December 17, 2020

COVID-19: Here’s what students can expect next semester

By Joseph Garcia — 

With COVID-19 showing no signs of slowing down, U of L has already begun looking ahead to the spring semester and has updated its COVID guidelines.

Here’s what students can expect over winter break and next spring:

Winter Break COVID-19 Testing Schedule:

Bluewater Diagnostics Lab, the organization that conducted U of L’s COVID tests in the fall, will continue providing tests to university members on campus over Winter Break.

These tests are for asymptomatic individuals only and begin Dec. 21 through Dec. 23. Another round of testing will occur at the end of the month, from the 28th until the 30th. You can schedule an appointment here.

Individuals already experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact one of the Campus Health locations for a free rapid test.

Spring 2021 COVID-19 Testing Schedule:

Free testing will continue once the semester starts and run throughout the spring during various testing periods.

“The first required testing period will be Jan. 4 through Jan. 15,” U of L’s Coordinating Committee told students in an email outlining the updated COVID guidelines. The committee includes University Provost Beth Boehm, Dean of Students Michael Mardis and Executive Director of Campus Health Services Phillip Bressoud.

During this first round of testing, all students, staff and faculty who plan to return to campus are required to get tested. Prior to the start of the semester, the university is also asking that people returning to campus quarantine for 10 days prior to their return.

There will be three other mandatory testing periods during the semester: Feb. 819, March 819 and Apr1223.

At this time more information regarding the times and locations for testing has not been released.

COVID-19 and Flu Vaccines:

The Coordinating Committee also shared news on the newly developed COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech.

According to U of L’s “COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ,” Kentucky is expected to receive 30,000 doses in its initial shipment from the federal government.

The committee said that once U of L receives the vaccine, it will be distributed in two phases.

Phase One includes vaccinations for U of L Health’s front-line workers and U of L front-line employees such as clinical faculty, residents and fellows. The university said in its FAQ that once more doses become available, “employees who go into our affiliated health care facilities” will receive the vaccine, “followed by our students in clinical programs such as medicine, dentistry and nursing.”

Phase Two will include teachers and childcare workers, essential workers, those with underlying conditions that put them at moderate risk, individuals over 65 years of age, and anyone in congregate housing/dorms.

Once the vaccine becomes available however, U of L said that it will not be required for students, faculty or staff. The university does, “highly encourage” campus individuals to receive the vaccination.

Currently, there is no information on how or where students will be able to receive the vaccine. U of L did say that Campus Health is preparing a voluntary vaccination program plan for the campus. They plan to release more information once the vaccine becomes available to the university.

Graphic by Andrew Campbell // The Louisville Cardinal

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