June 22, 2021

Dear UAF faculty, staff and students,

This month, the Centers for Disease Control updated its COVID-19 guidance for institutions of higher education. UAF has been following CDC guidance and observing what other universities are doing, and remains vigilant about preventing virus transmission on our campuses and in the communities we serve.

Two items currently under discussion at UAF include whether we will mandate the COVID-19 vaccination for students and/or employees, and how we will approach physical distancing in classrooms and at events and other in-person activities.

We are currently considering different approaches, including some hybrid strategies. Examples could include options for one or more “all vaccinated” residence halls on campus and flexible spacing in classrooms where 6 foot physical distancing is available for those who wish to remain unvaccinated. We expect face coverings in some manner to remain with us.

In next week’s COVID-19 email, I will provide guidance on UAF’s plan for fall regarding vaccines and social distancing in more detail. I will base this on discussions with the UA system president, UAF Operations Support Team and the Chancellor’s Cabinet, input from the Faculty Senate COVID-19 committee, as well as your input on a few questions. Please take a moment to share with me your thoughts on this Google form by Friday, June 25.
  • Should there be a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for residential students?
  • Should there be a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all in-person students?
  • Should we allow for flexible spacing in classrooms (6 feet spacing for portions of classrooms and in event spaces)?
  • What vaccine incentives could the university offer?
I’d like to thank fire Chief Doug Schrage for his 11 years of service to UAF and for his leadership as the Operations Support Team lead since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Chief Schrage has worked tirelessly and thoughtfully with the OST to ensure UAFs response to COVID-19 has been safe and well-informed. Tracy Martinson, director of environmental, safety and risk management, will be serving as the new OST lead. I thank her for stepping up to this important role.

As we move into Phase C over the summer and predominantly to in-person work, I know there may be questions. Please work with your supervisor as you transition back to the office. As outlined in the June 9 memo from acting chief human resources officer David Bishko, employees who are continuing to work partially or fully from home need to complete a telework agreement with their supervisor. UA Human Resources has been conducting Q&A sessions regarding Operational Phase C return to work guidelines. The last session will be held Wednesday, June 23, from 3-4 p.m. via Zoom. If you have any questions about these transitions for you or your staff, please contact UA Human Resources at or call 907-450-8200.

Thank you for your engagement and hard work. I look forward to your feedback regarding vaccines and incentives — please be sure to fill out the form and share your thoughts with me.

Thank you for choosing UAF.

— Dan White, chancellor
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