Dear APU Community,
Welcome to the start of the 2021-22 Academic Year! As you know, we have been monitoring CDC and other public health guidance, as well as state and local COVID trends, and have been adjusting our COVID mitigation plans as new information becomes available. We have also done work on campus this summer to enhance ventilation systems and upgrade sanitation and PPE availability. I’m writing today to reinforce our latest campus protocols.
To facilitate return to campus for students, we will be reopening campus buildings from 7am-11pm starting August 16. You will not need to use your badge to enter. If you have permission for extended access, your ID badge should still provide access, even if you haven’t used it in a while. You still need your ID to access the Consortium Library.
Masking has been demonstrated to provide necessary protection from transmission of the virus and to prevent breakthrough infections. Masking is REQUIRED for all indoor public or common spaces on campus or in campus vehicles, whether or not you are vaccinated. Masking is not required outdoors; however, if you are not fully vaccinated, have a weakened immune system, or are participating in an activity that requires close contact with those outside your “bubble,” masking is strongly encouraged.
What counts as close contact? Close contact is being within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). A person is still considered a close contact if one or both people wore a mask when they were together.
Test whenever you exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. Furthermore, if you are vaccinated, also test 3-5 days after close contact exposure to someone who has tested positive, whether or not you are showing symptoms. You do not need to quarantine while waiting to test or waiting for your test results, but you should wear a mask indoors for 14 days following exposure or until you receive a negative test. The same protocol applies to people who have had COVID-19 within the last 3 months and have recovered and remain without symptoms. If you are not vaccinated, you should get tested 5 days after exposure, quarantine before the test and until receiving a negative test result or day 7 after exposure, whichever is later. Free testing is available at various sites in the Anchorage area, including the Alaska Airlines Center, Ted Stevens International Airport, and the Loussac Library (ANMC offers testing for students and for faculty and staff eligible to receive care at ANMC).
The Campus Life team is working with ANTHC to provide a free, on-campus vaccination clinic on August 26 and September 23, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm in the Art Studio in Atwood. More information about registering for the vaccine will follow.
APU strongly encourages vaccinations, and vaccinations will be required for participation in certain courses and activities. Free vaccines are available throughout the state.
If you feel sick or test positive
Stay home! This applies to all illnesses. If you are visiting a healthcare provider or hospital, call ahead to make arrangements in order to avoid spreading the virus. If you test positive but are asymptomatic, employees may make arrangements with their supervisor to work remotely. Students should contact Campus Life to make arrangements for classes and any necessary isolation.
We have been fortunate not to have any campus community spread of the virus thus far, but tracking campus caseloads is critical to our efforts to address the pandemic. If you test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has the virus through close contact, you must report your status to CRO Bob Meyer at CovidReports@alaskapacific.edu. Bob will advise you on next steps and facilitate contact tracing and other required notifications.
To learn more about COVID-19 symptoms and other ways you can protect yourself and other members of the community, see APU’s website (https://www.alaskapacific.edu/campus-reopening-plan/) or the CDC COVID-related webpages. If you have questions related to APU’s response to the pandemic, please send them to AskAPU@alaskapacific.edu.
I appreciate your continued commitment to preventing the spread of COVID-19. We learned a great deal about mitigating the risk of transmission last year, and we will continue to adapt our campus protocols as necessary. APU is a caring and resilient community, and I am confident that we can work together to keep our community safe.
Have a great year!
Hilton Hallock, Ph.D.
Professor of Education
Alaska Pacific University