Campus update: Child care survey reminder, pilot program update

Monday, July 27, 2020

Reminder: Upcoming Survey on Child Care Needs

Later this week, the University of Iowa will send a survey to non-UI Health Care employees who are parents or caregivers of school-aged children to better understand how families are approaching child care challenges during the upcoming academic year, given the evolving situation with school re-openings in our area.

Please participate in the survey if it applies to you so the university can determine how it can best support employees during this time. Those identified as the parent/caregiver of a school-aged child due to their family enrollment in a UI Choice or UI Select Health Plan will receive the survey directly.


Pilot Programs to Conclude on Aug. 1

To facilitate a phased return to campus, the University of Iowa instituted a pilot program involving research and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics to test health and safety protocols. Over the past two months, the pilots involving the two departments have successfully tested elements of the UI’s return to campus plan.

The lessons and best practices that emerged from these pilots, shared earlier this month, have informed the return to campus planning and will be incorporated into the Fall 2020 Steps Forward plan.

Now that we’ve established and tested health and safety protocols for working in a COVID-19 environment, the pilot programs are expected to conclude on Aug. 1. This does not mean employees who are currently working remotely will immediately return to campus, but signifies that we have reached a milestone in our planning process where we can end the pilots and begin including additional units and departments in the transition.

Because this is a fluid situation, both pilots will continue to work closely with the Critical Incident Management Team, university leadership, associate deans for research, Department of Public Safety, purchasing, and others to ensure all activities can continue or resume while protecting the health and safety of everyone on campus and in our communities.


Valuable lessons learned from the pilot have guided the reopening of more campus spaces for research, scholarship, and creative activities. While that looks very different from building to building and program to program, three activities are key when it comes to minimizing the spread of COVID-19: cleaning workspaces regularly and well; using face coverings and other protective equipment; and managing the density of occupants in buildings.

Building managers are working with Facilities Management on a case-by-case basis to refine the measures in place, such as determining the best placement of wayfinding signage, establishing safe foot traffic patterns within buildings, and making shared spaces such as restrooms as safe as possible.

At this stage, anyone whose individual ramp-up plans have been approved by their associate dean for research may return to campus along with any essential colleagues, staff, and students (so long as they were accounted for in their plans).

Researchers should continue monitoring the COVID-19 research page for the latest guidance and resources, and reach out to the Office of the Vice President for Research with any questions, concerns, or suggestions.


Over the course of the pilot, senior administrators and student-athletes, coaches, and staff from field hockey, football, men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, volleyball, and wrestling returned to voluntary activities. As of July 20, 2020, a total 513 COVID-19 tests were conducted, resulting in 26 positive and 487 negative tests.

In addition to testing, the athletics department implemented daily health screenings, mandatory use of protective equipment, and acknowledgement of health and safety expectations.

Athletics designated two facilities (Carver-Hawkeye Arena and the Hansen Football Performance Center) for the project. Using a single point of entry, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, additional signage, and establishing traffic patterns were implemented. These strategies also will be implemented as additional athletic facilities open this fall.

At this stage, return-to-work dates for additional athletics department staff, or the remaining athletic teams, have not been finalized. However, athletic teams will move from “voluntary activities” to “mandatory activities” as Big Ten and NCAA schedules are determined. Athletics will continue to follow guidelines established by the Big Ten Conference, NCAA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Any student-athlete who chooses not to participate in intercollegiate athletics at any time during the summer and/or 2020-21 academic year due to concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarship honored and remain in good standing with their team.