Dear Hawkeye faculty and staff:
We are writing with an update on the spring semester. Following current guidance from the Iowa Board of Regents, the University of Iowa will begin the spring semester as planned with in-person classes and activities on Tuesday, Jan. 18.
As many of us return to campus, Johnson County and the university are experiencing a surge in positive COVID-19 cases. You can find the seven-day rolling average on the university’s coronavirus webpage.
We know this surge is discouraging, especially after a long and challenging fall semester in which everyone worked so hard to provide on-campus educational and research/creative experiences for students, faculty and staff. But there is reason for optimism:
- Roughly 77% of people 18 years and older in Johnson County are fully vaccinated (74% aged 5 and older)
- The vaccines are working effectively to prevent serious illness from COVID-19; the vast majority of breakthrough cases are mild in symptoms and the time period for quarantining has been shortened to five days
- More than 80% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 at UI Health Care are unvaccinated
- Booster or third-shot vaccines are widely available and are FDA approved for all those aged 12 and older
So, we will get through this, especially with everyone’s continued vigilance. Health experts agree that we are likely to be living with COVID-19 for a long time so the challenge before us is how to manage its impact.
We strongly encourage you to recommit to the following safety standards:
- Wear a mask in all indoor public spaces, regardless of your vaccination status. Level 1 medical grade masks are available in all campus buildings.
- Get vaccinated, including a COVID-19 booster and a flu shot.
- Stay home if you’re sick and self-report any positive COVID-19 test.
The university will continue the enhanced cleaning and air handling measures taken since the fall of 2020, while maintaining support services for our students, faculty, and staff.
We will continue to monitor COVID-19 metrics, available staffing for critical functions, and the capacity levels at UIHC. In conjunction with the Board of Regents, we will use these metrics to determine if we need to alter policies or procedures.
We will communicate again next week and continue to provide resources and information at coronavirus.uiowa.edu.
Thank you for all you are doing to ensure a healthy Hawkeye community. We are grateful!
Barbara J. Wilson
Executive vice president and provost