Virtual instruction for Iowa State classes to extend through end of spring semester


The Office of the President releases new information regarding masks, vaccinations and how the fall 2021 semester will look.

Sage Smith

As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, virtual instruction for Iowa State classes will be extended through the end of spring semester.

President Wendy Wintersteen announced the decision to extend online courses March 18 as the state of Iowa is under a Public Health Disaster Emergency. The emergency includes an instruction that gatherings of more than 10 people must be canceled or moved to online.

Students and faculty will begin virtual instruction March 23. Additional information from instructors will be received by students regarding the details of their classes, assignments, exams, etc.

There will be no in-person laboratories, studios, performance instruction, computer labs or other experiential learning sections for the rest of the spring semester. Make-ups will be at the discretion of the instructors.

Regarding research, faculty, staff and graduate students should prioritize social distancing (keeping six feet away from others) and contingency planning for their programs. Updated information will be posted on the COVID-19 and research page.

Academic support services, which include academic advising and career services, will still be provided but via phone or online. There will soon be telehealth options for essential services such as Student Counseling Services and the Thielen Student Health Center.

The International Students and Scholars Office has restricted access as the Memorial Union announced its closure until further notice, those wanting to contact the office can call 515-294-1120.

For those living in residence halls, the Department of Residence will be restricting the ability to live in the halls beginning March 22. Regarding students with residence hall contracts, they will receive “direct communication” from the Department of Residence by noon March 19, according to Wintersteen’s statement.

The communication will include instructions for move-out to support social distancing and criteria for those needing to stay in residence halls. Approved exceptions include, but are not limited to, international students unable to return home or have a health or safety threat by returning home.

Whether students want to stay in their residence hall or plan to move out, they must fill out a form by April 1 so Department of Residence is aware of everyone’s plans and can provide additional support and resources.

In an email from the Department of Residence, people are encouraged to move out when most convenient. Doors to the rooms will remain locked and belongings can stay in the rooms until move-out is possible.

Those in university apartments will also receive “direct communication” from the Department of Residence, the apartments will remain open.

Information about refunds to those with housing and dining contracts will come soon, according to the statement, and more information regarding all students in university housing is available on the Department of Residence housing website.

ISU Dining is following the no dine-in public health directive with only limited carryout food service to support remaining students in residence halls, university apartments and campus employees. The schedule for times and locations of ISU Dining can be found online.

Wintersteen said in the statement Iowa State must cancel spring commencement ceremonies for undergraduates, graduate students and veterinary medicine students. Campus leaders are working on plans for a live-streamed graduation address in May. Graduates will have the opportunity to participate in a future commencement ceremony in December.

Information regarding changes to leave policies to support employees during the COVID-19 will be shared during the week of March 23.

All university events, activities, exhibitions and university meetings, on and off campus, will be canceled or moved online through May 9, which is the remainder of the spring semester. Essential in-person meetings to support daily operations must include no more than 10 people who should practice social distancing.

Other university facilities that have closed to reduce the potential risk of transmission include Parks Library, Reiman Gardens and Recreation Services. The latest information can be found on the ‘changes and closures’ page.

It is asked that Iowa State students, faculty and staff should regularly check their Iowa State emails for university communications about their response to the COVID-19 situation and concerns.

Updates can still be found on the campus safety page which is the “central source for campus updates and answer to frequently asked questions,” according to Wintersteen’s statement.

“I deeply appreciate the compassion and kindness you continue to show one another during these difficult and unprecedented circumstances,” Wintersteen said in the statement. “Please also continue to prioritize your health and wellness.”