We hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable winter break! Welcome back - we are looking forward to a productive spring semester.
As we have shared, the University of Iowa will start the spring semester on Tuesday, Jan. 18, as planned with in-person classes and activities held as scheduled.
Testing for COVID-19
At the start of spring semester, the Welcome Center in the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU), Student Health locations in the IMU and Westlawn, and each residence hall front desk will have COVID-19 test kits available. We strongly encourage symptomatic students to pick up one test kit, if needed. Individuals may also consider requesting a free COVID-19 test for pick-up or mail delivery through Test Iowa.
If you test positive for COVID-19, it’s important to self-report. If you have non-emergency questions or concerns, please contact the Student Health Nurseline (319-335-9704), or visit their website for additional information. Please remember you need to self-report if you test positive or are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Students living on campus will need to follow isolation and quarantine guidance provided by University Housing and Dining.
Please be aware that home test kits can miss COVID-19 in the early stages of illness. If your symptoms are consistent with COVID-19, we recommend that you continue to isolate, mask around others, and retest with a second home test 24 hours after your first test. Alternatively, you can do a follow-up PCR test at any time (Test Iowa kit). Refer to the Student Health website for up-to-date information. Kits are also available at a variety of locations in the community.
As a reminder, students are expected to self-report a positive COVID-19 test, if they have been informed they have been in close contact with an individual testing positive, or who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. The self-report provides notification to your instructors and serves as your official absence notice during this time. Instructors will be informed that you may be absent and/or unable to attend in-person classes. They will not be told why you will be absent and/or unable to attend.
You do not need to report or submit a negative COVID-19 test to return to classes once you have followed the CDC and UI guidance for isolation and quarantine.
To provide students, faculty, and staff an additional mask option, KN95 respirator masks are being added to the health stations at the entrances of all campus buildings. KN95 is the designation given to respirators that filter 95% of particles. These will be in addition to the Level 1 medical-grade masks and hand sanitizer currently supplied at these health stations.
As a reminder, you are encouraged to follow the following safety standards:
- Wear a mask in all indoor public spaces, regardless of your vaccination status.
- 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 to follow enhanced cleaning protocols and air handling measures while maintaining support services for students.
We know this is not what we were expecting at this point in the pandemic, especially after a challenging fall semester; however, there is reason for optimism:
- Roughly 77% of people 18 years and older are fully vaccinated in Johnson County (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
- Booster or third-shot vaccines are widely available and are FDA approved for all those aged 12 and older
We can get through this together with everyone’s continued vigilance. If you have questions or need assistance transitioning back to campus, please do not hesitate to reach out to Student Care and Assistance.
I wish you the best as you start spring semester!
Angie Reams, PhD
Associate vice president and dean of students