What to expect this fall

July 14, 2020

Dear student,

As we finalize our preparations for the fall semester, we are committed to planning for the safety and well-being of our community while creating a meaningful college experience for each one of you. This email will cover information about the following topics: 

  • Health and safety guidelines
  • Driving to Alaska
  • Course schedules and registering for classes
  • Financial aid information
  • Housing and dining
  • CRCD and CTC students
  • Wood Center student union and the Center for Student Engagement
  • Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities
  • Athletics 
  • Nanook Recreation
  • International student information
  • Military and veteran student information

Health and safety guidelines

Protecting your health and the health of your peers, faculty and family will take a commitment and pledge from each and every member of our campus community. Maintaining social and physical distancing is new for all of us and can be challenging when meeting with friends, participating in study groups and working in computer labs. However, all of us must remind each other and commit to this practice. Keeping our community safe means all of us committing to washing our hands frequently throughout the day, using hand sanitizer when unable to wash your hands, monitoring your temperature, and paying attention to any changes in your health. Our individual health and well-being, and that of our community, is a group effort. We all have an important role to play.


You will be required to wear a mask in classrooms, labs and inside buildings. Students who do not comply will be referred to the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities and subject to the student conduct process. The science supporting mask wearing and use is compelling. Even if you are outside, if you will be within 6 feet of another person, wear a mask. Masks keep you safe, and they keep your peers and others around you safe. You can be COVID-19-positive and have no symptoms and can spread the infection without knowing it. Wearing a mask helps prevent transmission and can save lives. 

If you have a medical condition that makes it difficult for you to wear a mask, please contact UAF Disability Services for guidance or to request a reasonable accommodation.

Classroom cleaning

All spaces that are scheduled for teaching will be cleaned by custodians at least once a day, including dusting surfaces and fixtures; cleaning and disinfecting tables, desks and work benches; emptying trash and cleaning receptacles as needed; and disinfecting light switches and door fixtures. OIT and Facilities Services will provide a plan for supplying, cleaning and disinfecting smart-classroom technology and other electronics, such as providing stylus pens to eliminate the need to touch smart screens and sanitizing wipes to be used solely for electronics. There will also be classroom cleaning supplies so occupants can clean personal spaces before and after class.  

Physical distancing and traffic control

Facilities Services has worked out an occupancy plan for all classrooms to ensure a 6-foot physical distance between any two occupants. Furniture will be placed apart from each other, or spaces will be clearly marked as “do not occupy” to maintain adequate distancing. For rooms with two doors, one door will be clearly marked and used for entry and one for exit. 

COVID-19 testing information 

Residential students are encouraged to be tested within 72 hours before arriving on campus or within 24 hours of arriving in Fairbanks, and again 7-14 days after arrival. COVID-19 testing details are being worked on, we’ll send more information once it’s final. 

On-campus testing will be available for students who are feeling ill with COVID-19 symptoms and for athletes who travel in and out of the state. Testing policies and procedures are currently being finalized. We will continue to update you on these details. 

Students (as well as employees, contractors and visitors) who show COVID-19-like symptoms will report immediately through a centralized and confidential Google reporting form. They will be required to report their movements on campus in the 48 hours prior to experiencing symptoms and the names of those they interacted with. The form is also on the UAF COVID-19 website

Changes to the testing and tracking policy will be updated on this site. Students should also let their faculty instructors know immediately. 

Driving to Alaska

U.S. and Canadian students driving to Alaska will need to provide documentation of their status as a student at the Canadian border. Acceptable documentation includes a letter of acceptance to UAF (for newly admitted students) or evidence of registration and semester start date for returning students.

Course schedules and registering for classes

We will be offering a combination of face-to-face, hybrid (some face-to-face and some online learning), and distance-delivered (online or other modes of distance delivery) courses in the fall. We are working to honor both the student needs and faculty choice of the teaching modality. Here are some guidelines about what classes will be offered in person:

  • Classes taught face-to-face include those that require hands-on instruction like science and engineering labs, workforce and other technical trainings, practicums, field placements, art, music, and theater.
  • Individual classes may be rescheduled for different times or classrooms; however, instruction will begin and end according to the established academic calendar. Class time blocks will not change.
  • Large lecture sections will be moved completely or mostly online. Lab and recitation sections may be accommodated on campus in conjunction with the online lecture portion of the class.
  • There will not be enough classroom space for all classes to be held in person. Small lecture classes will be offered in a hybrid mode or online if space is not available.
  • All classes are subject to future adjustments in response to directives or guidelines issued by the university or the state. 

The fall class schedule is online and reflects all changes made to date, though some schedule and modality changes might continue as conditions change. We will do everything we can to offer the best possible experience for students. If the modality of the class you registered for changes, you will receive an email with the updates. 

Admissions, Financial Aid, International Programs and Initiatives, Military and Veterans Services, and the Registrar’s Office will be open for walk-in student support when classes start. In-person appointments will be available, and all student support functions will be available for students virtually, regardless of whether they are on campus or online.

Research experience

We plan to continue most of our research operations with all recommended COVID-19 safety measures in place and will be able to provide many students with relevant research experiences. Undergraduate and graduate students engaged in research should directly contact their faculty mentors to determine the status or COVID-19 impacts on the continuity of their specific research projects.

Financial aid

Financial Aid advisors are available to meet virtually to help you figure out how to pay for the upcoming semester. We can re-evaluate your family’s ability to pay for college due to a reduction in wages, extraordinary medical expenses or other extenuating circumstances (Request for Review of Special Circumstances Form). Be sure to include a personal statement explaining your situation and any necessary documentation. 

Financial aid will disburse funding Aug. 14. The deadline to pay your balance is Sept. 4. More information on payment plans, advance funding, and how to enroll on UAOnline to set up a payment plan are available on this payment plan website.

Residence Life

If you plan to live on campus this fall, you’ll need to schedule your move-in date and time before you arrive. This will help us limit crowd sizes and practice safe social distancing.You’ll find the scheduling links in the email Residence Life sent on July 10. 

Move-in appointments will be in 15-minute time slots. After you arrive, you will have one hour to move in. We highly encourage you to bring only one or two people to help you move. 

  • First-year or first-time students participating in New Student Orientation may select a move-in appointment between Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 8 a.m. and Friday, Aug. 21, at 3 p.m. 
  • Returning students may schedule a move-in appointment between Thursday, Aug. 20, at 8 a.m. and Monday, Aug. 24, at 8 a.m. 

Through the week of Aug. 17, a virtual help desk will have information about campus resources and offices for first-year and first-time students.

Dining Services

Self-service stations at Dine 49 will now be staffed or will offer prepackaged items. Undergraduate students living in residence halls and Cutler Apartments will be required to maintain a meal plan. You can find more information at www.uaf.edu/dining/.

College of Rural and Community Development, and Community and Technical College 

Rural campuses and the Community and Technical College will adhere to local government regulations for travel and testing restrictions for face-to-face workforce courses in off-site locations. Any student traveling to a rural campus or Community and Technical College locations to attend face-to-face instruction will follow university policies and procedures. Student services (admissions, registration, financial aid, graduation, etc.) are available at the rural campus and the Community and Technical College sites through in-person and/or distance methods. Please contact your local rural campus or CTC for appointment and support details.

Wood Center student union and the Center for Student Engagement

Once the university moves to Phase C status, the Wood Center will reopen at 50% capacity of rated space, except where a distance of at least 6 feet between people cannot be maintained. We’ll offer programs and services, and most of the events will have both a face-to-face and online option for attendance. The Pub is working toward being able to open in some capacity, although hours and programs will change. 

Student Leadership and Involvement will help student organizations fulfill their missions with the health and safety of the campus community in mind. The Nanook Diversity and Action Center will continue to provide programs that focus on diversity, inclusion, caring and wellness. 

Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities

The Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities is your advocate for your safety and well-being. CSRR staff can meet with you virtually, over the phone or through email. CSRR staff can help you communicate with your professors if you need flexibility with deadlines due to health concerns, barriers related to the current epidemic and life emergencies.

The UAF CARE Team can work with you to create an individualized care plan based on your needs. You can email the CARE Team for support at UAF-studentrights@alaska.edu, or refer a friend to their services.

In the first weeks of school, you will see a campus pledge emailed to all students. This pledge is a commitment to each other to keep everyone safe. If you have concerns for your personal safety, the safety of others or adherence of others to the COVID-19 health guidelines, please contact them for help at UAF-studentrights@alaska.edu or 907-474-7317. 


We are currently in conversations with the conferences for fall and winter competition for our 10 sports programs.

Nanook Recreation

Nanook Recreation will be open. Exercise equipment has been placed to promote physical distancing. Wearing masks will be required in certain areas of the facility.

International students

International Programs and Initiatives is monitoring and reviewing the Student and Exchange Visitor (SEVP) Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fall 2020 guidance published on July 6, 2020. Given that UAF will operate in a hybrid mode this fall, and if there are no changes to the SEVP guidance, the following applies:

  • International students will be allowed to take more than one 3-credit course online during the fall semester. 
  • International undergraduate students must register for the total of 12 credits. 
  • International graduate students must register for a total of 9 credits. 
  • International students must take the minimal amount of online courses to make normal progress towards their academic degree program.

International students should work with their academic advisor on fall course selections as soon as possible.

Current SEVP/DHS guidance prohibits international students to remain in the U.S. in an academic program that is 100% online. If a university chooses to run 100% online, then students enrolled in such a university will be required to leave the U.S., change their major, or transfer to another U.S. institution offering in-person or hybrid courses. 

If you are an international student and driving to Alaska, please check with the IPI office for other specific requirements. The IPI office is available for any questions at uaf-internationalprograms@alaska.edu.

Military and veteran students

Information on VA changes due to COVID-19 can be found on the UAF Department of Military and Veterans Services homepage. Chapter 33 and 31 students who need an in-person class for housing may use a face-to-face class that was converted to online to receive the full housing stipend. The DMVS maintains a current list of these converted classes and updates the list as classes are converted. Any face-to-face classes offered in the fall will show through normal course search means and are not listed on the converted class list.  

Students should register for classes and submit their Certification Request Form (CRF) for fall as soon as possible. The CRF must be turned in by the first day of class (Aug. 24) to guarantee processing by the add/drop and fee payment deadline (Sept. 4). If any changes occur in your schedule, please submit a Certification Adjustment Form (CAF)

The DMVS wants to make navigating this process as easy as possible. Staff members are available for questions at uaf-veterans@alaska.edu, at 907-474-7400 or by making virtual appointments


Your well-being and safety is a responsibility we all share. We want to give you a quality Nanook experience as we prioritize your health and facilitate your academic success. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. You can submit your questions and follow updates and responses to other questions on the UAF COVID-19 FAQ webpage.

We wish you all the best this fall!

— Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor
— Keith Champagne, vice chancellor for student affairs and athletics