Statement from President Mike Richards Lifting Regents State of Emergency
On March 17, 2020, Governor Kim Reynolds issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consistent with Governor Reynolds’ proclamation, on March 18, 2020, I declared a State of Emergency at all of the institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, and in the months that followed, community spread of the virus nationally was increasing, and adherence to social distancing, mask-wearing, and isolation recommendations was needed to mitigate the spread of the virus.
In recent months, highly effective vaccines have become widely available to adults and older children. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) currently reports that over 1.2 million Iowans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Positivity and hospitalization rates continue to decline, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently revised guidance with regard to social distancing, mask-wearing, and isolation for individuals who are fully vaccinated.
In consideration of significant improvements in the management of COVID-19 both in the State of Iowa and nationally, I am lifting the State of Emergency at the Board of Regents institutions effective immediately. In order to facilitate the transition, I am implementing the following guidelines. This guidance is subject to change based on recommendations from the CDC, IDPH, Executive Orders, or further direction from the Board of Regents.
Return to Campus (Faculty and Staff) – Effective July 1, 2021, all faculty and staff are required to return to campus to the extent their traditional (pre-pandemic) employment responsibilities require. The Presidents and Superintendent are authorized to approve continued remote or hybrid work arrangements in circumstances when there is a legitimate business rationale that serves the best interests of the institution (including, pilot projects in targeted areas), or as may otherwise be permitted or required by law or established institutional policy.
Return to Campus (Students) – Effective for the Fall 2021 semester, the institutions are required to return to offering in-person academic coursework and educational experiences to the same extent such academic coursework or educational experiences were offered in-person prior to the pandemic. The institutions may continue to explore hybrid or distance learning academic coursework and educational experiences in consultation with the Board office and in accordance with applicable Board of Regents policy. The institutions are expected to resume traditional student life activities and opportunities effective for the Fall 2021 semester.
Mask Requirements – Effective immediately, faculty, staff, students, and visitors to campus will not be required to wear a mask or other face covering. This guideline shall not apply to campus transportation (i.e. buses), the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), veterinary medicine facilities, research laboratories, or any other healthcare operation, setting, or service. Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to continue to wear a mask or other appropriate face-covering while on campus.
Physical Distancing Requirements – Effective immediately, classrooms and other campus spaces will operate at their normal (pre-pandemic) capacity. Faculty, staff, students, and visitors to campus will not be required to maintain physical distancing. This guideline shall not apply to UIHC, veterinary medicine facilities, research laboratories, or any other healthcare operation, setting, or service. Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to continue to physically distance from others when possible.
Vaccinations – All members of the campus community are strongly encouraged to receive a vaccination against COVID-19. The Universities will continue to ensure vaccine availability to faculty, staff, and students either through vaccination opportunities on campus or in partnership with external providers. The institutions shall make information regarding COVID-19 vaccines easily available to all members of the campus community. However, the institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents (with the exception of University of Iowa Healthcare) may not impose any requirement that students, faculty, or staff receive or provide evidence of having received a vaccination for COVID-19.
Expiration of Emergency Waivers – The Emergency Waivers and Authorizations previously ratified by the Board of Regents shall expire in accordance with the following timeline:
Effective August 31, 2021:
- Iowa Administrative Code 681-3.148 (Family Care Leave)
Effective July 1, 2021:
- Board Policy Manual §2.1.4.a (Catastrophic Illness Policy)
- Board Policy Manual § 3.6.A (Academic Program Review)
Effective July 1, 2022:
- Iowa Administrative Code 681-3.39(10) (Pay for Exceptional Performance)
- Iowa Administrative Code 681-3.82 (Temporary Appointments)
- Board Policy Manual § 3.5 (Academic Program and Planning Approval)
- Board of Regents 80 additional hours of sick leave