COVID-19 update from the chancellor

by Sean Parnell, UAA Chancellor  |   

Dear UAA Students, Faculty and Staff,

One month into the academic year, I am happy to report that the university’s safety measures against COVID-19 appear to be working. Our collective continued efforts of social distancing, masking indoors, stringent cleaning and a reduced number of individuals on campus, along with our proactive approach to reporting cases, have allowed us to maintain face-to-face classes and work environments. Your continued diligence makes this possible.

Several weeks ago, UAA updated its COVID-19 dashboard to provide daily information on reported positive cases impacting our on-campus communities.

Currently, we have around 5,000 individuals on campus for either one or five or more days each week, and about 40% of our classes are delivered in person. UAA’s reported number of positive cases with on-campus impact range from zero to seven positive cases per week. Online students have reported higher positive cases each week, but the impact of transmission has been limited due to their virtual learning environment.

I want to assure you that despite Alaska’s communities having been struck with the delta variant, UAA personnel continue to operate with care and caution for our students, staff and faculty to mitigate the transmission of the virus on our campuses throughout Southcentral Alaska.

While UAA's data and our daily experiences on campus lead us to conclude that our multi-tiered approach to COVID-19 safety is working, coronavirus can easily take over and compel us to take additional measures to protect our on-campus community.

Should wider, more significant transmission occur on campus, these measures include but are not limited to moving individual in-person classes, a building or the entire campus community to a virtual learning or work environment for a period of time. UAA Environment Health and Safety, in conjunction with university leadership, is continuing to monitor daily our campus’ health data and is prepared to deploy health and safety measures quickly.

As a reminder, if you are displaying any cold, flu or COVID-19-related symptoms, do not come to class or work on campus. UAA policy, regardless of whether you are vaccinated or not, if you have symptoms, test positive for COVID-19 or come into contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, immediately inform UAA Environmental Health and Safety at 907-786-1300 or via email.

Additionally, the university requires all students, faculty and staff to wear a mask inside university buildings to control the transmission of COVID-19 and sustain the health and well-being of our campus community.

UAA leadership is committed to ensuring a safe fall semester and will continue to work diligently to provide a safe learning and work environment. Please send any questions or concerns to Environmental Health and Safety or visit the UAA COVID-19 information website. Let’s keep our guard up, Seawolves, protect each other and ourselves against COVID-19 so we can continue to keep campus open for classes and work.

Sean Parnell,
UAA Chancellor

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