COVID-19 Industrial and Systems Engineering Q&A

Q: How will ISE labs take place?

A: ISE students typically enroll in Principles of Chemistry I, Introductory Physics I/II, Materials Science, and Design for Manufacturing labs. Introductory Physics I and Materials Science will be completely online. Introductory Physics II will have a blended modality with online lectures and discussion sections and an in person lab component following social distancing and safety guidelines listed below. Principles of Chemistry I will have online lectures, in person and online discussion sections available, and some in person lab components following the protocol below. Design for Manufacturing will have both in person labs and online labs following university social distancing and mask protocol along with the additional precautions below:

  1. All labs will require both a face shield and face mask in addition to other appropriate PPE.
  2. Equipment and experiments will be moved into other lab spaces to allow additional social distancing between lab groups.
  3. Equipment and work areas will be sanitized before and after use.
  4. We have the option to use portable plexiglass barriers where distancing might not be easily achieved.

Q: Will I be required to attend in person classes?

A: Based on our experience and your comments from the spring, we understand the importance of in person instruction for engineering when possible and safe. However, the health and safety of our students and faculty is our highest priority, next to getting our students the exceptional educations they deserve and have come to expect. All undergraduate courses within the ISE department will be online, and several of the upper level graduate level courses will be taught with blended modalities. 

Courses with blended modalities:

  • ISE:6450 Human Factors in Aviation
  • ISE:6810 Advanced Topics on Additive Manufacturing

Q: How can I get in touch with ISE faculty members remotely?

A: Faculty will be holding Zoom office hours throughout the semester. To get in touch with a faculty member or get access to their office hour Zoom links please email them directly. Contact information can be found here

Q: How will I get my textbooks and course materials?

A: In an effort to prevent overcrowding and long lines, the Iowa Hawk Shop is providing expanded online ordering and delivery services for course materials for the upcoming fall 2020 semester. In order to allow for as much distancing as possible, the textbook aisles in the Iowa Hawk Shop will be closed. Due to this precaution, all textbooks for the fall semester must be ordered online.

When placing an online order, customers can choose to pay with a credit card or charge to their Ubill. Delivery options have also been expanded, with free delivery to residence halls, free domestic ground shipping on textbooks, curbside pickup, or easy pickup at one of our convenient locations on the first floor of the Iowa Memorial Union.

As always, when ordering textbooks from the Iowa Hawk Shop, we guarantee the correct course materials, offer easy returns, and all purchases are tax-free.

Q: How will the College of Engineering and the University limit exposure to other students during classes?

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:

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.

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.

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.

Instructors may designate specific seating arrangements to help with tracing if someone were to test positive for COVID-19.

Classroom capacity is significantly reduced for all courses.

Specific entrances and exits to buildings will be designated reducing additional contact with other students.

The University also recently produced a video available at that shows many of the features in classrooms and buildings that will keep you and the faculty safe.

Q: What should I do if I feel sick, especially with a cough, sore throat, fever and/or other potential COVID-19 symptoms.

A: DO NOT come to class! Follow campus guidelines to isolate and be tested. Inform your instructor ASAP that you are not feeling well. The instructor will work with you for necessary accommodations.

Q: I just found out someone I have been around has tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?

A: You may need to be tested and self-isolate. Testing is currently recommended for those who have COVID-19 symptoms or believe they have been in close contact to a person who has tested positive for the illness.  A close contact is defined as living in the same household or having been within 6 feet of a positive person for longer than 15 minutes.   A symptomatic positive person could transmit illness to others up to 2 days before symptoms start.  Someone who is asymptomatic (without symptoms) is considered infectious on the day of the positive test.  Call the Nurseline at 319-335-9704 or the UIHC COVID Helpline at 319-384-8819 with questions or concerns. 

If recommended that you should self-isolate after consulting with the Nurseline, contact you instructor to make necessary arrangements.

Q: If I do get sick, will I need to make up work I miss?

A: As with any illness, you will still need to fulfill the requirements for each class and will be graded accordingly. At the same time, you should work with your instructors to help minimize the impact. You should inform them quickly that you are not feeling well, then stay in regular contact while doing your best to complete work.

Q: I am medically vulnerable and at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or live with someone who is. How do I request different arrangements for in person classes?

A: You may apply for temporary alternative learning arrangements (TALA) at

Q: Will course lectures and material be recorded and available to be viewed after the scheduled lecture time?

A: We have strongly encouraged all ISE faculty to record and post lectures. Most courses will still require some synchronous attendance for quizzes, exams, problem solving sessions, etc.