Campus update: Student engagement and involvement, Iowa City extends face covering requirement, campus operations update, self-reported testing data

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Student engagement and involvement during COVID-19

In this video, Jamarco Clark, director of leadership and engagement in the Office of the Dean of Students, shares how the University of Iowa is safely supporting and facilitating student organizations and their activities during COVID-19.

 

Iowa City extends face covering requirement to Nov. 13

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague has extended the July 21, 2020, order requiring every person in the city of Iowa City to wear a face covering when in a public place.

The extension states that a face covering that covers the nose and mouth must now be worn in all public spaces until Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. It also changes the minimum fine for violating the order.

Public spaces covered by the mandate include but are not limited to:

  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Hardware stores
  • Retail stores
  • Outside if keeping 6 feet away from others is not possible
  • Public transportation or private car service (including taxis, ride share, or carpooling)

This order aligns directly with current University of Iowa guidance requiring face coverings. As a reminder, 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 are in your residence hall room.

The city of Iowa City order can be read in its entirety online.

 

Campus operations update

The university continues to work with local and state officials to support and implement policies to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The university is pleased with the proclamation signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday, Sept. 15, to continue the closure of bars in two Iowa counties, including Johnson County, until Sept. 20, 2020. The proclamation also requires restaurants in the designated counties to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. during this same time period.

However, these actions by the governor do not absolve any of us from our personal responsibilities and if the positive case rates spike and stay high, the university will consider additional actions. These actions will be taken in coordination with the Johnson County Department of Public Health, the Iowa Department of Public Health, and the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.

What has occurred since the initial spike in late August is a plateau of self-reported positive cases, according to information from Johnson County Public Health. While we must remain vigilant, it should be acknowledged that, as a community, we have considerably slowed the spread of the disease.

Johnson County Positive Cases

Additionally, data and contact tracing show that the spread of the disease is not occurring in UI classrooms, as a total of 11 faculty and teaching assistants have reported testing positive. In addition, a majority of those self-reporting are not teaching in the classroom this semester. The spread of the disease has been minimized in classrooms due to proactive steps the university has taken, such as:

  • Mandating face coverings
  • Instructor zones
  • Use of plexiglass
  • Changes in air filtration
  • Changes in traffic patterns in buildings

Finally, these data appear to show that the increased spread of COVID-19 in the undergraduate student body has not spread into instructors in the classroom. The rate of positive tests outside of this age group remained consistent over the past four weeks in comparison to the previous four weeks.

While we can expect new outbreaks may occur, we are confident the spread of the disease can be minimized if the UI and greater Iowa City community continue to follow public health guidelines.

 

University of Iowa self-reported COVID-19 testing

These data reflect new cases since Sept. 14, 2020.

The University of Iowa has published an updated snapshot of self-reported positive COVID-19 tests from faculty, staff, and students.

Number of self-reported cases of COVID-19

Students

  • New cases: 32
  • Semester-to-date: 1,836

Employees

  • New cases: 5
  • Semester-to-date: 32

These numbers reflect only self-reported positive or presumed positive COVID-19 tests from UI faculty, staff, and students on the academic campus since Aug. 18, 2020. These data will not match data reported by UI Hospitals & Clinics or by the Iowa Department of Public Health for several reasons, including different testing time intervals and geographic scope. Students who also are employees of the university are only reported in the student number to avoid double counting. The UI has more than 30,000 students and nearly 30,000 employees. Many employees continue to work remotely but have self-reported to authorize sick leave.

Number of residence hall students in quarantine: 1*

Number of residence hall students in self-isolation: 21**

*Quarantine: Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others.

**Self-isolation: Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus (those who are symptomatic and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected.