Dear APU Community,
The fall semester is off to a great start! I appreciate the campus-wide commitment to following the COVID-19 protocols we have established to keep the APU community as safe as possible as well as the questions that have been submitted to AskAPU@alaskapacific.edu regarding our response to the pandemic. As we are monitoring the situation and responding to questions, we want to keep you up to speed with the latest updates to APU’s COVID status and risk-mitigation procedures.
As of this afternoon, we have 4 active confirmed-positive cases, and a total of 7 confirmed COVID cases since August 16, 2021. The cases appear to be unrelated, and to date, there is no evidence of campus-based community spread. All positive cases must be reported to COVIDReports@alaskapacific.edu. We have created a dashboard for the APU coronavirus website which will be updated weekly.
The COVID-19 virus is transmitted through close contact with a person who is infected with the virus. Being in the same room or classroom as an infected person is not necessarily being in close contact. The CDC defines close contact as being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period. Close contact includes kissing, hugging, sharing eating or drinking utensils, and close conversations. A person with COVID-19 can transmit the virus starting from 2 days before the onset of illness (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days before collection of a positive test specimen), until that person meets the criteria for discontinuing isolation. If you are vaccinated and masked and come into close contact with a person who has COVID-19, the CDC recommends getting tested, but you do not have to isolate unless you test positive.
Eating and Drinking in Common Spaces
We received a question about whether it was OK to eat and drink in common spaces. With the mask requirement in place, eating is not permitted in classrooms; however, in other public and common spaces, you can remove your mask while actively eating or drinking (e.g., remove your mask, take a sip, replace your mask…). I encourage you to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather and the many new picnic tables on our campuses to enjoy your meals.
We have recently assessed enrollments and classroom assignments for Session and Module II classes. Most classrooms are set up to promote social distancing. Several courses were moved to bigger classrooms, and a few of the large lecture classes have been moved online because we did not have spaces big enough to accommodate social distancing. The latest room assignments should be available on the Courses page of the APU website by the end of the week.
From the beginning of the pandemic, we have emphasized the idea of shared responsibility in managing our response to the pandemic. Masking and vaccinations are the best ways to protect yourself and other students, faculty, staff (and their families) from COVID-19. Thank you for your continuing efforts to mitigate the risk of COVID transmission and commitment to the health and well-being of the campus community!
Hilton Hallock, Ph.D.
Professor of Education
Alaska Pacific University