Iowa State holds town hall to discuss fall semester, COVID-19


President Wendy Wintersteen was joined by infectious disease expert Dr. Dan Fulton and others for a town hall discussing Iowa State’s fall COVID-19 plans. (Screenshot/Youtube)

Jack Mcclellan

At Iowa State, classes are back in session and in-person despite concerns about COVID-19 and the delta variant. Life on campus has largely returned to normal, but concerns for spread of the virus remain. 

On Thursday, Iowa State’s President Wendy Wintersteen hosted a virtual town hall in which several panelists spoke on Iowa State’s COVID-19 response this fall. Among them was Dr. Dan Fulton, an infectious disease specialist from Ames’s McFarland Clinic.

“June and July was blissful,” Fulton said. “We had almost no cases, over the past month we’ve seen an increase in cases both in our outpatient clinics and in the hospital.” 

“I think we should expect a similar process to what we went through last year, things got busiest in October and November, but time will tell,” he said. ”One thing that I hope we’ll see is different this year is that with the effectiveness of the vaccines, although numbers may go up, we will not see the same degree of hospitalized patients and people dying from the virus.”

Rather than the university requiring masks indoors, the decision has been left up to students to decide whether or not to mask up and get vaccinated per the Iowa Board of Regents decision to not allow universities to impose mask requirements. Still, Iowa State strongly encourages both wearing masks and getting vaccinated to all students and staff. 

Students can get tested at Thielen Student Health Center. Iowa State has also partnered with Test Iowa, who have provided at-home testing kits which are available on several locations on campus. For students who test positive for the virus, Linden Hall remains the designated quarantine dorm for students that live on-campus. 

Another speaker from the president’s town hall was Erin Baldwin, associate vice president of student health and wellness, as well as the director of Thielen Student Health Center. 

“Getting vaccinated is definitely the very best thing we can do to protect ourselves and others,” Baldwin said. “The COVID-19 vaccines that were authorized in the United States continue to be remarkably effective in reducing severe disease, hospitalization and death even against the widely circulating delta variant.”

Iowa State is offering a couple different vaccination clinics across campus. There will be clinics in room 3560 in the Memorial Union this Wednesday and Friday, as well as on Sept. 1, 3 and 10. More clinics will be held in room 140 at Parks Library on Sept. 15, 22 and 29; there will also be clinics held at Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center on Sept. 2 and 23.

The clinics offer both the Pfizer-BioNTech shot and the Johnson & Johnson shot. Immunocompromised individuals are also eligible for a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna shots. 

“Our best advice is to give grace to others and be kind, everyone has different opinions and perspectives and personal circumstances so we want to avoid blaming and shaming others,” Baldwin said.

Iowa State will continue to keep the most up to date information on their COVID-19: Moving Forward website. The full town hall can be found on YouTube.