Iowa Board of Regents lifts state of emergency across the state


As new COVID-19 policies continue to unfold, Iowa State’s previous policies outlined yesterday were superseded through the Iowa Board of Regents’ decision to lift the state of emergency across Iowa.

Omar Waheed

As new COVID-19 policies continue to unfold, Iowa State’s previous policies outlined Wednesday were superseded through the Iowa Board of Regents’ decision to lift the state of emergency across Iowa today.

“The Iowa Department of Public Health currently reports that over 1.2 million Iowans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Mike Richards, president of the Iowa Board of Regents, in a press release. “Positivity and hospitalization rates continue to decline, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently revised guidance with regard to social distancing, mask-wearing and isolation for individuals who are fully vaccinated.”

Citing the ongoing efforts in combating COVID-19, Richards outlined the overall plans regarding returning to campus.

The Board of Regents wants institutions to get back to pre-COVID-19 operations no later than July 1.

This includes a return of students and faculty/staff to classrooms, a removal of mask requirements expected in specific areas such as public transportation and hospitals and clinics, a removal of distancing requirements except for places mentioned in the statement and a recommendation for all people to get vaccinated.

“All members of the campus community are strongly encouraged to receive a vaccination against COVID-19,” Richards said. “The universities will continue to ensure vaccine availability to faculty, staff and students either through vaccination opportunities on campus or in partnership with external providers.”

There remains no requirement to receive any of the COVID-19 vaccinations despite the call to have things return to normal. Even further, the statement specifically calls for not allowing vaccine requirements by institutions.

“The institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents (with the exception of University of Iowa health care) may not impose any requirement that students, faculty or staff receive or provide evidence of having received a vaccination for COVID-19,” Richards said. 

In comparison to Iowa State’s policies outlined Wednesday, the new policies from the Board of Regents changes Iowa State’s expected employee return date from August 2 to July 1 and removes any mask mandate that would be in place for the coming academic year.