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UA, APU to require masks indoors

(WCTV)
Published: Aug. 1, 2021 at 6:47 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The University of Alaska and Alaska Pacific University will require all people, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a face covering while inside all university buildings. For UA, this begins on Monday and includes all UA campuses. This comes as the CDC releases new masking guidance amid rising COVID-19 cases in many communities across the country.

In a letter addressing the UA community, Interim President Pat Pitney wrote that since all university locations in Alaska fall into a “substantial” or “high” category, she finds it necessary for the university system to follow the CDC’s recommendation in order to minimize the spread.

“Because the delta variant spreads easily, it has become clear that we need to return to universal face masking in order to minimize the potential for the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses,” Pitney wrote in the letter.

The updated mask policy requires masks to be worn while in all classrooms and other enclosed rooms or university vehicles. Masks are only required outdoors where social distancing can’t be achieved. The mask policy does not apply to private on-campus residences or if a person is alone in an enclosed office while the door is shut.

Pitney also wrote in her letter that if the transmission level drops below “substantial” in a campus location for seven consecutive days, chancellors will have the option to loosen the masking policy on that campus.

Also in response to the recent high rate of COVID-19 transmission across the state, Alaska Pacific University is requiring masks in all indoor public or common spaces on campus. That went into effect this past Thursday.

APU is strongly encouraging students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated. University officials say some activities, like extended off-campus trips, will require proof of vaccination.

This article has been updated to reflect mask policies going into effect at multiple universities.

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