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Feb. 10, 2022

Dear staff and faculty, 

In the last week, we’ve seen a 36% decline of COVID-19 cases in Fairbanks and a significant drop in reported UAF related cases. Please continue to get tested if you aren’t feeling well and stay home if you are sick. Thank you!

To reflect the changing nature of the pandemic and our business operations, we have renamed and reformatted the COVID Operations Support Team into the COVID Business Continuity Team (BCT). While we continue with our safety protocols, we are actively developing (de)implementation plans for the weeks and months ahead. Since there will not be one day that the pandemic is suddenly over, we must take practical steps to match our response to the threat the viruses poses over time. 

At the beginning of the fall semester (2021) President Pitney announced that as long as case rates in the community were in the red or orange zone (i.e. 7-day case rates higher than 50 cases/100,000 people), all universities in UA would require full masking with limited exceptions. Once case rates drop below these levels, however, chancellors will have the authority to adjust University policies as they deem appropriate to specific locations. To this end, I have asked the BCT to address three important areas: 

  1. Residence halls. We have a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students in the residence halls and a face covering policy. However, these units have essentially become akin to “family units” from the standpoint of virus transmission. The BCT is working on a revised face covering policy for students in residence so that they may take advantage of the extra precautions in place in the halls and be able to participate in mask-optional events, or spaces.
  2. The work environment. UAF’s face covering policy requires that masks be worn indoors except in a private office with the door closed. Back in May 2021, when cases were very low, UAF lifted the mask requirement entirely. As we see the current surge in cases drop, I have asked the BCT to provide a step-back approach to our masking indoors policy, when appropriate, such that doors may be open, and cubicles (6 feet apart, and or separated by plexiglass) or large spaces with 6 foot distancing, for example, be mask-optional zones. 
  3. Isolation. UAF continues to require 10 days of isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a variety of guidance for isolation periods depending on whether or not individuals are presenting with symptoms and have negative test results. At this time, UAF may provide exceptions to the 10 day period on a limited, case-by-case basis through the director of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management. The BCT will evaluate expanding the practice of 5 day isolation if case rates decline further and other conditions warrant. 

COVID-19 testing continues to be available on the Troth Yeddha’ campus. The Beacon testing site is located in the Nenana parking lot and is open Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. Please note that testing stops approximately 30 minutes prior to closing.

Also, the daily health email will change to a weekly communication. If you’re not sure what to do if you are sick, please visit the UAF COVID-19 webpage

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/.