VII. COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY ADDENDUM to the 2020-2021 ON-CAMPUS HOUSING CONTRACT
As the Department of Residence (DOR) welcomes residents back to campus for the 2020-21 academic year, we know COVID-19 related health and safety standards will be needed to help protect our community. Acknowledging that these precautions will change the traditional residential life experience here at ISU, DOR is issuing this Addendum to the 2020-21 On-Campus Housing Contract to provide students with detail about these shared obligations and what to expect in the coming year. Please take time to review this information. By choosing to live on-campus, residents acknowledge and agree to abide by all DOR expectations for the well-being of the community. For these reasons, residents should carefully assess their own health and safety, and carefully read and understand the expectations and provisions in this document before signing it and agreeing to live in DOR housing.
The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Addendum terms and conditions listed below are incorporated into the 2020-21 On-Campus Housing Contract and apply to all DOR residents:
A. Elevated Risk of Exposure: ISU and the DOR is committed to maintaining a healthy and safe residential environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the DOR is implementing CDC, Iowa Department of Public Health, and other state, federal, and local health expert guidance on community living, residing in communal living environments and living with a roommate or among other residents involves risk of contracting infectious disease, including COVID-19. By choosing to live on-campus, residents acknowledge and understand the risk of possible exposure to and illness from infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Iowa State University and DOR is not and will not be liable for any public health threat to which a student or visitor may be exposed, including but not limited to the transmission of any infectious disease such as COVID-19.
B. Adhere to All Public Health and Safety Requirements: All members of the DOR housing community are required to comply with the public health and safety requirements adopted by the university and DOR. These requirements are informed by important regulations, proclamations, and guidance issued by federal, state, and local public health agencies, including the CDC and the Iowa Department of Public Health. These requirements are subject to change based on updated guidance from public health agencies and will include, but are not limited to, required wearing of face coverings, required physical distancing measures, limitations on mass gatherings, required COVID-19 diagnostic and trace testing (including before or upon arrival to campus as directed by DOR), required cleaning and sanitizing protocols, limitations on guests within DOR facilities, and isolation / quarantine requirements. DOR will update residents with timely information about specific health and safety guidance and updated requirements via official DOR email. Adherence to the health and safety requirements applies to all residents, staff, and visitors of DOR facilities. Residents are prohibited from creating a health or safety hazard within DOR housing facilities and the university and DOR may require a resident to vacate DOR housing if their continued presence poses a health or safety risk to another resident or the broader campus community.
C. Testing: The university has developed a COVID-19 testing program for students, faculty, and staff. ISU’s Thielen Student Health Center (TSHC), working with other expertise in the community and on campus, will put in place contact tracing measures to help identify and resolve possible exposure. These efforts will be done in collaboration with our county and state public health partners. The plans for COVID-19 testing are subject to change based on the availability of testing supplies and the development of additional testing protocols as approved by the Iowa Department of Public Health and the CDC. DOR residents will be subject to required COVID-19 testing at the direction of the TSHC or other public health official. Depending on the availability of testing supplies, testing will be required of DOR residents before they move in to university housing. On-going testing after move-in may be required at the direction of TSHC or other public health official based on individual symptoms or other indications of COVID-19 exposure.
D. Isolation / Quarantine: At any time, the university and DOR may require a DOR resident to vacate their assigned room and enter and remain in isolation for public health emergency reasons, including COVID-19 symptoms, testing, exposure or expected exposure. Required isolation will be based on the direction of TSHC. Residents who are required to isolate will be assigned to a designated residential space (or in appropriate circumstances the resident may identify an alternative off-campus space). It is necessary that these residents remain in isolation until isolation is deemed unnecessary by TSHC. Generally, required isolation will not extend for more than 14 days. For proper containment and quarantine, residents in necessary isolation will only be permitted in the designated room space. DOR will facilitate living and dining arrangements for residents in necessary isolation. Residents are required to comply with requests from DOR to temporarily vacate their assigned room due to COVID-19 or other public health emergencies and failure to do so is a violation of this contract and may subject a student to emergency removal from their assigned room and/or termination of their contract. A temporary isolation requirement from DOR does not constitute a termination of a resident’s contract.
E. Physical Distancing Efforts: DOR residents are required to comply with all physical distancing requirements and related efforts to limit the number of persons in specific spaces and facilities. Such efforts may include, but are not limited to, the relocation of residents to alternative housing. Relocation necessary because of COVID-19 or other public health emergency does not constitute a termination of a resident’s housing contract. In the event DOR must relocate students due to public health concerns for an extended period and alternative housing is not available, DOR may offer impacted students fair and reasonable reimbursement as appropriate and based on information available at that time.
F. Not All Amenities and Spaces Will Be Available: Due to the public health emergency and based on public health guidance designed to reduce the risk of disease transmission, not all DOR amenities and spaces will be available and open to residents. Such limitations and restrictions may include, but are not limited to: front desks may not be open in all facilities or during normal hours; appliances, utensils, and kitchenware in common kitchen spaces may not be available; other common/shared spaces may be closed or use of such space may be limited; water fountains may not be available or their use may be limited; certain bathroom facilities may be closed or use may be limited; and recreation equipment may be unavailable or use of such equipment may be limited.
G. Dining Services: ISU Dining services, including where and how dining services will be offered to students, including DOR residents, is subject to the discretion of the university and ISU Dining, and is subject to modification by the university and ISU Dining at any time in order to respond to the evolving public health emergency. Special requirements and modifications to ISU Dining due to the public health emergency may include but are not limited to: the occupancy limit at all ISU Dining centers may be limited; physical distancing requirements may limit available seating within ISU Dining centers; the hours of operation of all ISU Dining centers may be adjusted or reduced throughout the semester; the amount of time individuals may remain within an ISU Dining center may be limited; the method of food delivery at all ISU Dining centers may be adjusted, including moving partially or solely to “to-go” options; and the accepted method of payment at all ISU Dining centers may be limited.
H. Cleaning and Sanitizing Procedures: DOR will continue to implement and modify its cleaning and sanitizing procedures in response to public health agency guidance, including guidance from the CDC and the Iowa Department of Public Health. DOR will educate and inform residents about appropriate cleaning and sanitizing procedures within residents’ assigned rooms to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Residents are expected to keep their assigned rooms clean and sanitary. DOR staff may conduct health and safety inspections of residents’ assigned rooms to help ensure a healthy and safe living environment is being maintained.
I. Opening and Closing Dates May Be Adjusted: Due to the evolving nature of the public health emergency, DOR cannot guarantee that DOR housing will open or remain open for the entire semester or for a specific time. DOR may determine that it is necessary to close its facilities due to developments in the COVID-19 pandemic and/or in response to directives or guidance from public health authorities. In the event DOR significantly adjusts the opening or closing dates of facilities, DOR may offer fair and reasonable reimbursements for impacted residents as appropriate and based on information available at that time.
K. Termination of Housing Contract: Upon reasonable notice, DOR reserves the right to terminate residents’ housing contracts due to the public health emergency. In the event DOR terminates housing contracts due to public health concerns, and not because of a resident’s breach of the housing contract, DOR may offer fair and reasonable reimbursements for impacted residents as appropriate and based on information available at that time.
The above information has been provided to allow students to make an informed decision about living on campus for the 2020-21 school year. While DOR is eager for all our residents to return to our facilities and rejoin our living and learning communities, DOR understands that this may not be an environment that aligns with every resident’s needs at this time. In addition, there may be additional modifications needed as the year progresses. As always, DOR will update residents — via official DOR email — with timely information about specific health and safety guidance important for our residential community.