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Welcome to spring semester!

by Sean Parnell, UAA Chancellor  |   

Dear UAA Students,

Despite the challenges of these times, I hope everyone had a much needed break during the holiday closure. I want to welcome you to the spring semester. This semester, UAA leadership and faculty are not only focused on learning and career preparation, but also the health and safety of the UAA community. In light of an uptick of COVID-19 cases in Alaska, I am sharing new information to help you prepare for a successful semester.

First, we invite you to use a new smartphone tool called Exposure Notification Express (ENX). ENX will improve the ability to slow community spread of COVID-19 by empowering Alaskans to act quickly if they come into contact with an individual who later tests positive for the virus. The system is now available on iOS and will launch on Android Jan. 18. To opt in, turn on Exposure Notifications in your iPhone settings or download the Alaska COVID ENX app in the Google Play store. The tool is completely voluntary and anyone in Alaska can use it.

In addition, your instructors have the option to hold their classes online the first two weeks of the semester. Check your email inbox or Blackboard to find out if your faculty member opted to have your class delivered online through Jan. 21. This decision was made because many in our community are struggling with COVID-19, extreme travel delays and widespread weather-related damage. Learn more in this video message from Provost Denise Runge.

For students returning to campus, please remember the use of a face mask is required indoors on all UAA campuses, regardless of vaccination status. Find out more in UAA’s Mask Policy. Also, physical distancing, where reasonably possible, is very important. Maintaining these protocols while COVID-19 transmission was at a high or sustained level was key to UAA's ability to provide face-to-face classes during the fall semester and now into the spring.

As we continue to successfully innovate and adapt, we have reason to be optimistic that our UAA community will increasingly be together in class and thrive even more on UAA's campuses in 2022. Welcome back!

Sincerely,
Sean Parnell
UAA Chancellor

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