UAA loosens mask restrictions — effective as of Monday, March 7

by Sean Parnell, UAA Chancellor  |   

UAA's updated mask policy takes effect today, March 7. Please read the March 2 message from Chancellor Parnell (below) for more information.

Dear UAA Community,

After receiving your thoughtful feedback, hearing from UA President Pitney, consulting with our COVID Business Continuity Team lead, and reviewing updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UAA is updating its face masking protocol.

Last Friday, the CDC updated its guidance on indoor masking, expanding the metrics it uses to measure community COVID-19 levels. The CDC community risk calculation now considers multiple factors beyond case counts, including hospitalizations. The new guidance also considers levels of population immunity among the vaccinated and unvaccinated. CDC masking guidelines are tied to these new metrics, which categorize local areas as low, medium or high. The communities where all UAA campuses are located are currently in the “medium” category. In medium status, indoor masking is recommended for those with underlying health conditions.

Given this new CDC guidance, starting Monday, March 7, masks will be optional inside all UAA facilities at all UAA campuses — including classrooms, residential buildings, offices, cubicles, in campus vehicles with others and outside. According to CDC guidance, in communities at a medium level, “People may choose to mask at any time. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.” Also, If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask, for the safety of others or for yourself, please do so. It is important to recognize that many people hold strong opinions about masking. Those who feel more comfortable wearing a mask should do so; those who prefer not to wear a mask should also feel comfortable with that choice; and everyone should respect those decisions. UAA will continue to supply masks in our buildings at no charge. If you exhibit symptoms of sickness, please work or participate remotely. We continue to provide hand-sanitizing stations on campus, at-home testing kits when available and rapid testing for students at the Student Health and Counseling Center.

Our Business Continuity Team is also looking into altering our isolation policy. Any changes will be consistent with CDC guidance. Please watch for email updates in the coming weeks.

UAA community members have done an excellent job of protecting themselves, each other and our communities thus far. We will continue to adapt our protective measures to remain consistent with federal, state and local government public health guidance. If any of our campus communities move back into the high category as defined by CDC guidance, we anticipate reinstituting the mask requirement or otherwise moving to mitigate the public health risk.

As we each recalibrate under this new guidance, let’s continue to support one another. We’ve helped each other so much throughout the pandemic and we will remain on that positive path.

Thank you, Seawolves!

Sean Parnell
UAA Chancellor

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