Message from President John Reynders: Opening for Spring Semester 2021

Jan 08, 2021 • COVID-19 Campus Updates
Photo of tree with orange leaves and light snowfall on Morningside's campus taken by Rebekah Meisner.
Photo by Rebekah Meisner.

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff -

A new year has arrived and spring semester is almost upon us. Like many of you, I am optimistic that this year will be better than the last.

Though fall semester was not the typical Morningside experience, I am grateful to all of you for making it a success. Your commitment to wearing masks, adjusting classes and events, limiting close contact with others, practicing good hygiene, and utilizing our on-campus Test Iowa site was key to completing the semester. With this in mind, I am once again asking for your help and commitment to caring for one another.

Upon your return, Morningside will open in OPERATION LEVEL: YELLOW. Spring semester classes and activities will be mostly in-person. However, staying in yellow will once again require cooperation from our entire community. It is imperative that you resume the good habits you developed last fall. As a reminder:

  • Do not report to work or return to campus from Winter Break if you become ill or are exposed to COVID-19. If you do become ill or are exposed to COVID-19 prior to our scheduled return, students should notify This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in the Office of Student Life (712-274- 5031) and your professors to plan for your quarantine or isolation period. If you are an employee, contact your supervisor and/or Human Resources. Once spring semester has resumed, students and employees who become ill or are exposed to COVID-19 should stay home, contact appropriate parties, and cooperate with any contact tracing.
  • Wear masks in all public spaces unless in your residence hall room or when eating or drinking.
  • Limit the number of people with whom you have close contact (six feet or less for longer than 15 minutes).
  • Practice good hygiene, particularly in regard to handwashing.
  • Stay home when you are sick. (See the CDC's COVID-19 symptoms)
  • Follow quarantine guidelines if you are exposed to COVID-19 and isolation guidelines if you become infected with COVID-19.
  • Utilize the Test Iowa site if you believe you are ill or have been exposed to COVID-19.

As part of our preparation for your return, I also want to mention a few other actions we are taking to ensure your health and safety while providing the best experience possible.

First, thanks to Vice President of Student Life & Enrollment Terri Curry, we will once again have the Test Iowa site at the Alumni House and available for afternoon appointments as needed and available. The Test Iowa site will remain a fixture on our campus throughout spring semester and is available to any student, faculty, or staff who is symptomatic or believes they have been directly exposed to COVID-19. Additionally, any individual who is quarantined due to exposure and wishes to be tested for possible early release from quarantine (per CDC guidelines) will have the ability to be tested at the Test Iowa site.

Second, students living on campus who must quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19 will have the option to return to their permanent residence, or will be able to utilize quarantine or isolation spaces Morningside has reserved. Like last semester, Morningside will deliver meals to students who choose to use those spaces during quarantine or isolation.

Third, in an effort to limit potential spread as we return to campus, we have made the decision that no visiting fans will be allowed at Morningside home athletic events during the month of January. We will re-evaluate this decision later this month.

Fourth, we will continue to send a weekly message and update the COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesdays. We know many of you valued that information, and we will continue providing it throughout spring semester.

Finally, know that we are actively engaging in conversations to explore the potential for Morningside to administer the vaccine on-site once doses become available. While it ultimately may not be possible, the senior staff and I will do everything we can to make the vaccine available to faculty, staff, and students who wish to receive it if given the opportunity.

Here’s to a 2021 full of health, happiness, and plenty of reminders that it sure is good to be a Morningsider.

Be well,

John Reynders