COVID-19 and Transportation to/from Chicago


We have received a copy of the email below. Based on this information, we are still leaving campus as scheduled this week. We will be working on alternate schedules for returning ISU Chicago area students back to Ames. Please be patient as we put this together. If you purchased a round-trip ticket, you will still have a round trip option.

March 11, 2020

Dear Iowa State University Community,

The World Health Organization (WHO) has just declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. While cases have increased in Iowa, there are no reported cases on the Iowa State campus, in Ames, or Story County. However, Iowa State University is moving all classes online beginning Monday, March 23 and continuing through April 3, 2020. The university will reassess the situation during the week of March 30. The period of online instruction may be extended if conditions warrant.

We know how disappointing and disruptive this is to our students, faculty, and staff. This decision was made in consultation with the Board of Regents out of an abundance of caution to prioritize health and safety as the outbreak continues to spread and circumstances rapidly evolve. We also continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The university will remain open and continue normal daily operations to the extent possible. Additional guidance for supervisors and employees will be shared tomorrow (Thursday) and the Employee FAQ will be updated.

Student information

  • Students will receive additional information from their instructors before March 23 regarding their classes, assignments, and exams.
  • Students traveling home for spring break are strongly encouraged to stay home for those two weeks (March 23-April 3). If students who currently live on campus are not able to go home, they must register with the Department of Residence through this online form by noon on Wednesday, March 18, to receive access to their residence hall or campus apartment. Dining services will be open but may be provided on a limited basis.
  • Essential services in Student Affairs such as the Thielen Student Health Center, Student Counseling, and International Students and Scholars will provide normal operations and will also provide services via phone when appropriate.
  • Select academic student support services, including academic advising and career services may be available in person or on a limited basis either online of via phone.
  • Laboratories, studios, performance instruction, computer labs, and other experiential learning sections will not be held March 23 – April 3. Substitute assignments or make-up activities during or after that period will be at the discretion of the academic program.
  • Additional information for students is available on the Students FAQ.

Assistance for Faculty

  • Staff in the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and college online learning offices are available to assist faculty with migrating their class online. Resources also are available on the CELT website.

Other Events Scheduled on Campus

  • We are working with event sponsors and partners to evaluate all large events scheduled on campus from March 23 – April 3. Some events have already decided to cancel or postpone. Please check the cancellations and closures page for more information.


  • All university-sponsored international travel remains suspended for students, faculty, and staff since March 5. The Board of Regents will be extending the 30-day travel ban by 7 days each Monday, effective March 9, until conditions improve.
  • There are no mandated restrictions on university-sponsored domestic travel at this time. However, we ask all faculty, staff, and students to be prudent when making decisions to travel domestically, considering exposure risk at the destination and at connection points, as well as the potential and cost for travel disruption. Please be aware that restrictions on domestic travel could be established as conditions warrant.

Accurate, timely information

We will continue to provide accurate and timely information. The university’s central source for information about our response to the COVID-19 outbreak is the campus safety page. Please check this website often for updates and answers to frequently asked questions. 

Please know we do not take these decisions lightly. Our team of senior leaders, emergency management experts, and issue-specific working groups are in constant discussions and considering the best interests of our students, faculty, and staff. We deeply appreciate your patience, understanding and care for each other as we continue to address this rapidly evolving situation.


Wendy Wintersteen


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