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COVID-19 Tips for Returning to Campus

Iowa State University Student Health and Wellness has compiled the following tips and information for those returning to campus this Spring. (Print Version Available)

Prior to Arriving on campus

  • There are a few general regulations governing travel to Ames. All travelers to Iowa age two or older are required to wear a mask or other face covering when in indoor spaces open to the public or in state government buildings, in circumstances when it is not possible to remain six feet away from others outside their household for more than 15 minutes. Additional information regarding restrictions in Iowa can be found online.
  • Campus officials are asking students who are NEW to living in campus housing to be tested within 72 hours of moving in. This can occur in Ames or where you are traveling from. Additional information on this requirement can be found online.
  • Minimize risk of exposure by and infection during the weeks leading up to arriving on campus. Any exposures could disrupt plans to return to campus. If you become infected or are exposed to a person who is confirmed to be infected, you will need to isolate or quarantine before traveling.

Day of Travel

  • Reduce the number of stops on the trip. Take a direct flight if possible, and if driving, pack food/snacks for the car trip home.
  • Delay travel if sick or exposed. Anyone feeling ill, recently diagnosed with COVID-19 (within 10 days), or exposed to someone with COVID-19 (within 10 days) should self-isolate and delay travel. Students should follow guidance from their health care provider regarding when recommended isolation/quarantine periods are complete and travel can be resumed.
  • Take safety precautions during travel, especially when using public transportation. Wear a face covering at all times and consider also wearing a face shield. Stay at least 6 feet away from other people; if not possible on public transportation, sit as far away from other passengers as possible. Carry and use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) frequently.
  • Use a disinfecting/sanitizing wipe to clean any touchable surfaces in the vehicle in which you are traveling. This includes planes, trains and other forms of transportation.
  • The least risky option is private transportation by yourself or with family members. If in a car with others outside the household, wear a mask and sit in the back seat if someone else is driving. If weather conditions permit, open the windows.

Arrival on Campus

  • The most cautious approach upon arriving on campus is to self-quarantine for the first 14 days. This is especially important if you are coming from an area experiencing high volumes of COVID-19 cases.
    • Quarantining includes eating meals in a private space or outdoors at least 6 ft apart.
    • Avoid physical contact including hugging, kissing and shaking hands.
    • Wear a mask and maintain a distance of at least 6′  when in the presence of others.
    • Restrict movement within and outside your residence and while on campus.
  • If quarantine is not possible, stay physically distant from household members, wear a face covering, and avoid close contact, including hugging and shaking hands, for the first 10 days back on campus.
  • Limit visitors for the first 10 days.
  • Watch for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

Medical and Mental Health and Wellbeing Services Available on Campus

  • Reach out for help or guidance from your primary care provider, psychologist/mental health clinician. Thielen Student Health Center and Student Counseling Services are here to provide support if you are feeling sad, anxious, or hopeless or if you feel emotional distress of any kind.
  • Get a flu vaccine when you return to campus if you haven’t already done so.

Additional Resources

Consult the following CDC websites for additional information on travel and ways to gather with your friends and peers:

Consult the following resources for additional information on wellbeing:

TAO (Therapy Assistance On-line)
Student Counseling Services Skills Video Series
Student Wellness Wellbeing Self Assessment Tool
Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health During and Infectious Outbreak
KOGNITO: At-Risk Mental Health Training Module

Testing Options

You are encouraged to take above steps to minimize the risk of asymptomatic spread of the virus to your roommates and broader Cyclone community. Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19, however if you find you have been exposed or develop symptoms there are several options for being tested.

Testing Sites in Ames

Testing is available at these locations:

Johnny’s Remote Testing Site
Available 8AM-4PM beginning January 11, 2021.

Thielen Student Health Center
Available Monday – Friday, 7:30AM-4PM through January 8, 2021.

Test Iowa
Check their website for hours and locations.

Vaccine Information

We know this is an exciting time to have a vaccine available so quickly during a pandemic and there are many variables. Many states have started vaccinating members of the general public, unfortunately, Iowa has not. We anticipate that the general public will have access to the vaccine in early spring but that will depend on vaccine allocations the state receives. We are awaiting additional guidance from the federal and state government. We ask everyone to remain vigilant and continue to wear a mask, practice physical distancing and wash hands regularly.