For some University of Alaska Anchorage students, it's back to high school. Evening classes on Elmendorf Air Force Base have been moved to classrooms at Bartlett High School following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. UAA classes on military installations were also closed because of heightened security.
Dean Terencio, UAA director of military affairs for Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson Army Post, went back to work in his office at Elmendorf last Friday for the first time after the closures. He says that he anticipated the disruption of classes, but was also in disbelief.
“I couldn't believe something like this could really happen in America,” he said.
Terencio says that the Elmendorf classes have been permanently moved for the semester to sites at Bartlett High School, Merrill Field Aviation Complex and Eagle River. He said there was well-organized cooperation from everyone involved and that “things went fairly well.”
There is not a significant number of students dropping at this time, however, Terencio says that a small number of students may drop later. This may be because many of the students are military personnel. They are currently working 12-hour shifts and some of their schedules have changed.
“I knew it was going to affect us,” he said. “They [students] are all rebounding.”
Terencio says students who drop classes because of the closures will be refunded.
Terencio's staff worked hard last week to call more than 700 students to let them know about the Elmendorf class move. They also put up announcements on the UAA Web site and on a telephone recording.
“The major effort was calling every student,” Terencio said. “Everybody. Military and civilian.”
He said that Fort Richardson classes are scheduled continue on post. However, students still need to car pool with authorized personnel to enter. If Fort Richardson becomes more limiting for students, Terencio says that they will move those classes to Bartlett High School.
“These situations could change on a day to day basis,” he said.
Audrey Foster, UAA history major and university employee, is now attending her evening classes at Bartlett High School. She said that she noticed some military students have already dropped the class due to changed schedules in their active military profession.
“There was a lot of faces missing,” Foster said.
Foster missed five days of classes. She saysher instructors are trying to catch up by asking students to stay longer, but they are getting back to normal as best as possible.
The students in her class joked about how they were “all back in high school.”
“It was a different atmosphere,” she said.