By Sabrina Betterly
On Jan. 19, the KU Office of University Relations released a statement that President Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson had recovered from COVID-19 and returned to his work office.
The KU community was told by KU Vice President for University Relations & Athletics Matt Santos on Jan. 7 that Hawkinson had a mild case and was working from home while he recovered.
As Hawkinson recovered from COVID-19, he addresses some concerns students have about the spring plan, stating that off-campus students and employees could choose to voluntarily get tested for COVID-19, but are not required, while in the coming days, students coming back to live on campus are required to be tested before they can move into their dorms.
When asked why that’s the case, Hawkinson said, “Per our lawyers, we have no legal authority to require testing of off-campus students or of our employees. We can only require testing as a condition of living in our residence halls or as a condition (mandated by the NCAA) of participating in athletics. We do hope our off-campus students and employees will volunteer to be tested.”
There are also concerns about testing throughout the semester, not just for students moving in, and Hawkinson stated that there will be free testing available on the designated wellness days and daily for those who show symptoms.
Hawkins stated that even though he got COVID-19, that didn’t affect how the administration planned out the semester, but he said, “It can always be changed to meet new recommendations from the governor, state system, etc.”
He emphasized that the plan guidelines were established through the state government as well as his Emergency Management Team.
As students begin the spring 2021 semester virtually on Jan. 19 and many anticipate moving back to campus in a few short days, it is hopeful that the mandatory testing for on-campus students will help reduce COVID-19 cases present in the dorms in the weeks to come.