NewsCovering Kentucky


College students excited for return to in-person, cautious as COVID-19 cases surge

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Posted at 9:18 PM, Aug 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 07:26:04-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Thousands of students will be rushing through the University of Kentucky Campus to their first class of the fall semester on Monday.

“I’m excited. Nervous. All the feelings are there,” said freshman Eman Rasul.

“I’m a little nervous but mostly excited because everything is kind of going back to normal,” said junior Tionne Hoover.

A year ago, the campus was much quieter.

UK reduced classroom capacity and offered a number of online courses during Fall 2020 to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Laiba Rasul said most of her freshman year was online.

“I’m excited to have all my classes in person this semester. I think it’s gonna be really interesting. It’ll be nice to be around everybody again,” she said.

But the Rasul sisters said as much as they want to be on UK’s campus, the Delta variant is fueling a surge in COVID-19 cases and it could change things in the blink of an eye.

“I’m trying to be prepared but also enjoy what we have right here right now because we know now not to take anything for granted,” said Eman Rasul.

UK is requiring all students and employees, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask indoors.

“I’m fine with it. Honestly, I’d rather have to wear the mask all the time than have to go back home and do online,” said Gracie Young.

72.5% of returning students, faculty, and staff are fully vaccinated, according to the most recent data released by UK. New students have not yet been included in the data.

Those who remain unvaccinated will need to submit daily COVID-19 health screenings and be tested regularly. Unvaccinated students are also required to take a COVID-19 test and submit the results to UK before Aug. 27.

Nathan Drury said he’s optimistic the university’s precautions will pay off in keeping people healthy.

“I don’t think classes will go back to being online. I think the masks and everything is going to run smoothly,” Drury said.

Junior Tionne Hoover agrees.

“I feel pretty confident about it. I’m pretty sure people are gonna do their part to be safe and healthy,” Hoover said.

There are currently 37 active COVID-19 cases in UK students, according to the university.