University of Iowa begins vaccine scheduling for students

As public health departments prepare for vaccine eligibility expansion, the university reminds students that the number of vaccines will depend on the doses provided by the state and Johnson County

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Raquele Decker

The Old Capitol Building is seen on Monday, March 1, 2021.

Marco Oceguera, News Reporter

As public health departments prepare for a state-wide increase in vaccine eligibility, the University of Iowa is beginning to schedule students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine next week.

On Thursday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ announced the University of Iowa would be among a handful of universities and colleges to receive an allocation of the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine for students and staff beginning next week in an effort to immunize college students before students return home for the summer.

Vaccine eligibility for all adults statewide begins Monday, Reynolds’ office has said, though health officials warn supply will still be limited. 

In a COVID-19 update sent Friday, the university said Student Health is preparing to vaccinate students on campus. Students will have to fill out a COVID-19 immunization survey for information on scheduling and where to go. 

After completing the survey, students will receive additional information about how to schedule a vaccination appointment. An appointment is required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine through UI Student Health. The UI urged people not to call student health to make an appointment.

“We urge you to complete the survey as soon as you can,” the university wrote to campus Friday. 

According to the email, while UI officials expect increased vaccine availability in the coming weeks, supply is dependent on the number of doses the university receives from the state and county. 

If students are able to receive a vaccine through a local pharmacy, the university is encouraging them to do so. Students have already begun looking outside of Johnson County for vaccine appointments. 

This fall, UI students, faculty, and staff will not be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as of now according to the Friday update. 

Fall 2021 semester plans

In the email, the university announced that it will continue to follow public health guidance from local, state, and national organizations to develop guidelines on social distancing and mask-wearing for the fall 2021 semester. 

Currently, all classes of 150 students or less will be held face-to-face along with club and student organization meetings. The email also stated that the On Iowa! Week of Welcome will be held. Big Ten athletics and other performances at campus venues are also to be held in person. 

The university added that classroom instruction will only be held in classrooms that meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ventilation recommendations for reducing the risk of viral transmission. 

Other resources such as cameras and plexiglass will be provided as desired in order to support virtual learning requirements and address any concerns related to potential COVID-19 exposure. 

On-campus dining options are also set to remain similar to the current model, with both in-person dining and express to be offered. 

The university will return to offering a robust student experience typical of a Big Ten public research university,” the email stated.

COVID-19 Cases on Campus

As vaccines continue to roll out in Johnson County, the UI reported eight new COVID-19 cases on campus as of April 2. 

Eight students have self-reported testing positive for the virus. There are zero additional cases among staff members at the UI. Two students are in self-isolation in the residence halls.

The new cases bring the total number of self-reported COVID-19 cases among staff and students on campus to 3,568 since August 2020.

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