Health Information

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Iowa, visit coronavirus.iowa.gov and the Iowa Department of Public Health website.  

We know that dealing with this evolving situation can cause stress and anxiety. Please remember that there are campus and community resources available to faculty and staff:

If a student is in need of additional support, they should connect with one of these campus or community resources:

For more, see: https://mentalhealth.uiowa.edu/

 

Wellmark has announced they are taking the following steps to support their health plan members in seeking medical treatment related to COVID-19:

Waiving prior authorization processes. Wellmark will waive prior authorization processes for covered services related to COVID-19 to ensure patients receive the right care at the right time and location.

Covering diagnostic tests for COVID-19. Members will have no cost-share for appropriate testing to establish the diagnosis of COVID-19.

Increasing access to prescription medications. Wellmark prescription drug benefit plans will allow for early refill and we encourage the use of 90-day retail and mail order benefits. We also will ensure formulary flexibility if there are medication shortages or other access issues. Members will not be responsible for any additional charges if they receive a non-formulary medication as a result of a shortage.

Offering virtual health care visits and 24/7 help. We are encouraging our members to take advantage of virtual visits—a covered benefit for most Wellmark members when they use Doctor On Demand—to avoid the spread of germs. Members also have access to Wellmark’s BeWell 24/7 service, which connects members to real people who can help with a variety of health-related concerns 24/7.

Telehealth video visits. All telehealth video sessions with UI Health Care will be covered at no cost to UIChoice, UISelect, SHIP, and UIGradcare health plan members.

The University of Iowa has developed guidelines for supervisors in the event an employee becomes symptomatic or tests positive for SARS-CoV-2. These guidelines follow CDC recommendations and include requiring the employee to self-isolate until they have met Centers for Disease Control (CDC) criteria to discontinue self-isolation.

If the employee has reported to work in person in the last 10 days, the university will also close off and clean the employee’s workspace, when appropriate.

More information on reporting and notifications is outlined in the guide on the Showing Symptoms page.

The university shares current number of self-reported cases each Wednesday and in the COVID-19 campus update shared in IowaNow emails on Thursdays. Those numbers are also posted to this page of the COVID-19 website.

COVID-19 will continue to be present in the community for the foreseeable future, and guidance and information about the pandemic changes rapidly and must be continually monitored. 

The University of Iowa will continue to take deliberate steps to reduce the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus and will be proactively engaging with students, faculty, and staff throughout the semester to gauge health and well-being.

Campus leadership will continue to monitor a set of metrics to determine if the university needs to alter policies, procedures, or scheduling.

The metrics include:

  • New cases
  • Percent of positive tests
  • Available testing
  • Appropriate contact tracing
  • Ample classroom instruction
  • Staffing for critical functions
  • Course instruction transition to online
  • Classroom availability
  • Residence hall capacity
  • Protective equipment inventory
  • Cleaning equipment inventory
  • Johnson County school operation level
  • Child care availability
  • Proclamation compliance
  • Cases at other Iowa universities
  • UI Health Care capacity level

Faculty, staff, and students should fill out the self-reporting form if:

  • They have tested positive for COVID-19
  • They have been contacted by a public health agency and identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • They were told by someone that they were in close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19

The University of Iowa has revised its face mask policy to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) interim public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people.

Effective Thursday, May 20, 2021, fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in university buildings or on campus, except in health care settings and where required by state or federal guidelines (e.g., passengers on CAMBUS).

Currently, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) or two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen).

While wearing a mask is optional for those who are fully vaccinated, you should feel comfortable continuing to wear a mask if you choose.

NOTE: UI Health Care has separate face covering guidelines due to patient care. For full personal protective equipment requirements for UI Health Care staff, see The Loop. In addition, the Office of the Vice President for Research has posted guidance for the research enterprise on its website.

Employees who wish to request a workplace accommodation based on a health conditions should contact their local human resources representative to initiate an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation review with and Faculty and Staff Disability Services (FSDS).

No, questions and comments about mask wearing are strongly discouraged. Members of the university community are expected to be respectful of one another’s personal decisions. Whether or not to wear a mask is a personal decision that each person must make for themselves and for their own reasons. Many of these reasons may be unrelated to a person’s vaccination status. Therefore, wearing a mask may not be an indication of a person’s vaccination status.

At the university, we value respect and civility. Disrespectful behavior may be addressed according to the university’s ethics policies for staff and faculty. Behavior that constitutes harassment may be addressed according to the Anti-Harassment Policy. If you have questions, please contact your local human resources representative.

Vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., at least 2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or at least 2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine), and
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.

NOTE: Vaccinated individuals should follow campus mask and distancing guidelines. If symptoms develop, vaccinated individuals must follow the isolation protocols outlined on the What to do if you're sick page of the UI Coronavirus website.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided local public health authorities with new options to reduce the quarantine period for asymptomatic close contacts of people with COVID-19 infections when the full 14-day quarantine presents an undue burden.

The gold standard continues to be that quarantine will last 14 full days from the last exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and Johnson County Public Health (JCPH) continues to recommend that all people quarantine for 14 days whenever possible. 

For campus, this update will apply as follows:

Students

Quarantine as advised by your local public health department, or until you meet CDC guidelines to end quarantine

  • Students living on campus in residence halls will be required to complete the full 14-day quarantine period. 
  • Asymptomatic students may release after 10 full days of quarantine if the following are met:
    • No symptoms
    • Negative diagnostic test (PCR) taken between days eight and 10. Students who live on campus or live locally will need to order the test through Student Health or University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics to return to the classroom or on-campus employment. 
  • If social distancing is not possible, students must complete the full 14-day quarantine period.

Employees

Employees who want to quarantine for the full 14 days should be allowed to do so unless they perform critical functions that must be performed on campus and their department requires them to return to work earlier (within the parameters outlined below) due to a critical business need.

  • Asymptomatic employees may shorten their quarantine as follows, as long as they are able to maintain social distancing in the workplace:
  • After 10 days regardless of testing, or
  • After seven days if they had a negative PCR (nasal swab) test result on day five of quarantine or later. In this case, employees must provide documentation of their test result to Faculty and Staff Disability Services or their local HR representative before returning to the workplace.
  • If social distancing is not possible, employees must complete the full 14-day quarantine period.

*All exposed students and employees should self-monitor for symptoms throughout the 14-day period and stay home if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. For a step-by-step guide on how this process applies at the university, see this page

For more information on this CDC update, see CDC guidelines to end quarantine.

Vaccination

  • Eligible employees will be vaccinated at UI Hospitals & Clinics
  • Eligible students will be vaccinated at Student Health

For the latest information on campus vaccination, see: https://coronavirus.uiowa.edu/vaccine-information

No, the COVID-19 vaccine will be provided free of charge.

The University of Iowa strongly encourages students, faculty, and staff to receive the vaccine as soon as they are eligible, in consultation with their healthcare provider, but it is not mandatory.

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa has determined the public universities will not mandate vaccination. The university is obligated to follow the guidance of our governing body.

No. The university encourages everyone to be vaccinated, but vaccinations are voluntary. Any communication that may be perceived to pressure, force, or coerce anyone to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination should be avoided.

No. Supervisors/instructors should not ask their employees/students if they are vaccinated or if they plan to be vaccinated. Asking about their vaccination status may prompt disclosure of disability-related information or information regarding existing health conditions relevant to the vaccination. Be mindful to avoid discussing an employee/student's  vaccination status in group meetings, group emails, class, etc.

As a supervisor, you should first remind employees that this information is personal, and that they are under no obligation to share. Supervisors are encouraged to communicate the opportunities for vaccination that are currently available to University employees through the University Employee Health Clinic.

Conversations among employees or students would be difficult to restrict. Supervisors and instructors should refrain from participating in employee conversations about COVID-19 vaccination status. They should also be alert to any coercive or pressuring behavior among co-workers or students. If this behavior is observed, supervisors and instructors are encouraged to remind the participants that the University is committed to a voluntary approach to vaccination, and that no one should feel pressured or coerced by anyone.

No, the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory and there is no need to ask for verification of their vaccination status.

No. The COVID-19 vaccination is not mandatory at this time, and should not be a factor in assigning work, including whether someone can work onsite. When onsite, employees are required to follow University of Iowa COVID-19 safety policies.

Employees who are not able to be vaccinated due to a health condition and who wish to request a workplace accommodation based on a health conditions should contact their local human resources representative to initiate an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation review with and Faculty and Staff Disability Services (FSDS).

We ask that everyone respects the privacy of their co-workers and students by refraining from asking about their vaccination status. Vaccination status is a personal matter and should be treated as such. Asking someone about their vaccination status may cause them to feel pressured to share personal or private information. No one should feel this kind of pressure in the workplace or classroom. By avoiding questions regarding vaccination status, we are helping to ensure that everyone feels respected.

No. The university encourages students to be vaccinated, but vaccinations are voluntary. Instructors and staff should avoid any communication that may be perceived to pressure, force, or coerce any student to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination.

No. While wearing a mask is optional for those who are fully vaccinated, you should feel comfortable continuing to wear a mask if you choose. 

Testing

Asymptomatic testing

Some students and families have asked if the University of Iowa will require students to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to the residence halls. We recognize this may provide some comfort for families, but it is not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the following reasons:

  • One-time testing only provides data for a specific point in time and can miss cases in the early stages of infection, giving students a false sense of security.
  • One-time testing requires significant resources, including trained staff to conduct the tests, personal protective equipment, and physical space for conducting testing safely and ensuring privacy.

Poorly administered mass testing can result in damaged or inconclusive results and excessive false negatives. For this reason, the university is focusing its resources on CDC recommended infection prevention measures including:

  • Reducing campus density
  • Modifying classrooms and facilities to promote social distancing
  • Providing and mandating cloth face coverings
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection

Symptomatic testing

The UI is prepared to test symptomatic individuals and asymptomatic individuals with a known COVID-19 exposure in coordination with Johnson County Public Health. The UI will only administer tests approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A student who believes they have been exposed to the virus or is experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) should call or email the Student Health Nurseline (319-335-9704student-health@uiowa.edu).

The university will proactively engage with students throughout the semester to gauge their health and well-being and provide resources to support both their physical and mental health.

The university has been developing and implementing policies and procedures to help lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms consistent with a COVID-19 infection or has concerns about a potential exposure should follow this process:

  • If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, stay home.
  • Do not go to class or work while symptomatic. If you develop symptoms while on campus, go home or return to your dorm room.
  • Call a health care professional who can assess your symptoms and risk factors and help you make a plan. DO NOT walk in to QuickCare, Student Health, any UI Health Care clinic, the State Hygienic Lab, or any emergency room.
  • Consult your UI Health Care provider, Student Health, or personal health care provider to see if you need a COVID-19 testing.

Schedule a test through MyChart

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 55, the new Symptom Checker service can help you quickly determine if you need to schedule a COVID-19 test or a telehealth video visit.

Here’s how it works:

  • Log into MyChart.
  • Click “symptom checker” under the left-hand menu.
  • Answer a brief set of questions.
  • Based on your answers you’ll be directed to the next step.

Not a MyChart member? Learn more or sign up today by visiting: 

 https://uihc.org/primary-and-specialty-care/get-know-mychart

OR

Students
Call or email the Student Health Nurseline (319-335-9704, student-health@uiowa.edu) or your local health care provider. After hours and on weekends, call the UI Hospitals & Clinics (319-384-9010 or the 24-hour helpline, 319-384-8819) or schedule a video visit through MyChart.

The health care provider you work with will determine whether you qualify for COVID-19 testing.

Employees
Call your health care provider or the UI Hospitals & Clinics (319-384-9010) and inform them of your symptoms or schedule a video visit through MyChart.

The health care provider you work with will determine whether you qualify for COVID-19 testing.

Students who contact Student Health for evaluation of COVID-19 symptoms or exposure will not be charged for the telehealth visit. If a test is ordered, it will typically be sent to the UIHC for processing. The UIHC will bill a student’s insurance for collection and processing of the test. Students who have concerns about payment should call the Student Health Nurseline (319-335-9704) or talk to their Student Health provider during the telehealth visit to discuss possible alternative arrangements for testing.

A student can choose to utilize UIHC and schedule a MyChart video visit/test ordered through UIHC. UIHC will bill insurance for the telehealth visit(s) and testing, and students may be responsible for charges. The cost for a University of Iowa Health Care COVID-19 lab test is $190. Insurance companies across the state of Iowa, including Medicare, Medicaid, Wellmark, Aetna, and United Healthcare have agreed to waive cost-sharing if COVID-19 testing is necessary.

See the UIHC website for cost and coverage information for COVID evaluation and testing. The UIHC billing office can answer questions or explore options related to hospital charges.

After exposure, it can take up to 14 days to become symptomatic and have enough virus to show up on a test. Getting tested immediately after exposure will not provide an accurate test result. Students who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms should follow campus guidelines for quarantine and isolation.

Do not complete the self-reporting form unless you have tested positive or have been contacted by a public health agency and identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Students in essential roles that require some level of (socially distanced) face-to-face interaction had shared concerns, feedback, and interest in being tested. The Division of Student Life was supportive of starting a pilot at a time in the semester when Student Health was able to manage the testing.

This pilot program aligns with the actions of our peer institutions and follows other proactive steps the university has taken to minimize the spread of the virus including:

  • Reducing campus density
  • Mandating face coverings
  • Providing protective equipment
  • Installing plexiglass in visitor areas
  • Modifying classrooms and facilities to promote social distancing
  • Upgrading air filtration systems
  • Enhancing cleaning and disinfection protocols

Student Health will use the PCR test (obtained by a nasopharyngeal swab) used by UI Health Care.

The pilot testing can be managed with existing resources and the University of Iowa will not incur additional direct costs. Larger scale testing is not currently possible because of costs and resources.

This program will be free to the student employees who wish to participate.

If you would like to get a test but are not are not symptomatic, and are not eligible for the pilot at this time, there are locations such as Hy-Vee or Test Iowa that may be able to provide this service.

Faculty and Staff

No, it does not.  If there are concerns about a need for accommodations under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), students should contact Student Disability Services which will be following pre-COVID policies and procedures. If students have other concerns related to their health and wellbeing they may contact Student Care and Assistance.  Faculty are not being required to teach their in-person classes virtually.  Students may also contact their academic advisors or collegiate academic affairs office to discuss potential options.

With the university facing $70M in losses due to the pandemic, the university returned to regular pay practices on May 18, 2020.

As a result, each college and unit will be working to understand potential changes in enrollment and making decisions about future staffing needs based on projections.

Faculty

Contract extensions and new hires will follow regular processes based on the academic and research needs of the employing college.

Staff (P&S, Merit)

If meaningful work is not available for a current position, employees will be asked to register for the temporary redeployment pool and accept redeployment when offered, and will utilize paid vacation leave or comp time (if applicable), or request unpaid leave.

Paid leave

If an employee (faculty, staff, or student) is unable to work due to a COVID-19-related health condition or because of responsibilities of caring for a child whose school or childcare provider has closed due to COVID-19, there continue to be paid leave options depending on the employee category and eligibility. For more details on paid leave options and examples of specific leave scenarios, please review the COVID-19 Leave Scenarios.

UI Health Care will issue more specific guidelines for its employees.

The university’s goal is to maintain the safety and well-being of its employees while keeping as many in paid status as possible. As always, the UI will comply with all applicable laws, rules, regulations, and policies regarding pay practices and funding sources.

You can find more information on the human resources website or by speaking with your human resources representative. See full FAQ.

We understand some members of our community may be unable to work because they are sick, caring for a loved one, or because of other complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you find yourself in any of these circumstances, you will be eligible for additional paid leave as described below, and your job will be protected until you return.

DETAILS

The Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provides 80 hours of new paid sick leave (prorated for part-time employees) for COVID-related needs. 

The Board of Regents also has authorized the university to provide additional sick leave for COVID-19-related needs and has waived the cap on family-caregiving leave.

Additionally, the Federal Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act provides up to 12 weeks of job-protected FMLA leave for employees who need to care for children during school closures.

If you would like to know more, you can find a list of FAQs here

If you have additional questions about pay and paid leave, please reach out to your designated HR representative who will consult with Faculty and Staff Disability Services if you are part of the main campus, or with Leave and Disability Administration if you are a member of the UI Health Care team.

UI Health Care will issue more specific guidelines for its employees on the application of these new rules.

University Human Resources Family Services office has resources to assist in finding alternate child care arrangements. This site will be updated regularly as new information and resources for our caregivers of children becomes available. Managers should direct employees here for assistance.

In addition, the new Federal Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion provides up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for employees who are unable to work due to the need to care for a minor child due to school or childcare closures as described above.

Please visit the UI Human Resources website: https://hr.uiowa.edu/policies/emergency-preparedness.

The university is following its Critical Incident Management Plan. 

You can view the plan here.

With more than 30,000 students and almost 30,000 employees, the University of Iowa is nearly as large as the 10th most populous city in Iowa. Like most cities and government agencies during an emergency, the university establishes an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and follows the Incident Command System (ICS) structure outlined in the National Incident Management System (NIMS). This is a standard best practice designed to enable teams with a variety of skill sets to work together in an emergency to save lives, stabilize incidents, and protect property and the environment.

At Iowa, the president assigns specific positions to the EOC based on the type of incident or emergency, and the appointed group is commonly referred to as the Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT). The positions reflect ICS structure under NIMS and include:

  • Incident commander
  • Safety officer
  • Public information officer
  • Planning section chief
  • Operations section chief
  • Logistics section chief
  • Finance and administration section chief

Additional individuals are then assigned to each section to represent various emergency support functions (ESF) like medical care, housing, research, and academics. While the CIMT is charged with ensuring critical tasks are completed in a timely fashion, all decisions must:

  • Align with local, state, and federal guidance
  • Reflect the direction of the governor and Board of Regents, State of Iowa
  • Be approved by the president

As the CIMT worked to develop policies and processes for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, it solicited input from various experts across campus. For example, in the spring, the CIMT established several planning teams to create operational scenarios for returning to campus, including the Positive Case Response Work Group and Health and Safety Work Group, which include members of the Carver College of Medicine and College of Public Health.

It also ensured Iowa’s EOC structure also reflected the Shared Governance process, with Faculty Senate, Staff Council, Undergraduate Student Government (USG), and Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) leaders serving on planning teams and now as liaison officers to the CIMT. The EOC structure is not intended to replace existing decision-making processes, but rather maximize flexibility and responsiveness during an emergency.

A full organizational chart can be viewed here.

Students and Parents

No, it does not. It has been phased out. If you have concerns about a need for accommodations due to health-related issues you should initiate the process through Faculty and Staff Disability Services (https://hr.uiowa.edu/support/faculty-and-staff-disability-services), which will determine whether a reasonable accommodation can be made based on the data provided.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) that provides emergency funding to higher education for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The University of Iowa’s Office of Financial Aid has completed distributing the $8.086 million the university received from the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to assist UI students experiencing financial difficulties related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. About 4,700 eligible students received assistance, with an average award of $1,712.

  • 85% of recipients are undergraduate students, 10% are professional students, and 5% are graduate students.
  • 33% of the recipients are first-generation students.
  • 33% of the total number of undergraduate student recipients also are Pell Grant recipients. (Graduate and professional students are not eligible for Pell Grants.)

To be eligible students had to meet Title IV eligibility requirements, demonstrate a financial hardship due to COVID-19 pandemic, and have submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The University is required to provide details on the distribution of these funds to students, and is available here: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Report (PDF).

University recommendations for students considering participating in in-person Experiential Education programs (including, but not limited to, internships, externships, field experiences, research activities, clinical programs, practicums, co-ops, student teaching programs, service-learning, etc.) domestically or internationally for Summer 2021 sessions can be found here.

Travel

“University-sponsored” does not mean personal travel but includes any of the following:

  • University staff, faculty, or students who are traveling due to their position with the university.
  • Funding is being provided by the university.
  • Funding is provided by a grant or contract that is managed by the university.
  • Funding is provided by a third party, but the purpose of the travel is due to the staff or faculty’s position within the university.

     

    Effective June 1, 2021, the university returned to normal approval processes for employees engaging in university-sponsored international travel. 

    Following standard pre-pandemic travel requirements, international trips for employees need to be created and approved through workflow. ProTrav is available for the creation of international trips for university travel purposes.

    Additional information can be found in the travel section of the FAQ page.

    Faculty and staff inquiries regarding international travel can be directed to safety-abroad@uiowa.edu.

    Students

    Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students traveling for a university purpose may submit an international travel registration request to International Programs for consideration. Approved student travel is entered in the ProTrav system by International Programs. 

    Student travel to destinations with a U.S. Department of State travel advisory risk rating of level 3 or higher must submit a high-risk travel proposal for consideration as part of travel registration or study abroad enrollment. High-risk travel proposals are reviewed by the Travel Advisory Committee, and committee recommendations are shared with the university Provost or a designated delegate for final decision making.

    All travel approved for university purposes is enrolled in a mandatory Iowa Regents international travel policy that includes robust coverage for medical and security needs. Given the uncertainty facing travel, the university will allow departments to purchase additional travel cancellation insurance for university travel. Please check your funding source to ensure costs are allowable (i.e., NIH grants). Travel cancellation insurance can be purchased from our international travel insurance provider.

    The traveler or department should make a reasonable effort to get expenses (conference registration, hotel deposits, etc.) refunded. Nonrefundable expenses will be covered by the original funding source for the trip if allowed. Departments should confirm allowability from the external sponsor funding sources to ensure costs are allowable. If not allowable, then nonrefundable travel costs should be funded by the department.

    Starting Aug. 15, 2021, the university will return to normal approval processes for student international travel.

    International travel is currently limited. The university will continue to monitor travel risks and modify guidelines as conditions change.

    Undergraduate study abroad program enrollments will not be approved for departures through Aug. 1, 2021 to ensure adequate time for pre-departure preparations.

    Undergraduate study abroad program enrollments departing after Aug. 1 and before Aug. 15 require a high-risk travel proposal to International Programs for consideration.

    More Information

    More information on COVID-19 for graduate students, compiled by the Graduate College. 

    MORE

    Information and frequently asked questions for prospective students and their parents compiled by the Office of Admissions.

    MORE

    Frequently asked questions for International Students and Scholars compiled by International Programs.

    MORE