Local colleges taking extra precautions amid omicron

Posted at 6:03 PM, Jan 13, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As COVID cases continue to rise, college campuses are taking extra precautions as students return from winter break.

Whether students are worried about Omicron or not, it's impacting their community daily.

"It's very concerning," said Joseph Palmer, University of Kentucky junior. "I'm on a campus where 80% of us are vaccinated, but it's still happening. So, gotta be mindful of that."

The University of Kentucky is handing out KN95 masks to students at no cost to them.

"We're pushing boosters really hard. We also know from what CDC has told us and from the recommendations they've made, additional masks like the KN95 add another added layer of protection. So, we have already provided and are in the process of distributing masks across our campus," said spokesperson Jay Blanton.

More than 90% of their campus community is vaccinated. However, the university is reporting 363 students and 83 employees currently have the virus.

There's currently no plan to switch to virtual instruction.

"Our goal is to stay and keep our operations as close to normal as possible in what are abnormal times. We realize that but what we're looking at are things like do we have the staff to support our students and our faculty," said Blanton.

With around a thousand students and three hundred employees, Transylvania University decided to mandate a negative test to return to campus and moved classes virtually for the first week back.

"Transylvania is a relatively small school that has a very personalized approach to education. And so, we in early January, came back looked at the number of COVID cases in Kentucky, in Lexington and made the decision that we wanted to make sure that our community as they came back, we're coming back safely," said Megan Moloney, Vice President, Marketing and Communications.

With COVID cases continuing to climb they're expecting to be flexible and make changes as needed.