COVID-19 Updates for Parents and Families 

Greetings from Iowa State University! We hope you are healthy and safe as you work to maintain some sense of normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’d also like to offer a special note of gratitude to all of our parents and families who work on the front lines of this crisis – from medical professionals to first responders, farmers, truck drivers, and those who keep products on the shelves. Please know that we couldn’t do it without you!

Today we are writing with additional updates regarding Iowa State University’s response to COVID-19, including the status of the Summer and Fall semesters, residence hall move-out, commencement, and returning rented textbooks.

Virtual instruction for all summer classes
All summer semester credit classes will be taught online or through virtual instruction. This include summer session I, summer session II, full semester courses and short courses. If your student has not considered summer coursework in the past, this may be the year, especially if traditional summer jobs are not available.

Planning for fall semester on campus
As President Wintersteen noted in a communication to campus today, Iowa State and the other Regents universities are planning for a return to campus, and normal operations for the Fall 2020 semester. The university is currently planning for a range of options for how this may be accomplished – prioritizing the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff – and we will continue to keep you updated as our plans develop.

COVID-19 relief payments issued to student employees
Student workers who have been unable to work on campus or remotely, or who are working reduced hours due to COVID-19, will receive a Student Employee COVID-19 Relief Payment to help support their financial situation during the pandemic. Students receiving these payments were notified by President Wintersteen on April 20; funds will be deposited into students’ accounts beginning today. For those who do not have direct deposit, a paper check will be mailed to their primary home address.

Plans for virtual commencement announced
Spring 2020 virtual commencement ceremonies for undergraduates, graduates, and Veterinary Medicine graduates will be hosted on, available on-demand beginning at 10 a.m. (central time) on Saturday, May 9, 2020. More information is available in President Wintersteen's message to spring graduates.

Department of Residence move-out deadline extended
Iowa State’s Department of Residence has extended the deadline to move out of residence halls and university apartments to Sunday, June 7. Residence hall students who have not yet been able to move out are asked to sign up for a two-hour move-out time slot by May 9. While families have done a great job following social distancing during move-out, the new structure ensures that will continue through June 7.

Grading options and final exam schedules
As you may know, Iowa State is offering students a Pass/Not Pass grading option for all spring 2020 courses. This means students will have the option of accepting the letter grade earned in a class, or accepting a Pass/Not Pass grade. Updated information and FAQ documents are posted on the Provost’s Office website.

Final exam schedules will be distributed by students’ instructors. There will be a considerable amount of flexibility in the schedule, again accounting or students who may be living in multiple time zones or countries, and accounting for the fact that proctored testing centers will not be available. Very few exams will be held during the times outlined in the typical final exam schedule, and no synchronous exams (those held for all students in the class at the same time) may be held unless instructors have ensured that all students are able to participate.

Returning rented textbooks
Students who rented textbooks from the ISU bookstore will receive a message in AccessPlus with a list of books that were rented, and the options for returning them. Rented textbooks may be mailed to the Bookstore using a prepaid shipping label (available through AccessPlus), or students may use curbside drop-off in the West Loop outside the memorial union. Students may also purchase their rented textbooks, if they choose, by paying the difference between the list price of the book and the rental fee they have already paid. Additional information is available on the ISU Bookstore website.

Campus updates on COVID-19
We continue to update information and resources on Iowa State’s COVID-19 safety page. An additional tab, Innovation at Work, was added this week with selected examples of how Iowa State is responding in many ways to the pandemic — for students, our community and through research.


Again, best wishes for a healthy and safe spring. We look forward to seeing you again soon!

Relatively Speaking is published by the Iowa State University Parents and Family Programs and the Dean of Students Office. We welcome your suggestions to improve this publication. If you have a question you need answered or suggestions for content in future monthly editions, please contact us at any time at

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