The University of Iowa announced Wednesday that classes will remain online for the rest of the semester along with the extension of spring break, campus closings, and spring commencement cancellation due to the spread of COVID-19.
This news comes a day after six more positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Iowa, bringing the state total to 29 cases. Johnson County also declared Wednesday a public health emergency, one day after Gov. Kim Reynolds declared a public-health disaster emergency in the state.
Spring break will be extended until March 30. Instructors will use the extra week to work on transitioning to a digital format, according to an email to UI students. Students in classes with clinical components or fieldwork will receive more information from their academic program leaders.
In addition to classes going online, most on-campus housing and all dining halls will close Thursday. According to the email, procedures for move-out and transition policies will be provided to housing residents through email by Thursday and published on the UI Housing and Dining website.
“We realize that not all students have alternative housing and dining options, and we will continue to accommodate students who cannot immediately return to their permanent residence,” the email stated.
The UI asked students in the email not to return to residence halls until it is time to move out. Students can apply to remain on campus online, and information about refunds will be released soon.
While spring commencement ceremonies will be canceled, the email said, an alternative celebration for graduating seniors is currently being planned.
All other UI events will be canceled, postponed, or virtually conducted for the remainder of the semester.
All employees outside of UI Health Care are asked to work remotely “unless the critical function they provide must be completed on campus,” the email said. Colleges and vice-presidential units are currently working on informing employees.
“We know many of you have questions and concerns about compensation during this period of disruption,” the email said. “We are reviewing state guidelines to ensure compliance, and we will make every effort to support our employees, including our student employees. We will share additional information soon.”
Building access across campus will be limited to authorized personnel only, as well, the email said. Building entrances will be locked but will be able to open for those with access and key cards. Closed buildings include the library and Hancher Auditorium. The Iowa Memorial Union will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday and will reopen and an indeterminate time.