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Feb. 24, 2022

Dear faculty, staff and students, 

In my last Covid column, I mentioned the significant drop in COVID-19 cases throughout the state of Alaska. As a state, we currently remain above the average 7-day case rate of 50 cases per 100,000 persons that President Pitney set as our criteria for the UA System mask requirement. Once we drop below that number, or if the criteria changes with updated CDC guidance, Chancellors will have authority to begin lifting face-covering requirements. In the meantime, we are seeking authority to create mask-optional zones on campus where there is low risk.

We are working now on expanding eligibility for a reduced isolation requirement after testing positive for COVID-19. The reduction from 10 to 5 days must be authorized by the director of EHSRM, and will require a negative COVID-19 antigen test on day 6. In addition, a mask must be worn upon returning to campus until the full 10 days has elapsed. This aligns with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The university’s business continuity team (BCT), led by Director Tracey Martinson, will continue to evaluate the 5-day isolation practice and adjust if case rates increase. If you test positive for COVID, please remember to report your case using the Student or Employee Illness Report Form. This helps the BCT make decisions regarding COVID mitigation measures.

Last week, UAF once again hosted free public COVID-19 and flu drop-in vaccination clinics at the Patty Center on the Fairbanks Troth Yeddha’ campus. The clinic offered all three COVID vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson), and included first and second doses,  booster shots, and pediatric COVID-19 vaccines. Flu shots were also available. Over the two-day clinic, 58 COVID shots and 16 flu shots were administered.  

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. UAF also has a supply of at-home COVID antigen tests available at the EHSRM office for all employees and students.

My expectation is that we will see changes to our mask requirements and some other COVID measures in the coming weeks. And next fall, I anticipate that we will resume all traditionally in-person classes and events and manage COVID as we manage other risks that impact health and safety. 

Thank you for continuing to work, learn and support each other and thank you 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/.