Please see below for messages from the Drake University Dean of Students.
Subject: Follow-Up to COVID-19 Drake Update - Oct. 2, 2020
This morning I was impressed to review key data points coming from our most recent COVID-19 Update. Since our last update on September 25th, we have seen an impressive decline in students in isolation and quarantine, including a continuation of outstanding results from random sample testing. After speaking with the leadership of our Contact Tracing Team to inquire more about the decline in numbers, they were clear and upbeat in their response to me:
“Students are listening – they are wearing masks – they are distancing – and they understand how essential it is to limit gathering size and limit contacts. They are doing everything we are asking them to do to keep us together. ”
Just three weeks ago, our Contact Tracing Team and countless other staff members were working around the clock due to an uptick in isolation numbers, but more so in the number of students that needed to quarantine due to contacts with positive cases. At this time, the chain of potential spread from a few weeks ago has been broken and I join countless other colleagues in extending our deepest thanks for taking our protocols seriously – this is keeping us together as a community and preventing spread to our local community and neighbors. Thank you for being selfless and putting the wellbeing of others at the forefront of your decisions and behavior – this isn’t easy to do and it comes with hardships – we know this. We know it has limited students’ ability to congregate in larger settings in connecting with more students; as essential as these protocols are right now we don’t want our students to be closed off from one another. There are ways for students to still be engaged and feel connected with one another. For example, staff have been working hard to provide programming and opportunities for students to safely engage and participate in activities that promote wellness and our True Blue Skills. We have many students participating in these programs, including fitness opportunities that you can learn more about by visiting https://www.imleagues/drake. To learn about all our program offerings, please visit https://calendar.drake.edu/cocurricular-engagement.
As we enter our seventh week of being together this fall semester, it’s important that we continue to lean on each other and provide grace to our friends and those we don’t know – we all are sharing life together in the most interesting times. We don’t know what everyone is navigating within their own lives – kindness goes a very long, long way. Drake is committed to providing our students with continued support through counseling services. Attached to this email you will find resource and support information being offered through our University Counseling Center. Students can be seen through one-on-one appointments and/or participate in a number of group therapy programs. Please know you are not alone – do not hesitate for a second to seek out assistance.
I end by thanking our students for rising to the occasion. Stay diligent – stay safe – and stay well. And if you experience symptoms, get tested.
Subject: Labor Day Weekend
As we prepare for the upcoming three-day weekend, I want to share that it is our hope students will remain at Drake and within the Des Moines area. Des Moines has a number of parks, bike paths, and outdoor opportunities for you to safely enjoy while masking and social distancing. I know Labor Day Weekend is usually a time to celebrate with others while also finding some time to relax. Travel also tends to be popular over this holiday, but this year we are strongly encouraging our campus community—including students, faculty, and staff—to travel only for essential reasons. That guidance has been articulated for students in our COVID-19 FAQ:
Students who must travel away from campus, including outside of Iowa, during the fall semester, should only do so for essential reasons in order to reduce the chance of spread at your destination or when returning to campus after travel.
If you do travel, please continue to do all the great things you are doing on and off-campus by wearing a mask, adhering to social distancing guidelines, and keeping your gatherings small—be sure to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer readily available. As many of us recall, the country saw an uptick in cases following this past July 4th because people did not adhere to CDC recommendations. Even when you are off-campus, please wear a mask when you are entering public places or within six feet of each other. Remember, it’s not just about protecting you but also about protecting those around you by mitigating the chance from spread on-campus, in the Drake neighborhood, or in the community that you live.
So in closing, you don’t have to seek out my approval to travel or inquire with me whether your travel is a good idea—you know what the expectations are. But whether you travel or not, remember to #WearTheDamnMask. This message was approved by Griff II!
Subject: In this Together
Good afternoon Bulldogs,
I am writing to thank you, our students for your display of community we are seeing on and around campus. Over the last few days the Student Affairs staff has been walking around campus and the neighborhood, talking with you and your peers, and thanking those who are clearly upholding the Drake Together Compact and our guidelines found throughout the COVID-19 website. The University is continuing to disinfect spaces thanks to our outstanding custodial team–please extend your thanks and appreciation to them–it goes a long way.
We see you practicing social distancing and wearing masks in buildings and when within six feet of each other. As you know, these practices will help us stay together this fall. When outside, everyone must be wearing a mask when within six feet of another individual with the exception of eating. When walking with each other, continue to wear a mask unless you are six feet apart. Once again, we appreciate everyone spacing themselves out and not sitting more people than can be accommodated at a table. Following the news around the country over the last few days, we have seen institutions that reopened for on-campus learning that suddenly closed due to growing COVID-19 “clusters” stemming from on-campus and off-campus behavior. We must all–students, faculty, and staff–be committed to do what we can to prevent that from occurring here at Drake.
We are witnessing individuals physically distancing themselves from one another while still being socially connected. Trust me when I state the University wants students to be socially connected with one another. Over the last few days we have witnessed students responsibly playing spike ball, ultimate Frisbee, throwing the football around, playing cards, socializing outside, and so much more. Students are going out to eat in Dogtown and getting familiar with the Drake neighborhood. Driving up and down Greek row and other neighborhood streets we have seen students outside, laying on blankets or sitting around socializing with one another, playing bags and pick-up basketball and doing so responsibly. Students are grilling out with their roommates and having a few friends over—once again, they are doing this responsibly.
Some have asked, “How do we define a social gathering or party?” Here is the best answer I can give you and I’ll start with explaining the reasonable observer standard. If a person were to walk or drive by and see people inside a property and or outside exceeding the capacity for safe distancing, that would be a social gathering or party. Or to use another analogy, “if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.” Now, I know this answer will not satisfy many of you because people want specific numbers. However, many of you live in different housing arrangements. You need to think about the capacity of your apartment and/or house and limit the people you have over based on social distancing expectations. I know of organizations at Drake that have shared with their members that no outside guests are allowed in their house. They are doing this out of precaution to mitigate the chance of a COVID-19 cluster spread. In our residence halls, it’s one Drake residential student per room occupant as articulated in our guidelines.
Here’s the deal: If we have any chance of getting through the fall semester, it falls on each one of us to do what is expected, even when people are not looking. When you go off-campus, wear a mask in stores or walking into and out of a restaurant. When you have a few friends over at your place, ask them to wear a mask. If you go to an establishment off-campus where social distancing and capacity guidelines are not being enforced, it would be better for you and our community that you do not frequent that establishment. Once again, if we want to stay together we need to prevent a COVID-19 cluster, which could rapidly spread the virus throughout campus and into our neighborhood.
So, when you decide to get together with others, ask yourself if what you are about to do jeopardizes our ability to stay together. Ask yourself if your behavior jeopardizes the health and safety of not only you but others. And, remind yourself that we are living through a global pandemic and we must do things differently to save lives. Continue to showcase the many positive examples we are witnessing on and off-campus. We can do this, but we have to do this together.
I share in the enthusiasm of classes beginning on Monday due to the tireless work of our faculty and staff in course and campus preparations throughout the summer. Have a great start on Monday, get some rest, and responsibly enjoy the weekend.
Take care and stay well,
Subject: Your Actions Matter
I am heartened to see so many exciting emotions from students and their families as we opened the residence halls. The start of the school year is here, and for those who have chosen to live on campus or in the Drake community, welcome!
As students return to on-campus and off-campus housing for the start of the fall semester, I want to reiterate what we have continued to share regarding our expectations for the fall: your actions matter. The Drake Together Compact and all situations presented in our COVID-19 Response FAQ will be effective only when each of you upholds all expectations—you do not pick and choose which expectations you wish to follow. I have witnessed a number of students upholding our expectations and I thank you for your actions! It is our hope to continue to share positive reinforcement. However, when the actions of others fall short, we will also address those with the entire campus community.
If you live on-campus and have a gathering in your room that exceeds what we have set out, you and your guests will be sent home for a minimum of two weeks. Today, 14 students were asked to leave campus for two weeks due to a violation of the expectations made clear to all students before their arrival. As also laid out in those expectations, several are now facing repercussions through the Code of Student Conduct. This message is not intended to call out the students involved—it is a reminder that we must hold each other accountability.
If you reside off-campus and throw a party, the hosts will not be allowed on-campus for a minimum of two weeks and will also face the Code of Student Conduct. Any attendees that we learn were at the party will also not be allowed to come onto campus for two weeks. If the attendees live on-campus, they will need to relocate off-campus for a minimum of two weeks at their own expense—they will not be allowed to stay in their residence hall room. This information is nothing new. We have continued to push out our expectations through campus messages, the COVID-19 FAQ, and meetings with students.
If we are going to get through the fall semester, it will come down to our decisions and our actions. Simply put, we need to be Drake Together. I want to be crystal clear: we are serious and we will not hesitate to take the necessary actions to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19, jeopardizing the health and safety of others.
Take care and stay well,
Subject: Preparation for Move-In
Dear residential students,
In preparation for move-in, we want to send out additional information following the last email message you received on Tuesday, August 11, from Drake University Housing. In addition to these communications, please review the University’s COVID-19 website for more updates and timely information. Once again, students may request to take all fall 2020 semester courses remotely by completing the Request for Remote Course Delivery form by tomorrow, August 14. If approved to do so, all coursework must be completed remotely.
To assist Drake staff in directing you to your correct testing car line and unloading area, please print the dashboard card that corresponds with your residence hall prior to your arrival at move-in. We ask that you also write your last name above your residence hall. Hold up the card as you approach traffic personnel and place it on your dashboard once on campus. This information was once again provided in Tuesday’s email.
All residential students moving into a residence hall will be tested for COVID-19 upon move-in during their selected time slot. If you have not registered for a time-slot for move-in, please do so by following the instructions listed on the Residence Life FAQ or by viewing Tuesday’s email. As reminder, we ask that you bring a thermometer for daily self-checks.
***PLEASE DO NOT EAT, CHEW, OR DRINK ANYTHING FOR AT LEAST 15 MINUTES PRIOR TO YOUR SALIVA TEST***
We expect test results to be confirmed within 48 hours. You will be contacted only if your test comes back positive for COVID-19.
Here is a common question being asked by many of our students:
If a student must self-isolate, what should they bring with them to their temporary isolation room?
A student who must self-isolate should plan to bring the following items with them to their temporary isolation room:
Drake Dining will be delivering meals to the locations in which students are isolated. In addition, those students needing to quarantine due to potential exposure to COVID-19 will have their meals delivered to their residence hall. Once again, if you are in quarantine that means you can remain in your residence hall room because you have tested negative and are asymptomatic. If a quarantined student’s condition should change over the 14 day period by showing symptoms and/or tests positive they will be relocated to an isolation room.
Office of Residence Life
Subject: Extension Deadline - Fall Virtual Course Delivery
The deadline to request virtual course delivery for fall 2020 semester courses has been extended to Friday, Aug. 14. If approved to do so, all coursework must be completed virtually and students may not convert to on-campus instruction after Aug. 14, 2020. Students may request virtual course delivery by filling out this form. If you have additional questions please know that more information will be shared on Monday through our COVID-19 update.
Fall semester begins in less than two months. We can’t wait to see you! As you can imagine, we are very busy preparing for your arrival here on campus. My goal with this message is to give you some clarity regarding the semester ahead. Please know there are many decisions still being finalized, so to keep you informed I will share weekly updates beginning in July and continuing into August.
Important Dates: We have previously communicated the following important dates, but as a reminder:
August 15-16: Move-in for new students
August 17-18: Move-in for returning students
August 17-22: Welcome Week
August 24-28: First week of classes to be conducted virtually
November 23-27: No classes during Thanksgiving week and no required return to campus thereafter. Last week of classes and finals will be completed remotely.*
*Please refer to my June 10th message for details. Visit https://www.drake.edu/coronavirus/updates-and-information/ scroll down to “Messages from Dean of Students,” and select the June 10th tab.
Move-in: Details and instructions regarding move-in will be shared in July.
Campus Protocol: We are finalizing the “return to campus” guidelines for students, faculty, and staff members. Be assured that health and safety are guiding every decision. More specifics will be shared about how campus will operate this fall in my weekly updates. I appreciate your patience, resilience, and cooperation as we work to create a safe and positive experience for every Bulldog.
Your homework assignment right now? Spend time with family and friends, and make sure to relax as much as possible. Fall will be here before you know it.
Stay safe. Enjoy the Independence Day holiday!
Fall Academic Calendar Changes
Dear undergraduate students,
I hope this message finds you well. As Provost Mattison shared in a recent update, the fall academic calendar will look slightly different this year as we work to ensure the health and safety of our entire community. Today, I am writing to provide additional details regarding the first two weeks of the semester, the fall and Thanksgiving breaks, and the last week of class and finals.
Residence hall move-in for new students will occur on Aug. 15 and 16, while returning resident move-in will take place on Aug. 17 and 18. Students living in on-campus residence halls must move into their room on the dates that correspond to their status. Note that move-in will take place one week prior to classes. In the coming weeks the Office of Residence Life will be providing more information on move-in sign-up. Students living off-campus are encouraged to move back to Des Moines at this time as well.
Per campus guidelines, facemasks are required to be worn while inside all University buildings, and are required to be worn on University grounds when you are within six feet of others. This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, and visitors while they are on campus.
In order to ensure meaningful small group interactions for our new students, Drake has extended its Welcome Weekend program to a full week of activities. Welcome Week will take place Aug. 17–22. By extending the program to a full week, we are able to host our usual in-person events while adhering to the appropriate physical distancing measures. This ensures students are able to actively engage with one another in a safe, structured, yet meaningful environment.
First week of classes will be held remotely
One of the more significant changes to the Fall 2020 calendar is that the first week of classes will be taught remotely. By allowing students to move in a week early and administering the first week of classes online, 14 days will pass. This timeframe is consistent with guidance from the CDC regarding how long it takes for one cycle of COVID-19 infection to play out. Classes will move into regular scheduling after the first week of the semester. If you are uncomfortable attending in-person classes, you may request to take all of your Fall 2020 semester courses remotely by completing the Request for Remote Course Delivery form by Aug. 1. If approved to do so, all coursework must be completed remotely.
Questions you may be asking may include, “Why will Welcome Week activities be held in-person? Doesn’t this contradict the 14-day incubation period?” Welcome Week involves first-year students only, a much smaller number than the entire student body. After thorough planning—including active involvement from Drake’s director of environmental health and safety—we are confident we can structure activities in a way that is safe and consistent with public health and physical distancing requirements.
Fall and Thanksgiving breaks
There will not be a two-day fall break in October. Instead, we will take a full week off at Thanksgiving, rather than the normal half-week. This change will prevent you from having to leave and return to campus multiple times during the semester, which will help to minimize any spread of infection.
Last week of classes and finals
The final week of classes and all finals will be delivered remotely. As Provost Mattison stated in her latest update, you are encouraged to leave campus for Thanksgiving week and not to return until the start of the spring semester.
I understand these calendar changes will require some shifting in plans, and for that, I thank you for your patience, understanding, and adaptability. Be assured that we are working hard to ensure that the Drake experience, no matter what limitations we face, continues to be grounded in a vibrant and exceptional learning community.
We know that the fall semester will be different in many ways, particularly regarding physical distancing measures and wearing masks. We must work together to build a culture where these health guidelines are respected and adhered to. It is our shared responsibility to support and protect the health and wellbeing of all members of our community.
If you have any questions on these changes, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and be sure to follow updates made to drake.edu/coronavirus. I look forward to officially welcoming you to campus in two months. In the meantime, take care and enjoy your summer.
Good morning Students,
A few moments ago, President Martin shared that classes will continue online for the remainder of the spring semester. I know many of you hoped classes would return to face-to-face instruction by Monday, April 6, but due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic this timeline is no longer feasible. To ensure the safety and welfare of our students, faculty, and staff, I’m sharing with each of you important information on how we will be handling residence hall move-out and prorated room and board refunds.
For those students who reside in on-campus housing and/or have a commuter meal plan, the following FAQs are important for you to review:
Understanding that earning a higher education degree is a seminal moment that deserves public recognition, we are working on alternative plans to celebrate our May 2020 graduates. More information can be found by clicking here.
Call Center Info
I ask that you review these resources thoroughly prior to calling the Drake University COVID-19 Response Line. If you have additional questions after reviewing the online resources, please call 515-271-2353 (or extension 2353 from on campus). Drake staff members are available to answer calls 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. CDT, Monday through Friday.
Working together, we will continue to meet the challenges we are facing as a global society and as a campus community. The University will continue provide updates via the COVID-19 website and email students when appropriate.
For those students that are residing off-campus that wish to use their meal plan (including flex, Bulldog Bucks, cash/credit) for Grab N Go meals, all meals are to be picked up on Pomerantz Stage (Olmsted). Please note that for those students that need to self-isolate based on new state guidance (see my email from Monday, March 23), you can participate in Grab N Go meals based on the system we have set up to enforce social distancing and no gathering in Olmsted. However, if you have any flu like symptoms, including fever, cough, and/or respiratory symptoms, you are not allowed to participate in Grab N Go meals out of precaution for the safety and welfare of other students and staff. If you have any of these symptoms and currently reside in the Drake Neighborhood or in a residence hall, please follow the guidelines shared in my Monday email or visit Drake’s COVID-19 website by clicking here.
Monday – Friday
Breakfast: 7:15am – 8:15am
Lunch: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Dinner: 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Saturday - Sunday
Breakfast: 8:00am – 9:00am
Lunch: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Dinner: 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Convenience Store (Olmsted) *No more than 4 people in the store at a time*
10:00am – 4:00pm
Starbucks *No more than 5 people in the area at a time*
7:30am – 4:00pm
Thank you for taking the time to review this information. I ask that you continue to take the appropriate social distancing precautions by staying a minimum of six feet of distance from one another, and no gatherings of more than 10 people. The University will continue provide updates via the COVID-19 website and email students when appropriate.
Remote classes begin on Monday for at least the next two weeks. I am writing to share important information you need to know regarding auxiliary and student support services:
Please remember that the Code of Student Conduct and all other University policies apply to every student enrolled at Drake no matter where they are living.
All meals will be Grab & Go, with pick-up located on Pomerantz Stage. Hours of operation:
Sunday, March 22
Pomerantz Stage Grab & Go
Dinner 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Convenience Store (Olmsted)
Pomerantz Stage Grab & Go
Breakfast - 7:30am – 9:00am
Lunch - 11:00am – 1:00pm
Dinner - 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Convenience Store (Olmsted) *No more than 4 people the store at a time*
10:00am – 4:00pm
Starbucks *No more than 5 people in the area at a time*
7:30am – 4:00pm
Pomerantz Stage Grab & Go
Breakfast - 8:00am – 9:30am
Lunch - 11:00am – 1:00pm
Dinner - 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Convenience Store (Olmsted)
All students will have access via card swipe to academic buildings Monday – Friday, 7:30 am – 4:30 pm.
Olmsted Center’s Hours
If you are living away from Drake, we ask that you please visit or call your primary health care provider for immediate health needs.
The Drake Student Health Center will serve students through remote access only. Students can call 515-271-3731 and set up a phone consultation appointment. By calling the Student Health Center, medical staff will be able to respond to your health questions. The Student Health Center will set up appointments for existing medication refills by phone or Microsoft Teams.
If you have symptoms associated with COVID-19 or believe you have been exposed, please contact the Student Health Center during business hours or your primary care doctor. If you reside in the Drake neighborhood or have received written approval to return to your residence hall, after-hour support can be provided by Drake Public Safety at 515-271-2222. Additional nationwide guidance outside of University business hours can be provided by calling 2-1-1. For those students experiencing flu like symptoms and have been advised by a medical professional to seek care, we ask that you arrange your own transportation. In an emergency, and if you reside in the Drake Neighborhood or a residence hall, please contact Drake Public Safety at 515-271-2222 to discuss alternative transportation options.
For more information on Des Moines medical clinics, please click here. Additional information can be found by visiting Drake’s COVID-19 website and scrolling down to the Student Services & Student Life section.
The Drake Counseling Center will provide remote access appointments only, using Microsoft Teams. If you currently meet with a therapist at the counseling center and are in Iowa, you can meet via remote counseling on HIPAA protected, Microsoft Teams. If you are interested in this option, please let your therapist know and they will offer you the paperwork and instructions to make this available before your next session. Utilizing this option will mean that you have access to a completely quiet and confidential space from which to engage in your session. At this time you may schedule an appointment by emailing the therapist you wish to see.
If you are outside the state of Iowa, a therapist can work with you on the phone or Microsoft Teams and provide brief consultation, crisis intervention, and point you to resources. If you would like to meet with a therapist where you are currently residing, we can also help you find a therapist in your community.
For more information on remote counseling services and online support programs, please visit Drake’s COVID-19 website and scroll down to the Student Services & Student Life section.
It’s important to stay connected during this time. Be sure to follow Drake Student Central on Facebook, including Drake’s Twitter and Instagram accounts. There will be a variety of posts supporting wellness and ways to stay connected.
We want to assure students that you will continue to have access to support services staff during the next two weeks of remote course delivery. Students can utilize the Starfish Student Success platform to schedule appointments with staff to occur either by phone or video chat through Microsoft Teams. Click here for resources on how to use Starfish. Instructions for how to access a Microsoft Teams meeting will be included with your appointment confirmation through Starfish.
As universities and colleges around the country transition classes online for part or all of the spring semester, Spectrum announced plans to offer free internet for 60 days to households with students. Depending on where you live, check with your local provider to see what services they are providing during this unprecedented time.
Students can find additional information on Student Disability Services, Tutoring, Academic Success, Professional & Career Development Services, Student Financial Planning, Co-Curricular Engagement, including many other services by visiting Drake’s COVID-19 website and scrolling down to the Student Services & Student Life section.
Thank you for taking the time to review this information. I ask that you continue to take the appropriate social distancing precautions by staying a minimum of six feet of distance from one another, and no gatherings of more than 10 people. The University will provide updates via the COVID-19 website and email students when appropriate.