The latest on the campus impact of COVID-19

The unprecedented response to the COVID-19 pandemic evolves rapidly. Campuswide communication and regularly updated FAQs -- including one specifically for employees -- are available on the campus safety page. Each week as needed, Inside Iowa State will recap how coronavirus is affecting the university and share relevant resources for employees. On March 19, here is what Iowa State faculty and staff should know:


Faculty are preparing to resume classes March 23 with online instruction. Courses will be taught online for the rest of the spring semester, President Wendy Wintersteen announced in a March 18 campus message. The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching has a website with advice on course continuity and online learning. Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert and his team are addressing academic and instruction issues in updates posted on the provost's website. The Faculty Senate released a statement addressing teaching quality and academic integrity. All academic support services will be via phone or online for the rest of the semester. Resources for shifting academic advising online also are available on the provost's website.


Iowa State will stay open but is committed to supporting social distancing to limit transmission of COVID-19. Employees should work from home if possible, Wintersteen said in a March 17 message. For employees who must work on campus, supervisors should make arrangements that promote social distancing and employee health and safety. An information technology services (ITS) webpage provides remote-working resources. A WorkCyte webpage has advice on business continuity in Workday. ITS is hosting a live online tutorial March 19 and 20 (1-2 p.m.) on using Webex, a video conferencing application licensed for all ISU employees and students. The office of the vice president for research is maintaining an FAQ about the impact on research. 

Leave changes

State Board of Regents president Mike Richards on March 18 declared a state of emergency at the three regent universities and temporarily changed several policies covering sick leave and vacation time. Supervisors should not interpret and implement the Board of Regents announcement on their own. ISU administrators will share details about those changes later next week. Until then, the university’s current policies and procedures on employee leave remain in effect.

Work-life balance

In her March 17 message, Wintersteen urged supervisors to accommodate special arrangements for employees affected by health concerns or child care challenges caused by COVID-19, which has prompted K-12 schools in Iowa to close for at least four weeks at the recommendation of Gov. Kim Reynolds. University human resources (UHR) has provided guidance for working remotely, with specific tips for both employees and supervisors. UHR also released guidance on balancing child care and work.

Status of spread

As of 5:30 p.m. March 18, none of the 38 cases of COVID-19 detected by testing in Iowa were in Ames or Story County, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). IDPH regularly posts information online about the number of positive tests reported to the department.

What's closed and canceled

All events on campus are canceled through May 9, including the spring commencement ceremony. Employees must move work meetings online. Many public buildings are closed, including the ISU Book Store, the Memorial Union, Parks Library, Recreation Services facilities, Reiman Gardens and University Museums. Spring athletics seasons are canceled, including practices and competitions. Check the changes and closures webpage for updated information. Residence halls are closing March 22 for most students, but on-campus apartments will remain open. ISU Dining is open for a restricted level of carryout service at limited locations and hours. Detailed information on the impact on campus housing and dining is available online

Travel restrictions

University-sponsored trips outside of the U.S. were canceled March 14, and all faculty, staff and students who were abroad were recalled. Nonessential travel outside of Iowa is prohibited indefinitely. Travel within Iowa can continue but should be reduced when possible and practical.