Forward Together Update

Dear Panther Community,

As we begin the winter break, it’s important to consider getting your COVID-19 vaccine booster dose if you have not already done so. The Omicron variant has now been found in Iowa and 44 other states. We urge you to take this new variant seriously, and remember, COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and free.

The good news is that getting your booster vaccine dose appears to offer substantial protection against this new strain of COVID-19. The CDC recommends that everyone ages 18 years and older should get a booster shot at least two months after their initial J&J/Janssen vaccine or six months after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna. 

Last week, the CDC endorsed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and updated their recommendations expressing a clinical preference for individuals to receive an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine over Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC reports: “Individuals who are unable or unwilling to receive an mRNA vaccine will continue to have access to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.”

Travel and Holiday Recommendations

Making travel and gathering decisions can be especially challenging during the pandemic. It is important to review the CDC guidance regarding Quarantine and Isolation specifics when you have been exposed or infected with the virus. The CDC provides details about domestic and international travel requirements that may be useful.

Student Health Clinic Hours

The Student Health Clinic has transitioned to winter break operations. During this time, Test Iowa’s at-home test kits continue to be available in the Student Health Clinic lobby through December 23 and then January 3 through January 13. Normal hours will resume on January 14. Throughout winter break, individuals can continue to visit:

Voluntary Vaccine Verification Reminder

Employees (faculty, staff, graduate assistants and student employees) can utilize the Panther Health Survey to voluntarily submit documentation of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or voluntarily submit a request for a waiver or accommodation as to any potential/future COVID-19 vaccination requirement. See Forward Together's Vaccine Verification FAQs for more information.

Panther Health Survey

The university is continuing to use the Panther Health Survey to assist those who are:

  • Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (regardless of vaccination status);

  • Have been exposed to COVID-19 and are unvaccinated (individuals who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after an exposure unless they have symptoms); or

  • Unable to report to campus for class, work or other assignments due to COVID-19.

If you fall into any of these categories please complete the survey as it helps provide relevant campus support services to those impacted by COVID-19 and supports our cleaning and disinfecting efforts.

If you have a question, please visit or email it to Thanks for all that you do to keep yourself, your family and the Panther community safe.

Stay Well,

John Vallentine,
Associate Provost for Faculty