Friday, January 15, 2021

Publishing note

The University of Iowa will not publish a COVID-19 Campus Update on Monday, Jan. 18.

Study abroad canceled through Aug. 1

Due to the prevalence of COVID-19 in the United States and abroad, the University of Iowa has determined there will be no study abroad or university-sponsored student travel outside the U.S. through Aug. 1. The university continues to carefully monitor travel conditions and will decide when international travel is possible again for students.

Given the development of the vaccine, we are confident that travel will start to become more common in the latter part of 2021. We know these delays are frustrating and we thank everyone for their patience and persistence as we work together in these exceptional times.

In the meantime, both virtual international courses and virtual internships are available for UI students, and UI Study Abroad is accepting applications for a limited number of programs departing after Aug. 1. For additional information about this process and contingencies, see the full announcement on the UI International Programs website.

The most current university travel guidance can be found here.

2021 spring semester reminders: Academics and the classroom

As we prepare to begin the spring 2021 semester, the University of Iowa continues to take deliberate steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for our students, faculty, and staff, as well as our surrounding community.

The university will continue to closely monitor cases of COVID-19 throughout the spring semester and will take action deemed necessary to help mitigate the transmission of the virus. The university will continue to follow the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in coordination with Johnson County Public Health, the Iowa Department of Public Health, and the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.

Academic calendar

The spring 2021 semester will begin on Jan. 25 and end on May 14. To reduce long-distance travel and help limit the spread of COVID-19, there will be no spring break. Standard instruction and attendance policies for that week will apply.

However, the university will provide two instructional breaks to give students and faculty a brief respite from instruction. Students are encouraged to use these days to ensure they understand their course materials and seek assistance if necessary. There will be no classes on:

  • Tuesday, March 2
  • Wednesday, April 14

Academics and the classroom experience

  • Classes for the spring 2021 semester will be offered in similar formats as the fall 2020 semester, with a blended format that includes online and face-to-face instruction.
  • Unless otherwise indicated, applicable face masks (cloth mask, disposable mask, or face shield with mask) must be worn in classrooms.
  • Where social distancing is not possible due to permanently located equipment (e.g., lecture podiums, pottery wheels) or specific course requirements (e.g., lab-based courses, clinical simulations), physical barriers such as plexiglass panels between students (and between students and instructors) should be utilized.
  • The university will utilize the grading system that was in effect prior to the pandemic.

Temporary Alternative Learning Arrangements (TALA)

Students who have a TALA in in place should be aware that receiving a TALA does not mean or guarantee that your desired face-to-face courses can be switched to online. Many face-to-face courses have been specifically designed to accommodate in-person learning under COVID-19 guidelines and will not also be online.

Any student who needs assistance with academic learning arrangements, regardless of a TALA, should work directly with their college and/or academic advisor. Students who have non-academic support needs should contact Student Care and Assistance in the Dean of Students office at Please note that the deadline to apply for TALA was Dec. 1.

Information for faculty and instructors

  • Instructors are requested to communicate with students before the beginning of the semester regarding class meeting expectations if they are not clearly laid out in MyUI (e.g., a student could complete a course virtually, but does not realize it because the format on MyUI is listed as hybrid).
  • Beginning Jan. 25, instructors who need to request to temporarily move their face-to-face or hybrid class to an online-only format due to COVID-19 (either because the instructor needs to self-isolate or quarantine, or the number of students who need to self-isolate or quarantine is such that continuing the in-person class section impedes the learning environment) can access the form at
  • Instructors will continue to receive a daily list of students, by class section, who may not be able to attend in-person classes and/or may be absent from in-person/hybrid/online classes. Instructors are asked to work with the identified students who may need flexible/alternative learning arrangements (e.g., allowing student to participate remotely, extending deadline dates, etc.).
  • A list of students who have self-reported absences will continue to be available via the MAUI in ICON tool. Note that this list will not include students who have reported an absence through the non-COVID related absence form, and only includes students who have a current self-reported absence.

Temporary Alternative Work Arrangements (TAWA)

Employees (outside of UI Health Care) who received a TAWA for fall 2020 did not need to submit a new TAWA application for spring 2021. The deadline for instructors to submit a new or modified TAWA request for spring 2021 was Oct. 2. If you have questions about your TAWA status, please contact your HR representative.

University of Iowa self-reported COVID-19 testing

These data reflect new cases since Jan. 13, 2021.

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: 7
  • Total cases: 2,868


  • New cases: 6
  • Total cases: 386

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: 0**

*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.