Weekly Update: Grateful for This Community
The holiday season affords us the opportunity to reflect upon what makes us most grateful. More than ever, I’m grateful for a community so committed to keeping each other safe.
This week, our campus vaccination rate is 89.7%. Among the segments of our community, these rates are:
- Faculty – 97%
- Staff – 93%
- Students – 87%
- Campus – 89%
- UK HealthCare – 93%
Because so many of us have been vaccinated, I would submit that we are among the safest communities in the country.
I hope you engage in well-deserved rest and respite during the Thanksgiving break. We will resume these weekly updates after the holiday. Until then, please note the following important reminders:
The holiday season also affords opportunities to participate in cherished traditions, such as traveling to visit loved ones. If you plan to travel, I encourage you to consider ways to keep yourselves and those around you safe. Consider scheduling a COVID-19 test, and make sure to plan ahead, so you can receive your results in enough time to make responsible travel decisions. You can schedule your test here. Please note the updated testing hours during the week of Thanksgiving.
If you have not yet decided to be vaccinated, I strongly encourage you to request an appointment at ukvaccine.org.
Governor Beshear announced earlier this week that all fully vaccinated adults living or working in Kentucky are eligible for the COVID-19 booster. That is, all individuals 18 and older who are at least six months past their second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or at least two months past their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible to receive a booster. Learn more here.
Go to ukvaccine.org to sign up for an appointment. This sign-up process is the same one we used last academic year for our vaccine clinics.
I also encourage you to get your flu shot before the holiday break. Experts expect that the flu will be particularly harsh this season. As such, and as our health care systems continue to respond to the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to receive your flu shot. You can learn more about locations where flu vaccines are available here.
Vaccines for Children Ages 5-17
Earlier this month, we opened the COVID-19 vaccination clinic for children ages 5-17, located at 245 Fountain Court. This clinic offers a child-friendly environment, supported by child life specialists and operates Monday - Friday, 1-7 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Those interested in vaccinating their children should register at ukvaccine.org and look for the button for ages 5-17.
Biden Administration Requirements
We also are working through new federal requirements with respect to vaccinations. Here is a summary:
First, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced it is requiring those who work at health care facilities that receive payments from CMS to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4. Moreover, the CMS policy is more stringent regarding medical exemptions for vaccinations.
A number of members of our team have been working on this new provision, which includes UK HealthCare employees as well as a number of campus community members who spend the majority of their working hours in one of our health care facilities.
We have begun communicating directly with those impacted by this provision.
Second, the Biden administration has directed that universities, which are federal contractors, must require certain employees to either be vaccinated for COVID-19 or obtain a medical or religious exemption.
We are identifying who falls into this category and, as with the health care provision, reaching out directly to those impacted.
Finally, one other administration vaccination directive – involving large employers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – currently has been stayed by a federal court. We are monitoring those legal developments and will update you as this process continues.
All of the activities related to COVID-19 – in addition to the daily work you all do to honor our mission – only reinforces for me that we are part of a remarkable community. I’m deeply grateful to be a member of it with you.
Eli Capilouto President