University of Alaska has shifted to Phase B of our on-site operations plan

Dear UA community,

Effective today, the University of Alaska has shifted to Phase B of our on-site operations plan.

The change in system status comes with an increased emphasis on safety measures and personal responsibility, which is especially relevant given the increase in COVID-19 cases over the weekend. Some universities may ease restrictions on in-person activities on their campuses, provided they can comply with Phase B requirements and relevant UA policy. Some campuses and sites may choose to remain in Phase A until they have everything in place to safely operate with more people on site.

The specifics of operations will differ at each university, however there will be common themes. All of our campuses and sites will continue to have more restrictions than the State of Alaska because universities are inherently higher risk for the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, we have revamped some key policies that apply to the entire University of Alaska system:

Events – Organized public events and mass gatherings, whether indoors or outdoors, should not be held. We will reassess this policy when we change phases to see if it needs to be updated.

Campus entry – Campus entry remains limited to approved activities. In addition, while many self-quarantine restrictions have been lifted in Alaska, they are still required by the university for anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is a person under investigation for COVID-19, has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, is returning from travel outside the state or has been on a cruise ship.

On-site work – Most employees will continue to work remotely, with some exceptions. Employees will hear from their supervisors if they should return to on-site work.

Public facilities and services – Public facilities such as museums, gyms, and retail and food service establishments may be able to operate if they can meet all of the required safety precautions in UA policy and have the relevant chancellor’s or president’s approval to do so.

Please make sure you visit both the UA status page and the status pages for your university to review policies and see specific instructions about operations and required safety precautions. Employees should work closely with their supervisors, deans, directors and vice chancellors on any plans for returning to on-site work or providing public services.

Again, I want to emphasize the importance of taking personal responsibility for the safety of our university communities, especially as we begin easing some restrictions. You have done a terrific job so far. But with more people on our campuses, it’s more important than ever to take precautions to keep each other safe. That means wearing a face covering indoors and staying at least six feet away from others. It means washing your hands and covering your cough. It means staying home if you are sick and getting tested, even if you only have mild symptoms.

As we saw from case counts over the last few days, COVID-19 is not gone. Simple preventative measures are our best chance of keeping it under control. Thank you for caring for each other and our communities.

Jim Johnsen
President, University of Alaska