Education

Watching the Hawkeyes?

'Be mindful,' wear masks and socially distance, University of Iowa advises

University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz and Athletic Director Gary Barta appear at a July 30 news conference
University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz and Athletic Director Gary Barta appear at a July 30 news conference. The resumption of the football season Saturday prompted a UI message Friday asking students to wear face masks and socially distance when they watch the game against Purdue. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — After many days of relatively low COVID-19 case numbers on the University of Iowa campus, it reported a slight uptick Friday — reflecting increases across Eastern Iowa and the state and inciting a warning as the Hawkeye football season finally gets underway this weekend.

The university reported 29 new coronavirus cases Thursday and Friday, bringing the campus total to 2,197 since Aug. 18. On Wednesday, the UI reported seven new cases over a two-day period. On Monday, it reported 16 positives since Friday.

The UI uptick comes as Iowa on Friday reported 1,587 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, the second most reported in one 24-hour period — topped only by the 2,579 on Aug. 27, the day the state uploaded antigen tests.

UI Hospitals and Clinics on Friday reported 29 adult COVID-19 inpatients, for 631 total, and one patient under age 18, for 33 to date.

UI officials in a campus communication Friday cited the “increased hospitalizations and spread across the state” in asking the community to “remain dedicated to the practices that help to reduce transmission: wearing masks, maintaining social distance and avoiding gathering in large groups.”

With the Hawkeyes set to kick off their abbreviated fall football season against Purdue in West Lafayette on Saturday, UI officials warned about gatherings, food sharing and crowded bars in finding “ways to support our Hawkeyes in a fun, healthy manner.”

“When you gather to cheer on the Hawkeyes, please be mindful to do so with the members of your small campus ‘family unit,’ ” the UI message said. “Remember that you are subject to the guidelines of the university regardless of your proximity to campus, per the Code of Student Life.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“While your residence may be off campus, your actions off campus impact the ability for the university to continue in-person operations as well as the health and safety of the UI and Iowa City communities.”

When the Hawkeyes return to Iowa City next week for their first home football game of the season against Northwestern University on Halloween, UI officials reminded fans are not allowed in Kinnick Stadium and “tailgating will not be allowed.”

UIHC offers this advice for Hawkeye games:

• Wear a mask, regardless of where or with whom you watch — except at home with family.

• Shouting and cheering produce more aerosols and droplets that can spread the virus.

• Don’t share food, and stick to individual servings — allowing people to take food “to a safe place to eat rather than gathering around a shared food source.”

• Be extra cautious when unmasking to eat or drink, ensuring you’re at least 6 feet from others.

• Avoid crammed indoor spaces, like bars and restaurants, and watch from home instead — “It’s safer (and cheaper).”

• Limit watch gatherings to 10 or fewer.

• Try moving the TV outside or to a ventilated area.

• Consider virtual options, like Zoom or FaceTime, for communal viewing.

In its attempt to quell the COVID-19 spread, the UI on Friday changed its face covering policy. Face shields or gaiters need to be worn with a face mask.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Earlier this week, the Board of Regents announced none of its three public universities will offer study abroad experiences outside the United States in the upcoming spring semester.

The board also reiterated its ban on university-sponsored international travel remains in effect and that “travel to any area with high rates of COVID-19 infection should be avoided.”

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

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.