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The University of Kentucky announced a $500,000 investment into the campus's mental health resources on Feb. 21, 2020. Photo by Rick Childress

UK will open a 400-bed field hospital in Nutter Field House, announced President Capilouto in an email to the UK community on Friday morning.

More details about the field hospital were announced at a press conference held by UK and UK Healthcare officials.

Dr. Mark Newman, Executive Vice President of Health Affairs, described the field hospital as "turn-key" and said it would have 400 partitioned medical rooms, nursing stations, dedicated break rooms, shower units, daily towel service and food service.

"This kind of planning and preparation speaks to our mission as the state's largest healthcare provider and our responsibility to the critical needs of the state of Kentucky," said Newman.

Newman said the field hospital had been in the works before Governor Beshear's announcement to turn the Louisville fairgrounds into a field hospital. Capilouto's email said that the field hospital in Nutter Field House should be ready for operation in two weeks.

"It's meant to be a lower acuity capablity for us to be able to move patients through our hospital and have them there before they go home or they go to another facility," said Newman, who said a call center would be dedicated to handling that flow.

Currently, there are 8 in-patient COVID-19 cases at UK Hospital, said director of UK Healthcare Kim Blanton.

Blanton said UK Healthcare had performed 2,031 coronavirus tests and had 74 positives since the first case on March 1.

Additionally, she said the hospital had 178 ventilators available for use.

Newman said that because elective procedures have been halted, the hospital has more capacity than it normally would at this time of year.

"We are ready to start to look at that surge, we're ready to prepare for it. We have I think two or three more weeks to be getting ready for it but we're ready for moving into that surge," said Newman.

In addition to healthcare developments, President Capilouto announced several initiatives for students in his email.

First, Capilouto said that officials in the Division of Student and Academic Life would try to call each of UK's 31,000 students.

"It is yet another example of the comprehensive and compassionate steps this community is taking to forge direct connections with our students," wrote Capilouto in his email.

UK spokesperson Jay Blanton spoke on the changes at the Friday press conference.

Beginning April 6, students will be receiving prorated credits for housing and dining plans for the changes in the spring 2020 semester. Those credits will. be applied to student accounts through myUK.

"Each eligible student who receives this credit adjustment and enrolls in the fall 2020 semester also will receive $125 in dining Flex dollars to be used in that semester," said Blanton.

Blanton said the credits would account for 36% of the spring 2020 cost for housing and dining and that each student's credit amount would be determined by their room type and meal plan. The credit will first be applied to any outstanding balance and then can be applied to summer 2020 and fall 2020 tuition, housing and dining.

"If the student does not return for the fall, the student can receive a refund in September," said Blanton. "Graduating students who have incurred these costs for housing and dining - a much smaller number will receive a refund in June."

Blanton said there will be a similar prorated plan for parking passes; credits will first be applied to outstanding parking citations. To be eligible, students must return the parking pass and fill out a request form by May 1, more information available on the Transportation Services website.

Capilouto's email also announced that summer courses would be moving to online and remote learning classes, following the university's move to online learning for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.

"The move is necessary now to provide time for faculty and support staff to make the transition to online learning and to gives students and family appropriate advance notice so that they can make plans as well," said Blanton.

Blanton said that around 350 course sections would be adjusted to this remote learning plan. Differential tuition for summer online courses will be suspended; Capilouto said that each undergraduate course would cost $499 per credit hour for tuition and fees.

This price change will apply to both residents and non-residents, said Blanton, and is still subject to Board of Trustees approval.

At the press conference, Blanton announced that summer "bridge programs" such as orientation and other initiatives to transition students to college would be conducted remotely as well.