University of Iowa revises its face covering policy, reports new COVID-19 cases

The university will no longer allow gaiters or face shields as appropriate face coverings when worn without a mask.


Jenna Galligan

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

Rachel Schilke, News Editor

The University of Iowa will no longer allow face shields and gaiters to be worn without masks as appropriate face coverings, effective Oct. 23.

In a campus-wide update on Friday, the UI said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions the effectiveness of gaiters and face shields is unknown at this time, so the university is updating its face covering requirements to lower the risk of transmission on campus.

Appropriate face coverings now include cloth and disposable masks, and students, faculty, and staff may wear face shields for additional protection as long as a face mask is worn, the update said.

The update said instructors may wear a face shield in certain situations where instruction requires an unobstructed view of faces or in situations requiring student accommodations. In this case, instructors will need to maintain a minimum of six feet of distance.

The CDC has also updated its information on how COVID-19 spreads. Although the common form of transmission is close contact, the virus can sometimes spread via airborne transmission in indoor environments with poor ventilation and when talking or singing loudly.

The UI has also updated its COVID-19 self-reported positive cases. As of Oct. 14, 10 students and seven employees have self-reported testing positive for the coronavirus. This brings the semester-to-date total of self-reported positive cases to 2,075 students and 70 employees.

One student in the residence halls is in quarantine and four students in the residence halls are in self-isolation.

The 14-day rolling total as of Oct. 16 is 327.

The Main Library has updated its health and safety guidelines, as well. The Main Library is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m., and users may access the Learning commons and the second and third floors. Users will now have access to the second and third floors Monday through Friday from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

After receiving student feedback, the UI libraries are partnering with the Office of Student Accountability on a program to monitor and encourage use of face coverings in library facilities.

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