Campus update: Slow the spread; parent/caregiver leave options to accommodate for virtual learning; spring semester reminder; campus operations; self-reported testing data

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Please do your part to slow the spread

The number of COVID-19 cases in Iowa is rising at an alarming rate. We need you to do your part to help flatten the curve and prevent our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

Don’t let up

We know how hard you’ve been working. We’ve seen you wearing your masks and watching your distance, and we’re grateful for the sacrifices you’ve made this semester to keep our community healthy.

Please don’t let up. All of us are experiencing pandemic fatigue but letting our guard down now, even among close friends and family, poses a risk. The choices you make outside of class could affect your ability to finish the semester strong.

Plan ahead for Thanksgiving recess

Socializing safely this weekend could make the difference between going home for the holiday and having to stay on campus. Planning to get tested for COVID-19 is not enough to keep you or your family safe because health experts warn that it may take up to 14 days to develop enough virus to test positive.

If you are symptomatic or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, please contact Student Health or University of Iowa Health Care for a test.

If you do not meet that criteria but would like a test before you travel, locations such as Hy-Vee or Test Iowa may be able to provide one.

Leave options for parents and caregivers to accommodate virtual learning

With the increase of community spread, many local school districts are moving to online learning for school-aged children. During this time, we want to recognize the added stress and uncertainty for parents and caregivers, as well as remind employees of new and existing leave options, including:

  • COVID-19 Leave Options: Paid leave options are available to care for children during school closures, virtual learning, and illness related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.
    *Note: Some leaves may not apply for UI Health Care employees.
  • Workplace Flexibility: Flexible Work Arrangements may provide the flexibility necessary for employees to be able to balance the demands of work and home this school year. Learn more.
  • Just-in-Time Child-Care Resources: Our local child-care landscape is constantly evolving. This webpage will be updated regularly with information about child-care referral resources, tutoring resources, volunteer childcare resources, and back-up or occasional child-care resources.
  • Expansion of Catastrophic Leave: Changes have been made to this program to provide additional support to employee parents of school-aged children impacted by child-care closures, hybrid or virtual learning, and the medical need to keep children at home from school or child care. Learn more.

Reminder: Spring semester 2021

Iowa is scheduled to begin the spring semester on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, continuing to offer classes in a blended format that includes online and face-to-face instruction. Adjustments made to the classrooms during the fall 2020 semester will remain in place.

Since January, the university has been monitoring, planning, and responding to the pandemic by adopting policies and procedures to mitigate the spread of the virus on campus.

All decisions must align with local, state, and federal guidance, reflect the direction the governor and Board of Regents, State of Iowa, and be approved by the president.

The university will continue to follow the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), in consultation with UI experts. In the event the university must adopt new protocols for the spring semester, those will be shared with the campus community no later than Jan. 15, 2021.

Campus operations

The university continues to work with local and state officials to support and implement policies to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. On Tuesday, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation that imposes a number of additional public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Those measures are effective today. 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).

Johnson County positive cases

University of Iowa self-reported COVID-19 testing

These data reflect new cases since Nov. 9, 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: 54
  • Semester-to-date: 2,405

Employees

  • New cases: 20
  • Semester-to-date: 176

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: 3*

Number of residence hall students in self-isolation: 15**

*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.