COVID-19 Events Policy

UAF Policy 04.06.200

Original Adoption: October 13, 2020

Revised: August 30, 2021

Responsible Chancellor's Cabinet Member: UAF Executive Officer

Responsible Department/Office: Chancellor's Office & University Relations

Download signed policy (PDF)

POLICY STATEMENT

This policy reflects CDC recommendations and State of Alaska pandemic reopening policies and defines the types of events UAF will allow and who will approve them. UAF evaluates the totality of risk for proposed events in consideration of community factors, University of Alaska policy guidance, State of Alaska outbreak orders, and CDC guidance. Because UAF is able to exert control over its environment to an extent, it is able to conduct some events while managing risk to an acceptable level.

RISK ASSESSMENT

Events are based on CDC risk levels included later in this document. The size of the event is a factor in the risk assessment, but may not necessarily indicate risk as much as the ability to maintain physical distance of at least six feet, the amount of time spent together, where the attendees are coming from, the activities within the space, and other factors.

Other factors that may affect events

There may be state outbreak orders that affect whether or not UAF is able to host an event, particularly, if attendees are traveling from out of state or in state if the event is held in a community that has restrictions. 

The state has developed guidelines for social, religious and other gatherings. More information and guidance on different types of events and other resources is available on the state’s website under large gatherings, crowds and sporting events

Borough and regional COVID-19 case levels may also affect whether or not UAF will approve events. Events that have been previously approved may be canceled. 

Travel indications and alert levels

Please be advised that if attendees are not from the local area, the event falls into the highest risk category and you will need to follow any applicable State of Alaska health and travel outbreak orders. Any mandates can be found out.

UAF reserves the right to cancel an event or activity at any time due to safety concerns, compliance, or changes to state health mandates or local alert levels that may indicate an increased risk of the spread of COVID-19. The only way to guarantee an event will proceed without risk of cancellation is to hold it virtually.

DEFINITIONS

CDC event definitions

Event: A planned or spontaneous gathering, indoors or outdoors, with a small number of people participating or a large number of people in attendance such as a community event or gathering, concert, festival, conference, parade, wedding or sporting event. 

  • Lowest risk: Virtual-only activities, events and gatherings.
  • More risk: Smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least six feet apart, wear masks, do not share objects, and come from the same local area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).
  • Higher risk: Medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least six feet apart and with attendees coming from outside the local area.
  • Highest risk: Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least six feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.

REFERENCES RELIED UPON

This policy relies on the following references:

RESPONSIBILITES

Guidance for event planners and space schedulers

It’s helpful to think through your event using tools such as the checklist provided by the State of Alaska’s Plan Safer Events website to address the following considerations.

Please be aware that CDC guidance for higher education for settings where a mixed population of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons are present will require decision making to protect the people who are not fully vaccinated.

For large gatherings and events (>25), please review this checklist. Once you’ve done that you’ll fill out the UAF event form and the UAF Risk Analysis and Event Mitigation Plan form in order for the event or activity to be approved:

Considerations for event planners.    

  • Follow the UAF Face Coverings Policy
  • Sufficient space (allow for 6 feet of distancing when unvaccinated) is needed for physical distancing for events where unvaccinated persons may be present.
  • Special attention should be given to seated meals and receptions to allow for more room between attendees. Masks should be worn before and after food service and this requirement should be communicated to all attendees prior to food service.
  • Gather information for contact tracing (pre-registration/questionnaire for attendees-including recent travel out-of-state travel, symptoms, etc.).
  • Communicate ahead of time with attendees about the COVID-19 mitigation plan and the mask policy and remind attendees NOT to attend if symptomatic. Provide a virtual option to make it easy for attendees to participate if they are ill or quarantining.
  • Plan extra physical distancing and sufficient space for activities such as singing or exercising.
  • Portable air filters can be helpful in spaces with limited ventilation especially when combined with masks. See the Efficacy of Portable Air Cleaners report.
  • Create a sanitation plan (includes limiting the use of shared equipment, food utensils and microphones).
  • Group transportation should provide adequate physical distancing, or consider double masking.
  • Provide a traffic management plan (may include clearly marked signs to reduce congestion).
  • Consider staggered scheduling, if possible.
  • A responsible person must be clearly identified for event oversight and management.
  • The responsible person will be held accountable for implementation and participant adherence to the mitigation plan.

Once events are approved, ALL proposed changes must be re-approved. Please send them to UAF-events-team@alaska.edu.

NON-COMPLIANCE

Failure to comply may result in preventable exposures and illness to occur. Incidents of non-compliance will be reviewed and may lead to revocation of event hosting privileges and cancellation of future events.

EXCEPTIONS

While all events require a mitigation plan, the following activities do not go through the events approval process.

  1. Facilities Use Agreements
    Facilities Use Agreements (FUA) and/or Land Use Agreements are required to be in place when non-affiliate organizations or external users access university facilities or grounds. The FUA ensures the non-affiliate organization or external user group assumes all responsibility, risk and liability associated with the activity. COVID-19 mitigation/safety plans must be included for now as an addendum. Long-term (two plus years) facility users continue to work through appropriate space schedulers and adhere to the same state and university guidelines.

  2. Student Activities and student clubs
    Wood Center and Residence Life staff will continue to schedule lowest, more-risk, and higher-risk events for student clubs and adhere to the same SOA and UAF guidelines for on and off-campus events. This exception does not apply to events with non-UAF attendees. Planners and/or space schedulers must consult with Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management or OST on safety and COVID-19 issues on higher-risk events, and are encouraged to do so for lowest and more risk events. For departments scheduling student activities in campus buildings, COVID-19 safety plans are required.

  3. Business meetings and routine business operations
    Business meetings, routine business operations, and small internal events (e.g. thesis defenses, staff meetings, training sessions, etc.) do not need to run through the events form/process unless there are more than 25 in attendance or there are participants from out of state.  The meeting organizer will be responsible for ensuring that all meeting participants attest to the UAF campus entry restrictions guidance, the UAF COVID-19 face covering policy, and maintaining six feet of physical distance when unvaccinated at all locations owned or operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

  4. Athletic competitions and spectator events
    Athletic competitions and spectator events (e.g. exhibitions) are evaluated and managed through the Athletic Director’s office. Activities other than competitions and spectator events such as fundraisers, camps and social events will be subject to evaluation and approval by the events committee using this process in coordination with the Athletics department.

PROCEDURES

 Most events and activities fall into the following approval processes. Regardless of the approval process, in-person events and activities will require a COVID-19 safety plan.

UAF Events Committee

The UAF Events Committee, led by the Institutional Events Manager, is available to help groups assess their events and  develop mitigation strategies. Doing so helps to ensure events go through the correct approval process,  are conducted safely and can be supported by UAF departments. The committee ensures that the event complies with fire code, protections for minors, insurance/liability issues, Facilities Services needs, campus access issues, space reservations and activity conflicts, food waivers, custodial needs, parking, overall coordination and public relations concerns, etc. Representatives from Police, Fire, Risk, North Campus, Facilities, Student Affairs/Wood Center, and Dining Services make up the committee.

If you’re not sure if an event falls within a particular category, please contact the Institutional Events Manager at uaf-events@alaska.edu for additional information and guidance. 

  1. Lowest risk events
    These events are not required to go through the events review process, however,please coordinate with Institutional Events to avoid conflicts -- especially on larger online events and conferences.

  2. More-risk events
    For more-risk events with up to 25 attendees, completing the event form is not required for business meetings with only local participation, routine business operations, or small internal events without catering, facility, or other special needs. The event planners must abide by all COVID-19 mitigation measures.

  3. Higher-risk events
    Event planners fill out the event form and submit a COVID-19 mitigation plan and floor plan. The Events Committee reviews the completed form.  UAF’s Institutional Events Manager forwards mitigation plans for higher-risk Events to the OST for review. The committee may approve, conditionally approve, or deny the event.

  4. Highest-risk events
    Event planners fill out the event form and submit a COVID-19 mitigation plan and floor plan. The Events Committee reviews the completed form. UAF’s Institutional Events Manager forwards mitigation plans for higher-risk Events to the OST for review and approval. 

UAF will continue to assess state and local COVID-related health guidance and to approve events.. Highest-risk events may only be approved by exception from the chancellor when deemed necessary.

8.11      Procedures Review and Update

Procedures that support this policy shall be updated as needed. 

 

THIS POLICY IS EFFECTIVE AS OF 10/13/2020.

THE POLICY IS APPROVED:

signature

Daniel M. White, Chancellor
University of Alaska Fairbanks