May 21, 2020

Dear UAF community,

Yesterday, UA President Johnsen shared the UA system’s On-site Operations Plan. This plan will serve as a framework for how each of our universities will transition to more in-person work and as we conduct research, summer operations and prepare for the fall semester.

According to the President’s communication, the entire system is in Phase A of the plan, which is how we have been operating. Under the new operations plan, UAF may designate more stringent measures for specific UAF units but may not designate less stringent measures except through specific exception requests. At this point the system is in the most stringent phase, but we are expecting that will change soon to Phase B. The UAF Incident Management Team is working hard to identify the things that need to take place to be able to move from each phase outlined in the plan to the next. Some of these things include identifying UAF-specific social distancing protocols, installing plexiglass in high-traffic service areas, expanding cleaning procedures, and revising housing options for students living on campus. I expect to receive preliminary recommendations early next week.

UAF continues to teach classes, conduct research and provide important support services. We never stopped. I continue to be impressed by how our students, faculty and staff handled the transition to remote work and online courses. I now look forward to transitioning to in-person work and classes where we can, and to continuing distance work and classes where we cannot.

Our students have spoken through surveys and communications that they desire in-person classes and on-campus living. I encourage students to sign up early so they know they’ll have a space in the classes and available housing they want. Earlier sign-ups will allow for better planning.

Because the phase that we operate within will dictate how we deliver courses and housing, we are working to make sure that we can safely operate in ways that will meet UAF’s student, staff and faculty desires. Plans for how we will do this will be communicated in the coming weeks and posted to the UAF status page on the UA coronavirus website. Until then, please continue to operate as you have been doing.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that Nanook Nation is willing and able to handle what comes our way. I can’t thank you enough for your role in making this happen. We will need your best thinking in the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, be sure to let your friends, family and local communities know that UAF is open for business and registering students for summer and fall.

Thank you for choosing UAF.

— Dan White, chancellor

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