Student Activities Center

Health and Safety Guidelines for Student Organizations

Updated: 9/21/2020

Overview

Student organizations are a major contributor to the student experience at Iowa State University. To mitigate the risks surrounding COVID-19, student organizations should think critically and creatively on how to accomplish goals while prioritizing health and safety for all (i.e. Does this NEED to happen? Or do we WANT this to happen? Is there a way for us to do this differently to lower the risk of transmission?).

Some members of the Iowa State University community will have more concern or need for reduction of contact with others. Student organizations should take this into account and work to incorporate opportunities that are accessible for all members, such as hybrid meetings/events where students can participate both in-person and virtually. The COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to impact the way in which members of our campus community experience daily life. But together, with a shared commitment to a community of care, we can navigate this difficult time and collectively help to make this semester a success.

If your organization is overseen by a national organization or governing body outside of ISU (e.g. fraternities and sororities) that has additional and/or more specific guidelines/rules, follow those guidelines as well.

If your organization is sponsored by, affiliated with, or supported by an Iowa State department, communicate with them regularly and follow any additional guidelines they have in place.

Table of Contents

Common Guidelines

The following guidelines should be followed by all members of your organization even outside of club functions:

  • Stay home if you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19. Encourage your members to stay home if they are sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Effective July 1, 2020, a cloth face covering is required to be properly worn on university property, including in all university buildings and in all outdoor spaces where physical distancing of others is not possible. The updated Face Covering Policy is available on the Fall 2020 COVID-19 Response website.

  • Please also show care by wearing a face covering when you are out in the community. This includes shopping, riding CyRide, and in any situation where you cannot maintain a 6-foot physical distance.

  • Practice physical distancing (maintaining at least 6ft or more of space from other people). Limiting close face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. A "contact" is defined as being closer than 6 feet with someone for more than 15 minutes, with or without a face covering. It should be your student organization's goal to prevent such contacts from occurring at your events or meetings.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is also effective.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

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Student Organization Meetings and Club Functions

A student organization meeting and/or club function is defined as any activity that is only open to members of the club.

  • Think critically about your organization’s meetings and only hold in-person meetings when absolutely necessary. With the adjustments in class schedules, space availability in the fall may be limited.

  • Students must adhere to physical distancing guidelines and wear cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth throughout the duration of the meeting.

  • Reserve rooms that will allow for your meeting attendees to maintain physical distancing. All ISU spaces will be limited to a 50% capacity throughout the fall semester.

  • Virtualize your meetings and other functions when possible, or hold hybrid meetings, to be inclusive of students who may not feel comfortable attending in person. The following platforms are available for student use:

  • Limit contact points between members as much as possible, including (but not limited to) sign-in attendance sheets, community food items, promotional material, ice breakers that involve close contact, shared supplies for activities/crafts, athletic competitions, etc.

  • Food should only be consumed if six-foot physical distancing can be maintained. If you are unable to maintain or unsure if the space allows for physical distancing, food should be made available at the end of the meeting or event so that attendees can take the food for consumption on their own.

  • If having food at your meeting (e.g. pizza), see the Food Service Requirements and Best Practices section of these guidelines.

  • Student Activities strongly discourages student organizations from inviting speakers or performers to attend on-campus meetings or club functions. Instead consider inviting them to attend in a virtual format.

    • Virtual platform options include

    • You could also consider live-streaming these speakers or performers via Facebook Live or Instagram Live.

  • If you keep records of attendance, include virtual attendance as fully participating in group meetings.  Instead of having your in-person attendees fill out a sign-in sheet, consider options that will allow them to indicate their attendance virtually via personal devices.

  • Continue to build community with your organization members with a hybrid of in-person and online group activities.

  • Maintain an online social media presence as an organization.

  • Develop a schedule of virtual meetings/events and try to keep to that schedule so as to allow for maximum participation.

  • Recognize your members and their accomplishments virtually (spotlights, virtual awards, etc.).

  • If after a meeting or club function a student attendee informs your organization that they have tested positive for COVID-19, respect their privacy and do not share this information with others. Instead, encourage them to self-report to Iowa State by completing this form. Self-reporting is a safe and confidential process and will allow ISU’s Public Health Team to provide support to those who test positive. It is required that all students, faculty and staff self-report and self-isolate once they receive a positive COVID-19 test result.

*As far as the Student Activities Center is aware, Zoom is the only online platform that allows users to show their preferred names and/or pronouns. Unless you have a pro license, Zoom limits group meetings to 40 minutes.

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Student Organization Event Requirements

A student organization event is defined as any activity in which non-members of the organization are invited to participate. All recognized student organizations hosting events on or off campus in the fall semester must adhere to the following:

  • Submit your event/activities to the University Event Authorization system.

    • Training on how to submit to the University Event Authorization system is available in the Student Organization Database.

    • Smaller events (e.g. food/merchandise sales, tabling and recruitment events, events with fewer than 200 people) should be submitted no later than 10 business days before the date of the event.

    • Larger events (e.g. theme weeks with multiple activities, events with youth or animals, events with more than 200 people) should be submitted no later than 1 month before the event date.

    • Depending on the scope and scale of your event, you may be invited to attend a meeting with the Event Authorization Committee. These meetings will be held virtually unless otherwise noted.

  • Student organizations hosting events on or off campus must adhere to Iowa State's Guidance for Gatherings (available on the Events and Venues section of the COVID-19 response site), including but not limited to:

    • Creating contingency plans should the event need to be modified, postponed, or canceled.

    • Instruct individuals to stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or are feeling ill.

    • The number of attendees should not exceed 50% of the gathering space’s capacity. This includes any events taking place off campus. If using an off-campus space, the student organization will be asked to submit documentation from the venue manager stating that they will adhere to a 50% capacity. This will need to be uploaded as an attachment to the Event Authorization form or emailed to eventauthorization@iastate.edu.

    • Cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth will be required to be worn by visitors to ISU, event attendees and participants, faculty, staff, and students everywhere on ISU property, indoors and outdoors, where physical distancing is not possible, effective July 1, 2020.

    • Cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth are also required for all ISU-directed events, meetings, and other programs taking place off campus where physical distancing is not possible. This includes all events hosted by recognized student organizations.

    • If after an event a student attendee informs your organization that they have tested positive for COVID-19, respect their privacy and do not share this information with others. Instead, encourage them to self-report to Iowa State by completing this form. Self-reporting is a safe and confidential process and will allow ISU’s Public Health Team to provide support to those who test positive. It is required that all students, faculty and staff self-report and self-isolate once they receive a positive COVID-19 test result.

    • Contact eventauthorization@iastate.edu with any questions or concerns.

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Event Planning Best Practices

  • Virtual-only activities, events, and gatherings are the lowest risk and should be prioritized.

  • Smaller outdoor events (weather permitting), in which individuals remain at least six feet apart, wear appropriate cloth face coverings, and do not share objects present a lower risk of transmission.

  • Think critically about whether or not an in-person event is really necessary to fulfill your organization’s goals.

  • Communicate often with the location manager of the venue you plan to use as they may have policies in place that are more restrictive than those above.

  • Consider outdoor options when possible and weather permits. If the event is inside, the more open and well-ventilated the space, the better. Allow for physical distancing wherever possible.

  • Signage regarding attendee direction, sanitizing surfaces, and health behaviors is available on ISU’s COVID-19 Response Page and should be clearly posted at events

  • Make remote/virtual participation available when possible.

  • Student Activities strongly discourages student organizations from inviting speakers or performers to attend on-campus meetings or club functions. Instead consider inviting them to attend in a virtual format.

  • Have widely available handwashing stations and/or hand sanitizer stations. (For outdoor events, Facilities Planning & Management can provide portable handwashing/hand sanitizer stations for a fee. Contact Ayodeji Oluwalana for assistance with this - aoluwala@iastate.edu.)

  • If your organization is overseen by a national organization or governing body outside of ISU (e.g. fraternities and sororities), that has additional and/or more specific guidelines/rules, follow those guidelines as well.

  • If you are sponsored by, affiliated with, or supported by an Iowa State department, communicate with them regularly and follow any additional guidelines they have in place.
     

*As far as the Student Activities Center is aware, Zoom is the only online platform that allows users to show their preferred names and/or pronouns. Unless you have a pro license, Zoom limits group meetings to 40 minutes.

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Food Service Requirements and Best Practices

  • If hosting an event with food, you will need to complete the Food Sales and Service form in Event Authorization detailing the food that will be served and where it will come from.

  • Safe Food 101 is required for any student who will be preparing and/or serving food.

  • No self-service meals will be allowed/approved through Event Authorization.

  • All food items served or sold should be prepackaged or preassembled.

  • All food items served or sold should be distributed by event staff and not directly accessible by attendees.

  • Gloves and cloth face coverings must be worn at all times when serving food.

  • For food sales:

    • The person accepting cash payments should not handle or serve the food (per Safe Food 101).

    • The person accepting cash should consider wearing gloves.

    • Consider only accepting exact cash amounts at your sale in order to limit the need to make/distribute change. (University policy prohibits student organizations from processing credit/debit card charges through third-party processing platforms. Therefore, the use of Venmo, Paypal, and other online payment platforms to conduct student organization business is still prohibited.)

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Student Organization Trips and Overnight Accommodations

  • Student Activities strongly discourages overnight travel and the use of overnight accommodations, unless such travel is critical to the mission of your organization. If your organization insists on traveling, make sure your adviser and (if applicable) your affiliated or sponsoring department is aware of and supportive of your plans.

  • Student organizations that are planning to travel are required to submit to the Student Organization Travel Authorization process. If your club is organizing a trip in which students outside of your club membership are invited to participate, you will need to submit to Event Authorization.

  • If you must travel, Student Activities strongly recommends day trips only. Again, think critically about whether or not the trip is necessary to your student organization’s purpose and goals.

  • Cloth face coverings will be required for anyone traveling in university vehicles.

  • It is strongly recommended that students carpooling in a personal vehicle for a club trip wear cloth face coverings.

  • When chartering buses, Student Activities strongly recommends that student organizations plan to use only every other seat and that students wear cloth face coverings while riding in the bus.

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Student Organization Recruitment and Tabling Activities

  • When tabling, limit the number of organization members that are present. It’s recommended that no more than 2 club members staff a table at one time. Certain campus locations may have further restrictions on tabling, so you will need to check with the location manager.

  • Limit contact points as much as possible (e.g. giveaways, fliers, handouts, using a shared computer, paper signup, pens, etc). Giveaways should not be taken back after given to another individual. Use QR codes, webforms, the Student Organization Database, or other tools for individuals to use their own devices to sign up to receive more information.

  • Consider wearing gloves when handing out giveaways

  • Provide hand sanitizer or encourage students staffing the space to provide their own.

  • Cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth are required for anyone staffing a recruitment table.

  • Explore virtual marketing and recruitment tools available through the Student Activities Center.

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Off-Campus Venue Rental

  • If renting an off-campus venue for a meeting/event, student organizations will be expected to follow the same event guidelines put forth by the university even if the venue’s policies are more relaxed.

  • The venue manager must confirm that they will adhere to a 50% capacity for your meeting/event. For off-campus events that are reviewed through Event Authorization, you will be asked to submit documentation from the venue manager stating that the 50% capacity requirement will be upheld.

  • If the venue asks the student organization to sign any contract asking the student org to hold harmless and indemnify, or if they are asking for proof of insurance, email a copy of the agreement to eventauthorization@iastate.edu BEFORE signing it. Student organization officers and advisers cannot sign legal agreements on behalf of the university. Depending on what is included in the venue contract, and depending on the organization, it may need to be routed to Procurement Services for signature.

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Student Organization Responsibilities and Expectations

  • As a reminder, all recognized student organizations are required to comply and adhere to all university policies, procedures, and regulations, along with State of Iowa and federal laws.

  • Failure to do so may result in the termination of the organization’s recognition, as outlined in the Student Organization Recognition Policy.

  • Questions regarding the Student Organization Recognition Policy can be direct to sac@iastate.edu

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