April 13, 2021

Dear UAF faculty and staff,

Friday of last week, UA released a COVID-19 update regarding on-site operations, leave usage and vaccinations. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, I encourage you to do so as many important updates were released.

The UA on-site operations plan has been updated to eliminate Phase E and now contains only phase A-D with some modifications. The update provides more flexibility at each university, allowing us to adapt to changes in our local environment.

UAF is planning to enter Phase C of the UA operations plan by May 10. Per UA phase guidance, to enter Phase C, there are a number of factors I will need to weigh and consult with President Pitney about, including infection rates and the capacity of the community and UAF to manage cases and implement mitigation measures. In Phase C, work would resume on site, with remote work still being available but less predominant, and remote work will require supervisor approval. I encourage supervisors to begin discussions with staff, allowing everyone appropriate time to plan and adapt. We do not anticipate shifting immediately to Phase C on May 10, but expect to begin the transition then.

As of April 1, if you can’t work due to scheduling or taking the COVID-19 vaccination, you can request to use COVID-19 emergency sick leave (ESL - code 565) if you have that leave balance still available, or you can use regular sick leave if not. Each employee was issued 80 hours of ESL in fall 2020. ESL can also be used if you're unable to work due to side effects from the vaccine.

Many questions have also been asked about our mask policy and what UAF will look like in the fall. At this time, the mask policy is still in place. Based on CDC guidance, we do not currently have plans to lift the mask requirement.

As for fall, we plan to be fully open and operating in Phase D of the UA operations plans. Phase D allows for all UAF facilities to be fully open, with a full range of work options available under UA policy. Remote work will follow published guidance from UA Human Resources. Gatherings and events should be fully available and safety measures will follow the best practices and recommendations from the CDC.

We of course reserve the right to return to more conservative safety measures if the conditions warrant.

Thank you for choosing UAF.

— Dan White, chancellor

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