Two weeks before the spring semester began, Iowa State University resumed COVID-19 testing on campus Monday and initiated a “risk-based sampling strategy” to test 5,000 students who either live in their dormitories or are members of one Sisterhood or brotherhood.
Details of this new test requirement will be communicated directly to selected students. And as in the fall, anyone who is new to the ISU dormitory system this spring must “prove a COVID-19 test before they receive their keys and withdraw”.
The three public universities of Iowa, which will welcome students, faculties, and staff back to campus on January 25 for another nontraditional semester reshaped by COVID-19, are sharing details not only on spring testing strategies, but also on possible vaccination schedules With.
For example, the state of Iowa announced that it had received its first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses in late December and had already administered that “small batch limited to campus employees providing health care and COVID-19 testing.”
“We ask for your patience as we await further information and instructions on subsequent stages of vaccine distribution,” said Erin Baldwin, director of Thielen Student Health Center, vice president of health and wellness for the state of Iowa, on Monday. and Kristen Obbink. COVID-19 Public Health Coordinator.
“Please understand that it will likely take a few months for the vaccine to become available to the general public.”
With healthcare workers coming first for the two emergency-approved vaccines, the University of Iowa, which has the largest hospital and health care system in the state, gave 8,035 employees one dose of vaccine and 750 employees both required doses for Monday 95 percent effectiveness.
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In a campus communication Monday, UI administrators confirmed questions among thousands of students, faculties and staff planning their return to at least some degree of personal learning and engagement on campus.
“Johnson County Public Health has shared population data with the state to ensure the county is getting enough vaccines to care for University of Iowa students,” the message said. “The timing of when the vaccine is made available to each population may affect where students want to get their vaccination. However, the vaccine may be available through Student Health.”
The UI notification reiterates that vaccines will be rolled out in phases based on federal and state guidelines on public health and that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will support health care workers and put them high on the list of priorities in long-term care facilities.
At the forefront, according to the guidelines, are key workers.
“The university will follow government guidelines for immunizing all critical roles in and outside of the healthcare system. This can take several weeks or even months, so we ask for your patience, “says the press release that UI has four experts on a state advisory board for infectious diseases that is responsible for distributing vaccines.
“As soon as IDAC sends its recommendations to the state and the director of IDPH accepts the recommendations, that information will be shared with the campus,” said UI.
With the limited vaccines unable to serve as an immediate solution to campus COVID-19 concerns – and the virus continues to spread to the state, region, and country – administrators at all three public universities in Iowa are calling for continued vigilance with the masking and distancing and hand washing.
Although the UI ran asymptomatic testing among assistants from the dormitory and the University of Northern Iowa in the fall, who hosted a Test Iowa location where anyone could get a test regardless of symptoms, those locations largely only have tests on people with Symptoms or confirmed contact with a positive case.
Iowa State is also offering on-campus testing for symptomatic or close-contact cases – promising results within 24 to 48 hours – and resumed testing Monday at the Hilton Coliseum.
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However, the ISU plans to initiate asymptomatic monitoring in early February and continue the semester “based on campus trends and needs”.
On this campus, 939 Ames community members were reported to have recently participated in a “Test Opportunity in Partnership with Corteva,” including 577 people with ISU affiliations. Of those ISU attendees, 19 tested positive – numbers included in the campus’ weekly COVID report, which comes in despite community members continuing to contract the virus during the winter break.
Since the official end of the fall semester on November 25, more than 240 ISU students, faculties and employees have tested positive for COVID, according to the database. That includes 39 in the last week that ended Sunday – for a positivity rate of 5.2 percent.
UI and UNI have continued to report cases on campus since their respective winter break began. As of December 18, UI has reported more than 100 positive cases. UNI identified more than 35 positive cases through the Student Health Center after Thanksgiving. All three locations plan to continue saving space in their dormitories in the coming semester for students who tested positive for isolation and for students in close contact with the quarantine.
At least three UI students use the dormitories for quarantine.
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