FAQ: Parents and families

We believe changing our academic calendar to start two weeks later, and eliminating spring break, provides the best opportunity to successfully complete the spring semester on campus. This includes the ability to maximize face-to-face instruction, maintain experiential learning programs and preserve the integrity of our final exams. Health and safety protocols currently in place for the fall semester will also continue during the spring, including reduced classroom capacities, mandatory use of face coverings and extending time between class periods to avoid congestion.

Individual classroom size will be reduced to 50% of capacity. Classes will be offered in three delivery modes: face-to-face, online and hybrid.

  • Face-to-face: Classes offered in-person will be similar to those offered in person in other semesters, with the exception that there will be additional spacing between students and face coverings will be required, consistent with CDC and other public health recommendations.
  • Online: Classes offered online will be similar to those offered online in other semesters. Students will not be physically present in the room with the instructor. The online content may be delivered asynchronously (students may access it at any time) or synchronously (during a scheduled class time to facilitate real-time engagement). Class engagement may occur through discussion boards, group work, online apps, and other activities.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid courses will use a combination of face-to-face and online teaching. Learning activities and assessments can occur both online and in person. Online activities may include some synchronous online engagement (with participants meeting at the same time), and/or asynchronous content delivery (with participants accessing the materials independently). The mix of delivery modes will depend on an instructor’s teaching strategies and course learning objectives.

There is a website specifically for students who have an increased risk for severe illness as defined by the Centers for Disease Control. Students and families with questions and concerns about returning to campus should visit this site as soon as they are able to understand how to receive additional consideration and support. Students need to submit a form as soon as they are able so colleges can assess the need for online sections of in-person courses. Advisers will work with students to help with course selection.

ISU is designing the fall semester in an attempt to support and facilitate the continued academic progress of all students, whether they choose to return to campus or are more comfortable with online options. Students should reach out to their academic adviser to explore options.

Students in isolation and quarantine should not attend class and follow instructions provided by Iowa State’s public health team. Instructors understand some students may miss multiple classes because of quarantine or isolation. Students should contact their instructors to make arrangements to complete assignments and exams.

The CDC recommends wearing face coverings as a mitigation practice. Requiring a face covering helps minimize exposure to infection and mitigates the spread of the illness. This helps protect the health of students, faculty and staff – and the entire Ames community. Wearing a face covering helps protect those around you and their face coverings help protect you. Please review ISU's complete face covering policy.

ISU Extension and Outreach offices, which are located in every Iowa county, and have high-speed internet for rural connectivity. Some ISU Extension and Outreach offices are operating at reduced hours or students may be able to access a wifi signal from outside the building. Students are encouraged to call the extension office, check their website or check signage on the office door about hours and wifi access. Students beyond Iowa’s borders may wish to contact their state’s Extension program for similar access.

Eduroam allows students, faculty and staff from academic institutions to use members’ internet (anywhere in the world) using their ISU login credentials (username@iastate.edu and your password). Iowa State University is a part of the worldwide Eduroam community. An online interactive map shows locations of participating members. Sites in Iowa include Northwestern College, Iowa, Iowa State, Drake and Northern Iowa. To access the internet, you have to be in wireless range, which in most cases, is on campus.

The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends individuals in self-isolation stay in a room away from family members and use a separate bathroom if possible. As long as the student remains healthy, other family members can go about their daily activities as normal. There is no restriction on their movement.