This article was updated March 14 at 5:52 p.m.
All Iowa State university-related non-essential domestic travel has been prohibited until further notice, effective immediately, according to a statement from President Wendy Wintersteen.
The statement was sent out Saturday as an update on the new developments regarding university travel restrictions which has come as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Friday all non-essential state employee travel is canceled. Wintersteen said in her statement that “as a state institution, Iowa State University is included in this directive.”
Wintersteen emailed follow-up guidance to the Iowa State community in regard to the domestic travel restriction implemented Saturday.
The restriction on domestic travel applies to university-related interstate travel. Iowa State faculty, staff and students are “not to travel out of state for non-essential university business."
Faculty, staff and students currently on university-related domestic travel are not being recalled. Travel within the state of Iowa can continue, but the university strongly recommends where “possible and practical, decisions are made to reduce in-state travel,” consistent with the goal of taking reasonable actions to reduce transmission risk.
Alternatives such as postponing the travel or moving it online can be considered to avoid the travel.
Wintersteen stated in her follow-up that policy regarding travel may change with little to no advance notice. Supervisors can be contacted with questions about university travel.
Requests for travel exceptions should be submitted to email@example.com. In that form, it must be demonstrated that the travel is essential to the operation of the university, no alternative method is possible and the health and safety of Iowa State employees will be managed appropriately.
For personal travel within the United States, Wintersteen said they strongly urge the use of “extreme caution and judgement.” Wintersteen referred to the state and territorial health department websites for the most recent information.
Wintersteen announced Wednesday all Iowa State classes were moving to online instruction for March 23 through April 3. The situation will be reassessed the week of March 30 to decide if the duration of online instruction will be extended.
Erin Baldwin, assistant vice president for student health and wellness and director of Thielen Student Health Center, said students are encouraged to stay home after spring break. Everyone is encouraged to practice good infection control strategies.
“If students have traveled to an area with known cases of COVID-19, we recommend they call their healthcare provider to inquire about any follow up that might be needed,” Baldwin said in a statement. “ISU students are welcome to call Thielen Student Health Center at 515-294-5801.”
Updated information will continue to be posted on the campus safety page in regard to the COVID-19 and university situation. The safety page is also where people can find the ‘General FAQ’ page that has three sections: students, employees and parents and families.
“This continues to be a rapidly evolving and unprecedented situation,” Wintersteen said in her statement. “Thank you for staying informed by reading these important university communications.”