Monday, August 17, 2020

Campus COVID-19 metrics

We are just a week away from the start of classes and can feel the surge in energy as students move into our residence halls and nearby housing, dine with friends and family, and get settled for the fall semester. We are pleased to see you wearing masks and doing your part to limit the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and in our community.

As you know, the University of Iowa is taking deliberate steps to reduce the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus and will be proactively engaging with our students, faculty, and staff throughout the semester to gauge your health and well-being. The university is prepared to test symptomatic individuals and asymptomatic individuals with a known COVID-19 exposure and will coordinate with the Johnson County Department of Public Health on a unified response for contact tracing and disease investigation for UI community members.

Part of our planning for fall has been to finalize the metrics that will be used by campus leadership to determine if the university needs to alter plans and move classes online before Thanksgiving break. 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

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. While we are excited about the vaccine trials happening at our own world-class academic medical center, we are prepared to make difficult decisions about the fall semester, if necessary. We are committed to excellence in education, research, and health care no matter what hurdles come our way.


Academic updates for faculty and instructors

As the University of Iowa continues to prepare to resume fall semester classes, we would like to share classroom guidance for instructors related to COVID-19.

Classroom requirements

All faculty, staff, and students must wear applicable face coverings (cloth covering, disposable or cloth mask, face shield) when on campus unless they are alone in a private office or with their roommate in a residence hall room, maintain social distancing, and stay home if they have been exposed to, are diagnosed with, or experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Our primary goal is for voluntary compliance with this effort. However, if absolutely necessary, repeated failure to comply with these requirements may be addressed through University Human Resources and/or the Office of Student Accountability.

Faculty and instructors should model appropriate behavior for students, and orally review these requirements for a few minutes at the beginning of each class before the add/drop deadline on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020.

If a student fails to adhere to the requirements during a particular class, instructors should first:

  • Ask the student to comply with university requirements (and offer a face covering from the supply in the classroom).

If a student disrupts the classroom environment through their failure to comply with the reasonable directive of an instructor or the university, instructors should take the following action, in quick succession:

  • If a student fails to comply, ask the student to leave the classroom immediately.
  • If the student fails to leave, consider one of the following:
    • Canceling the remainder of class for the day. This should be the primary response.
    • Calling the UI Police Department (319-335-5022) for assistance.

After class, instructors should:

  • For students who failed to comply: Immediately file a report with the Office of Student Accountability (OSA). OSA will alert the student that they will not be allowed to return to class until the matter is addressed following UI’s conduct process.
  • For students who chose to comply when addressed: Consider an email or other communication to remind the student of the requirement for future classes, but also to allow the student to explain their action in a way that might help prevent future non-compliance.
  • Immediately communicate a class cancellation or call the UI Police Department due to non-compliance to your academic unit leader (department head, director, etc.) and Office of Student Accountability (OSA) through the reporting form and, as soon as possible, produce a written record of the facts.

The university will do all it can to ensure the campus community understands and follows the health and safety requirements. Students, faculty, and staff are being asked to acknowledge the expectations in writing and watch an educational video before the start of the semester. Ample signage also will be placed around campus to communicate the requirements.


On Iowa! to be delivered in a blended format

In the coming week, you and your fellow students will begin to arrive on campus and begin your experience as Hawkeyes. As part of your transition into the university community, you are expected to attend the On Iowa! program, which provides you with opportunities to connect with other students, learn about University of Iowa traditions and resources, and explore activities and student organizations on campus.

To support social distancing, many of the On Iowa! events this year will be delivered virtually or in a blend of online and in-person. As a reminder, all students, faculty, and staff must wear applicable face coverings (cloth covering, disposable or cloth mask, face shield) and follow social distancing guidelines. Visit the On Iowa! Events Calendar for a full schedule of events offered during the week of Aug. 17 to Aug. 22.


Update on study abroad and student travel

Based on a risk assessment and guided by UI International Travel Policy for Students, UI International Programs does not plan to enroll students in international travel through at least Nov. 15, 2020.

International travel may be on hold, but International Programs is continuing to develop new ways students can connect with the world. Learn more about international educational opportunities available here in Iowa.