COVID-19 UA Exodus

Classes moved to online, events cancelled, forced student housing move-out

Khrystl Brouillette-Janes, Editor-in-Chief

On Feb. 12, University of Alaska administration announced that instruction would be moved to online, residence halls would be closed and all events over 25 people would be canceled. 

“Prevention is absolutely critical,” UA President Jim Johnsen said during a press conference on Feb. 12. 

The UA system is on spring break this week, which has been extended into next week to give instructors time to change the format of their classes.

Classes will move to online delivery but none are planned to be canceled. 

Students living in residence halls will need to move out by Feb. 17, unless they file and are approved for an exception or exemption.

Throughout the UA system, there are 1600 students living on campus, many of whom will likely need extensions or exemptions. 

This policy is designed to keep “our university community safe and healthy,” UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield said during the same press conference. 

“Our campuses will remain open,” Caulfield said. 

UAS has 2  traditional-style residence halls as well as apartment units.

Apartment units can house only up to 4 students; many units are under-occupied, with some units only containing 2 students. 

UAS housing is recommending all students move-out of on-campus housing, regardless of if they live in an apartment unit. 

Forcing students out of housing will put a severe financial burden on them, with many not knowing how they will leave or where they will go. 

Some labs and classes may be kept in session, as long as social distancing can be ensured. 

UAS students can file for an exemption or extension on the UAS Housing website (http://www.uas.alaska.edu/juneau/housing/index.html).

Some classes may still be held in person if social distancing measures can be assured. Classes will not resume until March 23; but students must be out of their housing units by March 17. 

Students are scrambling on the UAS campus to figure out what to do. 

UAS Housing gathered residents in the Housing Lodge on March 12 to further discuss the move-out process and answer questions. 

Students were frantically emailing professors to find out if their class or lab will still be held in person, in which case they would need to stay in Juneau. 

Some were calling parents to make arrangements to fly home; others were checking the ferry schedule to try to take their vehicles with them.

Many students discussed how they don’t have a “home” to go back to.

UAS housing is willing to work with students who need more time to leave or cannot leave at all.

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