Dear Panther Community:
We want to remind everyone that as statewide mitigation strategies continue to evolve as they have done throughout the pandemic, masks will continue to play an important role on our campus. Mask mandates remain in place in both Cedar Falls and Waterloo, and masks continue to be required within UNI campus buildings. According to the CDC, "mask use is likely to remain a critical COVID-19 mitigation strategy." Research has shown that masks are one of the most effective tools in combating the spread of COVID-19. We anticipate they will be required on campus for the foreseeable future.
In a recent CDC study of 17,200 persons observed at six universities, it was found that 91.7% who wore their face masks indoors did so correctly. Correct mask wearing can reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Please continue to wear your face masks correctly by covering your nose and mouth and securing under the chin.
While COVID-19 case numbers are continuing to drop in Iowa and across the country, they remain high. Another vaccine is being considered for approval in the U.S. later this month. The CDC is tracking the distribution of vaccines throughout the country and Black Hawk County is sharing county level information. We are continuing to frequently communicate with the Blackhawk County Health Department regarding the acquisition of vaccines for our campus.
We also know that the CDC has cautioned that the British variant now spreading in the U.S. will likely become the country's dominant strain by March. The variant, known as B.1.1.7, is more infectious though is not thought to be more severe. Therefore, it is important that we continue our efforts to avoid a surge this spring. That means wearing a mask, remaining physically distanced, using the PantherHealth survey to report symptoms and getting tested if needed.
Associate Provost for Faculty
Director of Risk Management, Environmental Health and Safety