Wednesday, August 26, 2020

President Harreld shares open letter to the Iowa City business community

I want to thank everyone who has been following the community’s health and safety guidance throughout this pandemic. No single group ultimately will be responsible for our overall success or failure in combating this virus. The responsibility rests with all of us, including everyone on campus and in the surrounding community, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Though we have been working with our community partners throughout our planning process for the fall semester, I have been exceedingly disappointed in some of the downtown businesses and their choices to disregard the public health proclamation from the governor. These actions have led to an increase in the transmission of COVID-19 in our community, and we, as a community, will now have to respond.

I am now formally asking the Iowa City business community to join us in this effort so we can lower the risk of further spreading COVID-19.

Read the full letter here.

Bruce Harreld, president


Reminder: COVID-19 testing process

Students who are experiencing symptoms or have been told they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should follow this process for determining whether they need a COVID-19 test:

  1. Contact Student Health by visiting the website (, calling the Student Health Nurseline (319-335-9704), or sending an email ( about your symptoms, questions, or testing options. Students who call UI Hospitals & Clinics will be redirected to Student Health.
  2. DO NOT go to the emergency room unless you are having a medical emergency. You should not walk into any health care clinic if you suspect you have COVID-19, unless otherwise instructed to do so by a health care professional.
  3. Student Health will assess your symptoms and risk factors to determine whether you need a COVID-19 test. If Student Health determines you need testing, expanded testing options are now available to students at Student Health and additional east side testing locations.
  4. As you await a response from Student Health, continue to follow campus health guidance, which includes wearing a face covering, social distancing, proper hand hygiene, and staying home if you are experiencing symptoms.

After exposure, it can take up to 14 days to become symptomatic and have enough virus to show up on a test. Getting tested immediately after exposure will not provide an accurate test result. Students who might have been exposed will be quarantined regardless. Do not complete the self-reporting form unless you have tested positive or have been contacted by a public health agency and identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

For step-by-step instructions on what to do if you get sick, test positive, or may have been exposed, see the What to do if you get sick page on the UI Coronavirus website.


Reminder: Support services available as you face challenges this semester

We know that each student must consider their own individual circumstances and needs regarding the fall semester. We support our students’ choices regarding their fall semester plans, and we ask that students work with support offices on campus to address specific requests. The Temporary Alternative Learning Arrangement (TALA) process is still available. A TALA is for students who are medically vulnerable and at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, or who live with someone who is in a vulnerable population.

Students who need additional assistance with their fall schedule, the TALA process, or their transition this fall semester are encouraged to reach out to their advisor, college support office, or Student Care and Assistance. Staff members in those areas will work directly with students to make adjustments and provide support throughout this process. If you have additional questions or challenges regarding the fall semester, please reach out to Student Care and Assistance at 319-335-1162, or email


Recommendations on experiential education during COVID-19

The University of Iowa has prepared recommendations for students and colleges as they consider in-person experiential education programs during the fall 2020 semester (including, but not limited to, internships, externships, field experiences, clinical programs, practicums, co-ops, student teaching programs, service-learning, etc.).

These recommendations are available on the Coronavirus website.

Updates and guidance for research activities taking place on the university campus can be found on the Office of the Vice President for Research website.


Reminder: Face coverings required in Recreational Services buildings

Face coverings are required on campus and in university buildings. Recreational Services requires a face covering to enter the buildings and use the facilities. Starting Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, patrons who do not have their own face covering will not be able to enter the facilities. For more information regarding Recreational Services COVID-19 policies and procedures, please visit


Building entry reminders

The university has worked to create paths for entering and exiting buildings, including adding additional door pulls and foot pulls on doors. We are aware that some entrances have automatic doors to assist disabled people and those with mobility concerns with entering facilities. Please utilize the automatic doors in the proper manner—using your hand and then hand sanitizing, or using your elbow. Do not use your feet or kick the automatic door opener as doing so may create additional contamination and increase the health risk for those who need to use them, as well as cause damage and create inaccessible situations.