General COVID-19 FAQs

University-specific FAQs


Vaccine

Operations

What guidelines are in place for university operations?

The University of Alaska is using a spectrum of COVID-19 metrics and mitigation measures to help guide operations at our universities and community campuses. Our goal is to fulfill our teaching, research and service mission while prioritizing safety for our students, employees and the communities we serve. You can find additional details in the following planning document: Guidance for university operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.


You can find information about operations at each campus and site at the UAA, UAF and UAS pages.

Why do some universities and campuses have different rules for things like masking or events?

Our universities operate in more than 16 locations. Conditions, such as the number of cases, level of transmission, health care system capacity and local mandates, can vary widely in those communities. Under the university’s guidance for university operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, universities have the flexibility to put additional restrictions and safety measures in place, if needed, to ensure safe operation.

Masks / face coverings

Am I required to wear a face covering in university buildings?

Masking requirements may vary by location and are dependent on local conditions. Follow the local guidance for your university at the UAA, UAF and UAS pages.

If masks are required at my campus or other university location, do I have to wear one if I am vaccinated?

Masking requirements, if they are in place, apply to everyone, regardless of vaccination status.

How will the university enforce masking in locations where masks are required?

If we become aware of an employee, student or contractor who is refusing to wear a mask or appropriate face covering, they may be subject to disciplinary action. If the individual is a visitor or volunteer, they may be asked to leave campus.

Reporting

Is the university tracking COVID status?

COVID-19 reporting requirements and tracking vary depending on location. You can visit the UAA, UAF and UAS pages to find out what the requirements are for your location. System office employees should follow the guidance of the university in the community where they work.

Why might a university require reporting of a positive COVID-19 test?

Reporting requirements may vary by location. If a university requires reporting, that information might be used in aggregate to track pandemic conditions on campus or to help with managing case clusters or implementing mitigation measures.

General COVID-19 information

What should I do if I have close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

If you are a close contact of, or live with someone who has COVID-19, you will need to take precaution to protect others. Please visit the COVID-19 scenarios page to find more information about what you should do.

What if I only have mild symptoms? Can I come to work or class?

No. Oftentimes the initial symptoms of COVID-19 will be very mild. Some have described it as feeling like mild allergies. If you have any symptoms at all, do not come to work or class. Get tested. Even if you test negative, remain at home until your symptoms are gone.

Should I get tested for COVID-19?

If you have any symptoms, even very mild ones, you should stay home and either take a home test or visit a testing location. Not sure where the closest testing site is? Visit the Alaska testing sites locator. You can also find testing sites and resources on the federal government's testing website. At-home COVID-19 tests are also available at most pharmacies. For employees, the university's health plan covers at home COVID-19 tests.

Is there an effective outpatient treatment for COVID-19?

Yes, the FDA has authorized several outpatient treatments. These treatments need to take place as soon as possible after diagnosis, so if you have symptoms of COVID-19 don’t delay in getting tested or in contacting your health care provider. You can find out more about treatments for COVID-19 on the CDC’s webpage on the subject.

How long might I be in quarantine and/or isolation?

Quarantine and isolation length will depend on several factors, including the severity and length of your symptoms. Please visit the COVID-19 scenarios page to find more information about what you should do.

What is the difference between “quarantine” and “isolation?”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the term “isolation” refers to separating people who are sick from people who are not sick. The term “quarantine” refers to separating and restricting the movement of people who may have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

How do I find out about cases of COVID-19 in Alaska?

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has a site for tracking known Alaska cases.

What should I do if I am feeling anxious about COVID-19?

We understand that some community members are concerned. If you would like to talk with someone, support is available to employees through our health plan:

  • ComPsych Employee Assistance Program - Offers counseling, referrals and other resources. These services are completely confidential and can be easily accessed by calling the toll-free helpline at 888-969-0155 or logging on to the ComPsych website. Find instructions on the UA EAP page.

  • Talkspace - Premera now offers an online service that connects UA employees to therapists and psychiatrists by video and text for about the same costs, subject to your deductible and coinsurance, as an in-person visit. Talkspace is a confidential, secure, online option for face-to-face therapy. It connects you to more than 4,000 licensed therapists by video and text messaging regardless of date, location, or time of day.

  • Therapy with a local provider - This option for personalized face-to-face counseling and therapy is suitable for more long-term or clinical needs, including medication management, and is subject to your health plan’s deductible and out-of pocket costs. Find an in-network provider by logging in to Premera.com and select 'Find A Doctor', then browse the directory, choose 'Medical Care' and then 'Behavioral/Mental Health'. This gives you the most current listing of network providers in your area.

Students are encouraged to reach out to campus Health & Counseling:

What is the difference between testing and screening?

Testing refers to a medical examination using swabs or other collection process and sending the sample for analysis to determine whether a person has COVID-19. Screening involves temperature scans and some basic questions, often done at the entrance to buildings, to determine whether someone has symptoms of COVID-19 and might need testing. Both are tools used to help prevent the spread of the disease.

Events

Can I hold on-campus events or gatherings?

Whether or not events are allowed will vary depending on location. Check the UAF, UAS and UAA pages for more guidance regarding events.

Do I need to wear a mask if I am going to a large gathering on campus?

There is no broad requirement at this time, however masks may be required for certain events or if local university conditions require reinstatement of masking requirements.

Travel / community restrictions

The university has retired its broad travel and community restrictions guidance documents. Please check your local university pages for any restrictions, and check local requirements for any destinations where you may intend to travel. You can find useful information on the CDC’s travel page.

Students

CLASSES

Is the university offering in-person classes?

Yes. All three universities have both in-person and online options. You can find information about courses at each of our locations using the class schedule search. Need help? Visit the UA admissions website to get connected with each university’s admissions team.

CAMPUS-SPECIFIC CLASS FAQS

  • Visit the UAA, UAF or UAS campus-specific FAQs.

DISABILITY SERVICES

Do my approved accommodations through the disability services office apply to distance delivery courses?

Yes. Students approved for accommodations through disability services receive those accommodations regardless of the delivery method of their courses. However, specific accommodations may not transition equitably to a distance delivery format. Students having difficulty accessing course content due to a distance delivery format should contact the disability services office at uaa_dss@alaska.edu (UAA), uaf-disability-services@alaska.edu (UAF), or mwthomson@alaska.edu (UAS).

I don’t have accommodations for in-person courses but may need them for distance delivery courses. Can I register with disability services if I have not already?

Yes. We understand that some students with disabilities may have elected to not register their disability previously with disability services, and may wish to do so at this time. Contact Disability Services at uaa_dss@alaska.edu (UAA), uaf-disability-services@alaska.edu (UAF), or mwthomson@alaska.edu (UAS).

FINANCIAL AID AND ASSISTANCE

Will it affect my UA Scholars award or Alaska Performance Scholarship if I don’t complete all my credits due to COVID-19?

It could. While there may be some provisions for appeals, students who are concerned should get in touch with the financial aid office at their university to talk about options.

HOUSING

CAMPUS-SPECIFIC HOUSING FAQs

  • Visit the UAA, UAF or UAS campus-specific FAQs.

CAMPUS-SPECIFIC CURRENT STUDENT FAQS

Employees

FACULTY

What resources are available to help faculty members teach online?

ALL EMPLOYEES

REMOTE WORK

Is a formal remote work agreement required for hybrid work arrangements? If so, how does that look?

A formal remote work arrangement is required if one of the following is true:

  • The remote work recurs on a regular basis and is significant (more than 20% of the time)

  • The remote work location is out of state for 30 days or more per calendar year

  • When the supervisor or employee would like a formal agreement documented

If I am a faculty member, when do I need to have a remote work agreement?

A remote work agreement is required if you are:

  • Working out of state

  • Working within the state and fully remote

  • Working in a location that is different from where the position is located and fully remote. An example would be a position that is located in Juneau but the faculty member works remotely in Sitka.

Do I need to complete another formal remote work agreement if I already have one in place?

No. If you currently have a formal remote work agreement or telework agreement, you do not have to submit a “new” formal remote work agreement. A new formal remote work agreement form, which was created by the Remote Work team, needs to be completed if your current telework agreement has expired, you change your remote work location, have a change of supervisor or have a change of position title or duties. If you need to cancel a formal remote work agreement, complete the formal remote work agreement cancellation form.

What is the process for completing a formal remote work agreement? Do I need to submit a new formal remote work agreement if my schedule changes?

If you are working remotely, you will need to complete a formal remote work agreement only if one of the following apply:

The remote work recurs on a regular basis and is significant (more than 20% of the time), OR

  • The remote work location is out of state for 30 days or more per calendar year, OR

  • When the supervisor or employee would like a formal agreement documented.

Please visit the Remote Work at UA website for more details.

LEAVE

I tested positive for COVID-19. What type of leave do I take?

As of Oct. 23, 2022, COVID-19 Administrative Leave (Earnings Code 467) will no longer be available on the web timesheet. If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 you should isolate following your university’s guidance. Starting Oct. 23, employees should use accumulated sick or annual leave to record time off for any COVID-related illness, as you would for any other illness. Work with your supervisor to see if remote work is an option as you are able. If you have extenuating circumstances and cannot use accumulated leave, please contact your supervisor and the university chancellor’s office. System Office employees should contact the Chief Human Resources Officer.

OTHER INFORMATION

Does the UA health plan cover COVID-19 testing?

Yes. Premera is waiving cost shares such as deductibles and coinsurance for testing for the novel coronavirus. In addition, the plan covers vaccinations, including the COVID-19 and flu vaccine, as part of the preventative benefit, which means they are covered 100 percent with no cost to the employee or covered dependents.

Technology

What equipment is available for students and faculty and how is that equipment being distributed?

UA has acquired a limited number of MiFi (cellular hotspots) and Chromebooks for UA faculty, students and employees who need to work or study remotely. Other resources include headsets, cameras and other tools for remote work. OIT also provides a virtual desktop service that can be used remotely from various devices for accessing programs and computing resources that may not be available on your home computer or mobile device. Any student or employee who has equipment or technology needs should contact their local IT help desk immediately to request equipment, assistance, and technology support.

Zoom only allows local calls, what can I do to provide a toll-free call-in option for out-of-state students?

Please visit the Virtual Campus Zoom Resources page for audio options, bandwidth requirements, best practices, training and other resources for using Zoom.

How fast does my internet need to be in order to teach or take classes online?

The speed you will need depends on what you are trying to do online, but here are a few guidelines:

  • For screen sharing only (no video thumbnail): 50-75kbps

  • For screen sharing with video thumbnail: 50-150kbps

  • For audio VoiP: 60-80kbps

  • For Zoom phone: 60-100kbps

What items will I need to set up a home workspace?

UA virtual campus has a list of accessories and tools necessary for setting up an effective home office or study space.

I need to work from home, how do I connect to shared servers and other network resources?

You will need to install a virtual private network, or VPN, on your computer in order to connect to UA networks. Additionally, you can use Google Chrome Remote Desktop or Virtual Desktop options. How-tos and installation links are available on the UA virtual campus site.

What programs require a VPN to access?

Acrobat, Adobe products, Roxen, TOAD and other software will require using a VPN to access. Find the complete list of programs that require a VPN.

How do I forward calls and access voicemail when working from home?

Directions for forwarding phones and voice mail for each university are provided on the UA virtual campus site under communications tools.

How do I test my home Internet to see if it's fast enough to provide streaming content?

OIT has a speed test site you can use to test your connection.