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UK's first day of school amid COVID news developments

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Posted at 3:43 PM, Aug 23, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As the delta variant continues to spread, thousands of college students converge on Lexington for the start of the new school year.

Despite masking and mandatory entry testing for the unvaccinated, the health department says to anticipate an increase in cases here in Lexington, which we also saw at the beginning of last fall.

There are some changes as campus opens back up that will affect you at home. The summertime COVID-19 testing site at Kroger Field Blue Lot is now closed to allow those on campus to park.

"We've got a lot of students that have returned, and faculty, and staff back in earnest. We're really excited," said Jay Blanton, UK spokesperson.

Blanton says the shifting of the site to the Campus Way East Lot means traffic on college way will be impacted.

They have the capacity for 2,000 tests a day, and the site is open not just to students or university employees but the entire community.

"Sure there are more people getting tested. That's understandable with what's happening with the delta variant and the spread of that. So be a little patient. Show up for your time slot, or maybe even a little early, and we'll work through there," said Blanton.

The return of thousands of students comes on the same day as two other big COVID-developments.

The FDA approval for Pfizer's two-dose vaccine and the Fayette County Health Department now administering a third dose for the immuno-compromised.

"It's important for the people of central Kentucky to let these people who are the most vulnerable get these first. It's estimated that less than 3% of the population actually qualifies as an immuno-compromised person. So we really need people who need it, to get it," said Kevin Hall with FCHD.

As for UK, Blanton says more than 70% of returning students, faculty, and staff have gotten at least one vaccine dose. But the initial goal remains 80% of everyone on campus.