COVID-19 FAQ

We welcome you to anonymously share feedback, questions, comments or concerns with the Roy J. Carver Department of Biomedical Engineering using this form.  If you have a question that needs an immediate response please email us directly at bme@engineering.uiowa.edu

We will also have departmental virtual office hours every day during the fall semester.  We will be promptly answering emails from 8:00-4:30 each weekday, however if you'd like to speak to us directly all students are welcome to join us via Zoom to ask questions during the hours provided below.

Fall 2020 BME Virtual Office Hours 
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Tuesday, Thursday: 9:00am - 10:30am

Connect with us via: uiowa.zoom.us/j/94770797234


 Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What is being done to limit COVID-19 exposure in classes that focus on hands on activities and group projects?

A:  The Steps Forward: Returning to Campus Fall 2020 describes the policies and procedures the University will use to limit exposure for faculty, staff, and students. The list below highlights a few:

1.    All students, faculty, and staff will be provided with 2 reusable cloth face coverings, 2 disposable masks, and 1 face shield. Everyone on campus will sign a Health and Safety acknowledgement form confirming they understand and agree to follow safety guidelines, including wearing face coverings while on campus.
2.    Most classes with an enrollment above 50 will be online. This will greatly reduce the number of people in the Seamans Center and other campus buildings at any given time.
3.    The College is providing alternative work arrangements for employees who are able to continue working remotely.  This will further limit the number of individuals in the building.
4.    Instructors may designate specific seating arrangements to help with tracing if someone were to test positive for COVID-19.
5.    Classroom capacity is significantly reduced for all courses.
6.    Specific entrances and exits to buildings will be designated reducing additional contact with other students.

The University also recently produced a video available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yZs_ey1sGg&feature=youtu.be that shows many of the features in classrooms and buildings that will keep you and the faculty safe.


Q: Will masks be required when they enter UI buildings?

A: Unless otherwise indicated, applicable face coverings (cloth covering, disposable or cloth mask, face shield) must be worn by all building occupants unless they are alone in a private office.  All students, faculty, and staff should follow the current guidance from the CDC regarding quarantine and isolation.


Q:  Is in-person attendance mandatory?  What are my options if I feel unsafe going to class? Is it possible to take more or all my classes online? 

A: While in-person instruction is important, you are not required to attend in-person College of Engineering classes for health reasons. You are required to inform the instructor though. All lectures, in-person or online, will be recorded and available to students.  You may apply for temporary alternative learning arrangements (TALA) HERE.  Please note that this is applicable to your College of Engineering courses.  The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences does not guarantee that an approved TALA will automatically allow you to take a course online.  


Q: Will the university consider moving to online instruction only?

A: The University of Iowa is taking deliberate steps to reduce the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus and will be proactively engaging with our students, faculty, and staff throughout the semester to gauge your health and well-being.  Part of the university’s planning for fall has been to finalize the metrics that determine if the university needs to alter plans and move classes online before Thanksgiving break. The metrics that will guide the decision to move online include: number of new cases, percent of positive tests, available testing, and appropriate contact tracing, as well as a number of other metrics. 


Q: What plans are there for those who are not following the suggested social distancing guidelines in the UI buildings?

A: The university has provided guidance for faculty and staff when they encounter students not adhering to the guidelines.  Students will be reminded to comply with university requirements (and be offered a face covering from the supply in the classroom).  If necessary, repeated failure to comply with these requirements will be addressed through University Human Resources and/or the Office of Student Accountability.


Q: How do I know if my class is in-person or not?

A: If a course is virtual instruction, the “Arranged Time” will be listed as “World Wide Web”.  If the course listing provides a location and time, the course will be held in-person.


Q: How do we get engineering software installed on our personal computers?

A: You may download and install MATLAB, CREO, and Adobe Acrobat remotely by following the instructions provided here: https://etc.engineering.uiowa.edu/engineering-resources.  If you are looking for other software provided by the College of Engineering, we recommend that you contact Engineering Computer Help at 319-335-5055 or via their webform.  Additional software to facilitate online learning is available here: https://teach.uiowa.edu/prepare-online-learning


Q: Can I study on campus? Will there be study spaces available in Seamans Center?

A: Students may still use the Seamans Center to study, however there will be significantly fewer desks and tables set up to ensure that social distancing is maintained.


Q: Will online instruction adequately prepare me for my career?

A: The BME curriculum provides a strong foundation for careers in industry, medicine, and academia. The BME faculty have been working hard over the summer to prepare for the fall semester.  Fall courses will contain the same content as in any other semester, but may be redesigned to allow for online or asynchronous delivery. Courses with in-person labs and the senior design course will be offered in the fall, but with changes to allow for physical distancing and enhanced cleaning of the workspaces.


Q: I am unable to obtain a textbook for my class, what should I do?

A: If you are unable to obtain the textbook through the Iowa Hawk Shop or another vendor such as Amazon, we recommend that you contact the course instructor to inform them that you are having difficulties obtaining the course textbook.


Q: How do I borrow laptops and tablets for an extended amount of time? 

A: The University library has laptops available for short-term borrowing. See https://ask.lib.uiowa.edu/engineering/faq/197244.  If you need help finding additional accommodations please send an email to bme@engineering.uiowa.edu and we'll see if there are additional options for you.


Q: How will instructor office hours be held?

A:  Each instructor will decide how to hold their office hours, but most will be held online.  Please check ICON or your syllabus for details on how and when office hours will be held for your classes.


Q: Will tutoring review sessions be held before exams like they have been in the past?

A: Engineering tutoring will be conducted virtually this year via Zoom.  Please refer to this page for more info.