The University of Iowa is committed to helping you maintain your health, safety, and well-being as we respond to COVID-19. Review the university’s Critical Incident Management Plan to learn how our approach helps protect our community.
Throughout the duration, the university will maintain its commitment to excellence in higher education and a positive employee work experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Health, Safety and Well-Being
With community and statewide spread of the COVID-19 virus we are working under the expectation that all university employees are at risk of exposure. We are encouraging all employees to practice social distancing and follow hand hygiene recommendations. Employees may work unless they develop symptoms consistent with an influenza like illness or the COVID-19 infection. In that case, see the next question.
Employees who develop symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and self-isolate for a minimum of 7 days and at least 72 hours of being free of fever without the aid of any medication for it, provided that other symptoms have also improved.
If you are still reporting to work on campus and are experiencing symptoms consistent with or are diagnosed with COVID-19, please stay home and report your illness to your supervisor and/or local HR leader. Your supervisor or senior HR leader will follow the COVID-19 self-reporting protocol to request a cleaning and ensure appropriate notification to fellow employees.
The University of Iowa has developed guidelines for supervisors in the event an employee becomes symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19.
These guidelines follow Iowa Department of Public Health recommendations and include requiring the employee to remain home for at least seven days after symptoms appear, communicating to other employees within the unit or department, and closing off and cleaning the employee’s workspace.
It is important to NOT share the names of or personal information about individuals who have self-identified as having contracted the virus. Supervisors can find resources, including a communication template, by speaking with your human resources representative or through the links below:
Yes, the protocol still applies if the employee has been working remotely for fewer than 14 days. The communication to co-workers should include a statement stating the person has been working remotely for less than 14 days to help others understand the potential exposure.
The CDC recommends social distancing, which means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet, or 2 meters) from others when possible.
The CDC also always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces by using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask:
- The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
- The use of face masks is crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
Anyone who is worried about potential exposure should first call health care professionals so they 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. Points of contact are listed below. If you believe you may have been exposed to the virus or are experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) follow these guidelines:
Call or email the Student Health Nurseline (319-335-9704, firstname.lastname@example.org) or your local health care provider and inform them of your travel history and symptoms. After hours and on weekends, call the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics (319-384-9010 or the 24-hour helpline, 319-384-8819) or your local health care provider. You may also wish to schedule a video visit through MyChart.
Those who are voluntarily self-isolating should follow these self-isolation instructions from the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Those who are self-isolating should stay home as much as possible during the 14-day period, refrain from using public transportation or ride-share services, and monitor themselves for any symptoms (such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing). They should also stay in a specific room, keep away from other people, and use a separate bathroom, if available.
Family members or other persons who reside in the home may remain in the home during this period.
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:
- UI Employee Assistance Program, 319-335-2085 or email@example.com
- CommUnity Crisis Services (formerly the Crisis Center), 319-351-0140
If a student is in need of additional support, they should connect with one of these campus or community resources:
- University Counseling Services, 319-335-7294 or http://bit.ly/1PbwPol, to schedule an appointment
- Student Care and Assistance, 319-335-1162 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- CommUnity Crisis Services (formerly the Crisis Center), 319-351-0140
Public health officials are currently monitoring people at increased risk and have protocols in place to test if the monitored people become ill.
The criteria for when it is appropriate to test for virus is determined by the Iowa Department of Public Health. Currently testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 is only available at certain locations. Testing is now available at the State Hygienic Laboratory and the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.
While the transmission of COVID-19 to people from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented, the CDC recommends cleaning and disinfection with common household cleaning products. This will limit the survival of the virus on surfaces.
- Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces daily in common areas (e.g., tables, hard-backed chairs, door handles, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, drawers, elevator buttons).
- Wearing disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning.
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants, should be effective.
- For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floors, rugs, et cetera, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces.
Please check with your department, unit, or building/residence hall coordinator for more specific information about your spaces.
See UI Facilities Management's COVID-19 response page for more.
While there are now community acquired cases of COVID-19 being reported, the number in the United States is very low compared to influenza. The prevalence of influenza continues to be high. Every year we face a major threat from influenza in Iowa, and everyone who can should get their influenza vaccine and practice good hygiene like regular hand washing.
For more information about COVID-19, please visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html.