Editorial: Two weeks until classes – is Iowa State ready?


Iowa State was ranked among top universities across the country.

Editorial Board

Iowa State University, like nearly all other institutions, has been faced with hundreds of COVID-19 challenges. Over the course of this summer, almost every aspect of college life — from the dorms to sports events to campus traditions — has been altered. But, with such little time to readjust the entire university and only two weeks until classes begin, will it be enough? Are there any areas the university is looking over? And how will we know until it is too late?

For the most part, students are in agreement that the university has implemented adequate safety procedures to keep students as safe as possible. With the mask mandate and several classes going virtual, contact is kept to a minimum.

However, there are certain locations contact is unstoppable, such as the dorms. Living in the dorms is usually an exciting part of college life, especially for freshmen students. It will be extremely difficult to minimize the spread of germs throughout dorm rooms and bathrooms, which were not constructed to fit the fight against a pandemic.

Iowa State will be limiting rooms to a maximum of two residents, disinfecting bathrooms twice a day, cleaning common areas daily, as well as supplying cleaning equipment for each floor. Move-in dates are staggered throughout two weeks and every student living in the dorms will be tested beforehand.

While these precautions may be inconvenient, they decrease the possibility of COVID-19 spreading throughout the dorms. Unfortunately, this may be inevitable in some cases, and the university has designated quarantine and isolation dorms for such occasions.

Another major concern is CyRide, since off-campus students often depend on the bussing system to transport them to classes on time. Busses can fill up very quickly and, unless the capacity is severely limited, bus riders will be in very close quarters. The mask mandate helps decrease the spread of germs, but there is still concern over the amount of people and the cleanliness of bus seats and railings. In order to safely transport students on CyRide, there would need to be several more buses with fewer riders on each bus, as well as routine cleanings. 

With less than two weeks until classes begin and students living in dorms already, it’s vital we prepare for changes and continue practicing behaviors to decrease the spread of COVID-19. The university has implemented several alterations, but without the combined efforts of the student population, faculty and staff, these will have little effect.

It is possible we will not know our mistakes until it is too late, making it crucial students do not treat this as a “normal” semester. The challenges we will face will only escalate if students do not prioritize health and safety of themselves and others.