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March 2, 2022
Dear UAF community,

I am happy to share that we have seen dramatic reductions in COVID numbers at UAF and in the communities in which we operate. UAF has adapted to the pandemic, implemented measures and then refined them along the way. The UAF COVID Business Continuity Team (formerly our Operations Support Team) has been providing regular recommendations on changes and adaptations as the pandemic has changed. As we followed the science into the pandemic, we are now at a point of following the science into this next phase.

As President Pitney detailed in her message yesterday, it is time to adjust our approach based on new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the UA system. Last week, the CDC offered new masking guidance. For communities that are at low or medium risk, based on a combination of local case rates and hospitalizations, the CDC has advised that masking is no longer needed for many people. 
Per the CDC guidance, UAF will be adopting measures that are more flexible, and reflect a more dynamic response. When we have a campus (e.g., Fairbanks or Bethel) that is coded “green” by the new CDC risk measure, we will have no mask requirement with the possible exception of a small number of high-risk situations. When a campus is in the medium-risk, or “yellow” phase, masks will be optional with some remaining requirements (such as classrooms or labs). In the highest risk, or “orange” phase we will require masking in all indoor locations as we do now. It is important to know that with this more risk-based approach, we will need to have flexibility to adjust up and down as the conditions warrant. 

The status of each UAF campus will be updated on the main uaf.edu homepage on Fridays with a banner that details which phase UAF locations are currently in and where masks are required.

Because all UAF locations are currently at the “medium” risk level, effective immediately, masks will be optional in all UAF administrative, athletic and other event spaces, as well as in communal spaces including common areas and other campus buildings and residence halls. However, as we transition into this new approach, some spaces will remain mask-required while we evaluate conditions and update our policies and procedures. To this end, masks will be required, for now, in instructional spaces (classrooms, studios, teaching labs and other spaces where instruction takes place); research labs; the UAF Student Health and Counseling Center; the isolation hall; Bunnell House; and on campus public transportation. There may also be indoor events or programs that require masking based on the event sponsor’s requirements. These remaining requirements will be reevaluated on March 7 and could either continue as requirements or be lifted.
It is important to recognize that many people hold strong opinions about masking. Those who feel more comfortable wearing a mask in spaces where it is not required should do so and everyone should respect that choice. 

We will also modify our COVID-positive isolation policy for students and employees to be consistent with CDC guidance. After testing positive for COVID-19, individuals will be required to isolate for five days, followed by a masking requirement for an additional five days. Students living in residence halls will need a negative antigen test before moving back into their rooms from an isolation location.
Many of you will have questions about these upcoming changes. We will be updating our COVID website to reflect these new policies over the next week. Some of the updates will take some time as we adjust our events policy, as well as evaluate our use of plastic barriers on campus and other measures. At UAF we will continue to provide masks and sanitizers across campus as well as at-home testing kits when available and rapid testing for students at the Student Health and Counseling Center.
Vaccines are available for anyone who wants a first, second or booster dose. There is a testing site on the Troth Yeddha’ campus in Fairbanks in the Nenana parking lot, open Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. UAF also has at-home COVID antigen tests available at the Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management office for students and employees. Please contact Tracey Martinson for more information.  
Thank you for your work to make UAF a safe place during the past two years. We’ve adjusted our policies throughout this pandemic to reflect evolving public health guidance and conditions in our communities. We couldn’t have achieved what we did without the patience and responsible efforts of our students, staff and faculty.
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/.