COVID-19 information for CALS faculty, staff, students

Iowa State University is monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus. At this time, there are no reported cases on Iowa State's campus. As a precaution, Iowa State University is moving all classes online beginning Monday, March 23, and extending through the end of the spring 2020 semester. Additionally, all summer course offerings that BEGIN prior to the start of summer session II (June 15, 2020) will be taught online for the duration of the course. This includes session 1 courses, and full term courses, which begin May 18, 2020. A decision on session 2, which begins June 15, 2020 will be made later in the spring.

The state of Iowa is under a Public Health Disaster Emergency, which includes a directive that all gatherings of more than 10 people be canceled or moved online until the declaration is lifted. The below information is the most up-to-date and available at the time of distribution and includes college-specific guidelines. Please refer to the Iowa State University COVID-19 website frequently for updated information.

#CALSproud COVID-19 Response

We are #CALSproud of all our faculty, staff and students who are finding innovative ways to excel and overcome challenges during this time of uncertainty and change. Check out some examples of the extraordinary efforts happening throughout the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences on the #CALSproud COVID-19 Response webpage.

Student Information

General information regarding CALS undergraduate and graduate student coursework, class registration, support services, Wi-Fi access and employment can be found here.

Questions can be directed to CALS Assistant Dean for Student Services Howard Tyler,

Further information can be found on the Iowa State University Students FAQ webpage.

Business Continuity Encouraged

Iowa State University remains open to support the transition to virtual instruction and provide critical operations and services. However, as of March 17, Iowa State is asking all divisions, colleges, departments and units to accomodate flexible work arrangements to maintain university operations while maximizing social distancing - a CDC mitigation strategy to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 cases. Supervisors and employees should work together to make the best decisions for their units.

  • View the university’s Employee FAQ for additional guidance for supervisors and employees, or contact University Human Resources HR Partner Kathey Schuckert,, or CALS Senior Associate Dean Joe Colletti,
  • All college and department/student-sponsored events, on and off campus, having more than 10 people associated with them should be canceled immediately or postponed for a later date. If an in-person meeting is essential to support daily operations, it must include no more than 10 people who are practicing social distancing (e.g. sitting at least six feet apart).
    • During this period, there should be no contact by CALS people, on or off campus, with any K-12 students, nor with any senior groups, or those in fragile health for other reasons.
  • IT Support for Working Remotely: For CALS, contact David Wallace,, for assistance, advice and support. ISU’s IT Solution Center is available, virtually. Report a problem by completing an incident form online, sending email ( or leaving a voicemail (515-294-4000). If you need immediate assistance or have a business-critical issue, leave a detailed voicemail with your Net-ID and phone number. You’ll receive an email confirmation, and an IT Solution Center representative will get back to you as quickly as possible.
  • Words of encouragement and advice for online course instruction - Todd Vans, program coordinator in the Brenton Center, gathered thoughts from CALS faculty members regarding setting up and delivering online courses. You can read them here.
  • The university's Zoom contract will be extended another 15 months for those currently licensed. Users who have not adopted a video conferencing platform are asked to use Webex. An enterprise version is available to all ISU faculty, staff and students. Learn how to gain access to and use Webex here.
    • Prevent “Zoombombing” - It has been reported that some Zoom users are experiencing "Zoombombing," where non-students join your Zoom session to disrupt a class or a meeting. These disruptions may involve sharing of racist, misogynistic or vulgar content. This also is possible for those using WebEx outside its Canvas Integration. ISU Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning has posted a workaround for both Zoom and WebEx to prevent this activity.
  • Information about research continuity can be found under the Research heading farther down on this page. Contact CALS Senior Associate Dean Joe Colletti,, with research questions.
  • Keep Community, Stay Informed, Be Well. Student Health and Wellness, in partnership with ISU WellBeing, has launched the Keep Community, Stay Informed, and Be Well campaign during remote work, online instruction and social distancing. Students and employees are navigating many changes, so prioritizing your well-being is essential. Check out the employee and student action plans on the link — you’re highly encouraged to work with your staff teams and provide to your students to fill out the action plans and prioritize your wellbeing.
  • If You’re Struggling - Don’t hesitate. Try the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) online chat feature for help and resources. Also, check the Health and Wellness links under Campus Resources on the ISU COVID-19 safety page.

We Are One: Advocate to Combat Bias

Theressa Cooper, CALS assistant dean of diversity, said worry about COVID-19 can trigger numerous reactions. This crisis affects members of our community differently. For some, concern about personal well-being and the health of family and friends may lead to anxiety, hypervigilance, inability to focus and difficulty sleeping. For others, fear and anxiety may contribute to broad generalizations and assumptions about China and people from other Asian countries. We must remember that we are one Cyclone family. Each of us are responsible for advocating on behalf of others to confront stereotype, bias and prejudice — that includes engaging in dialogue based on accurate information about the coronavirus, whether online or in public. Iowa State works hard to be a welcoming, accessible and inclusive campus; it is embodied in our Principles of Community. Watch for more virtual opportunities to build your cultural competency coming from Assistant Dean Cooper. 

CALS Farms Remain Functional

CALS farms are functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic, as much as possible, and are conducting essential operations while practicing social distancing. Farm superintendents and managers are available to discuss needs and processes with all farm users. Farm facilities are open for essential operations to ISU staff - group activities (tours, field days, etc.) are suspended.

COVID policies posted: All ISU farms’ locations are posting COVID-19 protocols/precautions near the farm entrances and office entry doors. The primary goal of this guidance policy is the health and safety of our individual farm staff. This set of farms includes Ag 450, Iowa Crop Improvement Association, BioCentury Research Farm, Animal Science Farms, FEEL Lab and more.

Reach out before visiting: Before traveling to ISU Research Farms across the state, please contact the farm manager. Prior knowledge of your arrival will help transport items from campus, make you aware of COVID-19 protocols and facilitate planning and coordination. 

Livestock and poultry appear to be safe from COVID-19, and meat, milk and eggs remain safe to eat, as reported by the Iowa State University News Service.

Searches on Hold

CALS has suspended searches between now and April 3 for the chair of the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology and the chair of the Department of Entomology. On-campus faculty, staff and administrative searches within the Division of Academic Affairs will be postponed or moved online during the period March 23-April 3, 2020. Hiring managers are responsible for ensuring a consistent experience and opportunity for all candidates with respect to the interview format. Guidelines for hiring managers.

Travel and Study Abroad Updates

Check the university COVID-19 Travel and Travel Restrictions FAQ website for the latest information on travel restrictions in place. Questions regarding travel and international visitors can be directed to CALS Associate Dean David Acker,

All university-sponsored international travel remains suspended and all university-sponsored non-essential domestic travel is prohibited until further notice, effective immediately. View ISU President Wendy Wintersteen’s complete message. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced March 13 that all non-essential state employee travel is canceled. As a state institution, Iowa State University is included in this directive.

Iowa State has made the decision to cancel all summer 2020 study abroad courses that start before Aug. 15. The CALS Global Programs staff will be following up with impacted students regarding these trips in the coming days. This will impact 124 CALS students who would have traveled to 18 different countries and two U.S. territories: 89 students on seven faculty-led programs that would have traveled between May – July to Germany, the United Kingdom, Belize, Guam and Hawaii, France, Italy and Uganda; 23 GRS students planning to complete required international internships in 13 different countries; one student planning to complete an independent internship in Uganda; and 11 students on summer semester programs to Greece (eight) and the U.S. Virgin Islands (three).

Questions about Study Abroad can be directed to CALS Study Abroad Program Coordinator Jodi Cornell,

Campus Events

CALS-hosted event changes and cancellations can be found here.

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension and Outreach event changes and cancellations can be found here.

Information about programming changes by and with the Iowa Beef Center can be found here.

Larger events on campus that have been canceled, postponed or altered (for example, moved online) are listed on the Iowa State University website.

Extension and Outreach

Educational events across the state

While ISU is moving all classes online through the end of the spring 2020 semester, the university will remain open for business. ISU Extension and Outreach face-to-face educational offerings and events have been canceled and will be moved to an online format, as appropriate. Find local staff contact information online to confirm the status of local educational offerings. For guidance, review these considerations from John Lawrence, Vice President for Extension and Outreach.

A list of Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension and Outreach event changes and cancellations can be found here.

Programming changes by and with the Iowa Beef Center can be found here.

Daily updates from the Office of the Vice President for Extension and Outreach can be found here.

Online Instruction

Instructors are required to deliver classes using online methods through the remainder of the spring 2020 semester, and any summer course offerings that BEGIN prior to the start of summer session II (June 15, 2020). During that time, Iowa State is encouraging students not to return to campus after spring break and continue coursework online. If you need assistance setting up your course for teaching online, please send an email to Brenton Center Program Coordinator Todd Vens,, and he will have an instructional designer contact you. The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) offers guidance and personal assistance preparing online instruction.

Research Information


Iowa State's Office of the Vice President for Research COVID-19 & Research page has extensive guidance for continuing research and reducing risks in research settings and for related contingency planning. This includes a Research Continuity Plan for Iowa State scientists, to help faculty, research staff, graduate students and post-docs plan for disruptions and continue their research and creative activities.

Until further notice, University employees are directed to work from home or another remote location whenever possible. When employees need to be present on campus for specific and critical operations, such as research, which cannot otherwise be accomplished remotely, such circumstances should be for a limited number of people, and only for as long as it takes to perform those critical tasks. Face-to-face interactions should be minimized by reducing the number of attendees and by providing social distancing space of at least 6 feet. In addition, supervisors should establish shifts and rotation schedules with a minimum number of personnel. This guidance applies to all functions within the academic affairs division, including research laboratories. 

Those who supervise employees, including students, in research settings should review guidance in the UHR COVID-19 Employee FAQ, specifically to Employee FAQ questions EE29-EE31 and Supervisory FAQ question SUP19.

Questions specific to CALS research continuity should be directed to CALS Senior Associate Dean Joe Colletti,, or CALS Associate Dean Manager Mark Honeyman,

Students Involved in Research

All Iowa State employees who are able to work remotely, as determined by their supervisors, are to work remotely. This directive applies to all graduate students, post-docs and undergraduate student workers. All meetings that can be virtualized should be virtualized, even one-on-one meetings with colleagues having offices or laboratories in close proximity. These actions should be taken immediately and to the maximum extent possible. 

Graduate students and research assistants should obtain specific guidance from their principal investigators, advisers, major professors and/or program directors, departments and/or the Graduate College. Find details and updates at the university’s student FAQ webpage.

CALS graduate students may submit concerns to CALS Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs Ruth MacDonald,, or CALS Senior Associate Dean Joe Colletti,