Thursday, September 16, 2021

Dear Hawkeye faculty, staff, and students:

I am gratified that our community efforts have minimized the COVID situation on campus so far. The most important message remains: we all need to be vaccinated and to mask up in the classroom and during office hours. These are our best lines of defense against the virus. Collaboration and cooperation have always been key characteristics of the UI community, and they will continue to help us through this significant challenge so that our students can benefit from an in-person Iowa experience.

Here is the latest weekly information from the Iowa Department of Public Health that was released on Wednesday. In Johnson County, the seven-day rolling average of positive tests is:

  • 55 as of Sept. 14, 2021,
  • 42 one week ago, and
  • 35 on this date last year.

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

  • 10 as of Sept. 14, 2021, 
  • 16 one week ago, and
  • 11 on this date last year.

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

  • 42 as of Sept. 14, 2021, and
  • 36 one week ago.
  • The vast majority of patients are unvaccinated (85%) and not from Johnson County (80%).

Even though our vaccine rates are high, we continue to ramp up incentives for more students to get vaccinated. Our Undergraduate Student Government just announced six weeks of raffles with prizes such as VIP access to sporting events, Apple products, and dinner with me. 

Ongoing safety protocols remain in place as well, including: 

  • Continued weekly monitoring of wastewater for all residence halls, with no evidence of COVID outbreaks to date;
  • The delivery of over 30,000 KN95 masks for faculty and students who would like them; and
  • Working with immunocompromised faculty and staff on accommodations.

I know this demanding and uncertain time has exhausted us all, and I share your frustrations and concerns. At the same time, I am heartened by the teamwork and resilience our campus has shown. 

Again, thank you for all you are doing to ensure a healthy Hawkeye community.

Barbara J. Wilson