U of I Boise COVID-19 Updates
Letters from U of I Boise's CEO
U of I Boise Students, Faculty and Staff,
As we plan the timing for re-opening our University of Idaho facilities in the SW region for in-person and HyFlex classes, we met with Ada County leadership and learned that we’ll stay in an altered Stage 3 for the foreseeable future, instead of moving to Stage 4. Given that the area public schools and BSU are moving into in-person classes, we decided to be consistent with our community efforts.
I have consulted with our two largest cohorts of students (College of Law and College of Art & Architecture) and we have decided on Monday September 28 as the date to re-open our facilities and begin teaching in-person classes. The re-opening plans have been vetted and approved by Central District Health. It is currently the University of Idaho’s plan to return to all virtual and online classes at the beginning of Thanksgiving break. See attached information.
We will not have mandatory testing or testing on demand in Boise, but we ask that each and every one of you communicate the following to your fellow students, faculty, and staff:
- The best way we can protect ourselves from COVID-19 as we move into more in-person interaction is to strictly adhere to the following simple rules:
- Wear a mask while in the facility and in classrooms.
- Maintain at least 6 feet of social distance whenever possible, and at all times if you are not wearing a mask.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Sanitize workspaces and classroom spaces frequently.
- If you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19, or you know you have been exposed, please stay home and get tested.
- Virtually all insurance providers including student health plans pay 100% of COVID-19 testing costs. Here is a CDH link to testing sites in the Treasure Valley Idaho and the SCDH link to the testing sites in the Magic Valley area.
- All students are receiving a Vandal mask and a mini hand sanitizer. Please check with your department to pick up yours.
- If you test positive, please self-isolate, file a VandalCARE report and contact tracers from CDH or the U of I will work with you. Our U of I local tracers, Haley Myers at the ILJLC and Donna Stolaroff at the Idaho Water Center, are trained to conduct the necessary contact tracing for any U of I students, faculty, or staff who test positive.
- In addition, Dr. Glenn Jefferson will be a resource to us when positive test results are identified. He will be available to consult with students, faculty or staff with a series of questions to decide when you are ready to return to in-person classes and workspaces. Dr. Jefferson is the University of Idaho’s designated medical doctor and is serving on our COVID response team.
The only way we are going to make this work is if ALL of us are vigilant. Finally, the most important thing all of us can do is to be especially careful about our own actions and interactions outside of the classroom and place of work. Central District Health has told us this will be one of the most important factors in keeping our University of Idaho community healthy. I am stating the obvious, but please avoid large crowds or family gatherings and keep your own day-to-day activity limited to your immediate family while taking the same precautions listed above during your life outside of class and work.
In-person classes can only continue if we all do our part. Keep Calm and Vandal On!
U of I Boise Faculty and Staff,
As we prepare for the beginning of the fall semester, I want to share with you some University of Idaho Boise updates. Since my start date on July 1, the IWC team is working to support the College of Law’s expansion and with our colleagues in Moscow to assess the best approach to the COVID-19 environment in Ada County.
We are expanding the College of Law Boise program to the Idaho Water Center building (IWC). Classes will take place in the IWC and in the Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center (ILJLC). The plan to expand the class of first year students in the College of Law in Boise was already in place last semester, but now the number of law students has dramatically increased as Concordia closed its doors and the U of I stepped in to support those students. College of Law faculty, staff and students will occupy the 4th floor and you will see the buildout of that space in the coming weeks.
COVID-19 affects different areas of Idaho with different severity, so I remind all faculty, staff and students in Ada County to follow Gov. Brad Little’s Stage 3 reopening guidelines until further notice. President Green has granted me the authority to modify U of I’s reopening plans according to our own health districts guidelines. You will see the main campus is phasing to more employees returning to their physical place of work starting this week, but we will continue to work from home when possible and the Idaho Water Center will be closed to the public. A new communication will be sent to all of you as we get closer to the start of fall classes. We still plan to conduct in-person classes, but much will depend upon the environment in Ada County at the time we begin fall semester later this month. Dean Jerry Long will also be sending additional communications this week with more details specific to the College of Law.
We will follow the University of Idaho protocols in place which include wearing face coverings and enabling social distancing of at least six feet. The entire list of protocols and the contract all students, faculty and staff are asked to acknowledge is included in the Healthy Vandal Pledge.
When we begin the semester on Aug. 24, U of I Boise students should be aware that the Central District Health website has a list of COVID-19 related resources and testing locations in the Treasure Valley, including St. Alphonsus and St. Luke’s testing sites. COVID-19 testing is not required in order to attend in-person classes at U of I Boise, but we encourage anyone who has been exposed or is showing symptoms to talk to their doctors about being tested. The same approach to testing should be taken at all of our Southwest Idaho sites — please encourage all students, faculty and staff to be tested when they have been exposed and/or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. If you should get questions about why all students residing in Moscow have a test requirement and our off-campus students do not, it is important to understand the different situation on the main campus. We built our own testing lab in Moscow to serve our main campus community. This provides the ability to locally test on demand with a short turnaround for results. Currently, the Boise medical community and labs are running at capacity and are not able to accommodate testing on demand. In addition, our off-campus students are not part of a residential campus living environment.
Answers to other questions you might have as a student about COVID-19 measures regarding the fall semester can be found on the U of I COVID-19 website. Any Boise specific questions not answered via these links can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll review the emails daily and try to provide you with the most updated information available.
I so appreciate the faculty and staff who have met with me already and shared highlights of their programs and plans for fall. Your flexibility and devotion to our students given the challenging environment in which we are trying to deliver on our educational mission is inspiring. I ask for all to keep flexibility in mind as we strive to serve our students and keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible.
President Green frequently points out to many of our stakeholders that we certainly have immediate challenges, however, when we get to the other side — the University of Idaho will be in a position of strength. I believe the University of Idaho Boise, the Idaho Water Center, the College of Law and our SW Idaho colleagues from Twin Falls to Canyon County and all the way up to McCall will be key to realizing President Green’s vision.
I look forward to working with all of you to make this a successful fall semester. I am honored and excited to be serving in this role. And, despite the current challenges, I am very optimistic about our future.
Keep Calm and Vandal On!
CHANDRA ZENNER FORD, B.S. ‘88 M.S. ‘95
Office of the President and
Center Executive Officer
University of Idaho Boise
& Southwest Region
322 E. Front Street Street, Ste 350
Boise, ID 83702
COVID-19 testing is not required to attend in-person classes at U of I Boise, but we encourage anyone who has been exposed or is showing symptoms to talk to their doctor about being tested.
In addition, symptomatic U of I Boise students can get COVID-19 testing at Boise State Health Services (1529 Belmont Street, Boise). COVID-19 testing by Boise State Health Services include a visit with a medical provider and is done by appointment only by calling 208-426-1459. No walk-ins accepted.
For cost and insurance purposes, there are two types of tests that accompany the BSU office visit:
- PCR — Billed to your insurance plan with no out-of-pocket cost if your plan does not cover it.
- POCT — This is a quick results test that Boise State Health Services runs in-house and will be billed to insurance and/or patient if your insurance plan does not cover it 100%. A patient who wants the quick test and gets a negative result will probably need the PCR test due to the risk of a false negative. The quick test is very accurate if it is positive for COVID-19. Please call your insurance carrier to find out what out-of-pocket you may have; you will be billed for this test.
In general, there is no cost to get tested for COVID-19 with most insurances. Please call your insurance provider for details. Because of testing availability in the Treasure Valley, U of I Boise is not requiring testing but instead is encouraging all students and employees to get tested if they have been exposed to COVID-19 and/or are experiencing symptoms.
For an updated timeline for COVID-19 vaccinations in Idaho, please check Idaho's distribution timeline.
Student Lounge, Joe’s Corner (third floor):
- Open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday
Student printing station:
Inside Joe’s Corner, same hours apply.
U of I offices:
- Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday
Classrooms and seminar rooms:
- Open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Wednesday and Friday; 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday
Common area kitchens: Floors 2 and 3, unlocked 24/7.
- Broadway Entrance currently locked at all times
Plaza and Garage Entrance:
- Open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday; 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday
Most Boise-based classes, including the College of Law’s, continue to be all online during the spring semester 2021. Please consult your assigned faculty for specific details and expectations for your course.