Study abroad hiatus extended to Aug. 1, spring commencement decision deferred to March

Summer study abroad programs scheduled to depart between May 2 and Aug. 1 have been canceled, senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert announced this week. Spring study abroad programs scheduled to depart before May 1 were canceled in October.

Last March, the state Board of Regents implemented a rolling 30-day ban on international travel for students at Iowa's three regent universities. The ban has been extended continuously since that time and remains in effect. University and board leaders continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on global travel and will provide an update when decisions are made for programs scheduled to begin after Aug. 1.

International business travel still prohibited

Wickert also noted the university is not yet approving international business travel for employees. This decision also is revisited on a rolling 30-day basis. Employees should not conduct university business, such as delivering a lecture at an institution or conference or conducting research, while traveling internationally for personal purposes.

Commencement decision to be made by March 1

Wickert said a decision on spring commencement will be made by March 1. The university's commencement advisory committee is evaluating multiple options for commencement -- with a focus on safety for students, faculty, staff and guests -- that appropriately honor graduating students' achievements. Deferring the decision gives university leaders additional time to monitor trends related to the pandemic, including vaccine distribution, and to make a decision based on the latest information.

All spring and fall 2020 commencement events were held virtually.