Jan. 5, 2021

Dear UAF staff and faculty,

Welcome back! It has been great to see many people already returning from the midwinter break. As we look to the next semester and the many changes that are occurring relative to COVID-19, a few things are especially timely.

First, many details have been circulating around the COVID-19 vaccine and its phases and tiers. On Jan. 4, the State of Alaska issued a press release from Commissioner Adam Crum announcing that “Alaskans 65 and older can receive vaccinations starting Monday, Jan. 11. Scheduling for those appointments begins Wednesday, Jan. 6.”

The announcement provides details on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plans, recommended by the Alaska Vaccine Allocation Advisory Committee (AVAAC), and it contains information on the current phases and tiers, future phases and tiers, and how to check your eligibility for a vaccination within these phases. The recommendation from the AVAAC applies only to the “state’s management of the state allocation.”

In prior communications, I mentioned that we expected to see our health care and emergency services workers to be vaccinated in the first tier. That is now underway. However, I also mentioned that it was our expectation that “congregate housing” would be an early tier, which would include UAF residence halls. However, when the state issued its plan, university residences were excluded from congregate housing classification. I understand that this was because the population in university residence halls was considered lower risk. A quick review of the tier structure also names K-12 teachers but not teachers in higher education. Interim President Pitney is working to get clarification and/or reconsideration of these two classifications that don’t currently include UA. I will update you when more information is available specific to UA but encourage you to get vaccinations when you may otherwise be eligible.

Please continue to practice 6 feet of social distancing, frequent hand-washing, sanitizing of surfaces and wearing a face mask. It is great to be back and will be great to see students start returning next week.

Thanks for choosing UAF.

— Dan White, chancellor
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