will not affect their grade point average. A failing class will still affect their GPA negatively.  Students were able to change the classes at any point before the last day of classes through ULink.

Because the campus never fully closed due to the pandemic, businesses on campus had to adapt to meet the needs of those still on campus while prioritizing health and safety. Restaurants on campus switched to carry-out only on March 16. The campus bookstore closed to the public on March 24 but continued to process online orders in the store.

Summer

Bendapudi announced on March 27 that classes for the summer term would be held online only. Students could take online courses for a reduced tuition rate if those classes were supposed to be offered as in-person classes.

Fall Semester

The fall 2o2o semester began on Aug.17 with new precautions put into place. The university gave students three options to choose when registering for fall classes: in-person, hybrid and online-only. More than 50% of classes are being taught with a hybrid model, which means the classes are partially taught online and partially taught in-person. During in-person classes and any other public spaces on campus, students, faculty and staff are expected to wear face masks and social distance at least 6 ft when possible.

U of L plans to hold in-person classes until Nov. 25, there will then be a five-day break for thanksgiving and when classes resume on Nov. 30, they will be held online. This schedule will not affect fall break which will be held on Oct. 5-6 as originally planned.

Originally, U of L offered optional COVID-19 testing for two weeks and maintained that they would not require mandatory testing due to CDC guidelines, U of L then abruptly switched to mandatory testing. All students and faculty planning to attend in-person classes would be required to be tested for COVID-19 before Sept. 4.

U of L  set up a website dedicated to COVID-19 results from the university’s testing. The webpage was updated once a week, but after students demanded on social media for the university to release more frequent updates, U of L decided to change its stance, now updating the dashboard three times a week..

As of Sept. 4, U of L has a total of 280 positive COVID cases, excluding 92 positive cases in the athletic department, out of almost 18,500 tests.

This story will be updated as more information is released.

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

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