Friday, March 12, 2021

TAWA update: University will return to pre-COVID-19 evaluation process

The University of Iowa looks forward to returning to an on-campus experience as much as possible this fall. The Future of Work@Iowa Committee has shared preliminary guidelines to help leaders begin making decisions for their colleges and units, with the expectation that faculty will return to in-person classroom teaching in fall 2021 with safety measures in place. As part of that transition, the university will soon return to its pre-COVID-19 process for evaluating workplace accommodations related to an employee’s health.

Effective Aug. 6, the UI will discontinue the Temporary Alternative Work Arrangement (TAWA) program for employees (faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, and student employees). This decision was made after careful consideration of the following factors:

  • The projected timelines for national COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration among the general population, and
  • Vaccine distribution protocols have been revised to prioritize the vaccination of populations vulnerable to high-risk exposure or severity of illness from COVID-19.

After Aug. 6, employees who wish to request a workplace accommodation related to their health should contact their local human resources representative. Local HR will consult with Faculty and Staff Disability Services (FSDS) to review any available options under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and relevant university policies.

The university will continue to monitor the progress of vaccine distribution efforts, along with guidance from federal, state, and local public health authorities. Significant changes or updates may result in a re-evaluation of the TAWA termination date.

In this video, UI Associate Provost for Faculty Lois Geist explains the steps the university is planning to take to re-establish a presence on campus for faculty members and what virtual options may remain available.

For more information on the Future of Work@Iowa committee’s preliminary guidelines, see the March 11 update in IowaNow.

International travel update

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, announced on March 11 that its 30-day ban on university-sponsored international travel for all faculty, staff, and students has been lifted, effective immediately.

Moving forward, decisions regarding university-sponsored student, faculty, and staff travel shall be made by the president of each university.

The overall State of Emergency for the Regents Universities issued on March 18, 2020, remains in effect, including any other policies and administrative rules that have been waived due to the pandemic.

The University of Iowa will provide additional information, based upon this new guidance, to campus by Wednesday, March 17. Until then, the campus community can access existing travel guidance at

The full statement from Board of Regents President Michael Richards can be read here.

Vaccine update: COVID-19 vaccine supply is still limited

As additional groups become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, many of us are eager for our turn to be vaccinated.

Though vaccine production is expected to increase over the next few months, demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is currently outpacing the supply available. Vaccine doses are still limited not only in Iowa, but around the world, and it will take time for everyone who wants to be vaccinated to receive the required doses. Until supply increases, the wait for an available dose may be long, even for people who are currently eligible.

Even though the wait for a return to a safer world is not yet over, it is important to keep in mind that the work to get us there is well underway, and Johnson County is one of the most highly vaccinated counties in our state. If you’d like to see how the state is progressing on this effort, see the Iowa Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 vaccine administration dashboard.

In the meantime, we can continue to protect ourselves by wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance from others, washing our hands frequently, and avoiding indoor gatherings with others outside our household.

More information about the state of Iowa’s vaccine administration is available here.

For campus vaccination information and updates, see To learn more about vaccines and vaccine safety, see the University of Iowa Health Care COVID-19 Vaccine Information page.

Summer 2021 recommendations on experiential education during COVID-19

The University of Iowa has prepared recommendations for students and colleges as they consider in-person experiential education programs this summer (including, but not limited to, internships, externships, field experiences, clinical programs, practicums, co-ops, student teaching programs, service-learning, etc.).

These recommendations are available on the coronavirus website:

Updates and guidance for research activities taking place on campus can be found on the Office of the Vice President for Research website:

University of Iowa self-reported COVID-19 testing

These data reflect new cases since March 10, 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: 4
  • Total cases: 3,030


  • New cases: 0
  • Total cases: 450

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: 0*

Number of residence hall students in self-isolation: 7**

*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