Travel and self-observing for 14 days

March 16, 2020

Tori Tragis

— by Dan White, chancellor

Dear faculty and staff,

I want to take a moment to thank everyone for your understanding after an intense week of news and activity. Many people are working hard to respond to rapidly changing circumstances. Your patience and flexibility are appreciated as we navigate these extraordinary times together. 

Over the weekend, President Johnsen issued new UA travel restrictions and community guidance regarding returning to work after personal travel. Last night, he provided additional clarification on what it means. Please make sure you review the new guidance at your earliest convenience. Per the President’s message:

  • Travel outside Alaska for university business is prohibited. 

  • University-related travel to rural Alaska communities is suspended. 

  • Anyone returning from travel outside Alaska will be required to work from home or an alternate location for 14 days (i.e., self-quarantine). If this applies to you please self-observe for 14 days and seek medical attention if needed. Please work with your supervisors so that you can either work from home or take administrative or sick leave.

Please note the third bullet is retroactive. If you have traveled from outside of Alaska within the last 14 days, the new guidance requires that you now self-quarantine any time remaining in the 14 day period had the rule been in place when you returned. So for example, if you returned from travel outside of Alaska 10 days ago, you will need to arrange for the next 4 days away from work. Please contact your supervisor to develop a 14-day (or time remaining) self-quarantine plan. Please do not return to campus, and make sure to follow HR guidance on how to claim COVID-19 on your timesheet (PDF) and claim the appropriate leave. There have been some questions about whether the public school closures (K-12) and lack of child-care constitute justification for taking sick leave. At this point, the direction from HR is to take annual leave for this purpose but stay tuned as we get additional guidance on this point.

For students and employees who remain on campus, I ask that you follow CDC guidance on social distancing , which has been shown to be an effective method in slowing down the spread of COVID-19. I urge supervisors to use Zoom, audio conference or other technology to hold meetings and conduct university businesses unless absolutely necessary. If you must meet in person, please do your best to keep about a 6-foot distance between you and your colleagues. This applies to all meetings, including gatherings with fewer than 25 people. It’s not about the number of people in attendance, it’s about ensuring there is adequate space between people to minimize possible transmission of the coronavirus.

Despite all of this uncertainty, I am reminded how incredible our staff, faculty and students are and I am proud to see how everyone is responding to this unique time in our history.  I have confidence in you and believe that as an organization, the right measures are being taken. While there are challenges ahead, we will meet them one at a time and move forward together. Please be sure to take care of each other and take care of yourself.