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Sept. 23, 2021

Dear UAF staff and faculty,

Thank you for your continued efforts to support our students at UAF. Following are a few important updates as well as a further discussion on COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

  1. Today the governor directed state agencies to return to telework to the maximum extent practical. Toward that end I have asked vice chancellors to work with their units to evaluate and implement telework to the extent practical starting Monday for at least the next month.  

  2. At my request, the UA president and UA labor relations are working with UNAC, the faculty union, to work out the details of a UAF full-time faculty vaccination requirement. Once that work is done, I will discuss implementation scenarios with the president.

  3. I have requested that UA HR explore a vaccination mandate for all UAF staff.

  4. I have asked the provost to work with deans and faculty on more ways to ensure classes are safe. This includes a consideration of more hybrid teaching options, spacing, other mitigation efforts, and requesting vaccination requirements where appropriate. 

The Operations Support Team is working with state public health to host a community COVID-19 testing site on the Troth Yeddha’ Campus. It is anticipated that the site will have extended hours a couple of days each week, which should be helpful to anyone needing a test in the early evening hours. This will make it easier for employees to get tested and help to reduce congestion at the testing site on Airport Way. We are hoping to have the UAF site open next week.

Thank you for continuing to reach out to me and sharing your perspective on our COVID-19 mitigations as we navigate this fall semester. It is my understanding that there is some confusion surrounding what to do if someone you supervise or a student in your class is ill or tests positive for COVID-19. 

In general, the steps are the same for everyone. If you have COVID-19 or are symptomatic and awaiting test results:

  • Don’t go to an in-person class. Don’t come to the office. 

  • Fill out the student or employee reporting form.

  • Get tested, if you haven’t already done so.

  • Stay home until you are well or, if you tested positive for COVID-19, until 10 days have passed, whichever is longer. 

If you test positive for COVID-19, you must isolate at home for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status. Receiving a negative test a few days after testing positive does not relieve you of the requirements to isolate for 10 days. Employees and students may return to campus after 10 days as long as their symptoms have improved and they do not have a fever and are not taking any fever-reducing medications; a negative test is not required. If your severe symptoms persist beyond 10 days, you should seek medical attention if you have not already done so. 

For more details, I encourage you to:

  1. Read the daily UAF COVID-19 self-assessment and resources email. This email outlines all the information you need to know and links to important resources. 

  2. Check the UAF COVID-19 website, which is updated regularly. 

I have asked the Operations Support Team (OST) to begin sending out short email updates as we progress through the semester. These updates will be specific to any changes or important information related to COVID-19. I will provide further context through my Thursday COVID column when necessary. 

Requests for vaccine requirements will be considered by request via this form. Requests are evaluated based on the unique or special circumstances of the group of people, activity or location, and whether a less-restrictive method of mitigation could offer a comparable reduction of risk. An OST subcommittee, composed of faculty and staff, is working to provide clear guidelines to inform these requests. Requests must be approved by the requesting unit’s supervisor and respective vice chancellor prior to submission to me and then to the UA president for final approval. 

In light of heightened COVID-19 Delta variant spread in many countries, as of Sept. 22, 2021, travel requests for university-sponsored travel of faculty, staff or students to countries designated by the U.S. Department of State as “Level 4 - Do Not Travel” will not be approved. Limited exceptions may be considered but will require justification for why the travel is essential and must include a mitigation plan approved in advance. This does not affect previously approved travel. No international travel requests to Level 4 countries should be submitted through the UA Concur system unless it has been approved by a vice chancellor as an exception.

I want to thank the OST for their continued support to keep Nanook Nation healthy and for the university community for wearing your mask, getting vaccinated and supporting each other. Thanks for choosing UAF. 

— Dan White, chancellor


UAF is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: www.alaska.edu/nondiscrimination/.