Issue: 1096

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
March 12, 2020 – Special Issue

CALS Online COVID-19 Edition
Iowa State University continues to monitor the outbreak of COVID-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus. Iowa State University is moving all classes online beginning Monday, March 23, and continuing through Friday, April 3, 2020. The university will reassess the situation during the week of March 30. The below information is the most up-to-date and available at the time of distribution and includes CALS-specific information, contacts and guidelines.  Please refer to the Iowa State University COVID-19 website frequently for updated information.  

Teaching and Students

Online Instruction Required from March 23 – April 3
Instructors are required to deliver classes using online methods March 23- April 3. If you need assistance setting up your CALS course for teaching online, email Todd Vens (, Brenton Center, and he will have an instructional designer contact you. The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching also offers guidance and personal assistance preparing online instruction.

Resources Available for Students
Details for students about how to connect with CALS instructors and advisers and register for classes are available via the student information portion of the CALS COVID-19 webpage. Updated course registration dates are: graduate students - April 3; seniors - April 6-14; juniors - April 15-20; sophomores - April 21-23; and freshman - April 24.

  • Information regarding CALS on-campus undergraduate student workers or CALS graduate assistants, is available via the student information portion of the CALS COVID-19 webpage.  
  • Information regarding residence halls, dining, class/work absences and university student resources, is available via the university student FAQ page.  
  • Students who may have anxiety or depression regarding current events can seek mental health services through Student Counseling Services or the Thielen Student Health Center.  
  • CALS students may also reach out to Howard Tyler (, CALS assistant dean for student services, or Audrey Kennis (, CALS student services specialist. 
  • Domestic travel planned by CALS student clubs or organizations should be strongly discouraged, pas part of the abundance of caution to help prevent the spread of the disease. 
  • Advisers of CALS student clubs, organizations or judging teams should exercise an abundance of caution in allowing small groups of students (under 20) to gather for club activities, project work or planning.  

Around the College

Business Continuity and CALS
Iowa State University will remain open for business throughout spring break (March 16-20) and March 23-April 3, 2020, during which all Iowa State classes will be held online. 

  • View the university’s Employee FAQ for additional guidance for supervisors and employees. For CALS question, contact Kathey Schuckert (, CALS human resources.
  • In the future, there may be a need for some employees to work remotely. Be prepared. Be sure laptops are charged and updated with current software. Contact your unit’s IT staff for support or David Wallace (, CALS IT support.
  • 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. Information on how to access and use Webex is available online.  

CALS Searches
CALS has postponed two ongoing searches between now and April 3 – the chair of the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology/Department of Entomology and an animal science assistant professor faculty position. 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.

CALS Travel and Study Abroad Updates
CALS questions regarding faculty travel and international visitors can be directed to David Acker (, associate dean for global engagement. The Regents suspension of international travel impacted six CALS study abroad groups intending to travel over spring break to Australia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Roatan Island, United Kingdom and Uganda. Program directors are working on academic contingency plans for the credits of these programs. Summer travel has not been canceled at this point. Global Programs staff and the program directors are considering financial and credit implications in case trips are canceled in the coming weeks. Eight CALS study abroad groups are scheduled to travel in May and June (92 students to Belize, France, Germany, Guam/Hawaii, Italy, Uganda, United Kingdom and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Plus, 24 CALS students plan on completing independent internships in 13 different countries over the summer. Questions about CALS study abroad can be directed to Jodi Cornell (, Global Programs. Check the university COVID-19 website for the latest information on travel restrictions in place.   


Research Services and Facilities Expected to Remain Open
Questions related to CALS research continuity, should be directed to Joe Colletti (, CALS senior associate dean, or Mark Honeyman (, CALS associate dean for operations. The Office of the Vice President for Research is developing specific guidance for research continuity and related contingency planning. Information will be posted online as available.  

Students Continue Research 
Graduate students and research assistants involved in conducting research will generally be expected to continue their work and will maintain their appointments from March 23-April 3, with guidance from their advisers, major professors and/or program directors, principal investigators, departments and the Graduate College. Find details and updates at the university’s student FAQ webpage. CALS graduate students may submit concerns to Ruth MacDonald (, CALS assistant dean for graduate programs, or Joe Colletti (, CALS senior associate dean. 

The Conversation: Implementation of U.S.-China Phase One Trade Deal Uncertain
In a March 13 essay distributed nationally by The Conversation, Wendong Zhang, economics, is co-author of "The coronavirus will delay agricultural export surges promised in trade deal with China." The novel coronavirus has shocked the world's economies, Zhang wrote. Concerns about potential global economic decline has made implementation of the U.S.-China phase one trade deal uncertain. More 

NSF Coronavirus Funding Opportunity, and FAQs
The National Science Foundation has released a Dear Colleague Letter inviting RAPID proposals for research related to coronavirus (COVID-19). Also, NSF released FAQs relating to COVID and grant administration and applications.

Extension and Outreach

Virtual Annual Conference 
The April 1 ISU Extension and Outreach annual conference will be adapted to virtual delivery. The virtual agenda will be added to the conference website. The registration fee for the virtual conference is $20 and registration remains open. Everyone who registered for the face-to-face conference is registered for the virtual conference and will receive a refund for the difference in registration fees. 
Extension Events Across the State
ISU Extension and Outreach face-to-face educational offerings and events have not been canceled during this time. Local Extension and Outreach staff will determine viability on a case by case basis. Find local staff contact information online to confirm the status of local educational offerings. Organizers should use good judgment when deciding whether to provide face-to-face education. For guidance, review these considerations from John Lawrence, Vice President for Extension and Outreach. 


Canceling and Postponing College Events
A list of CALS events that have been canceled or postponed as of March 12 is available online. CALS will provide updated information as it becomes available. Submit event updates to Brian Meyer ( and Melea Licht ( For guidance on changing campus events, see ISU Changes and Closures webpage.  

All college, department and student-sponsored events, on and off campus, between March 23 and April 3 involving more than 20 people are being canceled immediately or postponed for a later date. 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.


COVID-19: What About Pets, Livestock or Other Animals
Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets become ill with COVID-19 or that they spread it to other animals, including people. However, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals. And, out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Science magazine offers some practical advice for protecting your pets. (Sources: American Veterinary Medical Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)  

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online

Julie Stewart, Editor, (515) 294-5616 

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online, the newsletter for faculty and staff in Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is published by email every Monday. The deadline for submitting content is 12 p.m. on Friday. 


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