Nov. 13, 2020

Dear UAF community,

Yesterday’s announcement by Governor Dunleavy to double down on our efforts to control the coronavirus brings to bear the seriousness of our current health crisis. UAF faculty, staff, and students have done a good job implementing the safety measures that have been effective at controlling the spread of the virus in our University community. This demonstrates that we have taken this health crisis seriously and through it have been able to meet our responsibility to provide access to education for UAF students.

With that as the backdrop, many decisions need to be made regarding how we will operate next semester. There are many unknowns, but UAF will take the same cautious, risk-based approach to our operations as we did this semester.

Some decisions about intercollegiate athletics need to be made this week and next. Since we want to preserve decisions to the extent practical, we have decided not to close the door on intercollegiate athletics for next semester at this point. We do, however, retain the right to do so at any time.

Today, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference will announce that the Alaska Nanooks have chosen to “opt-in” for the 2021 basketball season. What this means for UAF is that we are not closing the door on the possibility of competition if we deem it safe to do so after the holidays. Opting in does not obligate UAF to compete, but it preserves our right to do so when the time comes and we feel it can be done safely.

Many variables will be part of the decision-making process on whether or not we will enter competition. These variables include weighing campus and community risk factors, state travel restrictions, and public health mandates. We will continue to take a cautious and measured approach, just as we have since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. If we deem it safe to play in the new year but the situation changes, we reserve the right to withdraw before or at any time during the season.

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association has also requested a decision by next Tuesday, Nov. 17, for Alaska Nanooks Hockey. It is our intent to take the same approach with hockey as with the rest of UAF’s intercollegiate teams. We won’t close the door on competition, but will take a cautious, risk-based approach when the time comes. In response to yesterday’s announcement by Governor Dunleavy, we have suspended the UAF vs UAA men’s hockey exhibition game scheduled for Dec. 4-5.

The health and well-being of our student-athletes and our community remains our priority as we seek to continue to meet the various areas of our mission. Thank you for your patience as we navigate this rapidly changing landscape.

— Dan White, chancellor

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