Message from President Wendy Wintersteen: Spring semester resumes – COVID-19 update

CATEGORIES: Announcements

March 23, 2020 – 2:00 p.m.

Dear Iowa State Community,

Today we resume the spring semester under unprecedented circumstances.

I want to thank our faculty and staff who are doing everything possible to support our students, keep them on track to graduate, and provide a good educational experience as we move to virtual instruction for all courses and virtual student services. I also want to thank those members of the Iowa State community who must work on campus to support our critical operations.

I appreciate the work of the Faculty Senate on their recent resolution underscoring their commitment to academic integrity and maintaining the highest quality of teaching and learning while changing the way they deliver their courses.

I recognize the extraordinary efforts it is taking to transition to this virtual landscape and the added challenges this brings to our new teaching and working environments. We know this is not ideal and that new challenges continue to emerge. Thank you for your creative approaches and flexibility to find ways to make this work during this difficult situation.

I also want to share some additional decisions that have been made for the spring semester and into the summer.

Pass/Not Pass policy
The Provost has announced the implementation of a temporary Pass/Not Pass policy, effective immediately for the remainder of the spring semester, for undergraduate courses impacted by the transition to virtual instruction. I appreciate the collaboration of our faculty and academic leaders to implement this policy to provide flexibility under these extraordinary circumstances. The Graduate College is currently leading discussions to develop an analogous policy for graduate instruction.

More information about flexible policies for faculty on instruction and review is available on the Provost’s website.

Study Abroad canceled
We have decided to cancel all study abroad courses that start before Aug. 15, 2020, as a result of the ongoing global uncertainty. Academic colleges will follow up with impacted students regarding these trips in the coming days.

Full Summer courses and Summer Session I will be virtual
Full Summer courses and Summer Session I, which begins May 18, will be offered through virtual instruction only. A decision on Summer Session II, which begins June 15, will be made later in the spring.

Employee Survey
Later this week we will be sending a survey to faculty and staff so we can get a better sense of how the Iowa State community is coping during this challenging time. We want to gather information about your working environment – whether you’re working from home or on campus – to understand how we can better support you, how we can strengthen our response and communication efforts, and what emerging issues we need to address.

Keep Community, Stay Informed, and Be Well
It is so important that you prioritize your health and wellbeing during this time that we must remain physically distant from each other. Student Health and Wellness, ISU Wellbeing and Adventure2 have teamed up to launch a new wellness campaign to help you do just that. Please visit the campaign website to develop your action plan to stay connected, stay informed, and be well.

Blood Donation
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for blood donations. Blood centers are taking precautions to support social distancing by requiring appointments, no walk-ins. If you are not self-isolating as a result of possible infection or travel, and you otherwise meet the eligibility requirements to donate blood, please consider contacting LifeServe Blood Center to make an appointment to donate.

Please continue to stay informed by checking your ISU email for these university communications and checking the campus safety page.


Wendy Wintersteen

P.S. Here’s something to make Cyclone Nation smile: take a listen to Neil Diamond switch up the lyrics to “Sweet Caroline,” reminding us to do our part to stay safe and healthy.