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UAA spring 2021 semester COVID-19 update

by Tim Edwards, Director of Safety  |   

UAA Community,

I hope your spring 2021 semester is off to a great start. The Office of Environmental Health and Safety wishes to reiterate the processes and procedures in place to safeguard the well-being of our community from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As you are likely aware, we have implemented a number of measures and support resources to help prevent the transmission of the virus and comply with guidance, recommendations and mandates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local governments.

We will not send universitywide communications each time there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 within our community. However, Environmental Health and Safety staff, in conjunction with public health officials, will conduct contact tracing investigations and follow up with anyone who may be a close contact. We ask that you cooperate with these investigations to the greatest extent possible while respecting the privacy of those involved. For transparency, we will continue to post confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 exposure for all UAA locations on the COVID-19 information site. If you are located at one of the UAA community campuses, you may also have campus-specific procedures established by your director.

Health and safety measures

UAA has implemented the following proactive measures to protect the health and safety of our campus community:

  • Instituted alternate delivery for 70% of spring 2021 semester courses at the Anchorage campus and community campuses; 30% have some face-to-face component
  • Designated on-campus computer labs and ongoing use of the Consortium Library to facilitate distance learning
  • Placed buildings under restricted access while continuing to clean active public areas, offices, restrooms and classrooms daily
  • Implemented a policy requiring the use of a mask or face covering in UAA facilities
  • Sanctioned employees to work from home with exceptions only for those deemed necessary to facilitate essential university business
  • Reduced the residential community to 25% capacity with single occupancy housing only
  • Introduced a two-step COVID testing policy for residential students moving onto campus
  • Canceled all campus events until further notice

Vaccines
Vaccines continue to be distributed across the state through a phased allocation plan managed by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Early phases have focused on Alaskans age 65 and older, health care workers and long-term care residents and staff. As groups become eligible for the vaccine and point of distribution locations for vaccines are identified, we will send specific information. Current data on vaccines can be found on the Alaska vaccine webpage. If you are eligible to receive a vaccine at this time, we encourage you to do so.

Resources

  • The UAA Student Health and Counseling Center remains open at this time to serve UAA students. Call ahead at 907-786-4050 to schedule an appointment if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, new loss of taste or smell, or shortness of breath.
  • Employees should contact their health care provider and get tested if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The UA health plan covers COVID-19 testing. Review the employee FAQs for more information.
  • Students should consult the College During COVID website to access support resources and learn more about navigating the coming months. For more detailed information about UA and UAA operations, policies and procedures, visit the COVID-19 information site.
  • For information about COVID-19 symptoms and current health recommendations, visit the CDC or Alaska Department of Health and Social Services websites.
  • Environmental Health and Safety will continue to monitor this situation and consult with state and local health authorities to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information.

We appreciate your continued resiliency and look forward to a great semester.

Sincerely,
Tim Edwards
Director of Safety

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