U of L will require COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, Nov 18 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

President Neeli Bendapudi  announced Nov. 18 university employees will be required to be vaccinated or face disciplinary action. This decision comes in light of President Biden’s September executive order requiring federal contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The university is subject to Executive Order 14042 because of multiple federal contracts and agreements U of L depends on for operation.

The university reports more than 91 percent of students, faculty and staff are already fully vaccinated.

Bendapudi said that those faculty, staff and students who have not been vaccinated will be contacted directly and must be fully vaccinated or have approved medical or religious exemption on file by Jan. 18, 2022. Those who receive an exemption must get tested regularly.

“Those who fail to comply with the vaccination mandate or who fail to submit their updated medical or religious exemption will be subject to disciplinary action that may include unpaid leave and separation from the university,” she said.

This federal regulation also requires that U of L maintains mask and social distancing policies in accordance with Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

Members of the U of L community can get more information about being vaccinated on campus here.

 

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal 

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U of L students and faculty following COVID-19 guidelines this semester Tuesday, Nov 16 2021 

By Alexia Juarez — 

As we reach the end of the fall semester, it’s imperative that students on campus still stay informed regarding the University of Louisville’s COVID-19 guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being. 

On Nov. 9, U of L informed the university that Campus Health Services will be providing COVID-19 boosters to faculty, staff and students by appointment. From Nov. 17-19, the university will also provide a vaccine clinic at the Student Activities Center from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.  

The university has also provided a list of health protocols provided on the university’s web page. Some of these include wearing a mask in common areas, disinfecting used surfaces and staying home if a student feels sick to avoid contact with others.

Students residing on campus were required to complete training videos sent out via e-mail and review university actions and individual responsibilities for the fall semester. These procedures are completely understandable, as campus students are potentially exposed at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than those going solely online. 

The university also updated the student code, requiring full compliance with public health policies. These include abiding by the face mask policies or being asked to leave a lecture at the discretion of the instructor. It’s important that students and staff do their part in ensuring their own safety, as well as the safety of others, to avoid a serious wave of cases.  

Students are not the only ones at risk. The university has also provided faculty with the option to conduct their courses online or hybrid. Faculty are given the choice to request modifications to their fall teaching schedules, which are then be considered by their department’s chair or dean.  

Faculty will be the driving force in helping to make the most out of their students’ education in such an unpredictable time. Several professors, like mine, have strongly encouraged students to get their vaccines by sending reminders and announcing incentives for such actions. 

Siobhan Smith-Jones, a communication professor at U of L, sent out an email in September announcing Campus Health’s pop-up vaccination events. 

Smith-Jones said she believes that the administration has done as good of a job as they can and finds that the online instruction has made her teaching schedule more flexible. She also emphasized how the pandemic and instruction change has affected her students.  

“While a base level of stress is natural for college students, my students seemed to be stressed out more since the pandemic,” said Smith-Jones. 

Overall, it’s important we take these last few weeks of the fall semester and finish strong. The emotional and mental toll this pandemic has taken on students and instructors has been a journey to say the least, but as long as we keep our heads high and push through, we can look forward to this holiday season with eager anticipation.  

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L sets dates for pop-up vaccine and booster clinics Tuesday, Nov 9 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville announced on Nov. 9 that they would host another round of pop-up clinics for COVID vaccines/boosters and flu vaccines. The clinics will run from Nov. 10 through Nov. 12 on the Health Sciences Campus and from Nov. 17 to Nov. 19 on the Belknap Campus.

“U of L Campus Health Services will be offering Covid boosters, Covid vaccinations and flu vaccinations this week at the Health Sciences Center and next week on the Belknap Campus to faculty, staff and students,” the email said.  “You can get both your Covid vaccine/booster and your flu vaccine at the same time if desired.”

The HSC clinics will be in the U of L Healthcare Outpatient Center in the Conference Center/Physicians Lounge across from suite 110 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The Belknap clinics will be at the SAC across from the mail/print shop from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Those interested in being vaccinated are encouraged to register beforehand to save time, but walk-ins will be accepted. Campus Health Services attached the following instructions for scheduling an appointment ahead of time:

“1. If you want to receive a flu vaccine and a COVID vaccine you will need to make two appointments.

2. Go to https://louisvilleportal.pointnclick.com

3. Click the “Student, Staff and Faculty” button at the top of the page. 4. Microsoft login screen will open. Sign using your ULINK ID@louisville.edu and associated password

5. “Stay Signed In” screen will appear and click No.

6. Confirm your identity by entering your date of birth and click proceed.

7. You should now be on the main page of the Campus Health Patient Portal.

8. To schedule an appointment, click on View, Check-in or Book an Appointment.”

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine, the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 booster can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Website.

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

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Vaccines could become mandatory on campus Thursday, Oct 21 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

COVID-19 vaccines might soon be mandatory across campus.  The University of Louisville announced on Oct. 21 that they would be evaluating a vaccine requirement for all federal contractors to determine their next steps.  It could mean all students, faculty and staff at U of L must be vaccinated

“The university was recently informed that the federal government’s requirement for all federal contractors and covered contractors to implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate will apply to the university,” the email announcement said. “Because the university has numerous federal contracts that we depend on for our operation, we are seriously evaluating these requirements.”

The email came from Provost Lori Stewart Gonzalez. She said she would inform the campus community once additional information is received. It was also signed by Executive Vice President for Research & Innovation Kevin Gardner, Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students Michael Mardis, Human Resources Vice President Mary Miles, Executive Director of Campus Health Services Phillip Bressoud, and Chief Operating Officer Mark Watkins.

The group continues to encourage vaccinations.

They closed the email by thanking those who are working to keep the campus community safe from COVID-19.

“We thank Campus Health Services, the Contact Tracing Team and the Business Operations COVID Support Team for the work they have dedicated toward the university’s COVID-19 response. And we thank you, Cardinal Family, for getting vaccinated not only for yourself and loved ones but also for your fellow Cardinals and the community at large. The vaccines are safe, effective and our best tool for fighting against the pandemic.”

Those interested in getting vaccinated can go to U of L’s COVID-19 protocols page for more information.

File Graphic//The Louisville Cardinal

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Why Do People Fear Vaccines? Wednesday, Oct 20 2021 

By Jacob Maslow–Branded Content

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccine hesitancy is one of today’s leading health threats. Vaccine hesitancy began when the process of immunization started. This happened at the end 18th century when people were being vaccinated against smallpox. Since some people died after being vaccinated, this led to the outbreak of vaccine hesitancy. Another outbreak of anti-vaccination hysteria occurred when one study published in the Lancet in 2000 revealed a link between the MMR vaccine and a higher risk of autism.

The most recent episode of vaccine hesitancy is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people do not want to get a COVID vaccine as they do not trust it. However, other factors guide vaccine attitudes, and here is a list of some of them.

Efficacy and Safety Concerns

The COVID-19 vaccines are fully approved for commercial use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the FDA originally issued Emergency Use Authorization for vaccines because of a public health emergency based on the results of clinical trials that include thousands of participants. However, since the vaccines were developed and received the Emergency Use Authorization within a shorter period, than expected this has raised efficiency and safety concerns among people.

Preference For Physiological Immunity

There are two ways to achieve herd immunity – through previous infections or vaccination. However, many people have expressed their preference to obtain their COVID immunity via infection rather than getting it via vaccination.

Distrust In Healthcare And the Government

Trust is a key factor in gaining acceptance of a new vaccine. Many people have doubts about COVID spread, lethality, vaccination safety, and prevention. They are also exposed to different conspiracy theories that claim that the government created the new virus or that the virus’s lethality is exaggerated.

Actual Facts About COVID-19 Vaccines

In general, COVID-19 vaccines are effective (95% efficacy) and safe. However, there is also a shallow risk of any side effects. Moreover, the statistics show that even if people get COVID after being vaccinated, they will not have any severe side effects.

How To Convince People To Get The Vaccine

The best way to talk someone into getting the vaccine is to not focus on the existing myths and provide them with the facts. However, do not forget to ask their permission first before sharing information. If they agree, they will probably be more willing to listen to you. Also, always let them know where you get the information you trust. The most reliable sources of information are official websites, such as CDC.gov , cor the local health department website.

You can also ask your vaccine-hesitant friends or relatives open-ended questions to understand better what exactly they are worried about. Try not to sound judgemental to offend them, and always end a conversation on a respectful note. It is essential to let them know that you respect their decisions.

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Maslow//Cosmic Press

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Colin Powell: The loss of an American hero and a bygone era Tuesday, Oct 19 2021 

By Madelin Shelton–

Early Monday morning, Americans woke to the news that Colin Powell, a four-star general and former Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, had passed away from complications of COVID-19.

This loss struck a chord with people across the political spectrum, as Powell was widely respected among Democrats and Republicans alike. This shared bipartisan grief points to a greater truth: America has lost the epitome of a statesman with his passing.

A trailblazer in his field, Powell became the first Black national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State. Prior to these roles, he served in the Army for 35 years, in which he was deployed to South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

While these are noteworthy accomplishments on their own, they become even more astounding when you consider from where Powell rose up to these ranks.

Born to Jamaican immigrants in a Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Powell did not come from an elite background like so many of his predecessors and successors. He was not a graduate of an ivy league college, but rather The City College of New York, in which he joined the college’s ROTC program and thus began his military career.

His story is the quintessential American Dream. But don’t take my word for it. “Mine is the story of a black kid of no early promise from an immigrant family of limited means who was raised in the South Bronx,” Powell said in his 1995 autobiography “My American Journey.” He repeatedly framed his story as one characteristic of American success.

In his various roles of soldier, diplomat and adviser, Powell shaped U.S. national security policy for decades, and he did so with stellar leadership skills that demanded respect.

Powell even came to the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center in 2001 as part of the Center’s Distinguished Speakers Series and delivered remarks famously called “The Louisville Address” by diplomats across the globe. It was the first time the United States government laid out a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Gary Gregg, PhD, the Director of the McConnell Center, remarked on the exceptional leader Powell was.

The key to his influence was being a patriot, a statesman, a lover of his country and someone who would support the American military outside of the partisan divide,” Gregg said. “I think the other thing about him that’s really important is that as a military man, he understood the cost of using the American military. He would generally be the least hawkish in the room in terms of using military force.”

Gregg pointed to Powell’s own experience as a Vietnam veteran that likely contributed to his hesitancy to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way. Powell genuinely understood the cost of the decisions he was helping to make in U.S. national security. In his decision-making, he was consistently level-headed, straightforward and analytical. He was the exact kind of person you would want in the room when making significant decisions about the military and American force, and the United States is better today because of his service.  

In addition to representing the loss of an extraordinary statesman and national hero, Powell’s death reminds us of a bygone era in American politics: an era where increasing political polarization didn’t infect every facet of American life.

Gregg said that instead of looking at this moment in terms of what we’ve lost, we should look at it in terms of what we’ve gained: a moment to reflect on our current politics. “I think we can look at this as a moment and remind ourselves that not long ago in American history, we had a national leader who could command wide respect in the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, that’s very difficult to find today.”

Powell was able to get people to take off their partisan jerseys in ways that many others could not. He strived to stay above the partisan fray and served this country faithfully as an American soldier and public servant. Perhaps we can use this moment to honor an American hero, emulate his dedication to public service and seek to find more common ground with our fellow Americans.  

Photo Courtesy// The New York Times

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U of L returns to in-person commencement ceremonies Sunday, Oct 3 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

U of L will return to indoor, in-person commencement ceremonies for the first time in two years in December.

The university announced that the ceremonies to celebrate U of L’s August and December 2021 graduates will take place Friday, Dec. 17.

The Graduate School Doctoral Hooding and Graduation Ceremony will take place in the SAC Ballroom at 2:00 p.m. and the University-wide Commencement Ceremony will occur at the KFC YUM! Center at 7:00 p.m.

“U of L will follow all CDC, state and city guidelines regarding COVID-19 safety for the ceremony,” the announcement said. The university also mentioned potential changes to the planned events due to the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic. The U of L community can stay up to date on commencement safety protocols here.

All faculty are invited to attend, with participation in commencement being optional.

For faculty who plan to attend, they are required to fill out the faculty RSVP form by Oct. 31.

The university also asked faculty members who don’t own regalia to request for U of L to rent it for them by completing the rental order form as soon as possible. Regalia must be ordered by Oct. 31 at 11:59 p.m. More information on regalia pickup will be announced mid-November.

Further information on safety protocols, parking, and entry instructions will also be provided by mid-November.

Any questions can be directed to commence@louisville.edu.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal 

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U of L sees a fall in undergraduate enrollment, but a rise in graduate enrollement Tuesday, Sep 28 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The number of first-time undergraduate students enrolling at U of L fell 6 percent this semester compared to last year. However, graduate student enrollment rose by 2 percent up to about 6,450.

Jim Begany, U of L Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success suggests that these differences are likely due to recent development in graduate business and education programs.

“The College of Business started an online MBA program and an on-campus master’s in business analytics. Undergraduate enrollment is slightly down to fairly flat as we see impacts from COVID-19 and shifts in demographics,” Begany said. “We have done better than most but certainly are impacted by the current environment when recruiting and retaining students.”

Despite declining enrollment, the U of L undergraduate class of 2025 is still diverse according to the enrollment report. 20.24 percent identify as African American or multiracial and 7.06 percent are Hispanic/Latino.

The students also come from all over the country as 23.72 percent are from states other than Kentucky. 38 states are represented across the freshman class.

The class of 2025 has an average ACT score of 25.64 and an average high school GPA of 3.63. Many students decided to prepare for college by taking some classes before their freshman year, so 47.6 percent have some college credit entering U of L.

33.05 percent of this freshman class are first-generation college students. 64.05 percent live on campus and 246 freshmen are part-time students.

File Graphic//The Louisville Cardinal

 

 

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Ky. Has Fourth-Highest Rate of Kids Hospitalized With COVID-19 Friday, Sep 24 2021 

Kentucky has the fourth-highest rate in the nation of children hospitalized with COVID-19 for the month of September, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

So far this month, the state has recorded over 26,000 cases in kids 18 and under and an average of 59 children hospitalized each day, making it the most dangerous month for children since the pandemic began. Only Ohio, Montana and Alabama had higher hospitalization rates so far this month. 

The federal data include confirmed and suspected cases, as well as newborns and patients in observation beds. These daily totals are consistently higher than those reported by the state.

The COVID-19 surge coincided with a return to school in August. While Kentucky lawmakers repealed the mask mandate issued for public schools earlier this month, most school districts have kept their mandates in place.

“This surge is affecting children in larger numbers than we have ever seen in this whole pandemic,” said Dr. Lindsay Ragsdale, director of UK HealthCare’s pediatric advanced care team. “We have seen more kids come to Kentucky Children’s Hospital with COVID positive tests and with symptoms. They do seem to have more symptoms this go round, because the Delta variant is more contagious.”

The previous peak among children was back in January, with close to 13,000 cases that month. But like other age groups, pediatric cases began to rise dramatically as the delta variant became the state’s dominant strain. By August, cases had doubled to nearly 25,000 — which is more cases than the previous six months combined. 

Since the pandemic began, four Kentucky children have died from COVID-19 — two of which have occurred in just the last two weeks, according to state data.

Hospital admissions for children have increased by nearly 200% since July. Pediatricians from the state’s children’s hospitals say that while their ICUs have been fuller than ever before during the pandemic, they are working to accommodate as many children as they can and haven’t had to turn anyone away yet.

“[Wednesday] morning, we had 21 kids at Norton Children’s Hospital hospitalized with a positive COVID-19 test. That’s a lot,” said Dr. Kris Bryant, pediatric infectious diseases physician with Norton Children’s and the University of Louisville. “About a quarter of them are in the ICU. If you go back to June, we had many days when we had no children in the hospital with COVID-19. So it’s quite a change. But I really think that’s because the number of cases in the community has increased.”

As the current surge continues, there is also concern that pediatric care units could get too full, making it difficult for children to be seen for non-covid illnesses. As local physicians brace for the upcoming flu season, they are also seeing an unusually early spike in respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. This cold-like illness is common, and most kids recover in a week or two, but RSV can also lead to much more severe illnesses such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia.

Bryant said that with the rise in transmission, she is also seeing more cases of Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. According to the CDC, there have been over 4,600 patients in the U.S. diagnosed with MIS-C, a potentially life-threatening inflammation of internal organs that follows COVID-19 infection, and the majority have been Black or Hispanic children. There had been fewer than 100 cases reported in Kentucky as of August 27.

In addition to the more transmissible delta variant, local experts say the rise in COVID-19 among kids could also be attributed to increased activity and interaction, whether through school, family gatherings or community events. But the key, they say, is vaccinations.

“I think the most important thing for people to know is that COVID-19 is a vaccine-preventable disease in kids 12 and older. We have a safe and effective and available vaccine to prevent COVID-19,” Bryant said. 

About 47% of Kentucky’s 12 to 17 year-olds have received their first dose, according to the state’s COVID data, which doesn’t say how many have been fully vaccinated. Pfizer announced earlier this week that its COVID-19 vaccine has proven effective in 5 to 11 year-olds and is now just waiting for FDA approval before it can be distributed widely. Health care officials say the vaccine could be available for Kentucky’s younger children as soon as Halloween.

Contact Jasmine Demers at jdemers@kycir.org.

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Ekstrom library updates hours Thursday, Sep 23 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

Ekstrom library has recently extended its hours.

The East Wing of the library will be open Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Friday 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

The West Wing of the library will be open 24 hours Monday through Thursday. It also will close on Fridays at 5:00 p.m. Saturday hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and it will open on Sunday at 12:00 p.m.

The updated hours have changed from the previous schedule, in which hours were cut back in response to COVID-19.

“I’m really glad the library has decided to extend its hours again,” said Paige Workman, a senior student at U of L. “I think we all saw last year how difficult it can be to work from home, especially students because most of us have small living spaces.”

“It’s an amenity we were promised and so it’s nice to have the library back to being open most of the time,” she said.

File Photo//The Louisville Cardinal

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