Dear Faculty Colleagues,
Welcome to the fall semester! Please read the important announcements below:
The COVID-19 Response Team Steering Committee continues to meet on campus to monitor ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and the latest public health guidance that is available. During this next phase we will continue to keep faculty informed with any developments important for the campus community and your ongoing work with our students. Campus communications are now being handled separately for faculty, staff and students, as applicable.
As we begin classes, please note the following:
Please stay attuned to guidance and dashboards available from the CDC, Iowa Department of Public Health, Black Hawk County Health Department or your healthcare provider.
Please announce that the COVID hotline (319) 273-2100 continues to be available in the Student Health Center (SHC) for students who have questions. The SHC continues to provide vaccine clinics, testing and medical appointments for students.
Free saliva test kits are available for students, faculty and staff in the lobby of the SHC.
Please refer to Faculty Handbook, Subdivision 4.1c., page 49, regarding Student/Office Hours.
Seating charts are no longer required to be uploaded for classes.
All university employees are encouraged to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting people—especially those who are up to date— from getting seriously ill. To find a COVID-19 vaccine or booster, employees can search vaccines.gov, text their ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233.
Employees should not come to work when they are sick or are in quarantine.
All university employees are expected to follow quarantine and isolation guidance from the CDC or their personal healthcare provider. If an employee believes they contracted COVID-19 in the workplace, or through work activities, they should complete a First Report of Injury through Human Resource Services. Employees looking for an online COVID-19 symptom checker are encouraged to utilize the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker. Employees no longer need to report exposures, symptoms or confirmed cases of COVID-19 through the Panther Health Survey.
For information about leaves, employees can view the COVID-19 Temporary Leave Flowchart.
Employees can voluntarily wear a mask, N95 or face shield to work.
The university will provide masks to employees who request them at no cost. If you choose to wear a mask ensure there is a proper fit over your nose, mouth, and chin to prevent leaks.
The university supports the voluntary use of respirators when not required if an employee has a safety concern. Employees seeking to voluntarily use a respirator should review the university’s COVID-19 Guide for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required. Free N-95 respirators for voluntary use can be found on the CDC’s page.
UNI’s Employee Assistance Program
Employees may use their employee assistance program (EAP) benefits to help manage any anxiety or any uncertainty they are experiencing related to COVID-19. To access EAP employees should call 1-855-784-2057.
Thanks in advance for all of your preparations and ongoing work with our students. We hope you have a very successful Fall semester!
John Vallentine, Associate Provost for Faculty
Joseph Rayzor, Director of Risk Management
P.S. The following information, which was sent to you this summer in an earlier communication from the Chair of the Faculty and the Provost's Office, is being included as a reminder:
COVID-related protocol for student absence will differ in the coming academic year from the previous two years. Specifically, the Panther Health Survey was discontinued at the end of the spring semester and the Office of the Dean of Students no longer sends letters regarding students who have experienced COVID-related illness or exposure. Consequently, the COVID syllabus statement is no longer being utilized. Instead, UNI Policy 3.06, pertaining to Class Attendance and Make-Up Work, will apply to COVID-related student absence as it applies to other cases of illness. Students also may continue to request an official accommodation, should this be needed, through UNI’s Student Accessibility Services.
When reviewing Policy 3.06, please note that section B pertains to specific accommodations related to student absence. Paragraph 1 in this section outlines circumstances in which instructors must excuse a student’s absence and provide alternative assignments or materials, whereas Paragraph 2 outlines circumstances, including cases of student illness, in which excused absence and accompanying alternative assignments or materials may be provided at the instructor’s discretion. Also please note that items 2(a) through 2(c) provide some examples of reasonable accommodations for student absence.
Instructors are encouraged to recommend that students follow CDC guidance when they suffer illness or exposure, to clearly state your policy regarding accommodations for illness-related student absence in your syllabi, and to work with students to determine appropriate accommodations in such cases. Additionally, the CDC website provides guidance regarding when and how to wear a protective mask, as well as when and how to quarantine and isolate (updated on August 11) when ill or exposed to COVID.
Students can best comply with CDC guidance by staying informed about the level of community transmission of COVID. Information regarding the community transmission level, which determines the relative risk of coming into contact with COVID infection on campus and in the local community, is available from both the Black Hawk County Public Health website and the CDC website. Please encourage students to remain vigilant regarding the level of community transmission and to follow CDC guidance to keep themselves and others safe on campus. Providing support when students are absent promotes student success, despite their absence when ill or exposed to any illness. We all want to continue to support students with the resources they need to do their best.