UI working to accommodate employees who are parents in light of ICCSD taking classes online

In a campus forum, HR officials said the UI was not aware of the decision until last night’s school board meeting, and will work to figure out how to accommodate employees’ childcare needs.


Jenna Galligan

The Old Capitol is seen on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Rylee Wilson, News Editor

In a campus forum Wednesday afternoon, UI administrators said the university is aware that the Iowa City Community School District’s decision to not open school buildings will affect working parents on campus.  

The Iowa City school district voted at a board meeting yesterday evening that the district would not return to in-person schooling until at least October 1. 

“We too learned of [the decision] last night. We’ve got a team assembled developing options for employees,” Chief Human Resources Officer Cheryl Reardon said.

Joni Troester, deputy chief human resources officer said UI administration is working to develop a plan to assist employees in finding childcare or allow them to work from home. 

“Please rest assured we are actively engaged in discussion and planning with campus leaders for assistance and support for childcare as well as the use of our remote work policies and available leave for our families as we start the fall semester,” Troester said. 

Also in the forum, Reardon addressed the concerns employees who may be more at risk for severe illness if they contract COVID-19 have about returning to campus.

UI faculty staff and student employees who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 according to CDC guidelines may request an alternate work arrangement, which can include remote work, an alternative work location, flexible scheduling, or a modified classroom layout.

Those requesting accommodations must provide medical documentation. Accommodations area also available for those who live with someone who is at increased risk for severe illness. 

Employees will be required to take a course on ICON covering best practices for mitigating COVID-19 and the guidelines the university has provided for face coverings and social distancing. 

“That’s really the expectation. When you’re in a public building, a university building, you’re wearing that mask or that face covering,” Reardon said. “When you’re in a private office alone, you’re able to take it off.” 

Employees will be required to inform their HR representative if they develop any symptoms of COVID-19, test positive, or come into contact with someone who has.