Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Update: Surveillance testing pilot program

Earlier this month, the University of Iowa began a pilot program to provide additional COVID-19 testing options for student employees whose positions require some level of socially distanced, face-to-face interactions.

This pilot started with resident assistants (RAs) in Housing and Dining. The testing was free for the students who volunteered to participate, and was conducted by Student Health, using the PCR test obtained by a nasopharyngeal swab and used by UI Health Care and the State Hygienic Lab.

The opportunity to participate was open to all RAs. To date, 15 RAs have volunteered to participate (about 10% of the total number of RAs on campus) and none tested positive.

The university is still assessing the feasibility of expanding surveillance testing on campus, and will continue to evaluate this pilot program to determine whether it should be expanded to other student employee groups.

In the meantime, the university will continue to test all symptomatic individuals and asymptomatic individuals with a known COVID-19 exposure.

For more information on the pilot program, see the FAQ section of the UI COVID-19 website.

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 Monday, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation that imposes a number of additional public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Those measures were effective Tuesday. 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).

The governor’s order aligns with the UI’s existing face mask requirement. As a reminder, everyone entering a university building is expected to follow CDC recommendations to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Unless otherwise indicated, you must wear a face mask (cloth mask, disposable mask, or face shield with mask) when on campus unless you are alone in a private office/space or are in your residence hall room.

Johnson County positive cases

University of Iowa self-reported COVID-19 testing

These data reflect new cases since Nov. 16, 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


  • New cases: 39
  • Semester-to-date: 2,549


  • New cases: 16
  • Semester-to-date: 228

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: 22**

*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.