COVID-19 Update

 November 17, 2020

In this update from the University of Alaska COVID-19 Incident Management Team:

  • State health orders updated
  • Travel, campus entry restrictions guidance
  • Student testing guidance
  • Thanksgiving travel
  • New resource: What to do if …
  • Testing and reporting helps keep our communities healthy

State health orders updated

The State of Alaska has updated, renamed and renumbered its health mandates associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than “health mandates,” the state will now use the term “health orders.” Health Order 6 governs travel outside the state. Health Order 8 governs travel inside the state. Health orders have the same force of law as health mandates.

Travel, campus entry restrictions guidance

Updated University of Alaska guidance on travel and campus entry restrictions is now available on the UA COVID-19 website. These updates bring university guidance into alignment with state Health Order 6, which deals with travel outside Alaska.  Major changes include:

  • People traveling from outside Alaska are only required to have a single negative COVID-19 test and observe strict social distancing for 5 days after arriving in the state. After that, they can resume normal activities. Travel checklists for employees and students are available on the COVID-19 website. Note that a negative test is required in order to take advantage of the reduced strict social distancing timeframe.
  • The five-day strict social distancing requirement also applies to the UA campus entry restrictions guidance for people returning from travel outside Alaska. Once you have a negative test and 5 days has passed since your arrival back in the state, you are free to come to UA campuses. 

Additional updates to university guidance regarding in-state travel are expected next week. For information on what types of activities are allowed during strict social distancing, visit the activities guidance page on the COVID-19 website.

Student testing guidance

The university also updated its student testing guidance to align more closely with state travel orders. However, several sites are electing to impose more stringent student testing requirements, especially for students living in residence halls. Students should check with their local residence life or housing office for more information about the testing requirements at their campus.

Thanksgiving travel

The university has asked the state for clarification regarding testing requirements for in-state travel. We expect additional information by the end of the week and will update university guidance once we have clarification. If you are planning to travel anywhere for the Thanksgiving weekend, either outside Alaska or within Alaska, you may be required to get a COVID-19 test before or after you travel, or both.

New resource: What to do if …

If you or someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19, or if you are a close contact of someone who does, you need to take specific steps. Visit the new COVID-19 scenarios page to learn more about what you should do in a variety of situations. 

Testing and reporting helps keep our communities healthy

If you are exposed to COVID-19 or start having symptoms, it can be tempting to say, “I’m already quarantining; I don’t really need to get tested.” You should get tested anyway. Testing is an important part of slowing the spread of COVID-19 because it allows public health officials to track the spread of the disease, look for patterns and inform close contacts. And if you test positive, its also important to tell the university so that we can arrange for cleaning, identify close contacts and arrange for student quarantine or isolation. Visit the COVID-19 website to find your university’s COVID-19 reporting process.