The University of Iowa

The University of Iowa is committed to the safety and well-being of its students, faculty, and staff and is taking deliberate steps to reduce the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. For official UI Coronavirus updates, please visit: The following guidelines are intended to inform students, staff, and faculty of what they can expect in the University Classrooms for the Fall 2020 semester. 

The following guidelines are based upon this document prepared by the university’s Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) for returning to campus. 

Course Delivery Plans: Fall 2020

The university will follow the current academic calendar, with the fall 2020 semester beginning Aug. 24 and ending on Dec. 18.

  • Course sections with enrollments of 50 or more students will generally be moved to an online format.
  • Face-to-face instruction will be prioritized for courses with fewer than 50 students.
  • The university will move to online instruction after Thanksgiving, beginning November 30, 2020.
  • Final exams will be delivered remotely. 

Additional details may be found at

Video Experiences

Rod Lehnertz, senior vice president for finance and operations, recently walked through the UI’s Pappajohn Business Building to show and explain to you what to expect as you return to campus buildings. To watch the video, click this link.

Instructor & student presentation of what to expect in a University Classroom can be viewed here.

Classroom camera and microphone experience can be viewed here.

What to expect in University Classrooms

Details and ordering information for products that are being used in University Classrooms can be found on the Products Used in University Classrooms page.

  • Applicable face coverings (cloth covering, disposable or cloth mask, face shield) must be worn by all building occupants at all times.
  • ADA compliant hand sanitizer stations will be placed at the entrance of each classroom as well as throughout university campus buildings for student and instructor use.  "Cover your cough stations" containing hand sanitizer, masks, and tissues will also be placed at building entrances. 
  • Signage will be posted in each classroom stating the maximum capacity of each classroom.
  • Signage will be posted classroom advising of physical distancing and other measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  
  • Where possible, foot traffic will be directed to separate doors for entry and exit.  Please make sure to use the identified doorways to enter and exit.    
Image of Guidelines Sign Image of Room Capacity Sign Imagine of Instructor Zone sticker Image of Sit Here sign Image of Seat Unavailable sign

Classroom Seating

  • Classrooms will include reduced density seating for classroom decompression at no more than 50% maximum occupancy. Click here for a spreadsheet listing university and department classrooms and their Fall 2020 capacities (you must be logged into Office 365 to view the spreadsheet which is not inclusive of all campus instructional spaces). 
  • Signage to limit seating and maintain social distance will be posted:
    • Multipurpose classrooms (tablet arm seating): seats that are designated for student use will be identified with labels placed directly on the floor beneath chairs.
    • Lecture rooms, computer classrooms, and seminars: labels will be placed on the tables to indicate unavailable spaces.
    • Auditoriums: labels will adhere to the underside of seats to inform students where they can sit so they are visible when the chair is not being used.  Zip ties will be used to lock unavailable seats.
    • TILE Classrooms: labels will be placed on the tables to indicate unavailable spaces.  Group activities should be conducted only when deemed critical to the learning experience in the classroom. 

Instructor Zones

  • Instructor zones will be marked at the front of the room with yellow floor adhesive to aid in social distancing.
  • Each classroom will be equipped with clear protective screens with casters (for use between instructor & student for one on one interaction at close proximity).  See video for ideas for use.  

COVID-19 Classroom Photos

Example photos of what a classroom will look like for the fall session. More photos will be added as materials arrive to campus and rooms are prepared. 

Recommended Classroom Practices

The Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology (OTLT) has compiled best practices for teaching and adapting during the pandemic on the Keep Teaching Iowa page for UI instructors. Resources include information on facilitating activities, delivering courses, and more. Help sessions and consultations are available.

Similarly, resources can be found for student learning on the Keep Learning Iowa page. 

Please see the FAQ below for recommendations regarding lecture recording, handouts, discussions, and more. 

Classroom Cleaning

  • There will be daily custodial evening servicing to classrooms which will include cleaning and sanitizing frequently touched surfaces in learning environments and public spaces. 
  • Disinfectant wipes will be provided in each classroom for student and instructor workstation cleaning.  ADA compliant wet wipe dispensers with built in trash receptacles will be placed at classroom entrances in addition to hand sanitizer stations. 
    • Facilities Management will provide daily support to restock both supplies and will respond on demand as quickly as possible throughout the day to restock these items. Call 319-335-5071 or follow the QR code located on each station to report outages. Please see the FAQs below for more information. 
  • Please use provided wipes to clean your own workstation upon arrival: 
    • Students: desk, chair
    • Instructors: desk, chair, table/podium, AV equipment, and writing utensils. Glass cleaner will be provided for the clear protective screens, if the wet wipes do not clean glass surface satisfactorily

For additional questions regarding classroom cleaning or other COVID-19 FM operations, please visit the FM@Your Service portal and choose the "COVID-19" option to browse FAQs or submit new questions. You can find Facilities Management's full COVID-19 operational response here

Classroom Technology

  • University classrooms will be outfitted with additional cameras and audiovisual equipment to enhance the educational experience.
  • Follow this link for a short video demonstrating the camera and USB microphone. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

For additional questions regarding classroom spaces, please email Classroom Scheduling at

How will classroom furniture be spaced?

The classroom standards are based on capacity, not distance. No more than 50% of the classroom capacity will be used.

Classroom furniture has been relocated where possible. 

Who should I contact if a classroom runs out of wipes or hand sanitizer?

Cleaning supplies in classrooms (hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes) will be distributed and restocked by Facilities Management. Call 319-335-5071 with questions or to request refills. 

Each wet wipe dispenser and hand sanitizer station will include a sticker with a QR code that links straight to the FM@YourService home page. Anyone with a HawkID and password can log on and choose the "COVID-19" option on the FM@YourService portal to report outages. Please be sure to include the building and room location as well as the item that needs restocked. Thank you for doing your part to keep these items available. 

FM COVID-19 QR Code Sticker

Who should I contact if the classroom signage is damaged or removed?

Please email Classroom Scheduling at and we will replace it as soon as possible. 

Should paper be shared in the classrooms? For example: quizzes, exams, worksheets, etc.

The risk should be quite low, but such activities could be “discouraged” unless deemed necessary (e.g., exams, worksheets).

Is it appropriate for students to turn their chairs towards one another for discussions?

If there are situations where students are facing each other, they should be adequately social-distanced and wearing appropriate PE.  Also, such activities should be conducted only when deemed critical to the learning experience in the classroom.

Who should I contact with questions about remote instruction or the new audiovisual equipment in the classrooms?

Distance and Online Education (DOE) and the Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology (OTLT) have created a Remote Instruction Team. This team of instructional designers, media staff, and teaching experts has compiled best practices for teaching in online and hybrid formats. You can reach the Remote Instruction Team through online help sessions, workshops, by requesting a consultation, or through the ITS Help Desk. There is more information available at Keep Teaching at Iowa

Where can I record lectures for asynchronous class sessions?

As a result of face-to-face class resumption, most University Classrooms will NOT be available for the lecture recording for asynchronous class session preparation during fall 2020. However, other campus options may be available:

Where can departments order classroom signage?

Classroom signage orders can be placed with UI Printing Services

Can university classroom spaces be used for events?

All university meetings, to the greatest extent possible, will take place in an online format in order to maximize the amount of available classroom space.

Beginning Aug. 1, all essential in-person events will be limited to 50 in-person attendees and must follow public health and university guidance regarding protective equipment and social distancing or be offered through a virtual format.

Programs, events, or meetings with 50 or more attendees will need to be held in a virtual format.

Is it recommended that University Classroom doors be propped open?

Per CIMT direction the university is not broadly implementing actions to prop open doors.  Custodial services within FM will have a building attendant program with one focus being high touch point areas in those buildings on campus with the highest amounts of traffic.