UK President Eli Capilouto announced via email this morning that masks will be required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals on campus this fall. Capilouto said UK will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the semester and update this policy as needed. 

The updated mask policy goes into effect on August 9. 

Masks will be required for all individuals in gathering spaces throughout campus. They will also be required for those who are unvaccinated when they are around others in outdoor spaces. 

If individuals are in a student’s room in their residence hall and all are vaccinated, they are permitted to take their masks off. Similarly, if a vaccinated individual is meeting with another vaccinated individual in an office space, wearing masks is not mandatory. 

This change in policy can be seen on multiple campuses in the past weeks, not just UK’s. Western Kentucky University and Ball State University have recently implemented mandatory mask policies. 

Capilouto cited changes in COVID-19 infection data as one of the factors in changing the mask policy on campus. 

“The consensus was clear that mandatory indoor masking is a prudent and appropriate step, given rising rates of COVID-19 infections, dominated by a more transmissible variant,” he said in the email. 

Capilouto said that more than 70% of UK students, faculty and staff have been vaccinated at this point. 

“To protect our campus, we will begin considering these options for staff and faculty as well -- mandatory vaccines and mandatory testing on a regular basis,” Capilouto said. 

The email stated that unvaccinated individuals will be required to do regular COVID-19 testing and fill out the daily health screener in addition to doing entry testing at the beginning of the semester. 

On July 30, Capilouto sent out an email detailing the plan for the fall semester. In that email, he said that they aim to have over 80% of the campus vaccinated. 

“In particular, we have to ramp up our efforts to vaccinate our students. We are intently focused on our efforts to do so,” Capilouto said in the July 30 email. 

Capilouto detailed in the same email that UK is investing close to $200K in vaccination incentives for students. 

As of now, there is no COVID-19 vaccine requirement for UK students, though UK strongly encourages getting vaccinated. This may change later in the semester. 

The CDC recently announced that the vaccine does not stop individuals from contracting COVID-19 and that vaccinated individuals can still infect others. 

For more information on UK’s updated policies, visit https://www.uky.edu/coronavirus/fall-2021-playbook