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.

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

The UI will also continue to rely on guidance from the Board of Regents, State of Iowa; the Iowa and Johnson County departments of public health (IDPH, JCPH); the Big Ten Conference; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the wearing of masks, social distancing, and other best practices.

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 encourages face masks, especially if you are unvaccinated. All students, faculty, staff, and visitors are encouraged to wear face masks indoors when they can’t physically distance, for instance in a classroom or meeting room.

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa currently prohibits the public universities from mandating face masks, but they are encouraged.

Do not harass a student, visitor, or fellow employee for choosing to wear, or not wear, a mask.

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: 

  • Individuals who are exposed and remain asymptomatic do not need to quarantine. They should symptom monitor for 14 days from the date of last exposure. Vaccinated individuals who are exposed should wear a mask in public and should get tested according to the CDC and their healthcare provider guidance.

 

Non-vaccinated:

  • Individuals who are considered close contacts and are not vaccinated should quarantine alone. The gold standard for quarantine is 14 days. Individuals may be able to leave quarantine early following negative testing, as directed by their healthcare provider or local public health department.

Students and employees should follow the guidance from the CDC and/or their local health department.

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, visit: 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 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. 

*UI Hospitals & Clinics (UIHC) employees should continue to refer to UIHC regarding policies and guidelines in health care facilities.

Testing

Asymptomatic testing

Students who are asymptomatic and in need of testing should consult Student Health’s testing web page.

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 mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

To be proactive, we are implementing a five-pronged approach that includes:

  • Prong 1 – Continued and widespread vaccine accessibility for faculty, students, and staff 
  • Prong 2 – Wastewater testing of residence halls
  • Prong 3 – Continuous monitoring of state, county, and campus metrics
  • Prong 4 – Encouragement of masks in indoor spaces 
  • Prong 5 – Enhanced building operations (filtration enhancement, safety stations, building assistant program) 

In partnership with the Board of Regents and the other Regents universities, we will continue to monitor positivity rates and hospitalizations in the city, county, and state. If we need to adjust our practices, we will do so, in compliance with Board of Regents guidance and Iowa state law.

Symptomatic testing

The UI is prepared to provide testing 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 (319-335-9704, or visit the Student Health COVID-19 testing page.

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, unless you are seeking emergency care for life-threatening symptoms.
  • Consult your UI Health Care provider, Student Health, or personal health care provider to see if you need COVID-19 testing.

Schedule a test through MyChart

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 69, 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 “COVID-19 Symptom Checker” in the 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), visit the Student Health COVID-19 testing page, or call 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.

Getting tested immediately after exposure will not provide an accurate test result. It is recommended that individuals, whether vaccinated or not, test in accordance with the current CDC or local health department guidelines. Students, faculty, and staff 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.

Faculty and Staff

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 university returned to regular pay practices on May 18, 2020.

For additional information, view: https://hr.uiowa.edu/administrative-services/covid-19-pay-practices/university-iowa-pay-practices-related-covid-19.   

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 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

TALA has been phased out. If there are concerns about a need for reasonable accommodations under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), students should contact Student Disability Services (sds-info@uiowa.edu). Students are also encouraged to contact their advisor or collegiate student services office for additional assistance. If students have other concerns related to their health and well-being, they may contact Student Care and Assistance (dos-assistance@uiowa.edu). Faculty are not being required to teach their in-person classes virtually. 

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 can be found here.

Full tuition is necessary to cover the University of Iowa's ongoing operations, including retaining the faculty and staff needed to provide instruction and student support services, whether that be online, face-to-face, or blended instruction. 

While the last academic year was not a traditional experience, the university is committed to delivering excellent instruction allowing students to receive course credit and stay on their education path toward degree completion and graduation. We are confident our students will receive the knowledge and skills they need to be successful.

Full tuition is necessary to cover the University of Iowa's ongoing operations, including retaining the faculty and staff needed to provide instruction and student support services, whether that be online, face-to-face, or blended instruction. 

The difference between the cost of in-state and out-of-state tuition is based on the premise that the University of Iowa receives state funding to provide higher education for students who resided in Iowa when they applied to the university. In this specific, unprecedented and unanticipated situation, this is a short-term circumstance and one that has taken considerable UI-wide efforts to ensure appropriate learning and make sure all UI students stay on track for future intended graduation. The University of Iowa is committed to providing world-class instruction to all of its students, no matter where they are located when receiving instruction. 

While the last academic year was not a traditional experience, the university is committed to delivering excellent instruction allowing students to receive course credit and stay on their education path toward degree completion and graduation. We are confident our students will receive the knowledge and skills they need to be successful.

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 on the travel 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.

    As of Aug. 15, 2021  the university returned to normal approval processes for student international travel.

    For additional information, see the travel page.

    More Information

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

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

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