Open for Iowa

On May 20, 2021, Governor Reynolds signs bill banning face covering and physical distance mandates and other COVID-19 related mitigation strategies in Iowa. 

Board of Regents lifts State of Emergency effective May 20, 2021. 

  • Iowa State University including Extension and Outreach may not impose any requirement that students, faculty, staff or volunteers receive or provide evidence of having received a vaccination for COVID-19.
  • Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to continue to wear a mask or other appropriate face-covering.

Iowa State University COVID-19:  Moving Forward - follow this website as Iowa State University returns to pre-pandemic operations. 

Signageface coverings encouraged is not vaccinated sign clip

COVID-19 Sign on MyExtension (staff only link) -  May 24, 2021 - New sign to post in offices stating face coverings encouraged if not vaccinated.

Events at County Offices

May 24, 2021 - Effective immediately, county offices will resume work with no food restrictions. Our  insurance agent (LMC Insurance & Risk Management/Assured Partners) has negotiated with our insurance carrier (Cincinnati Specialty) to remove the food borne illness exclusion on the general liability policy. This is the general liability insurance provider for all county extension districts. This will also be reflected when the policy is renewed on July 1.

Safe food handling is still a priority for ISU Extension and Outreach. Please refer to the Food Safety for County Offices document dated May 4, 2021, from Human Sciences, for food handling safety procedures and expectations for extension staff and volunteers.

Food made and/or sold for fundraising, including food stands, will still need to obtain a special events policy. Food sales for fundraising from a third-party vendor, such as fruit, frozen pastry, frozen pizza, cookie dough, sausage and cheese do not need to obtain a special events policy. Contact your regional director if you need further clarification on when to purchase special event coverage. 

Iowa 4-H Guidance and Protocols

Iowa 4-H Addendum to Guidance and Expectations for In-Person Education and Business - May 14, 2021

Crisis Communication Plan

Crisis Communications Plan available on MyExtension (for staff only). Please review the plan and consider how you would implement it, should a crisis arise. 

Archived Communications

Document archived May 21, 2021

Conversations About Personal Comfort and COVID-19 Safety Practices in the Workplace - August 10, 2020

Open for Iowa Committee and Charge - No longer active as of May 9, 2021.

Documents archived May 9, 2021

Screening for COVID-19

Physical Distance Requirements


Documents no longer applicable as of May 1, 2021.


Food and Beverage Guidance and Training, October 26, 2020 - companion piece to County Services Insurance Updates. This guide is meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which businesses must comply. 

Face Coverings

Iowa State University:  Guidance for Supporting Community Expectations During COVID-19 Pandemic

Documentations no longer applicable as of April 1, 2021

Collecting Contact Information

  • COVID-19 Contact Information Training and Guidance - October 6, 2020 - Collecting contact information will help public health officials notify those who may have been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19. Maintain rosters for events, however, collecting contact information at large gatherings is likely not feasible. 
  • Use the Excel spreadsheet on MyExtension (staff link only) to keep a list of every single person who goes through the office every single day, not just members of the public, but staff, council members, and volunteers. June 5, 2020
    ** August 19, 2020, Iowa public health officials advice on how long to keep contact collecting sheets:  Based on how local public health agencies are currently releasing COVID-19 cases with contact tracing, 28-30 days is sufficient.
  • Use door and table signs on MyExtension (staff link only) to let clients know we're helping stop the spread of COVID-19 by collecting contact information. June 5, 2020

Documentations no longer applicable as of Nov. 16, 2020

County Offices Reopening Letter - Dr. John Lawrence, Vice President for Extension and Outreach, June 22, 2020
Second Monday Live, June 8 -- Structured for Success and Open for Iowa
Second Monday Live, Open for Iowa - Q & A, June 8

Iowa State University COVID-19 Guidance

Considerations for Leaders, Supervisors and Extension Councils

Considerations for staff


Open for Iowa does not recommend the use of waivers for events or programming. However, if counties choose to use waivers,  LMC Insurance has provided waiver templates for your use. Contact your regional director for more information.

Extension Councils - Infection Control Policies, Whitfield & Eddy

Infection Control Policy Resources, July 6, 2020 - optional policy templates for extension councils from legal representative, Whitfield & Eddy. Contact your regional director for more information. 

CIRAS COVID-19: Protecting Your Business, July 6, 2020 - See resources under "Return to Work", which includes a sample "Return to Office Plan" based on the modified White House Opening America Criteria and will continue to be updated by the Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS).  The White House Opening America Criteria could be used to create/update a phased plan that is data-driven, along with developing a relationship with county emergency management and public health officials, to help navigate when to open and close an office. 

Expectations In-person Guidance and Protocols

Use these documents to guide your conversations and planning process for any extension meeting or event:

Screening for COVID-19

Screening for COVID-19 Training and Guidance, October 6, 2020 - If you are experiencing any symptoms potentially related to COVID-19, do not report to work. 

Face Coverings

CDC - Use Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread
Face Covering Training and Guidance, August 10, 2020 - for ISU Extension and Outreach

Vulnerable Populations

The Gerontological Society of America - COVID-19 Updates - added September 24, 2020

CDC - People Who are at Increased Risk