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Virtual instruction extended through end of spring semester – COVID-19 update 13-3/18/2020

Author: Troy Rutter

March 18, 2020 – 4:00p.m.


Re:       Virtual instruction extended through end of spring semester – COVID-19 update 13



Dear Iowa State students, faculty, and staff,


As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, Iowa State University has decided to move all courses to virtual instruction for the remainder of the spring semester. The state of Iowa is under a Public Health Disaster Emergency, which includes a directive that all gatherings of more than 10 people be canceled or moved online until the declaration is lifted.


Academic and Student Services

  • Virtual instruction will begin Monday, March 23. Students will receive additional information from their instructors regarding their classes, assignments, and exams.
  • Laboratories, studios, performance instruction, computer labs, and other experiential learning sections will not be held in person through the rest of the spring semester. Substitute assignments or makeup activities will be at the discretion of the academic program.
  • Academic support services, including academic advising and career services, will be provided online or by phone.
  • For essential services, including Thielen Student Health Center and Student Counseling, please call ahead. These units will soon have telehealth options available.
  • For International Students and Scholars, please call ahead, 515-294-1120. Access to the ISSO office in the Memorial Union is restricted.


Department of Residence

  • Department of Residence will be restricting the ability to live in the residence halls beginning Sunday, March 22. Students with residence hall contracts will receive direct communication from the Department of Residence by noon tomorrow (March 19).  This will include move-out instructions to support social distancing, and criteria for students who need to stay.
    • Examples of approved exceptions include, but are not limited to, international students who cannot return home, or returning home represents a health or safety threat to you or those at home.
  • University apartments will remain open, and those residents will also receive a direct communication from the Department of Residence.
  • More information for all students in university housing is available here.
  • Information about refunds to those with housing and dining contracts will be coming soon.


ISU Dining

  • ISU Dining is following the public health directive of no dine-in, only limited carryout food service to support any remaining students in the residence halls and university apartments, and employees who must work on campus. Check the ISU Dining online schedule for times and locations.


The university remains open to support the transition to virtual instruction and provide critical operations and services; however, as communicated Tuesday, supervisors and employees are directed to accommodate flexible work arrangements to support social distancing.


Employee Leave Changes

The Board of Regents has permitted the university to make temporary changes to our leave policies to support employees during the COVID-19 emergency. We will share information about those changes next week.


University Events and Meetings

All university events, activities, and exhibitions, on and off campus, will be canceled or moved online, for the remainder of the spring semester (through May 9). All university meetings for the remainder of the spring semester must be moved online. If an in-person meeting is essential to support daily operations, it must include no more than 10 people who are practicing social distancing (e.g. sitting at least six feet apart).


Spring Commencement

We regret that Iowa State must also cancel spring commencement ceremonies for undergraduates, graduate students, and veterinary medicine students. Campus leaders are working on plans for a live-streamed graduation address in May. Graduates will also have the opportunity to participate in a future commencement ceremony in December.


University Facilities

Several university facilities have closed to reduce the potential risk of transmission, including the Memorial Union, Parks Library, Reiman Gardens, and Recreation Services. Please check the Changes and Closures page for the latest information.



Faculty, staff, and graduate students should prioritize social distancing and contingency planning for their research programs. Information on these topics and more will be updated tomorrow through the COVID-19 & Research FAQ.


Stay Informed

Please check your ISU email frequently for university communications about our response to COVID-19, and also check the campus safety page – the central source for campus updates and answers to frequently asked questions.


I deeply appreciate the compassion and kindness you continue to show one another during these difficult and unprecedented circumstances. Please also continue to prioritize your health and wellness. Iowa State News Service has published a helpful article on ways to stay active and connected while social distancing. The Iowa State community is strong and resilient, and I am proud of our ongoing commitment to work together to support our mission.




Wendy Wintersteen