Monday, August 3, 2020

Testing for COVID-19

Asymptomatic testing

As we prepare to return to campus, some students and families have asked if the University of Iowa will require students to be tested for COVID-19 before moving into 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 (

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.

Protective equipment update: Pickup process for students

Upon their return to campus, all students will be provided with a protective equipment (PE) kit for the fall 2020 semester. Each kit will contain two reusable cloth face coverings, two disposable masks, one face shield, and one small bottle of hand sanitizer. 

Students living on campus in the residence halls will receive a PE kit as part of the move-in process. Incoming first-year students and transfer students who live off campus will be issued their kits at On Iowa! check in, in the second floor ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union, or at any of the campus pick-up locations.

Returning students who live off-campus should plan to pick up their PE kit at one of several distribution locations (listed below) between Aug. 10 and Aug. 23. Students will need their Iowa OneCard or student ID number to pick up their PE kit. The rain location is the IMU Hubbard Commons for all dates and all times. Directions and exact building locations can be found on the UI campus maps website.

Student PE distribution schedule

  • Aug. 10: Drive-through pick up, Hancher Lot 55, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 11: Drive-through pick up, Hancher Lot 55, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 12: Drive-through pick up, Hancher Lot 55, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 13: Pentacrest, 9 a.m. to noon
  • Aug. 13: Latino Native American Cultural Center, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 14: Pentacrest, 9 a.m. to noon
  • Aug. 14: Latino Native American Cultural Center, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 17: Latino Native American Cultural Center, 9 a.m. to noon
  • Aug. 17: Pentacrest, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 18: Hubbard Park, 9 a.m. to noon
  • Aug. 18: MERF east courtyard, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 19: MERF east courtyard, 9 a.m. to noon
  • Aug. 19: Hubbard Park, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 20: Latino Native American Cultural Center, 9 a.m. to noon
  • Aug. 20: Pentacrest, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 21: MERF east courtyard, 9 a.m. to noon
  • Aug. 21: Hubbard Park, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 22: Hubbard Park, 9 to 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 23: Hubbard Park, 9 to 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 24 to Aug. 28: Kits will be available at the IMU Welcome Center and the Office of Dean of Students.

Early pickup

Students who would like to pick up a PE kit early may do so by signing up for a time using this form. Kits will be available for students to pick up at the Iowa Memorial Union on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. until noon. If you need a kit immediately and cannot pick up one during one of the designated times, you can make an appointment by contacting Pam Krogmeier, Office of the Dean of Students, by email at

Reminder: Face covering expectations

Everyone entering a university building is expected to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Unless otherwise indicated, you must wear applicable face coverings (cloth covering, disposable or cloth mask, face shield) when on campus unless you are alone in a private office or with your roommate in a residence hall room.

Steps Forward update: University Dining operations

University Housing and Dining has made significant changes to dining operations for the fall 2020 semester. All dining and retail locations will implement the following measures: Hands-free payment, enhanced sanitation, installation of physical barriers, and signage and stickers to encourage social distancing and hand washing.

All three market places (Hillcrest, Burge, and Catlett) will have two styles of service, express and online ordering.

Express allows a student to enter the market place, select their menu items, and take them to go. No seating will be available. Reservations will be required to enter the market place, and can be made using this link.

Online ordering allows a student to order a meal through Grubhub, pick up their order, and take their meal to consume elsewhere. This option is available Monday through Friday in Burge and Catlett Market Places and Monday through Sunday at Hillcrest Market Place.

There will be no dine-in seating in market places, and there will be no self-service of any menu items, except for beverages. Made-to-order options will be reduced and menu items will be redesigned to ensure quick service.

All retail locations have discontinued all self-service menu items, and have minimized made-to-order stations and refillable beverage stations. In each retail location, customers should follow signage for entrances and exits. Additionally, the River Room Café, located in the Iowa Memorial Union, will take online orders only. The Street Hawk Food Truck will not be in service during the 2020-2021 academic year. 

Outdoor dining spaces will be available across campus.

Reminder: Campus event policy

As of Aug. 1, 2020, all essential in-person events (indoors or outdoors, on or off campus) will be limited to 50 in-person attendees and must follow public health and university guidance regarding protective equipment and social distancing or be offered through a virtual format. 

Hosts of events that do not align with these parameters need to complete this form for review by the UI’s Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT).