Campus update: Additional paid time off; mental health resources; TALA application deadline; updated event protocols, self-reported testing data

Friday, November 20, 2020

Additional Paid Time Off

In recognition of your hard work throughout this pandemic, Gov. Reynolds has granted two additional paid days off for state employees, including employees of Iowa’s public universities. To ensure we can continue to fulfill our mission of education, research, and health care, the Board of Regents has granted us flexibility in implementing the time off. Please check your email today for a message from Human Resources with the details.

Mental Health Resources: Loneliness and Social Connections during COVID-19

COVID-19's impact on our sense of social connection and community can lead to loneliness even when we are around people.

Some helpful strategies include:

  • Find distracting activities or dedicate time to work, study, or hobbies.
  • Join a social club or take up new social activities and past times (this can be done virtually).
  • Reach out to someone you know who you have not talked to in a while. Go “old school” and call them on the phone.
  • Limit your exposure to social media and the news to no more than 30 minutes a day.
  • Talk to friends or family about how you are feeling.
  • Remember that you are not alone, and the university has resources that are available to you.

If you'd like to learn more, Behavioral Clinical Specialist Bronwyn Threlkeld-Wiegand discusses perspectives on loneliness during the middle of a public health crisis in a video available on this page: https://hr.uiowa.edu/well-being/employee-assistance-program.

For more information about mental health resources, see mentalhealth.uiowa.edu.

For counseling and support, the Employee Assistance Program offers confidential counseling at no cost for UI employees and their families; or University Counseling Service offers confidential counseling and support for students.

Reminder: TALA application deadline is today

Students who do not already have a temporary alternative learning arrangement (TALA) in place for the fall 2020 semester but want one for spring must apply by today (Friday, Nov. 20), to begin registering for spring 2021 classes on Dec. 1. Students who are not currently verified but who meet the criteria for populations listed by the CDC as being more vulnerable to COVID-19 may apply for TALA using the form on the TALA web page.

Updated Event Protocols

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Nov. 16 proclamation imposes a number of additional public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including specific rules about gatherings. The Office of Student Accountability has shared updated event guidance with students and student organizations, and the COVID-19 website outlines these changes. Using virtual options such as Skype, Zoom, or conference calls is recommended whenever possible. The university will continue to align with guidance from the Board of Regents, State of Iowa; the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH); and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

University of Iowa Self-Reported COVID-19 Testing

These data reflect new cases since Nov. 18, 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: 50
  • Semester-to-date: 2,599

Employees

  • New cases: 15
  • Semester-to-date: 243

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: 2*

Number of residence hall students in self-isolation: 17**

*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.