August 16, 2021
To the CVM Community,
Fall classes at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine are just around the corner and I hope each of you is as excited as I am about the semester’s start.
This semester, the College is returning to in-person experiences. Everyone I have visited with this summer is excited to get back to a more normal veterinary education experience. This includes in-person lectures and laboratories, club-sponsored activities, social events and most importantly, face-to-face interactions with our community members.
While the start of the semester will return to normal activities, many among us remain concerned with the recent increase in COVID-19 cases both nationally and locally. Please be respectful of others’ views as we continue to navigate this unprecedented time in our history.
Many of you have contacted me about various issues surrounding COVID-19 and the College’s protocols. I would direct you to the general announcement sent campus-wide earlier this week from Iowa State University’s Office of the President - Answers to many of your questions are included within this message but here are some of the basic tenets of the University’s response.
- Per a directive by the Iowa Board of Regents all students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus are encouraged to wear face masks in all indoor spaces when around others. Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to wear a face mask anywhere they are around others, and to practice physical distancing when possible. Face masks are required on CyRide, at Thielen Student Health Center, in areas of the College of Veterinary Medicine where face masks are normally required, and in Ames Laboratory facilities. Masks may also be required in research laboratories at the discretion of the principal investigator or lab supervisor.
- Because state law forbids mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for state funded entities, Iowa State University and other Regents universities will not require COVID-19 vaccinations for faculty, staff or students this fall. I strongly encourage you to get vaccinated if you have not yet done so. With the increase in COVID-19 positive cases due to the Delta variant, it is obvious to me that the best way we have to protect our community is to have as many vaccinated faculty, staff and students as possible. I believe it is imperative that we, as members of the medical profession, show strong leadership in getting vaccinated. The science is clear that current vaccines work to reduce the risk of virus transmission and serious disease.
- The College of Veterinary Medicine will host a vaccination clinic in Lloyd 1521 on September 2 and 23 from noon to 3 p.m. Additional vaccination clinics will be held on Central Campus for students, faculty and staff. Information on COVID-19 vaccinations at Iowa State is available online here. As an added incentive, individuals who receive a vaccination at these clinics will receive a $10 ISU Dining card, good at all dining facilities on campus including the Gentle Doctor Café.
- If you feel ill, stay home and limit contact with others. Symptomatic students should schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 test at Thielen Student Health Center. Employees should arrange a test through their primary care physician.
- If you test positive, notify your supervisor or instructor that you will be absent and then follow the directions of your health care provider and CDC guidelines.
- Based on guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa State is no longer conducting case investigation or contract tracing. Iowa State is recommending individuals follow the CDC guidelines which directs individuals to quarantine if they have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, unless you have been fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine unless they have symptoms. However, it is recommended that vaccinated people get tested 3-5 days after exposure event if they don’t have symptoms.
- Please be aware that many in our college have been designated as “essential personnel.” In CVM, this includes 4th year DVM students. Essential personnel are expected to come to work even after being exposed to COVID-19 as long as they remain asymptomatic. If you are not sure if your position is considered “essential,” please contact your supervisor or instructor. Essential personnel who have been asked to come to work and have been exposed to COVID-19 should wear a mask, maintain physical distance whenever possible, and monitor for disease symptoms frequently, per the CDC.
- Note, COVID-19 leave has been discontinued. If you are staying home because of COVID-19, you must use accrued sick time if COVID-19 positive. If quarantining due to close contact with someone with COVID-19, symptomatic employees will need to utilize accrued sick leave, while asymptomatic individuals will need to utilize vacation time off if they are unable to perform their work duties while under quarantine from home. Please work with your supervisor to develop a plan for your temporary absence.
- Faculty won’t be notified about students who test positive for COVID-19. Standard absence policies should be followed.
A university wide virtual town hall for faculty and staff about public health measures will held via Webex Thursday, August 19, from 1-2 p.m. with panelists including senior Iowa State leaders, Dr. Dan Fulton, infectious disease expert with McFarland Clinic, and Les White, director of Story County Public Health.
I will also hold a town hall for CVM students, faculty and staff Friday, August 20, from 10:30-11:30 am. via Zoom. I highly encourage you to attend one or both of these town hall meetings.
As we all come together this fall, please remember that keeping our community healthy is a shared responsibility. If you are able and have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, please strongly consider it! It is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and our CVM community. I can think of no better way to demonstrate that Cyclones Care!
Dan Grooms DVM, PhD
Dr. Stephen G. Juelsgaard Dean Of Veterinary Medicine