AMES, Iowa — Students and faculty at Iowa State University and the University of Iowa participated in the “Iowa Sickout” on Tuesday, urging students and faculty to call in sick to work and class.
This demonstration on both campuses was led by the Iowa Student Action organization. Participants have called their university’s administrators and the Board of Regents to demand 100% virtual learning to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
One organizer, Alexa Rodriguez, said that public health guidelines are doing little to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on both campuses.
“No matter what we try or how we try to stay away from each other, we’re still running into each other on the buses, we’re still running into each other on campus and in classrooms,” Rodriguez said.
Iowa State University is reporting a 15.5% COVID-19 positivity rate and according to the Iowa coronavirus website, Story County’s positivity rate currently sits at 12.2%.
Meanwhile in Des Moines, Drake University’s Iowa Student Action chapter held a protest demanding 100% online classes and that the university releases COVID-19 data.
“As we watch Iowa and see how big of an issue COVID is here, and how all of the other college campuses have had spikes, we see no reason why Drake would be exempt from that. And them not releasing those numbers doesn’t make anyone really feel safe,” said organizer Abby Wentling.
Iowa State University leaders declined to comment, but staff did acknowledge that they have received calls from Iowa Student Action.