COVID-19: Moving Forward

Birdseye view of Beardshear Hall entrance


Keeping our campus community healthy

We must work together to keep ourselves and our campus community healthy. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect your physical health and mitigate the spread of the virus to others. Thank you to everyone who has taken this important step.

Vaccination clinics

If you have yet to get the vaccine, Thielen Student Health Center (TSHC) will offer COVID-19 vaccination clinics for students from 9 a.m. to noon, every Monday and Tuesday, through November. More information and a link to schedule an appointment is available on the university’s vaccination webpage. Clinics are free, confidential and open to all students. 

Employees are encouraged to contact their medical provider or search for availability.

Iowa State will offer a vaccine clinic on Nov. 17-18 at State Gym for anyone wanting a booster shot or needing their first dose. The clinic is open to employees and students. More information is available on the university's vaccination webpage

Information and CDC guidance for booster shots is available on the university's vaccination webpage.

Please remember that you cannot ask students or employees if they have received the vaccine.

Face masks

The Iowa Board of Regents has provided the following guidance for face masks for the regent universities:

  • Encouraged: All students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus are encouraged to wear face masks in all indoor spaces when around others. Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to wear a face mask anywhere they are around others, and to practice physical distancing when possible.
  • Required: Face masks are required on CyRide, at Thielen Student Health Center, in areas of the College of Veterinary Medicine where face masks are normally required, and in Ames Laboratory facilities. Masks may also be required in research laboratories at the discretion of the principal investigator or lab supervisor.
  • Personal choice: Faculty, staff, students, and visitors to campus may choose to wear or not wear a face mask anywhere they deem appropriate.

Faculty and staff cannot require students and employees to wear a face mask, except where indicated above.

Classrooms, labs, offices

Classroom and lab capacities are no longer restricted and distancing is not required.

Learning spaces: Instructors can encourage students individually and in group settings to wear face masks. This guidance is consistent with current CDC recommendations for indoor settings. Instructors cannot: require face masks, penalize or criticize students for not wearing one, offer incentives (such as extra credit) to those who wear one, or direct students to sit in different areas of the classroom based on masking or vaccination status. More information for instructors is available in the Provost's Aug. 10 message.

Fall 2021 class attendance policies: Consistent with the policy outlined in the Faculty Handbook, faculty will set their own standards for attendance with one exception: faculty are expected to treat a positive COVID test result as appropriate documentation for a university excused absence. The excused absence must extend to the full length of the isolation period under current CDC guidance. Students seeking accommodations to make up exams, assignments, and other missed coursework, must be willing to present proof of a positive COVID test.

Public health monitoring

Iowa State’s public health team continues to actively monitor COVID-19 data for campus, including data from Story County Public Health and other community partners. The team is ready to respond and provide recommendations to university leadership. Any changes to current public health efforts will be shared on this website.

This fall, Thielen Student Health Center is providing COVID-19 tests for symptomatic students. Campus data is posted on the COVID-19: By the numbers page. All positive COVID-19 test results are reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health and that data is included in the state’s COVID-19 in Iowa website. The state website is the most complete source for information as it includes test results from students, faculty and staff who use the IDPH at-home test kits or test through their medical provider. County-level data also is available through the CDC COVID-19 data tracker.


Symptomatic students should schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 test at Thielen Student Health Center (TSHC). Employees should arrange a test through their primary care provider. Free at-home test kits are available at TSHC, the Memorial Union or Union Drive Community Center, or request one through Test Iowa. Iowa State will not receive the results of the at-home testing kits.

Isolation and quarantine housing

The Department of Residence (DOR) will continue to provide isolation and quarantine housing in Linden Hall for students that live in DOR housing. The public health team will notify DOR of positive cases of COVID-19 or other illnesses that require mandatory isolation or quarantine.

Positive case notifications

As the COVID pandemic has shifted, Iowa Department of Public Health guidance has transitioned to reduced case investigation and contact tracing. Accordingly, Iowa State is no longer providing case investigation or contact tracing for the campus community. If you test positive or need to quarantine according to CDC guidance, it’s your responsibility to contact your instructor or supervisor and make arrangements for class or work. Faculty will not be notified of students in their class who test positive.

  • Faculty members or supervisors made aware of a positive case in their classroom or work area should not share this information with others. This parallels how we handle other medical information about an employee or student and protects the privacy of the individual. Furthermore, faculty and supervisors may not have all of the details to make accurate notifications.

Immunocompromised protocols, COVID-19 sick leave

Iowa State has created a program that allows immunocompromised faculty and staff, as well as faculty and staff with immunocompromised household members to qualify for workplace modifications. University Human Resources has provided definitions and details for those who qualify.

ISU also is offering up to 80 hours of additional COVID-19 paid sick time off. Read the guidelines.

Cyclones Care

Throughout the pandemic, we have shown how Cyclones Care for one another. Please continue to show care and follow our four pillars for fall: vaccinate, monitor your health, stay home if you’re ill and wash your hands often.


By the numbers

Graphic with calculator icon

Data from campus COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics is available in a weekly summary.


  • Nov. 10, 2021: Iowa State will offer a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Nov. 17-18 for employees and students who want to get a booster shot or their first dose. You can find more information and links to make an appointment on the vaccination website. Appointments must be scheduled by 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 15. 
  • Nov. 4, 2021: A drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic is now open west of Stephens Auditorium. The clinic offers both lab (free) and rapid ($119) PCR testing. Schedule your appointment (required) online. More information available in a Nov. 4 Inside Iowa State story
  • Oct. 1, 2021: Thielen Student Health Center will offer student vaccine clinics from 9 a.m. to noon every Monday and Tuesday through November. More information on the vaccination website.
Updates archive (as of Feb. 29, 2020)

Response teams

The University Response Team is available to assist faculty and staff with questions or address issues during the summer transition. Please use the appropriate contact information for your unit or college.