Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Alaska Pacific University has prioritized the health and safety of our community members. We recognize that our actions, both as an institution and as individuals, impact the wellbeing of families and communities beyond our campus. As we have made plans for the Fall semester, we have worked with students, faculty, staff, community members, and public health partners to understand the impact of the pandemic on learning, teaching, and overall wellbeing. We are following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local authorities as well.
Alaska has experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases over the past month, and this has placed a strain on community resources. The State of Alaska and the Municipality of Anchorage have both increased measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. These trends have prompted a review of the Campus Reopening Plan, and we have determined that it is in the best interest of APU and our community partners to revise our plans for the Fall semester.
With the exception of a few classes that require on-campus or field-based instruction, APU will move all courses, including intensives, to distance delivery for the Fall semester. Computer labs on campus and at the library will be available to facilitate online learning. Fall courses that are offered on campus will move to distance delivery after the Thanksgiving break, and we will continue to review plans for Spring semester. There will be no change to the academic calendar.
Housing and dining services will still be available to students, and we will set aside rooms to quarantine residential students who test positive or need to self-isolate. Both new and returning students will move onto campus by scheduled appointments in the week leading up to the start of classes. We will reduce the number of students living on campus by reducing the density of our residential halls. We aim for every student to occupy a single room, with double rooms available upon request. First-year students will not be required to live on campus this year but may request to do so.
Campus offices will continue to function through a mix of distance-delivered services and on-campus staffing. We will facilitate telecommuting for employees, and employees will return to campus in stages while workspaces are configured to allow social distancing. Access to campus buildings will require an APU ID badge, and we will require prior reservations or appointments for public access to campus facilities.
Students, employees, and visitors participating in any on-campus activities will be required to follow protocols to prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus, including wearing masks in indoor spaces, maintaining distance from others, and following cleaning instructions. We encourage all students and employees to be tested before returning to campus. Those who test positive will quarantine at home or in designated residence hall facilities on campus. Contact tracing of those testing positive will be done by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). APU will implement a number of protocols to facilitate contact tracing, including tracking conference and class attendance, using ID badges to enter campus buildings, and limiting public access to campus facilities.
In order to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission among communities, travel related to APU business or academic programs will be limited. Out-of-state travel is suspended. Residential students will be allowed to apply for a winter break housing contract.
We must all commit to maintain the health and safety of the APU community, our families, and our neighbors. We are excited to begin the Fall semester and recognize our shared responsibility to follow public health protocols to maintain a viable and vibrant learning community. We will continue to update APU faculty, staff, students and their families, and our community partners as the academic year progresses.