Friday, August 21, 2020

Hawkeyes Care: Creating a welcoming campus

Our instructors have always played a critical role in helping incoming students transition to being members of our Hawkeye community and instilling a sense of belonging. This fall, your role is more important than ever. The majority of our first-year students are taking several classes online. For those of you who are teaching online classes, we ask you to make a special effort to help your students feel connected. Even though we may not all be together physically, students need to know that we are committed to their success and care about them.

For those of you teaching a face-to-face class, we ask your assistance in helping reinforce policies and practices related to health and safety on the first day of class:

  • Review classroom expectations, including that face coverings are required in all public buildings on campus.
  • Ask students to sit in the same place each class time. During class introductions, ask students to write down the names of those sitting around them. Students knowing who they routinely sit next to will aid contact tracing efforts if someone in the class is diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Emphasize the importance of completing the self-reporting form ( if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been contacted indicating they have been exposed.
  • Remind students to clean their seating area with the provided cleaning supplies.
  • Ask students to enter and exit the classroom and the building according to the building circulation plan (foot traffic).
  • Remind students to maintain social distancing, whenever possible, in and outside of the classroom.

Instructors will receive a daily report, by class section, of students who may not be able to attend in-person classes and/or may be absent from in-person/hybrid/online classes. The report will include reminders covering the following information:

  • Please work with the identified students who may need flexible/alternative learning arrangements (e.g., allowing the student to participate remotely, extending deadline dates, etc.). Students also have been asked to contact their instructors to discuss specific needs.
  • Do not request medical documentation from the student. The daily report serves as the official notice of their absence for course records.
  • Due to privacy concerns, do not notify other students in the class that a student may be absent. If the individual student chooses to notify others, they may do so.

Please work with your department to be sure you have a contingency plan in place should you not be able to teach your class. More information about the process for transitioning face-to-face and hybrid classes to online after the beginning of the semester, should that become necessary due to COVID-related factors, will be forthcoming.

Thank you for all your hard work in preparing for the semester to begin. We know you are working under unprecedented circumstances. Please take care of yourselves and know how much we appreciate all you do to support the success of our students.


Speaking up on COVID-19 health and safety guidelines

As we return to campus, we may encounter members of the campus community who are not following COVID-19-related safety practices and protocols. When this happens, we encourage you to:

  • Speak Up. Calmly and kindly remind the person about our safety practices. It is natural to be nervous about doing so. If you are nervous, keep in mind that it’s kind to remind. These reminders are essential to keeping the campus community safe.
  • Prepare and let it go. Prepare a brief phrase to say, such as, “We’ve been asked to wear face coverings when we are in campus facilities.” Then, let it go. Once you have calmly and kindly given the reminder, let it go. By giving the reminder and disengaging, you give the person an opportunity to consider our words.
  • If you notice that the reminder did not work, please report the behavior to your supervisor or your local human resources representative.

If you’re in search of additional tips and resources, refer back to your VitalSmarts training on speaking up to save lives and how to ask someone to wear a mask.


Guidance for employees returning to work on campus

As a University of Iowa employee, you have responded to the unprecedented challenges of 2020 with incredible agility, thoughtfulness, and grit. The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected all areas of our institution differently, and you have responded swiftly to rapidly changing information and recommendations, and enabled us to continue to educate, inspire, and lead the state of Iowa during these turbulent times. We value your commitment and efforts as we prepare to begin the fall 2020 semester.

Whether you are returning to campus, continuing to work from home, or a combination of both, the university is offering a variety of resources and education to help you and your co-workers, family, and friends decrease exposure to and the spread of COVID-19.

  • Important Employee Acknowledgement within Employee Self-Service. All employees are expected to click on the employee acknowledgment banner within self-service and, after carefully reading the statement, agree to follow the guidance provided regarding workplace health and safety practices and illness/exposure protocol. HR representatives will monitor agreement status within their units and may reach out to employees who have not yet completed the agreement.
  • Information about returning to work on campus. The university has provided guidance for faculty and staff returning to work on campus that includes information on topics such as protocols for health and safety in workspaces, self-reporting illness, and updates on various campus services. Please take time to read this document on the UI Coronavirus website.
  • COVID Safety Training—Return to Campus. COVID-19 Safety Training is now available to all university employees. Every employee outside of UI Health Care is expected to complete the brief training module as soon as possible, whether they are returning to work on campus or continuing to work remotely. Local HR representatives will monitor employee completion of the training. The training takes about 20 minutes to complete and includes such topics as:
    • Basic COVID-19 information
    • Expectations of employees (recommended behaviors)
    • Protective equipment expectations and guidelines
    • Social distancing and large groups
    • Cleaning and disinfecting

To access the training, log into self-service, click on enroll in courses, and chose course #WCVD01 UI COVID Safety Practices. If you are required to complete the training, it will also be visible in CQ (Compliance & Qualifications). Additional guidance and training for supervisors will be available in late August.

  • Support for employees in a vulnerable population or living with someone identified as vulnerable to COVID-19 exposure. The university is committed to supporting employees upon their return to work on campus, including those who are medically vulnerable and at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Employees (outside of UI Health Care) who fall into one or more of the high-risk categories identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or who have a household member in one of the high-risk categories, may wish to seek a temporary alternative work arrangement (TAWA) beyond the COVID-19 workplace measures taken by their department or unit. These employees can request a TAWA or have their unit’s HR representative do so on their behalf by completing an electronic request form. The request form and additional information is available on the UI Faculty and Staff Disability Services website.
  • Mental health resources and University LiveWELL. We acknowledge that these unusual times can take a toll on the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of our employees, and we encourage you to explore and share these resources supporting mental health at the UI. University LiveWELL continues to offer online courses on a variety of wellness topics at no cost to UI faculty and staff.


Returning-to-campus guide for students

The university has created a guide for students returning to campus that includes information on topics such as:

  • Protocols for health and safety in campus spaces,
  • Preventive measures to stay healthy and what to do if you get sick,
  • Steps for self-reporting illness and close contacts, and
  • Updates on how various campus services will operate during COVID-19.

Please take time to read this document on the UI Coronavirus website.


Updated event guidelines

Effective today, attendee numbers for all essential in-person events (indoors or outdoors, on or off campus) will need to align with room capacity guidelines that allow for 6 feet of social distancing. Event organizers are responsible for working with the building coordinator of the event location, obtaining updated room capacity information, and making needed adjustments.

All events must follow public health and university guidance regarding protective equipment and social distancing or be offered through a virtual format. When necessary, building coordinators should review and verify appropriate space use with Campus Planning. Contact Maggie Vogel ( for support.


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).


Reminder: Review and update all contact information

The university is asking all students to please review and update your personal and emergency contact information or confirm that the information currently listed is correct. The Contact Review page is located on the Student Information tab of MyUI.


Reminder: City of Iowa City and Johnson County face-covering mandates

It is important for students to remember that face coverings are required while inside campus buildings, unless you are alone in an office or are alone or with your roommate in your residence hall room. In addition, students should be aware that the city of Iowa City and Johnson County also have face covering mandates, requiring face coverings to be worn in public places.


Reminder: Protective equipment pickup

Returning students who live off-campus should plan to pick up their protective equipment (PE) kit at one of several distribution locations by Aug. 23.

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.

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 times. Directions and exact building locations can be found on the UI campus maps website.

Student PE distribution schedule:

  • Aug. 21: UI Hubbard Park, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 22: UI Hubbard Park, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 23: UI Hubbard Park, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

PE kits will be available at the IMU Welcome Center and the Office of Dean of Students from Aug. 24 to Aug. 28, 2020, for those who were unable to pick up a kit during the previous times.


Reminder: Student COVID-19 safety training deadline is today (Aug. 21)

The university has created a training course to help you transition to campus during COVID-19. This course was made available on ICON earlier this month. As a reminder, the deadline for course completion is TODAY (Friday, Aug. 21, 2020). If you have not already, please complete the course as soon as possible to ensure you are prepared to return to campus.

The course takes 30 to 45 minutes to complete and can be completed over multiple sessions.

The training modules cover the following topics:

  • Your role in returning to campus
  • COVID-19 myths and facts
  • Strategies for minimizing the spread of COVID-19

Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for everyone in the UI community is critical to our shared mission of teaching, research, service, and patient care. This requires shared responsibility, and we expect faculty, staff, and students to take reasonable precautions to protect their fellow Hawkeyes. As a UI student, we are asking for your commitment to this shared responsibility when you are on campus.