Board of Regents lifts state of emergency

Regents President Mike Richards wrote in a statement that institutions are expected to return to pre-pandemic student life and opportunities for the fall 2021 semester.


Ayrton Breckenridge

Iowa Board of Regents President Mike Richards announces Barbara Wilson as the new University of Iowa President at a press conference in the Levitt Center for University Advancement on April 30, 2021.

Natalie Dunlap, News Editor

The state of emergency for state Board of Regents institutions has been lifted, requiring traditional student and staff life to return to normal in fall 2021.

Regents President Mike Richards announced on Thursday that he is lifting the State of Emergency at regents institutions effective immediately as a result of vaccinations becoming widely available and declining COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization rates, as well as the new guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Richards wrote that institutions are required to offer in-person coursework to the same extent it was offered pre-pandemic, but that institutions may explore hybrid or distance learning through the regents’ office. 

“The institutions are expected to resume traditional student life activities and opportunities effective for the Fall 2021 semester,” Richards said in a prepared statement released Thursday. 

Starting July 1, faculty and staff are required to return to campus. Presidents and superintendents can approve remote working arrangements under some circumstances permitted by law or institutional policy.   

Masking is optional on campuses effective immediately, with the exception of transportation, research labs, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and other health care settings. Campus spaces will also return to regular capacity. 

RELATED: UI announces new mask guidelines, face masks not required if fully vaccinated

Vaccinations are voluntary and institutions cannot require students, faculty, or staff to receive the vaccine, though Richards wrote the regents are encouraging all members of campus communities to receive the vaccine. 

The current 14-day positive test average in the state is 3.1 percent according to Iowa’s coronavirus case count, and there are currently 146 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the state.

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