Dear Hawkeye faculty, staff, and students:
October arrives tomorrow, which means the weather is changing and leaves are turning vibrant colors. Our COVID situation remains stable, and we are well into successfully navigating our first fully on-campus semester since fall 2019. Our students continue to let me know how much the in-person Hawkeye experience means to them. I am grateful that our community teamwork is making that possible. To keep this campus experience going, our best lines of defense against the virus remain: we all need to be vaccinated and to mask up in the classroom and during office hours.
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:
- 39 as of Sept. 28, 2021,
- 50 one week ago, and
- 22 on this date last year.
On campus, the seven-day rolling average of self-reported positive tests, which is coordinated with Johnson County Public Health, is:
- 5 as of Sept. 28, 2021,
- 7 one week ago, and
- 8 on this date last year.
Our UI Health Care admissions are stable as related to COVID:
- 47 as of Sept. 28, 2021, and
- 44 one week ago.
- The vast majority of patients are unvaccinated (85%) and not from Johnson County (88%).
Ongoing safety protocols remain in place as well, including:
- Weekly monitoring of wastewater for all residence halls, with no evidence of COVID outbreaks to date;
- The delivery of over 40,000 KN95 masks for faculty and students who would like them;
- Maintaining additional leave benefits for many of our employees if they become sick or if they are caring for a family member who is sick; and
- Working with immunocompromised faculty and staff on accommodations.
Our Undergraduate Student Government continues its series of prizes and incentives to further increase our already high vaccination rate among students. I am grateful to our student leaders for stepping up to encourage their peers to get vaccinated.
I extend my gratitude to everyone for the spirit of collaboration that has allowed us to get this far, and I thank you for all you are doing to ensure a healthy Hawkeye community throughout the semester.
Barbara J. Wilson