Thursday, October 7, 2021

Dear Hawkeye faculty, staff, and students:

Nationally, COVID numbers are beginning to decline again and that is excellent news. Booster vaccinations for certain segments of the population are a welcome addition to the fight against the pandemic. 

Locally, our campus situation remains stable, with cases trending downward, thanks to our university community efforts. Even so, we must remain vigilant, and 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.

We are happy to report that Pfizer-BioNtech booster vaccinations are now available on campus for eligible students, faculty, and staff. Visit the UI vaccine information web page for more information.

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:

  • 37 as of Oct. 5, 2021,
  • 39 one week ago, and
  • 20 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 Oct. 5, 2021, 
  • 5 one week ago, and
  • 5 on this date last year.

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

  • 34 as of Oct. 5, 2021, and
  • 47 one week ago.
  • The vast majority of patients are unvaccinated (85%) and not from Johnson County (90%).

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 more than 41,000 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. Peer encouragement and support among our students is so important, and I am grateful to our student leaders for their efforts.

I thank everyone for the teamwork that is so characteristic of the UI campus, and I am grateful for all you are doing to ensure a healthy Hawkeye community throughout the semester.

Barbara J. Wilson