Faculty Senate concerned about uptick in COVID-19 cases at the UI

University of Iowa Faculty Senate members shared concerns about a possible third wave of COVID-19 and uptick in self-reported cases.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Faculty Council President Joseph Yockey speaks on a Zoom call on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.

Sabine Martin, News Reporter

At the University of Iowa Faculty Senate meeting on Tuesday, senate members discussed the recent double-digit uptick of the UI’s self-reported student and faculty positive COVID-19 cases released on Monday.

As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, 21 new cases were self-reported among students and employees since Oct. 23. As of Oct. 27, Johnson County’s COVID-19 positive test rate is 14 percent.

At the meeting, Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department Ed Gillan said he currently teaches about 1,000 UI freshmen. He said he saw an uptick in students who’d self-reported testing positive in his daily e-mail update professors receive on students in their class who’ve reported a positive virus test.

“We watch the daily COVID reports wax and wane and at the last two weeks we have had many days where there were no reports, and today it went up to three,” Gillan said.

Faculty Senate President Joseph Yockey said the UI has purchased a large supply of transparent face masks for faculty to use instead of a face shield because of revisions of the COVID-19 face mask policy. The policy now prohibits neck gaiters or face shields without a face mask to be used as an appropriate face covering.

RELATED: UI reports 21 new cases of COVID-19

Regarding a possible third wave of COVID-19 discussed at the meeting, UI Faculty Senate member Nicole Nisly said she hopes the UI has a different plan on how to handle students that contract COVID-19.

“We know based on CDC data and local data that we might be entering a third wave [of COVID-19] and the numbers are rising in the Midwest…I am hoping that we might avoid what happened in the summer when we were on front of the New York Times as the No. 1 city,” Nisly said.

Yockey said the Faculty Senate officers will be meeting with UI interim executive vice president and provost Kevin Kregel and President Bruce Harreld tomorrow.

Yockey said they plan to cover topics including COVID-19 to make sure that “campus is prepared and tracking data as closely as we expect they are.”