Clarification regarding travel/community restrictions

University of Alaska, President James R. Johnsen

March 15, 2020

TO:                  University of Alaska Community

FROM:            Jim Johnsen

SUBJECT:      Clarification regarding travel/community restrictions

Since my message yesterday, there have been questions about whether the requirement to stay home and self-observe applies if you returned to Alaska within the 14 day period prior to yesterday’s update. The short answer is “yes, based on guidance from CDC and the State of Alaska.

The requirement to stay home and self-observe applies to any employee or student who returned to Alaska in the last 14 days, or returns from now forward. If you returned from travel outside Alaska and a full 14 days has not yet gone by, you must stay home and self-observe for the balance of the 14 day period, which starts the day after you returned home. So, for example, if you returned to Alaska on March 3, if you are not ill, you may return to work again on Wednesday March 18.  If you return to Alaska on March 16, you may return to work on March 31 if you are not ill.

This restriction applies even if you have returned to work in the interim, since the potential incubation period is significant, and expanded travel restrictions always lag actual events. 

This isn’t a matter of fairness or notice, since the virus spreads irrespective of those issues.  CDC’s assessment of community spread has expanded even over the last few days.  While the CDC does not generally provide travel warnings for the US, the CDC has stated that community transmission is occurring globally, which includes the US. 

And today, March 15, the State of Alaska expanded travel warnings to all travelers returning from outside Alaska.  If someone traveling contracted the virus a week ago but has not yet manifested symptoms, we need them to remain out of the workplace until the full 14 day period has run.

Additional details can be found in the travel and community restrictions policy document on the university’s coronavirus response website.

I appreciate that we are in a dynamic period, with new requirements coming by the day, and that can be frustrating. I myself just returned from “outside” and will comply with these requirements while continuing to work through this crisis to serve our students with our skilled faculty and staff, our excellent technology, and our collective commitment to our mission.

Thank you helping keep our universities and communities safe.