Thursday, August 26, 2021


I hear and personally share the concerns expressed by many members of our campus community about the COVID pandemic and particularly the Delta variant. Please know that we continue to monitor the situation daily, both in Johnson County and on campus, as we work to enhance our COVID procedures. I am also in regular contact with the presidents of Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa, as well as the leadership of the Board of Regents.

Here are some key metrics that we are monitoring:

The latest information from the Iowa Department of Public Health was released on Wednesday, and in Johnson County the seven-day rolling average of positive tests is:

  • 30 as 8/25/21.
  • 40 one week ago.
  • 109 on this date last year.

On campus, the seven-day rolling average of self-reported positive tests is:

  • 7 as 8/25/21.
  • 5 one week ago.
  • 45 on this date last year.

Our UI Health Care admissions are stable as related to COVID:

  • 38 as 8/25/21.
  • 33 one week ago.
  • The vast majority of patients are unvaccinated and not from Johnson County.

We have strong evidence that the vaccination rate among our new, incoming students is similar to the adult vaccination rate of Johnson County (76.6%).

In addition to what we have already done, we continue to explore ways of enhancing safety protocols. It is clear that COVID will be with us for a while so our goal is to find strategies to be back in person with our students and on the campus that we all love. Toward that end:

  • Next week the university will announce a voluntary program for faculty and staff to access KN95 masks.
  • If you find that plexiglass is not in your classroom and you would like this resource, please contact classroom scheduling at
  • Student leadership, in conjunction with the university, is preparing a new vaccine incentive program for students that is designed to boost the already strong vaccine acceptance rate within the student body.

Finally, I hear the desire of some members of our campus for a mask mandate or a vaccine mandate. Let me be clear: as a state agency, the university must comply with state law and guidance from our governing body, the Board of Regents (BOR), State of Iowa.

While we will operate within the framework we are provided, I will continue to advocate relentlessly on behalf of our university and each of you every day. Thank you for all the efforts you have made—and continue to make—to keep our campus community healthy.

Barbara J. Wilson