President Wendy Wintersteen reminds students to be vigilant as COVID-19 cases hit record high


The ISD Editorial Board responds to Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen’s email on Aug. 21 regarding large gatherings and parties. 

Amber Mohmand

As the state hits a record high for positive COVID-19 cases, Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen reminds students to be vigilant and socialize safely. 

The state was reporting a record 4,562 new COVID-19 cases since the state’s tally at 10 a.m. Wednesday, bringing the total to 140,609. The previous record for one-day reporting increase was 2,887 on Nov. 1.

“While it’s tempting to relax safety measures around family and friends you trust, COVID-19 is still very much present in our community,” Wintersteen said in an email on Thursday. “Individuals can be contagious and pass the virus before they show symptoms or feel sick. Don’t let your guard down around anyone.” 

Along with positive cases, COVID-19 related deaths continue to increase. At 10 a.m. Thursday, the state was reporting 1,801 to COVID-19-related deaths, an increase of 20 deaths since 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. 

“You may be tired of hearing this – but the Cyclones Care behaviors are necessary because they work,” Wintersteen said. “Your diligence makes a difference – wear a face covering over your mouth and nose, including outside when you’re around others; avoid close contact, keep physically distant and wash your hands often. If you are sick, stay home. Do not go to class, work, or other activities. Don’t risk exposing others to illness.” 

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday, she and her administration were “doubling down” on efforts to encourage Iowans to take measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, without announcing a mask mandate or any further required closures.

Wintersteen urged the Iowa State community to continue socializing safely with face coverings and “smart choices.” It is extremely important to avoid exposure to not only keep from getting sick, but to ensure students can finish their courses and take their final exams, Wintersteen said. 

As winter break approaches, she also said students will have the opportunity to get tested for COVID-19 before leaving — even if students don’t “feel” sick. 

  • Asymptomatic testing will be offered at Johnny’s in Hilton Coliseum. Testing will be available by appointment only, Nov. 16 – 21. Online scheduling is open; book your appointment now to secure a spot. You must also complete the pre-testing questionnaire.

  • Test Iowa is also an option. The clinic located at the ISU Research Park (2503 South Loop Drive) is available by appointment by calling 800-866-3492. Other locations can be found on the Test Iowa website.

If students test negative, Wintersteen said they should not let down their guard and continue to wear face coverings. Those who test positive may need to complete their isolation period before returning home. 

Airlines and trains will not permit travelers with COVID-19, and some states have specific restrictions or requirements. Department of Residence isolation housing is available for students who live on campus, Wintersteen said.

“Despite many challenges, you’ve come so far. Your continued commitment over the next 20 days will get us to the finish line,” Wintersteen said. “We want everyone to finish the semester successfully and have a safe and healthy winter break.”