LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The University of Kentucky is shifting into its second phase of Coronavirus testing, this time focusing on students involved in Greek life programs.
This second round of testing comes after the University discovered that students involved in Greek life are testing positive at much higher rates than students who aren’t part of the organizations.
“We’ll do this second phase and look throughout at the data, and there’s going to be retesting of other groups as we go through. But this is where the data is taking us right now. And it’s exactly what our restart playbook contemplated,” says UK spokesperson, Jay Blanton.
About 5,500 students are involved in Greek life that will be part of the retesting. UK’s initial testing found these students have about a 3% positive rate, compared to the approximate 1% rate of all students tested.
“I live in the house, so we are all together a lot more than people in the dorms who can stay away from each other. So it makes sense since we are all living in the house together,” says Christian Bugher, who is part of Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity.”
Students tell us their Greek chapters have taken steps to limit exposure, like wearing masks in common areas of the house and not holding their usual events.
“We know that parties are not allowed to happen. The police are getting involved, so if we caught, we get exposed. So we want to be proud supporters of our chapter so we don’t put ourselves in situations to get us and our community sick,” says Zoe Gooch who is part of Theta Kappa Alpha Sorority.
But even with the added steps the University is taking, Gooch believes retesting should be more readily available to any student who wants one.
“I tried to get tested once a week, and we weren’t allowed to get tested again at UK except for this second round, but I do think one way UK can change is by letting all students get tested whenever they feel like they need to get tested,” said Gooch.
Currently, of the 49 students in isolation after testing positive, 30 of them are from two fraternity houses.