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COVID-19 Update: Oct 1, 2021

Simpson College is currently in Phase Yellow


October 1, 2021 (8:11 a.m. Central Time)

Dear Simpson Students, Faculty and Staff: 

As we move into October, we continue to make encouraging progress toward our vaccination rate goal of 80% for full-time students, as well as our faculty and staff. I am pleased to share these numbers for our main campus as of September 30: 

  • Full-time students:  76%  
  • Faculty and staff: 85% 

Vaccination rates, however, are lagging for our West Des Moines campus students: that vaccination rate stands at 49% (but West Moines faculty and staff are at 91%!).  


The number of active COVID cases on both campuses remains relatively low. We currently have seven active cases on campus, which is up slightly from our last report two weeks ago. Our testing positivity rate remains low, with 2% of on campus test results being positive. 

Your continued diligence in following our COVID protocols, primarily as it relates to consistently masking indoors, is greatly appreciated. This is paramount to safeguarding our community and key to keeping our campus COVID rates low. 


While Simpson’s vaccination rate is climbing and our incidences of COVID remain relatively low, we continue to see high rates of transmission in our larger community, throughout Warren County and all of Iowa. 

This troubling trend adds significant complexity to our evolving COVID response strategy and plans moving forward. Opening much of campus life has been wonderful and we look forward to further easing restrictions in the weeks and months ahead. At the same time, we must do so in a responsible manner that reflects both Simpson’s reality and the status and trajectory of COVID in our larger community.  

Our COVID Management Team (CMT) is monitoring the situation very closely to make sure we continue to make thoughtful and responsible decisions that will best serve the health of our entire community. We will continue to provide updates, as events warrant. 

In the interim, if you haven’t done so already, please get your vaccination as soon as possible—the vaccines have proven to be safe and highly effective at reducing risk of infection and (especially) severe illness. Thank you for all you do to keep you, your friends, your colleagues and our #ONESimpson community safe and healthy. 

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