University of Alaska students return to class through alternative methods

Published: Mar. 23, 2020 at 6:37 PM AKDT
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The University of Alaska students have returned to class after an unexpected two-week spring break due to the Coronavirus. Originally spring break was March 9th- 13th, and then extended through March 20th due to COVID-19.

On Sunday, the University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen sent a letter to employees and students outlining what had been done to allow learning to resume, explaining that e-learning professionals worked on converting hundreds of courses to distant delivery modes, plus new free internet connectivity options for students.

Students living on campus were moved out of residence halls by a student services team, according to Johnsen. Student’s belongings were shipped and moved back to their permanent homes or other dispersed housing. In addition to moving students off-campus, Johnsen wrote that financial support for travel was provided along with refunds for housing, dining and graduation fees.

Less than 120 students are currently living on campus at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and those staying at the residence halls had to go through the petition process to stay on campus.

“We acknowledge that there are students who don’t have homes to go back to, examples of international students, or students who’ve aged out of the foster system,” Sandeen said over the phone Monday. “Many (students from rural Alaska) afraid to return to their village, afraid of bringing the virus with them. That’s another reason we might accept a student to stay at the residence hall.”

President Johnsen’s letter also mentioned dining halls were pick-up only, janitorial teams ‘ramped up’ cleaning, and scientists are applying social distancing to their research work.

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