University of Iowa announces ‘hybrid, face-to-face’ COVID-19 plan for fall 2020 semester

The University of Iowa announced a “hybrid, face-to-face” plan for students, faculty and employees returning to campus for the fall 2020 semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan keeps the current academic calendar in place with the semester starting on Aug. 24 and ending on Dec. 18. However, after Thanksgiving break, all classes will shift to an online format. Final exams will be delivered remotely, the plan states.

Before online classes begin after the holiday break, the university will start the school year by prioritizing classroom sizes of 50 students or less to be taught face-to-face while classes with over 50 students enrolled will be taught online.

Classes that are accompanied by a discussion or lab follow the same guidelines: Larger groups will be taught online, while smaller groups can be taught in person.

The plan also ensures first-year students have at least one in-person class. 

The University of Iowa's Shaeffer Hall, shown on Oct. 24.

Classes with a 50-plus enrollment prioritized to be taught in-person will be decided based on the availability of appropriate classroom space that meets social distancing guidelines.

Housing, dining halls and other services will remain open. University libraries will be open for the fall semester and will adhere to an “online-first” approach to providing resources and services.

Not much was said regarding athletics. The plan states that athletics will “coordinate and partner with Rec Services regarding use of the facilities in accordance with NCAA, university, and public health guidance.”