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 26, here is what Iowa State faculty and staff should know:
In an enormous effort by faculty, information technology services (ITS) and the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) over the course of two weeks, about 6,100 in-person course sections were converted to online delivery for the virtual instruction period that began March 23. Virtual classes will continue through the end of the spring semester. Full-summer and summer session I courses also will be taught online. Undergraduates will be given the choice to take any course that shifted online mid-semester on a pass/not pass basis, with full credit toward degree and program requirements.
CELT and ITS offer numerous resources on remote working and instruction. Consult CELT's list of support options by college and technology type. To request tech support from the Solution Center, complete an incident form online, send an email to email@example.com or leave a voicemail at 515-294-4000. ITS is holding regular online tutorials on Webex, ISU's videoconferencing software, including sessions Thursday, March 26 (1:10-2 p.m.) and Friday, March 27 (11 a.m.-noon). On March 23, the first day of virtual instruction, more than 13,500 users participated in more than 3,000 ISU Webex meetings.
In a March 22 campus message, Wintersteen directed members of the Iowa State community to self-isolate for 14 days after traveling outside of Iowa. To request an exception, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 515-294-4428. All study abroad programs that start before Aug. 15 have been canceled.
With all university events canceled or moved online and employees working remotely if possible, most public and academic buildings are closed. This has prompted some changes to how mail and packages are delivered. ISU Dining is operating nine campus locations during limited hours for carryout service or retail sales. The university human resources service center and benefits office are open only for appointments. Transportation services remains open, as does ISU Printing Services, though building access is restricted.
Senior leaders urge employees to participate in a survey asking Iowa State faculty and staff about the university's response to the pandemic. The deadline is 10 p.m., March 27. President Wendy Wintersteen and other senior leaders will hold a virtual town hall meeting March 30 (9-10 a.m.) to share updates, address issues raised in the employee survey and take questions.
Hiring and promotion
Only critical job vacancies should be filled for the duration of the semester, and searches for tenured and tenure-track faculty positions are postponed until in-person interviews are possible. The faculty promotion and tenure process will proceed as planned, but all requests for a one-year tenure clock extension will be approved if faculty had work disrupted by the coronavirus emergency.
Status of spread
As of March 25, two of the 145 cases of COVID-19 detected by testing in Iowa were in Story County, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). See the state's coronavirus website for updated information on confirmed cases and hospitalizations in Iowa. ISU officials are in daily contact with IDPH and Mary Greeley Medical Center and will keep the campus community informed to the fullest extent possible about any cases connected to Iowa State.
"Keep Community, Stay Informed, and Be Well," is a wellness campaign to help students and employees navigate the changes caused by virtual instruction, remote work and social distancing. One element of the campaign is an employee action plan work teams can use to collaborate on strategies for maintaining well-being. To assist struggling students, consider giving to the Cyclone Strong Fund that will provide needed emergency grants.