CORONAVIRUS

Iowa State, UNI move summer 2020 courses online as coronavirus threat persists

Universities cancel summer study abroad sessions

Beardshear Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames. (The Gazette)
Beardshear Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames. (The Gazette)

Like the University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State University has announced major changes to its summer programming — including study abroad cancellations and a decision to move many of its summer courses to online only.

All ISU full-summer courses will occur virtually, as will all “session I” courses, which begin May 18, according to ISU officials. A decision on how to offer second-session summer courses — which begin June 15 — will “be made later in the spring,” according to an update on the ISU coronavirus response.

University of Iowa administrators have not announced changes to its summer courses or study abroad programming, but spokeswoman Jeneane Beck said administrators are working with collegiate and department leadership to “determine appropriate next steps for summer programming.”

The UI International Programs website, additionally, reports it’s not taking applications for summer study abroad programs at this time.

The University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls also recently announced all summer 2020 courses will be offered only online.

Earlier this month, UNI administrators canceled all summer study abroad programming. The programs differ from Iowa State and the UI study abroad experiences in that UNI’s are offered in-house and not through outside vendors.

“We incur great financial risk with our programs,” according to UNI Provost Jim Wohlpart. “Additionally, students who need these courses to graduate incur academic risk if we cancel these programs at a late date.”

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In that the coronavirus pandemic continues to cripple the world, Iowa State has canceled all study abroad courses that start before Aug. 15 “due to global uncertainty related to COVID-19.”

Earlier this month, the Board of Regents recalled all students, faculty and staff who were studying or working abroad this spring — effectively ending study abroad experiences for hundreds.

Although comprehensive numbers of those affected by the recalls aren’t available, statistical reports for the 2018-19 academic term show 1,309 UI students studied abroad in 74 countries; 1,837 ISU students studied in 52 countries; and 432 UNI students studied abroad in places like Ireland, Italy and Spain.

Iowa State on its study abroad website showed summer programming destinations, including Africa, the Middle East; Morocco; Mediterranean countries like Green and Italy; Asian countries, including Japan and Cambodia; Australia and New Zealand; and Europe, including England and Ireland.

UNI had study abroad summer programming planned from France to Kosovo to South Africa and the Galapagos Islands, to name a few.

The UI International Programs website lists more than 100 summer study abroad programs — including opportunities in China, Italy, Japan and other countries hard hit by COVID-19. Some programs flag summer cancellations while others don’t — including the UI-administered CIMBA program in Italy.

The campus’ annual reports show summer is the most popular time to study abroad — with 43 percent of UI study abroad students participating in summer 2019, with spring 2019 coming in as the second-most popular time to go abroad, with 28 percent signing up for that semester.

Of the 432 UNI students who studied abroad in the last academic year, 349 did so in the summer.

ISU LATE FEES waived

Iowa State is waiving late fees on university-bill balances that were due March 20. Normally outstanding balances are assessed a 1 percent charge, but ISU officials won’t assess that fee.

DRIVE-UP WIRELESS offered by UI

The UI is offering drive-up wireless for students, faculty and staff needing access to high-speed internet without having to enter campus buildings.

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That service is available in the Hancher South Lot; Hawkeye Commuter Lot; and the Multi-Tenant Facility and Biomedical Research Support Facility parking lots at Oakdale.

Soon, it also will be offered at the Myrtle Avenue Lot and other locations. Users will need to have HawkIDs to access the service.

Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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