Fall 2020

President Wintersteen named an Executive Committee on Fall Planning to develop and implement plans to reinstate teaching and research programs on campus for the Fall 2020 semester.

Using its guiding principles, the executive committee worked closely with Emergency Operations Center Working Groups, which include representatives from the Faculty Senate, Professional and Scientific Council, Student Government, and Graduate and Professional Student Senate. The information blocks above provide more information about academics, personal health, student life and the Cyclones Care campaign.

Operations and logistics

Staff in the Division of Operations and Finance have been working since the start of the pandemic to serve students, faculty and staff colleagues. In many cases, these teams have been working on campus through the summer to help the university run smoothly, and to prepare for a safe return to activity.

Face coverings and community expectations

Cloth face coverings and/or face shields are required anytime you are in the presence of others and anywhere you can’t maintain a 6-foot distance from someone – indoors or outdoors. Campus buildings will have signage to remind you. It’s a good idea to keep a face covering handy at all times, and make sure to wear it correctly – over your mouth and nose.

The Dean of Students Office, working with the Academic Continuity Workgroup, has developed a set of community expectations, which provides guidance for handling issues of non-compliance. Faculty and staff should contact their own supervisor when the situation involves another staff or faculty member. Modeling appropriate behavior and creating positive reinforcement are the best methods to encourage compliance.


As Iowa State University prepares for students, faculty, and staff to return to campus it is critical that we work together to maintain a safe and welcoming environment that reflects not only the best practices for reducing the spread of COVID-19, but also our need to consistently manage events that use our grounds and facilities.

The first step in creating a safe environment is to make sure the campus is aware of events. Event hosts, including colleges and departments, administrative units, venues, and students organizations, are required to register their events in the University’s online Event Authorization System: https://request.event.iastate.edu. Additional processes may be required for events featuring food, alcohol, animals, youth, non-university vendors, or gambling/raffles.

Registering events helps the university plan for additional visitors to campus, assess any risks associated with the events and, ultimately, helps ensure that every participant has a positive experience.

The Events Workgroup has created a wide range of guidelines and best practices that units should consider when planning for events during the summer and fall, including:

  • Physical distancing
  • Food service
  • Hygiene
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Keeping participants informed if circumstances change

Questions about COVID-19 guidance and the event authorization process may be directed to Kurt Beyer, beyerku@iastate.edu.

Transportation services

Decisions related to university related transportation:

  • All vehicle occupants must wear face coverings and sit as far apart as the vehicle allows. This includes university owned commuter van pools
  • University owned vehicles should be used instead of personal vehicles wherever possible
  • All drivers and passengers are expected to wash or sanitize their hands before and after each trip
  • Vehicles will be cleaned and disinfected after each trip
  • Employee carpools using privately owned vehicles are strongly encouraged to follow the same guidelines
  • Bus riders should follow CyRide guidance


The university has also announced an investment of nearly $3 million for enhanced cleaning and disinfection during the fall semester. This investment includes the hiring of additional full-time and student staff, who will be focused on preventing infection in restrooms, classrooms, common areas, elevators, and other at-risk spaces.

In general:

  • Common areas, including corridors, atriums, stairwells, and elevators will be fully cleaned once a week. Frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, drinking fountains, stairwell railings and elevator buttons will be cleaned and disinfected daily, Mon.-Fri.
  • Restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected every day, Mon.-Fri.
  • Instructional spaces, including classrooms, auditoriums, teaching laboratories, open laboratories, and seminar rooms will be cleaned and disinfected every day, Mon.-Fri.
  • High-use areas in the Parks Library will be cleaned and disinfected twice each day, Mon.-Fri.

In Department of Residence and ISU Dining facilities:

  • Community bathrooms will be deep cleaned daily with a secondary sanitization.
  • Common areas will be cleaned and sanitized daily, focusing on high-touch surfaces.
  • Cleaning and sanitizing supplies will be available for student use in all community bathrooms, suites, apartments and available at hall/apartment desks.

All ISU employees have shared responsibility to keep their personal work areas and the common areas of their workplaces clean and safe. Clean and disinfect your personal work area, including lab areas and computer equipment, regularly. Clean and disinfect common space or shared equipment regularly. Pay special attention to controls and frequently touched surfaces (e.g., printer or copier touchscreens, A/V and other electrical equipment, desks, tables, light switches, door handles).

Appropriate cleaning products, approved for workplace use by Environmental Health and Safety, are available through ISU Central Stores. Consult the CDC Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility guidance for more information about cleaning.

If you need to report an area impacted by COVID-19 for cleaning, direct all requests for service as follows:

  • Campus (FP&M): 515-294-5100
  • Department of Residence: 515-294-3322 during business hours or Contact Community Advisor on Duty (CAOD) after business hours. 

Do not contact your building custodian.

Building ventilation

The CDC states that the risk of spreading the coronavirus through building ventilation systems is likely to be low. Normal maintenance of campus building ventilation systems has continued over the summer, and all systems are operating normally. Ventilation rates and outdoor air supply may be adjusted to some degree, and high-efficiency filter systems are regularly maintained by FP&M where possible, but additional improvements in most cases cannot be accomplished without replacing multiple system components or redesigning systems.

Personal air filtration devices are permitted on campus under certain conditions. The devices should be UL listed and labeled, meaning they conform to widely established safety standards, and should only be plugged directly into a wall outlet, and not into an extension cord or power strip. Additional information is available on Iowa State’s COVID-19 web page.

Information Technology support

Iowa State’s IT professionals have been working with colleagues across campus to support various COVID-19 response and planning efforts:

  • Working with the ISUCard Office to enable student uploading of photos for ID cards
  • Created a centralized database of campus PPE inventory
  • Provided all employees the ability to answer their work phones remotely through the use of Cisco Jabber softphones
  • Offering Webex Enterprise to all students, faculty and staff; since April 1, 133,000 meetings have been held using this technology, with nearly 600,000 participants and 27 million meeting minutes
  • Coordinated to support the move of campus call centers to remote, including the Solution Center
  • Provided training and resources to help units utilize Microsoft Teams to enhance communications while working remote
  • Creating various web pages, web sites – including sites for COVID-19 response, fall planning, and Cyclones Care – as well as upgrades to the MyState app

IT has also been involved in the university’s public health planning, including identifying solutions for symptom tracking, case management, and contact tracing; supporting testing check-in; and protecting testing data.


Planning archive

Share your ideas

Send ideas or questions to fall20plans@iastate.edu.