Employees working mostly from off-campus locations who were making plans to return to their university offices in August now have an earlier deadline. Repealing the board's March 2020 "state of emergency" declaration for the three regent campuses May 20, state Board of Regents president Michael Richards also directed regent employees to return to their campus workspaces by July 1.
In a follow-up memo, Iowa State leaders confirmed the change applies to employees who normally would work on campus during the summer. Faculty on nine-month appointments, for example, can keep the Aug. 19 return date the university announced last month.
President Wendy Wintersteen and senior vice presidents Pam Cain (operations and finance), Jonathan Wickert (academic affairs) and Toyia Younger (student affairs) noted that thousands of ISU employees either never stopped working on campus or had begun to transition back to their university workspace. For others, including parents who need to find child care for summer months, the new timeline "may be challenging," they wrote.
"We encourage these employees to work with their supervisors over the next six weeks to plan for a smooth transition back to campus," they wrote. Return-to-work questions also can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to requiring employees to return to their pre-pandemic work mode in six weeks rather than 10 weeks, Richards provided these guidelines from the board:
- Effective immediately, face coverings and physical distancing aren't required on campus. Exceptions are buses, human and animal health care facilities, and research labs. The board's directive supplants the changes to the university's face covering policy announced May 19. Instructors can't require face coverings in summer classes, and employees can't require face coverings in their offices.
- Effective immediately, campus spaces, including classrooms, will return to their normal capacity levels.
- Regent universities should ensure vaccines are available and strongly encourage vaccination for employees and students, either on campus or with off-campus partners. However, the universities can't mandate vaccination or proof of vaccination for students or employees.
- Unvaccinated employees, students and visitors are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering on campus.
- Effective for fall semester, academic coursework and experiences will be offered in person similar to pre-pandemic levels.
- Traditional student life activities will resume fall semester.