March 18 – Mask-optional policy – Message from Interim President Dr. Hilton Hallock
Dear APU Community,
I am pleased to announce that, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and analysis of local caseloads and hospitalizations, we have updated APU’s COVID-19 protocols.
Mask Optional: Masking is now optional inside all APU facilities. You may still choose to mask, and are encouraged to do so if you feel more comfortable masking or you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Similarly, if you prefer, you may choose not to mask indoors. It is important that we recognize that everyone has different circumstances and respect individual choices with regard to risk mitigation.
Vaccination or Weekly Testing: Over 89% of the APU community is vaccinated against COVID-19 and another 10% have been given exemptions from reporting because of geographic distance or recent positive COVID test results. We are therefore discontinuing the vaccination or weekly testing requirement.
Reporting: If you test positive for COVID-19, you must still report this to COVIDReports@alaskapacific.edu/ . You will then be advised of current quarantine and isolation requirements. We will maintain the COVID dashboard on our website to monitor caseloads as we track local conditions.
Isolation and Quarantine: If you are sick, please self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19. If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home and isolate from others for 5 days, regardless of your vaccination status. After five days, when you are fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and when other symptoms have improved, you may end isolation, but you should wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days. APU will maintain space for residential students to quarantine, if necessary.
Travel: Field trips and other off-campus activities must still submit risk management plans. When appropriate, those plans should address mitigation of risks related to COVID-19. Travelers are required to respect the protocols of their host communities.
Telecommuting: The telecommuting policy may still be used to accommodate health issues when necessary.
This is, in effect, a return to the “new normal.” Of course, we will continue to monitor public health guidance and local conditions, and we may have to reinstitute risk mitigation procedures if the pandemic situation changes. If you have questions or concerns about APU’s revised protocols, please send them to AskAPU@alaskapacific.edu.
I am so proud of the APU community for how you have taken care of each other and the broader community. I am grateful for your contributions to our ongoing planning, your continued commitment to following our pandemic protocols, and your flexibility, patience, and good humor in weathering this public health crisis.
Hilton Hallock, Ph.D.
Professor of Education
Alaska Pacific University