Friday, May 21, 2021

Update: Board of Regents lifts State of Emergency

Michael Richards, president of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, has lifted the State of Emergency for the state’s public universities. In lifting the order, originally issued in March 2020, Richards implemented guidelines to facilitate the transition to regular operations regarding returning to campus, mask and social distancing requirements, vaccinations, and a timeline of expiration for emergency waivers and authorizations.

University leadership is reviewing the guidelines and will share more information next week. You can read the full statement issued on May 20, 2021, on the Board of Regents website.

Reminder: Revised face mask policy

If you are not fully vaccinated, you are strongly encouraged to continue wearing a mask and physically distancing on campus. If you are fully vaccinated, you should feel comfortable continuing to wear a mask if you choose. Please be respectful of one another; do not harass a student, visitor, or fellow employee for choosing to wear, or not wear, a mask.

Masks continue to be required in health care settings and where required by state or federal guidelines (e.g., passengers on CAMBUS).

NOTE: UI Health Care has separate face covering guidelines due to patient care. For full personal protective equipment requirements for UI Health Care staff, see The Loop. In addition, the Office of the Vice President for Research has posted guidance for the research enterprise on its website.

Vaccine update: Frequently asked questions

Can an instructor or staff member require a student to wear a mask, including in class, when meeting with them in person, participating in an event, class activity, or any other course activities?

No. However, everyone should feel comfortable continuing to wear a mask if they choose to do so.

Can an instructor or staff member ask a student about their COVID-19 vaccination status?

No. Instructors and staff should not ask students if they are vaccinated or if they plan to be vaccinated. Asking about their vaccination status may prompt disclosure of disability-related information or information regarding existing health conditions relevant to the vaccination. Instructors and staff should also avoid discussing vaccination status during class, in emails, or in other communication to the class.

Can an instructor or staff member require a student be vaccinated for COVID-19 before they will meet with them in-person or to participate in an event, class activity, or any other activities?

No. The university encourages students to be vaccinated, but vaccinations are voluntary. Instructors and staff should avoid any communication that may be perceived to pressure, force, or coerce any student to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination.

Are students permitted to discuss their COVID-19 vaccine status among themselves?

Conversations among students would be difficult to restrict. Instructors should refrain from participating in conversations about COVID-19 vaccination status. Instructors should also be alert to any coercive or pressuring behavior among students. If this behavior is observed, instructors are encouraged to remind everyone that the university is committed to a voluntary approach to vaccination, and that no one should feel pressured or coerced by anyone.

Johnson County vaccination progress

County Population Total Doses Administered to Iowa Residents Total Doses Administered to Johnson County Residents Two-Dose Series Initiated Two-Dose Series Completed Single-Dose Series Completed % of Johnson County Residents with Two-Dose Series Initiated and Two- and Single-Dose Series Completed % of Johnson County Residents with Two- and Single-Dose Series Completed
Johnson 151,140 2,558,793 157,861 10,329 71,725 4,082 56.99% 50.16%

The University of Iowa strongly encourages students, faculty, and staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, in consultation with their health care provider.

Please keep in mind immunity is not achieved immediately after receiving the vaccine. It also will take time for everyone who wants to be vaccinated to receive the required doses. In the meantime, we can continue to protect ourselves and each other 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.

University of Iowa self-reported COVID-19 testing

These data reflect new cases since May 19, 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: 0
  • Total cases: 3,192


  • New cases: 1
  • Total cases: 499

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: 1**

*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.