Statement from Board of Regents President Mike Richards Declaring Regents State of Emergency
Recently, the spread of COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Both the President and the Governor have declared States of Emergency.
Confirmed community spread has been identified in our state, and government and medical professionals are recommending social distancing measures. To help minimize the spread at our public universities, the Board of Regents has been following guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Governor’s Office, and others. The Board has already taken several steps at our public universities to assist in the effort to help mitigate the spread of the virus and will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional guidance when warranted.
However, the threat is continuing to grow, and as such, in accordance with Board of Regents Policy, I am declaring that a State of Emergency exists at all institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents, as there are current circumstances that pose an imminent threat to the health and safety of persons or property at our institutions.
This State of Emergency will remain in effect until I declare the emergency has passed.
Therefore, I am waiving the following Board policies and administrative rules, effective immediately and extending so long as this State of Emergency remains in effect or as otherwise subsequently ratified by the Board:
- The provisions of Iowa Administrative Code 681-3.148 are waived to the extent they place a limitation on the number of hours of accrued sick leave an employee is permitted to use for the care and necessary attention of an employee’s immediate family member. The provisions of Iowa Administrative Code 681-3.148 are further waived to the extent they preclude an employee from utilizing family leave to provide care for minor dependents when such care is required as a consequence of the closure of a K-12 school or a childcare center due to COVID-19.
- The provisions of Board of Regents Policy Manual subsection 2.1.4.A are waived to the extent they would prohibit an employee from donating or receiving vacation under this subsection to be used as sick leave for any otherwise permitted purpose directly related to COVID-19.
- The Office of the Board of Regents and the institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents are authorized to permit employees to utilize up to an additional eighty (80) hours of paid sick leave for any otherwise permitted purpose directly related to COVID-19. The provisions of any applicable Board of Regents policy or administrative rule are hereby waived, but only to the extent necessary to give effect to this paragraph 3.
- The institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents are authorized to provide instruction for all academic programs virtually. The provisions of any applicable Board of Regents policy or administrative rule regarding academic program changes are hereby waived, but only to the extent necessary to give effect to this paragraph 4.
- The Executive Director of the Board of Regents, and/or his designee(s), are hereby authorized to work with the institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents to develop processes for implementing these actions for all or any individual institution.