2020-21 Information

Face coverings and community expectations

Cloth face coverings are required indoors in all university buildings, and outdoors in the presence of others. Please review ISU's face covering policy. Campus buildings 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 – covering both your mouth and nose.

Face mask icon with text that reads Wear This

Face coverings required

Face coverings are required on campus, in the city of Ames, and in Story County.

Where can I purchase additional face coverings?

Cloth face coverings are available for purchase at the ISU Book Store, located in the Memorial Union. Individually wrapped disposable face masks are available in vending machines across campus, and in the markets operated by ISU Dining:

  • Memorial Union Market and Cafe
  • Hawthorn, Frederiksen Court Community Center
  • West Side Market, Union Drive Community Center
  • South Side
  • East Side, Maple-Willow-Larch Commons

University departments may purchase cloth face coverings, disposable masks, and face shields from Central Stores.

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


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 university 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 events in the University’s online Event Authorization System. 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 ensure that participants have a positive experience.

The Events Workgroup created guidelines and best practices that units should consider when planning events, including:

  • Face coverings required for all who attend events and gatherings, and should cover the user’s nose and mouth
  • Room occupancy is limited to 50% of normal capacity
  • All food items should be prepackaged or preassembled and distributed by event staff; no self-service meals are allowed
  • Physical distancing should be maintained wherever possible
  • Handwashing or hand sanitizing stations should be widely available
  • Follow all cleaning recommendations
  • Keep participants informed if/when circumstances change

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

Transportation services

Decisions for university-related transportation:

  • All vehicle occupants must wear face coverings and sit as far apart as the vehicle allows, including 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 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 are fully cleaned once a week. Frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, drinking fountains, stairwell railings and elevator buttons are cleaned and disinfected daily, Monday-Friday.
  • Restrooms are cleaned and disinfected every day, Monday-Friday.
  • Instructional spaces, including classrooms, auditoriums, teaching laboratories, open laboratories, and seminar rooms are cleaned and disinfected every day, Monday-Friday.
  • High-use areas in the Parks Library are cleaned and disinfected twice daily, Monday-Friday.

In Department of Residence and ISU Dining facilities:

  • Community bathrooms are deep cleaned daily with a secondary sanitization.
  • Common areas are cleaned and sanitized daily, focusing on high-touch surfaces.
  • Cleaning and sanitizing supplies are available for student use in all community bathrooms, suites, and apartments, and are 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 the community advisor on duty (CAOD) after business hours. 

Do not contact your building custodian.

Building ventilation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states airborne transmission of the coronavirus can occur under special circumstances including enclosed spaces, prolonged exposure and inadequate ventilation, but also states there is no evidence to date of virus disease transmission through a building ventilation system. Maintenance and checks of building ventilation systems continued over the winter break, and the systems are being run well before and after normal hours to flush the buildings. The building ventilation systems also have the recommended level of air filtration. Before the fall semester, buildings without adequate ventilation were identified. Classes were not scheduled in the general classrooms in those buildings, and occupants were notified to use both physical distancing and face coverings for any shared use of rooms.

Information Technology support

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

  • Worked 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 (more than 133,000 meetings with nearly 600,000 participants and 27 million meeting minutes from April 1 through early summer)
  • 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
  • Created 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 is 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.

Operations and logistics

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


Help for faculty and staff

Planning archive


Send ideas or questions to COVID-19@iastate.edu