Aug. 29, 2020

Dear UAF community,

We just completed the first week of the semester, and I want to commend those of you doing your part to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses. Our faculty, staff and students are working very hard to make this a successful academic year.

Overall as I have walked across campus, I have seen everyone indoors with face coverings on, and most of the time outdoors as well. However, this past week, we did have some reports of failure to follow university requirements for strict physical distancing and wearing of face coverings. We were also informed of a recent off-campus event involving UAF students. Several individuals who attended this event have since tested positive for COVID-19. As a result of this, a number of our students are in quarantine; two of them, because they tested COVID-19 positive, are in isolation. Affected students include members of the men’s hockey team, which because of close contact between team members, has also been quarantined as a precaution.

I want to reiterate that face coverings are required on all of our campuses and in all of our facilities. The only exceptions are for those individuals who have an ADA accommodation due to a disability. There are a few other limited exceptions, such as in the swimming pool, or alone in a private office with the door closed. In addition, everyone must maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance between each other at all times.

Students and employees coming from outside Alaska must have two negative COVID-19 tests before they can go to work, access campus facilities like the SRC or attend class. This is state law and it is university policy. This means that until you get a second negative test from your health care provider you must practice strict social distancing. Information on social distancing can be found here.

All students who live on campus are also required to have two negative tests before they can resume normal activities, including attending class. This is a little confusing, and perhaps is what led to a few mistakes this week. If you are an Alaskan who has not been outside of Alaska but are moving into the residence halls, two COVID-19 tests are required. However, you may attend class after the first negative test. If you are traveling from Outside, the state mandate and university policy state that attending class is only possible after the second negative test.

One of the ways we can reduce the spread of COVID-19 is by contact tracing. Anyone who tests positive will be contacted by a university or state contract tracer and will be asked to provide the names of those they would consider a “close contact” of theirs. If you are contacted, I ask that you cooperate and provide as much information as you can to assist with our notification efforts. The more contact tracers know, the better they can do in alerting people if there is a concern they may have been exposed.

Following these protocols is very important to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 at our university and in our communities. Thank you for doing your part, and thank you for choosing UAF.

— Dan White, UAF chancellor
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