Iowa State provides detailed update on testing, isolation, face coverings and more


Katlyn Campbell/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen provided an update to the fall semester and COVID-19 mitigation efforts in an email Thursday.

Trevor Babcock

Providing an update on COVID-19 response, Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen detailed more campus safety procedures in an email sent Thursday.

Community expectations and guidelines for handling issues of noncompliance have been developed by the Dean of Students Office. If a student deliberately or routinely refuses to comply with guidelines such as wearing face coverings in the presence of others and anywhere a six-foot distance from someone cannot be maintained, that student may be reported to the Dean of Students Office. Faculty and staff not complying with expectations may be reported to their supervisors. 

The university is providing two cloth face coverings to all students, faculty and staff who request them, free of charge. The expectations do not state how to make the request or how the masks will be provided.

The community expectations acknowledge some classrooms on campus may be too small for maintaining a physical distance of six feet and states any student who is unable to wear a face mask may not be able to remain in the course. Students with a documented health or medical condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering may contact Student Accessibility Services.

Any student, faculty or staff member experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 may receive a test from the Thielen Student Health Center. A pretest questionnaire to determine if one meets testing guidelines must be completed in order to receive a test.

Results are excepted to be emailed to students 24 hours after the test is processed and completed by the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

Those testing positive must follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for isolation with or without symptoms. If an employee receives a positive test result from their medical provider or through Test Iowa, they need to self-report using this form.

All returning Iowa State employees must complete a Learn@ISU online training course intended to educate regarding physical distancing, health monitoring and maintaining a clean work space.

Iowa State’s Public Health team will be using contact tracing and contacting those who must quarantine due to experiencing close contact with a student or faculty member who tests positive for COVID-19. Students, faculty and staff exposed to COVID-19 through contact tracing must follow CDC guidelines for quarantine. Students notified may isolate in Oak or Elm Hall or return home to complete isolation.

The university expects all students, faculty and staff to cooperate with contact tracing, according to the email.

“Sharing the names of colleagues or friends you were in contact with at work, the gym, or gatherings will not get anyone in trouble,” the email states. “This process is important to prevent the unnecessary spread of COVID-19 and ensure those who were exposed can get the support and resources they may need during quarantine.”

According to the email, many in-person classes have an online option for students who must isolate. For classes that don’t, the email states instructors may provide alternative options for classes and assignments that are missed. 

Tests for COVID-19 are required for all students living in university housing and will take place at Lied Recreation Athletic Center at move-in. Students do not need to wait for test results before beginning move-in and must perform move-in duties while not knowing their results. Move-in dates have been expanded and staggered over a two-week period of Aug. 3 and Aug. 16 to support physical distancing.

Any student with a condition putting them at higher risk for COVID-19 who plans to live in university housing may contact Thielen Student Health Center to make an appointment to be tested there.

Students living in residence halls testing positive may return home to isolate or will be moved to a room in Linden Hall for isolation by the Department of Residence. A member of the ISU Public Health team will be in contact to provide help. Campus apartment residents testing positive must isolate in their apartment or return home to complete isolation.

Before arriving on campus a pretest questionnaire is also required for students living in university housing. Any student answering “yes” to the following is ordered not to come to campus and to email the Department of Residence to schedule a new move-in time:

  • Are you waiting for results from a COVID-19 test conducted prior to coming to campus?
  • In the last 14 days, have you had contact with a person who has COVID-19?
  • Are you currently experiencing a fever, cough, diarrhea or sore throat?
  • In the last 14 days, have you traveled outside the U.S. (including cruises)

Before students moving in arrive at their university housing location, students must go to Lied for testing and to pick up their keys. Only students are allowed inside Lied and face coverings are required, along with either a student ID, driver’s license or passport. New students without a student ID card must bring a passport or driver’s license and will receive their student ID card after testing is complete. New students must send a suitable photo to the ISUCard office before July 24 to avoid delay. The instructions ask students to bring their own face coverings, but one will be provided regardless. Students may arrive at Lied anywhere from 15 minutes before their allotted move-in time to the end of their allotted move-in time.

After students complete testing, the full hour of time to move-in will begin, along with an extra 15 minutes to arrive at their housing location. Students arriving at Lied with fever or symptoms will be referred to an alternate testing location. ISU Dining will provide water and snacks outside of Lied available to everyone and the ISU Bookstore will have a mobile store set up on site.