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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

Simpson College provides COVID-19 tests for its own students, faculty and staff. Its testing site is not open to the public.

January 4, 2021 (8:37 a.m. Central Time)

Dear Simpson College students,

Hopefully, you’re getting back in the habit of doing your daily Moodle Check-ins. We have just one more week to prepare our spring Simpson bubble.

The Crisis Management Team (CMT) has changed a number of protocols to help keep campus safer and ease our transition to and from phases. I invite you to thoroughly review the operational phases and protocols, but there are a few things of which you should particularly be aware.


  • We will begin weekly randomized testing of all full-time students on the Indianola campus at the start of spring semester
  • Random testing will take place 1:30-2:30 p.m., Monday-Wednesday
  • Students will be notified Friday morning if randomly selected to be tested the following week
  • Students will receive full instructions on how to access their testing codes


  • Those students selected that first week of class will be notified Friday, Jan. 16
  • Student athletes who are being tested weekly as part of their team, as well as students who have had COVID in the past 90 days, will not be part of the random testing
  • As long as randomly tested students are asymptomatic and haven’t been in direct contact with someone who tested positive there are no restrictions while waiting for test results
  • For more information, visit the testing section of our COVID FAQ page

Other important updates to our protocols include the following:


  • A 15 percent positivity rate of randomly tested students over multiple days
  • Must be able to maintain Isolation/Quarantine (I/Q) capacity 
  • Must be able to maintain necessary levels of faculty and staff on campus


  • We will switch to remote learning and work while maintaining on-campus housing and dining


  • Campus I/Q capacity running at roughly 50 percent 
  • There is a steady increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the campus (over several days) 
  • There is a positivity rate of 10 percent among randomly tested students over three-five days
  • We will also continue to monitor new cases and the positivity rate in Warren County over 14 days


  • Dining will limit seating to one person per table or find ways to confirm roommate pairings
  • Housing will initially have a no visitors policy, but will move toward plus-one policy based on testing data

       - Specific housing protocols will be shared by Residence Life

  • Informal gatherings will be allowed at a maximum of 10
  • Organized, sponsored activities must go through formal approval process


  • No increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases on campus in 14 days
  • A positivity rate of less than five percent over two weeks among randomly tested students 
  • A decline of new cases in Warren County or the percent of positive cases to the number tested remains stable in Warren County


  • Same as current


  • The majority of campus has been vaccinated 
  • Decreasing prevalence of COVID-19 on campus/community

Thank you for your continued support of and adherence to our COVID-19 guidelines and protocols. You are one of the reasons our numbers have been, continue to and will be low as we move into the new year. 


Heidi Levine, Ph.D.
Chair, Crisis Management Team
Vice President, Student Development and Planning


Resources for Students & Campus Community

Questions and Answers about COVID-19

Parent and Student Town Hall Recordings

Previous Updates

To read previous updates, please click on the links below.


Healthy Practices

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has changed its quarantine guidance to advise against quarantine following exposure if both parties were properly wearing masks. While this is not consistent with CDC guidelines, there are a number of emerging studies that back this up as the right decision and adopted in other states. To that end, Simpson College will adopt the IDPH standards for exposure and quarantine. 

  • Allow the option for people to choose to quarantine 
    • Employees due to campus workplace exposure
    • Occurring in a classroom, using socially distanced seating
  • Continue to quarantine if the exposure occurred outside classrooms.
  • We still need faculty seating/attendance information for contact tracing and if we need to revert to Orange Phase. 

As the new protocols and procedures around quarantine are contingent upon proper face-mask use, please see the following CDC criteria for appropriate mask use on the Simpson campus: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html.

  • Masks need to be correctly worn, completely covering the mouth AND nose.
  • Face shields and vented masks are not recommended and will result in quarantine if identified as a close contact.
  • Gaiters are not permitted and will result in quarantine if identified as a close contact.