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.
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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.