August 4, 2020

Dear UAF faculty and staff,

The start of the semester is only three weeks away and we will have students living on campus in our residence halls (at a reduced capacity), and students on campus taking a mix of in-person and online courses.

With students in mind and social distancing a priority on campus, Facilities Services is working with departments on campus to create additional common spaces for students to study and have internet access. Common spaces are already located in many of our buildings, and we are working to create additional spaces that meet social distancing requirements.

UAF Staff Council recently conducted a staff survey on COVID-19 preparedness. The overall responses indicated that there is still some uncertainty about what to expect when employees return to campus in the fall. There is no question that this fall will be like no other in our 102-year history. The Operations Support Team has been working feverishly to address the myriad of issues and as things start to solidify they are getting the word out.

Some faculty and staff will return on campus, and over time, the foot traffic will be more frequent. In our current operating phase (Phase B), staff and faculty can work from their offices as they feel comfortable but telework is still the preferred work method. If you would like to work on campus, please work with your supervisor to ensure you have all the proper PPE in place, and don’t forget a face covering. Our facility cleaning schedule has increased, and all buildings will be cleaned and disinfected daily by our ABM janitorial contractor. Additionally, more hand sanitizer dispensers are being placed around campus, along with sanitizing wipes and signage reminding everyone about the importance of washing hands, wearing a mask and social distancing. Finally, I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay home if you are sick.

If anyone is unclear about when or what their return to working on campus looks like, I encourage you to work with your supervisor, dean or director for additional guidance. Each department will look a little different as we work remotely, get back to campus, and navigate COVID-19. I will also continue to put out my Tuesday COVID-19 communication, update our FAQs and communicate through the virtual COVID-19 forum series that was launched last Friday.

If you weren’t able to join us for last Friday’s virtual COVID-19 forum, I encourage you to watch the 40-minute presentation. Owen Guthrie, the eCampus director, shared a slide that went through the spectrum of course access that UAF is offering this year. Our courses this AY20-21 will range from the following:
  • Face-to-face – Traditional courses, including lecture, seminar, labs, studio, and vocational.
  • Blended – Traditional face-to-face courses with supplemental online requirements (i.e. “Flipped”)
  • Hybrid – Courses with a predictable and scheduled combination of required modalities.
  • Distance – A course with required synchronous meetings held via web or with phone access for low bandwidth areas.
  • Hyflex – Either a face-to-face course with optional web/phone modules or an online/distance course with optional in-class attendance.
  • Online – An asynchronous course with deadlines and student interaction. Limited-to-no synchronous requirements.
I encourage everyone to attend this Friday’s virtual forum which will be held at 10 a.m. and will be hosted by Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Anupma Prakash. The following subjects will be covered in a streaming format followed by Q&A:
  • An overview of back to school flow and updates on faculty/classroom organization
  • Updates from student affairs
  • COVID planning for researchers
  • COVID preparations from the community campus perspective
  • What’s new from the Operations Support Team
  • Q&A
UAF students have many options this year and with the help of eCampus I hope that all of our students find courses they feel comfortable in while still receiving an amazing education right here at UAF.

Thank you to everyone who is working on the start of the semester, faculty, staff and students. Thank you for choosing UAF!

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