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July 28, 2022

UAF students, faculty and staff,

Last week, we updated our COVID-19 face coverings policy to reflect changing conditions over the course of the summer. It reflects our evolving understanding of the virus, the availability of vaccines and new treatments, allows for increased personal responsibility, and reflects changing community norms. Now, as the semester approaches I have some important information to share regarding fall operations.

Last spring, faculty were afforded the opportunity to request authority from UA President Pat Pitney to require vaccines for their courses. President Pitney has reviewed the current conditions and is not approving individual course requests for vaccine requirements for the fall semester at this time. Furthermore, the COVID-19 vaccine was not added to the Board of Regents approved vaccines and will not be required of residential students. At UAF, we continue to encourage individuals to choose vaccination against COVID-19. You can find out more about COVID-19 vaccines on the university’s COVID-19 website or on the CDC website. You can also search for a vaccination provider using the federal vaccine-finder tool.

President Pitney has delegated any decisions regarding mask requirements to the Chancellors. Individual faculty may request a mask requirement for their classrooms, and these will be evaluated based on a risk assessment of the particular course. Staff units (e.g. emergency responders) with business continuity needs that may benefit from a mask requirement may also submit a request. Finally, a group may request a mask requirement in order to satisfy an outside entity’s mandate to wear masks (for example, student athletes and athletics staff may be required to wear masks as a condition of play by the athletic conference).

A Google form has been developed for requesting a mask requirement. Individual health information should not be submitted as part of any request. Mask requirement requests will be evaluated based on an assessment of the risk of disease in a particular setting, and the potential impacts on business continuity, rather than on individual health issues.

Individuals who have personal health concerns with regard to COVID-19 in the execution of their work should seek a medical accommodation from Human Resources (employees) or Disability Services (students). It is important to remember that medical accommodations are specific to individuals and therefore will not result in a mask or vaccine mandate for other students in a class or employees in a work group.

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/.