UAA COVID-19 updates for campus events, students and employees

by Cathy Sandeen, UAA Chancellor  |   

Dear UAA Community,

President Johnsen sent this communication out this evening. I want to describe specifically what the latest news means for our UAA Community. Now that two COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Fairbanks (including one who is an employee at UAF), these decisions are more important than ever.

Commencement
The spring 2020 commencement and graduate hooding ceremonies planned for May 2 and 3 will not occur as in-person events. Moving forward, all events with more than 10 people will not occur for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year on UAA campuses. Commencement is an important milestone for our students and their families. Commencement weekend is the highlight of the year for UAA faculty and staff, reminding us why we are here. Rest assured UAA’s event planning committees are considering ways to celebrate and honor our amazing graduates this year with creative solutions. More to come on that.

Students
Courses: We are moving courses to alternative delivery methods for the rest of the semester. Faculty members will be communicating with students soon what those alternate plans look like and how course work and finals will be adjusted. We will continue to work with faculty members and departments that offer labs, clinicals and other hands-on courses to determine the best options for alternative delivery and to follow federal recommendations to limit the number of participants, provide for social distancing and exercise proper hygiene practices for any approved in-person meetings.

Residence Halls: UAA’s residence halls will not reopen this academic year. Students must leave residential housing by March 17 unless you have received an exemption. UAA housing and dining staff are working closely with all students to ensure all belongings are removed from rooms and shipped to students, if necessary. This decision has been difficult, but CDC guidance indicates high-density housing places individuals at greater risk of acquiring the coronavirus. We are committed to students’ health and safety.

Employees
Remote work will be more feasible and may be encouraged for some staff. Please coordinate these arrangements with your direct supervisor. Whenever possible, employees should convert meetings to a virtual format. Avoid in-person gatherings as much as possible. Updates to HR policies are underway, so more to come on those matters which are important to us all.

Thank you again for your continued teamwork and resilience during this uncertain time. Continue to check the university’s coronavirus response website and submit any questions you may have via the site’s online form.

Please stay tuned for ongoing updates. I so appreciate your consideration and team spirit over the past few weeks.

Sincerely,
Cathy Sandeen
UAA Chancellor

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