Drake University announced Tuesday it will switch to a remote delivery of all courses for the rest of the semester.
President Marty Martin sent an email to students Tuesday afternoon announcing the change, which goes into effect Wednesday. Following Thanksgiving break, the university planned to finish the semester virtually, but chose to alter course sooner due to the current spike in cases of COVID 19 across Iowa.
“We are moving to full virtual delivery early because of the increasing incidence of the virus in the community around us and the strain this is putting on local health care resources,” Martin said in his message to students.
Provost Mattison said in an email that while campus transmission remains relatively low, “we can’t escape what is happening around us. More than 90 percent of the isolation rooms are still available, but the total number of students in on and off campus isolation “increased significantly over the weekend.”
Martin’s email said currently a total of 46 students are isolated and 158 total are quarantined. That is a 71% increase in the number of isolated students from the Nov. 6 COVID-19 update. Mattison said that cases among faculty and staff have increased as well.
In Iowa, more than 4,400 individuals tested positive for COVID-19 between Monday and Tuesday, and there are currently 24,509 positive cases in Polk county. More than 1,100 Iowans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and all four Unity Point hospitals in the Des Moines area have reached capacity.
Students are encouraged to return home as soon as they are confident in their health. To minimize transmission in those who are travelling the Student Health Center will provide free asymptomatic testing. Any symptomatic cases can also continue to receive free tests at the Student Health Center. On-campus students can get a free test from Wednesday to Friday, and off-campus students taking at least one in-person class can be tested starting Nov. 16.