CORONAVIRUS

University of Iowa coronavirus cases top 1,900

Campus adds 44 cases in two days

People social distance while wearing masks and holding signs during a protest against in-person classes amid the coronav
People social distance while wearing masks and holding signs during a protest against in-person classes amid the coronavirus pandemic Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, outside the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City, Iowa. (Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via AP)

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa’s campus coronavirus case total topped 1,900 on Friday with the addition of 44 cases since Wednesday, bringing its total to 1,912 — among the highest across American higher education.

The 44 additional UI cases include 43 students, which account for the vast majority of total UI cases — at 1,879, compared with 33 employee cases since Aug. 18.

The University of Northern Iowa on Friday also updated its COVID-19 data dashboard with another 12 cases identified through its Student Health Center, for a total of 147 since Aug. 17. UNI is reporting 63 self-reported cases identified through off-site testing since Sept. 1. Although UNI warned some of those cases could be duplicated in its on-campus reporting, the tally could be up to 210.

Iowa State University, which updates its numbers on Mondays, is reporting a total of 1,553 as of Sept. 14.

All three of Iowa’s public universities — like many nationally — have held open residence hall space for students needing to isolate, if positive, or quarantine, if they’ve been in contact with a positive case.

UI on Friday reported 21 residence hall students are in isolation and none are in quarantine.

UNI on Friday reported six students are in residence hall isolation and 26 are in quarantine.

And Iowa State, as of Monday, was reporting 38 were in on-campus isolation and 49 were in campus quarantine.

The UI COVID-19 total nearing 2,000 is among the highest in the country — topped by the likes of University of Georgia, University of Alabama, and University of South Carolina, which are reporting more than 3,000, more than 2,300, and about 2,200, respectively.

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Members of the UI and ISU communities — including students, faculty and staff — have called on administrators to quit in-person learning for the semester in light of the high COVID-19 case totals. But officials have rejected those requests, noting some still want an in-class experience and those who don’t have options to request alternative learning and working options.

UI officials are reporting 78 percent of the campus’ undergraduate credit hours are online at this point. At ISU and UNI, which are reporting percentages by total credit hours, 34 percent and 16 percent of classes are entirely online, respectively.

Iowa State and UNI are set to end their hybrid semester the day before Thanksgiving, a move meant to avoid students returning to campus after high-risk holiday travel. The UI fall semester will go entirely virtual after Thanksgiving for the same reason.

All three of Iowa’s public universities this week announced they’ll persist with hybrid learning for the spring semester — meaning they’ll continue to offer in-person learning options. They also all took the unprecedented step of canceling spring break.

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

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