Dec. 8, 2020

Dear UAF community,

We will all be taking a little different approach to the holidays this season. As you make your plans, please review the UA-wide campus entry restrictions guidance that was updated yesterday, Dec. 7, by the UA system. I also encourage you to read the UA system’s email from today, Dec. 8.

The main change to the UA campus entry restrictions guidance was under special restrictions section two. This section was updated to reflect the new CDC guidance for “close contact” quarantine timelines, allowing each university the ability to determine their appropriate quarantine time frames as advised by CDC, State of Alaska, and our own risk factors, such as residential housing.

CDC quarantine options now include:
  • Quarantine for 14 days, release on Day 15 if you have no COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Quarantine for 10 days, release on Day 11 if you have no COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Quarantine for 7 days. Get tested on Day 6 or Day 7. End quarantine on Day 8 if your test is negative and you have not had COVID-19 symptoms.
After ending quarantine, the CDC recommends self-monitoring for symptoms until 14 days after exposure. Additionally, the definition of quarantine has also been updated in the guidance document. The updated definition states that “quarantine is for people who are close contacts, but have not tested positive for the virus. During quarantine, you must stay in your residence and cannot leave except to seek medical care.” The change in CDC guidance is attributed to a risk assessment — that is the increased risk of a shorter quarantine balanced against the risk of failure to complete a 14-day quarantine. In the end, the CDC acknowledges that there is increased risk with a shorter quarantine but that risk is worth it if there is better compliance.

As guidance has continued to evolve and change, UAF has been able to maintain low case rates on campus even though our community case rates have risen. This is due to the precautions we have taken to include our UAF mask policy, continued social distancing, and limited in-person activities unless in small groups. At UAF we will adopt the 10-day guidance (instead of 14 days) for quarantine for all employees and students but are still evaluating the possibility of moving to the option of a seven-day quarantine plus testing.

If you do plan to travel over the winter closure, it will be important that prior to returning to work on-site, you check the campus entry restrictions guidance. As we consider making changes to incorporate the new CDC guidance and learn more about COVID-19, we are trying to remain as nimble as possible while still ensuring the safety of our students, staff, faculty and campus visitors.

As this winter closure will be different than others, so will the facility shower access. At this time, if you have shower access within a building to which you would otherwise have authorization to enter with card swipe or key access, it will still be available to you during the break. All others, including Wood Center shower users, will be directed to the Patty Center pool for shower access. Shower users will be notified if their assigned shower location has changed.

To request shower access, please use the request form. The Wood Center will be closed Dec. 18, 2020, through Jan. 9, 2021. Please check the Patty Center pool page for rates and hours that the showers will be open. Additionally, the Student Recreation Center (SRC) will also be open, and their shower facilities can be accessed for a small fee. Please check the SRC website for hours of operation.

Thank you to everyone for your patience and efforts in keeping our campuses safe. I am proud of the work we do every day that keeps our campuses open, allowing us to serve the students who choose UAF, whether by remote learning or in our classrooms.

Thanks for choosing UAF.

— Dan White, chancellor

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