Iowa State campus to undergo partial shutdown over Winter Break


Caitlin Yamada/ Iowa State Daily

An Iowa State astronomy professor provides his knowledge on space hurricanes. 

Audrey Holtkamp

Iowa State’s campus will undergo a partial shutdown for 2020 Winter Break. 

On October 16, Pam Cain of the Office of the Senior Vice President for Operations and Finance and Kristi Darr, vice president of university human resources, sent a memo to all Iowa State administrative officers about the university policies for 2020 Winter Break.

Cain and Darr also wrote that despite there being an online academic session during Winter Break, the period will still be considered “non-academic” so student employees can work more than 20 hours per week.

“From Nov. 26 to Jan. 24, the university will be open and fully operational, with the exception of official university holidays and the partial closing period,” the memo read. “Critical services, maintenance or research programs that must operate during this period should continue to do so.”

Dawn Bratsch-Prince, associate provost for the senior vice president and provost department, wrote in an email that faculty members are expected to undergo some responsibilities over break.

“Faculty are expected to engage in their professional responsibilities throughout this period, which may include preparing course materials; advising and mentoring students; carrying out clinical or extension work; conducting research; participating in departmental, college or university business, such as committee or faculty meetings; and engaging in professional development activities,” Bratsch-Prince wrote.

According to Inside Iowa State, in December 2015 to January 2016, Iowa State saw savings on energy costs because the university had extended winter break due to harsh weather conditions. There was $175,200 saved on total utility costs when compared to regular consumption and additional savings of $24,750 during the partial shutdown.

According to Inside Iowa State, the campus shutdown in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic reduced total costs for the university by $586,340. Combined with the reduction of costs from the extended 2020 Winter Break, the university may see over $650,000 in savings on utilities this year.

Iowa State’s fall semester will end Nov. 25, and the spring semester will start Jan. 25. There will be an optional online academic session in the winter that will allow students to earn up to four credits.

The university’s official holidays are Dec. 24, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. The partial closing period is Dec. 24 through Jan. 3, in which the university will reduce services to provide time off for staff members and lower energy costs.

The University of Northern Iowa has a similar plan to Iowa State’s, as it will also be ending the fall semester before Thanksgiving and holding an optional winter academic session during the break. The University of Iowa is not ending the fall semester until Dec. 18 but will be moving to virtual instruction after Thanksgiving break and administering finals for students online.