The best way to stay healthy and reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to minimize exposure to the virus.




Fall 2020


Testing is available for students, faculty and staff at Thielen Student Health Center (TSHC). A pre-screening questionnaire will help determine the need for testing.


Test samples are collected using a nasal mid-turbinate swab – more comfortable than a nasopharyngeal swab. Results are expected to be available within 24 hours.

Thielen Student Health Center will report results to the student or employee, the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Department of Residence, and the Iowa State University Public Health Team. Any questions related to test results should be directed to Thielen Student Health Center.



Each COVID-19 infection we prevent can help reduce cases over time. 


If someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, a case investigator from the Iowa State University Public Health Team will call and provide education about isolation, criteria to complete isolation, and resources to successfully complete isolation. The investigator also will gather a list of the person’s close contacts. Case investigators will contact all Iowa State associated individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 either through self-report or who were tested at TSHC. Medical care is provided by the individual’s medical provider.

If you test positive for COVID-19, it is important to provide complete information to contact tracers. Sharing the names of colleagues or friends you were in contact with at work, the gym, or a party will not get anyone in trouble. Providing this information will provide a notification so they can seek testing, and guarantee they get the support and resources they may need during quarantine. All information collected is confidential and answering the call is important to help you stay well, connect to resources, and prevent further cases in our community.

The Public Health Team will notify instructors, department chairs, supervisors, custodial staff and the Department of Residence of positive cases. Names will not be provided to protect privacy.



Prompt identification, quarantining, and monitoring of COVID-19 contacts can effectively break the chain of infection and decrease further spread of the virus in the Iowa State community. This is where we can have the most impact.


Contact tracers from the Iowa State Public Health Team identify, monitor, and support close contacts who have been exposed to, and possibly infected with, the virus.

Contact tracers call all Iowa State associated close contacts who were identified from the case’s investigation. They inform them of exposure, provide education and resources for quarantining, and initiate symptom tracking. If you test positive for COVID-19, it is important to provide complete information to contact tracers from the Iowa State Public Health Team.

A close contact is instructed to stay home for 14 days after their last contact with an infected individual, to check their temperature at least daily, and watch for symptoms of COVID-19. Contacts will receive a daily text to help with symptom tracking until their quarantine is completed. If they develop symptoms, the contact should seek medical care. A negative test does not release a contact from quarantine. They must complete the full 14 days. There is no need for a “release from quarantine” note.



Isolation and quarantine are essential in helping to decrease the spread of COVID-19.


Isolation prevents the spread of an infectious disease by separating people who are sick from those who are not. It lasts as long as the disease is contagious.

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. It lasts long enough to ensure the person has not contracted an infectious disease.

How? For Students

  1. Iowa State has designated areas for isolation (Linden) and quarantine (Oak and Elm) available for students living in the residence halls.
  2. Parents and students should discuss their plan for isolation and/or quarantine prior to their student arriving at Iowa State for the fall semester.
  3. Students in Iowa State residence halls will have access to laundry facilities, internet, and dining options while in isolation/quarantine.
  4. Students who live off campus or in campus apartments will be responsible for their own isolation/quarantine living arrangements.
  5. A list of resources will be made available to students who must isolate/quarantine to assist them with any needs they may have during that time.

How? For Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff who test positive and have symptoms of COVID-19 need to follow CDC guidelines to:

  • isolate for 10 days after symptom onset, and
  • not have a fever for at least 24 hours (without using fever-reducing medications), and
  • see improvement of other symptoms.

An employee who receives a positive test result from their medical provider or through Test Iowa must self-report using this form. Self-reporting is a safe and confidential process and will allow the Public Health Team to provide support to those who test positive.

Self-care during isolation and quarantine is important. Be sure to take advantage of university and community resources.



It is critically important that all members of the Iowa State community monitor their health every day before coming to campus and stay home if not feeling well. This is how we can limit the spread of COVID-19. According to the CDC, symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.


Everyone should do daily self-health checks to look for the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever or chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Also watch for emergency warning signs. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately.

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

If You are a Student with Symptoms:

  • Limit contact with others
  • Call Thielen Student Health Center

If You are a Faculty or Staff Member with Symptoms:

  • Limit contact with others
  • Contact your personal healthcare provider
  • Notify your supervisor

What do Supervisors Need to Know?

Employees who have been ill can return to work after the following criteria have been met:

  • No fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications), and
  • Other symptoms have improved, and
  • At least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared.



Mental health concerns have a significant impact on the health and safety of the entire Iowa State community, as well as on the academic success of students. The university is creating an accessible and comprehensive plan to support the continuum of needs of our community throughout this stressful time.


Iowa State has a comprehensive mental health plan that emphasizes awareness, visible programming on skill development, and accessible resources on campus.

The following resources are free and available to the entire Iowa State community.

  • Kognitoan interactive, virtual role-play training to help students identify, approach, and refer students who may be in distress. Incoming Iowa State students (graduate, undergraduate, professional, and transfer students) are required to take the training. Kognito will appear in a student’s Canvas account starting July 1.
  • Therapy Assistance Onlinean online library of engaging, interactive programs that help you learn life skills and bounce back from disappointments and stumbling blocks.


How? For Students

Students at a higher risk to develop severe illness from COVID-19 based on their age or underlying medical condition, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control, will be given preference for placement in online courses. Additional information on this process can be found on the Dean of Students website. However, it is important to note that we will not be able to offer all scheduled courses with an online option in cases such as labs where students use special equipment, or courses that feature a unique instructional experience.

How? For Staff

If you or a household member is at higher risk of contracting severe illness from COVID-19 based on CDC criteria, you may submit a request for an alternative work arrangement through the online form located on the UHR COVID-19 website. After you submit your request, you will receive additional information regarding next steps and a UHR representative will reach out to further discuss. Please review the UHR COVID-19 website for additional information and resources regarding COVID-19.



Custodial crews will provide enhanced cleaning and disinfection of common areas, restrooms, labs, classrooms, and Parks Library. All Iowa State employees have a shared responsibility to clean and disinfect their personal and administrative work areas.



Modifying learning spaces and adapting academic expectations are designed to limit the spread of infection and facilitate contact tracing.


Classroom and lab capacities are reduced by 50% to promote physical distancing. Students will have assigned seating to assist with contact tracing if a student is ill. Students and faculty must wear a face covering in all learning spaces.

To ease congestion, passing times are extended by 15 minutes on Mon/Wed/Fri, and instructors will have entrance and exit protocols to manage traffic flow in and out of the classroom.


Students and faculty should stay home and not attend class if they’re sick. Students who are self-isolating because of a positive COVID-19 test, waiting for a test result, or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will be excused from class.

COVID-19 health and safety requirements are listed on all course syllabi. Advisers will work with students who applied for a COVID-19 related accommodation on options to advance their academic goals.