UAF BLaST Persists with Virtual/Remote Learning

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By Amy Topkok

The University of Alaska Fairbanks BLaST program is persisting through the pandemic and responding to decisions and recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). BLaST continues to offer biomedical research-focused courses to students at UAF, and has transitioned to a virtual format for the fall semester. This transition will also allow BLaST to offer these courses to partner campuses. Faculty at UAF have kept their research labs open through the summer, adhering to strict UAF, state and federal guidelines to keep their students, staff, and the faculty safe. BLaST also held their annual orientation on Aug. 22 virtually to welcome their new and returning students. Introductions of staff and students will help bring in the warmth and familiarity of the BLaST community.

The UAF campus is offering several options to faculty to teach, either online, through limited face-to-face courses, or using a hybrid of both for the Fall 2020 semester. The university dorms are also admitting a lower number of student residents to help reduce the chance of transmission of the COVID virus. Masks are required on campus, and hand sanitizer stations are now in place. Weekly meetings university-wide have been keeping everyone updated, as the situation across the nation and across the state changes. UAF already has had a well-established distant learning format for years, due to the state of Alaska being so large, but now more than ever, it is important to keep education available to all students who choose to continue their efforts in learning. BLaST staff are keeping in frequent contact with their students and providing information to help with this transition. Classes at UAF started on Monday, Aug. 24.

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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