University of Iowa says failure to follow face-covering mandate could lead to one-day suspension from class

As Iowa City continues to enforce its face-covering mandate, UI officials are preparing to make sure students comply with a similar mandate on campus in the fall.


Katie Goodale

A mask sits on the Irving B. Weber statue in front of Van Allen on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Cole Krutzfield, News Reporter

As the University of Iowa plans to reopen for in-person instruction in the fall semester, campus officials and the City of Iowa City are both working to mandate face-coverings in public in an effort to stop the transmission of the coronavirus.

As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague issued a mask mandate for Iowa City on July 21.

Derek Frank, public information officer for the Iowa City Police Department, said Iowa City residents have followed the mandate extremely well since its implementation. Iowa City police have not encountered many people who failed to follow the mandate, he said.

“When an officer has seen someone who is not following the mandate, they speak with the person and remind them about the mandate,” Frank said.

He added that Iowa City police officers are equipped with extra masks to give to community members who may not have one with them. Officers can also help educate Iowa City residents on the importance of wearing a mask, Frank said.

“We will give out citations, however, as a last resort if the person continually insists on not putting on a mask,” Frank said. “However, so far we haven’t had to issue any citations.”

The UI will provide students with personal protective equipment in the fall 2020 semester, said Assistant Director of Media Relations Hayley Bruce.

“The university will do all it can to ensure our campus community understands and follows the university’s health and safety guidelines,” Bruce said.

There will also be ample signage placed around campus to communicate the university’s expectations of students, she added.

“Students, faculty, and staff will be asked to acknowledge the expectations in writing and watch an educational video prior to the start of the semester,” Bruce said.

RELATED: Iowa City Mayor issues proclamation requiring masks in public

Every student must wear an applicable face covering such as a mask or a face shield at all times, Bruce said, unless they are alone in a private office or with a roommate in a residence hall room.

“Upon their return to campus, all students, faculty, and staff at the University of Iowa will be provided with protective equipment, including two reusable cloth face coverings, two disposable masks, one face shield, and some small hand sanitizer,” Bruce said.

UI Assistant Dean and Director of Student Accountability Angela Ibrahim-Olin said the university is still working out how it will distribute all of its personal protective equipment to students.

“The dates and times of the student-kit distribution are still being determined for off-campus students, but students in the residence halls will receive the kits upon moving in,” Ibrahim-Olin said.

Faculty will have the ability to impose a one-day suspension from their course to any student who refuses to wear a mask in class, Ibrahim-Olin said, by asking that student to immediately leave.

Faculty and staff have also been directed to report any instances where a student refuses to wear a face covering in a campus building to the Office of Student Accountability, Ibrahim-Olin added.

“The Office of Student Accountability will meet with students to learn more information about the allegation, and if they conclude that a policy was violated, the student will receive disciplinary sanctions,” Ibrahim-Olin said.