The following is a summary of status reports from Iowa’s higher education agencies and institutions:
Board of Regents. On March 18, 2020, Board of Regents President Mike Richards issued a statement declaring a state of emergency for Regents institutions. In the statement, President Richards waived various rules and policies as follows:
• Rules are waived that limit the number of hours of accrued sick leave an employee may use for the care of an immediate family member.
• Rules are waived that preclude an employee from using family leave to provide care for minor dependents as a consequence of school or child care closures.
• Policy provisions are waived that prohibit an employee from donating or receiving vacation to be used as sick leave related to COVID-19.
• Regents institutions are authorized to permit employees to utilize up to an additional 80 hours of paid sick leave for any otherwise permitted purpose directly related to COVID-19.
• Regents institutions are authorized to provide instruction for all academic programs virtually.
• The Executive Director of the Board of Regents and/or the Executive Director’s designees are authorized to work with the institutions to develop processes for implementing all of the above provisions.
All three of the universities are now offering all classes online through the end of the spring semester and plan to do so for the summer semester, as well. Commencement ceremonies have been canceled. Residence halls have been closed with exceptions to accommodate those students who cannot immediately return to their permanent residences. All travel for faculty, staff, and students has been canceled. All staff are working remotely with exceptions for those who perform a critical function that must be completed on campus.
Additional information from each of the universities regarding the COVID-19 response can be found as follows:
• University of Iowa: coronavirus.uiowa.edu/
• Iowa State University: web.iastate.edu/safety/updates/covid19
• University of Northern Iowa: prepare.uni.edu/
The foundations at all three universities are now accepting donations to support students who may be adversely affected by COVID-19. To donate, go to the following websites:
• ISU Cyclone Strong Fund: fundisu.foundation.iastate.edu/cyclonestrong
• UI Student Life Emergency Fund: givetoiowa.org/students
• UNI COVID-19 Student Support Funds: pawprint.uni.edu/g/studentsupport
Community Colleges. The status of each of the community colleges as of Friday, March 20, is as follows:
Northeast Community College. All courses moved online beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. Campuses are closed to all foot traffic from March 23 through April 10, to be reassessed at that time. The college is working with the business community to see if training can be moved to online delivery. All staff will be off campus as of March 23.
North Iowa Area Community College. The campus closed at 4 p.m. on March 20, after helping faculty to transfer their courses to online delivery. All classes are now being delivered online. Concurrent enrollment is a problem, as some area K-12 schools have not provided guidance.
Iowa Lakes Community College. All classes have moved online, including career and technical education (CTE) programs. Only key staff will be on campus until further notice.
Northwest Community College. All classes have been moved online. Campus will be closed to foot traffic from March 23 through April 10. The college will reassess the situation on April 13.
Iowa Central Community College. Effective Monday, March 23rd, Iowa Central will begin restricting visitor access and general public visitors will not be allowed on campus. Campus visits for prospective students will be canceled until April 6th. All events scheduled in Iowa Central facilities through April 13th will not be held. All students were provided laptops at the beginning of the 2019-20 academic year.
Iowa Valley Community College. All campus facilities except housing were closed Monday, March 13. Students may access all services through email and phone. Updates are posted to the college’s website or college email. Credit classes have resumed via Zoom or internet, and selected lab courses are set to begin online on April 13. Students with technology access barriers have been advised to contact their advisors and faculty. There are concerns about limited broadband. International students have elected to return to their home countries. Every day at 1:00 p.m., the college is holding a campuswide conference call to keep everyone updated.
Hawkeye Community College. Buildings are locked down, and all classes are now online. Refurbished computers are being made available for those students and staff who need them.
Eastern Iowa Community College. All campuses are closed until April 12, with the plan to return to normal operations on Monday, April 13. All classes are now online.
Kirkwood Community College. All classes are now online, faculty are no longer on campus, and students have been supplied with laptops. The college is trying to determine how to reschedule missed learning opportunities for face-to-face CTE classes. Graduation has been cancelled.
Des Moines Area Community College. The college has closed all facilities to the general public through Sunday, April 12, and will reassess prior to April 13. All travel has been cancelled, and all classes possible have been moved to online delivery.
Western Iowa Tech Community College. All classes, including labs, are now online. The campus is closed to all except essential personnel. Students already have laptops, but broadband service will be a problem.
Iowa Western Community College. The campus is closed and all classes that can be converted to online delivery. The college is looking at alternative delivery for CTE programs that are hands on. A number of training contracts have been postponed, although some are still meeting with limited contact exposure. Clinical programs are a problem.
Southwestern Community College. The campus is closed to the public, and staff are working from home. All classes are now online through April 3, when a reassessment will be made.
Indian Hills Community College. All but essential staff are working remotely. Residence halls remain open to students unable to return home. Labs have been limited to fewer than 10 people.
Southeastern Community College. Spring semester classes resume online on March 25, following spring break. Faculty will report to campus on March 23 and 24 for preparation to transition classes to online delivery. Large group events, both on-site and off-site, are canceled through April 5. Residence halls will remain open and food service will continue on a modified schedule.
College Student Aid Commission. The Commission’s office closed to the public on March 20. Staff are working from their homes. The Commission is continuing to provide guidance to postsecondary institutions on State financial aid programs, as well as forbearance upon request to individuals who are repaying loans through discontinued conditional grant programs.
The Postsecondary Registration team is issuing guidance related to schools moving to online instruction only. The Community Engagement team, including GEAR UP and AmeriCorps, continues to work with school representatives and community partners on connecting remotely to K-12 students to encourage college choice decisions