Supporting Spring Public Health Operations (SVPP COVID-19 Communication #21)


Date:         December 20, 2020  

To:             Provost’s Council

From:        Jonathan Wickert                                      
                  Senior Vice President and Provost               

Subject:    Supporting Spring Public Health Operations (SVPP COVID-19 Communication #21)


Iowa State’s public health operations, including testing, contact tracing and case investigation, were successful last semester thanks to the dedicated efforts of many members of the Iowa State community who also performed their regular work responsibilities. To ensure continued success this spring, we must continue to share the public health workload across the university.

Your help is needed to identify employees who can dedicate a consistent amount of time each week to support an area of the public health operations, and periodically including weekend hours. The need and commitment will extend for the duration of the spring semester.

Employees are needed for the following functions:

Please see the attached documents which contain detailed information about each role.

Work performed at the testing center can be done safely. Strict mitigation measures are in place to minimize interaction with patients and the risk of exposure. The call center, contact tracing, and case investigation roles can be done without person-to-person contact. Training and access to the necessary technology and tools will be provided for each role.

Supervisors should consider the following options for providing employee support:

  • Staff who have had their hours or position reduced. Central funding will be provided for the time dedicated to public health operations.
  • Reallocate regular staff for dedicated hours. This effort would be funded locally.

Aside from the on-site testing center positions, all other positions can be performed remotely, which may be an option for employees who are utilizing alternative work arrangements or working remotely. Student positions that were created in the fall semester are already helping with our public health activities.

Craig Hamerlinck, Senior HR Partner, is serving as the point of contact for developing the public health operations staffing matrix. He will facilitate discussions between supervisors and local HR Partners to determine appropriate roles and scheduling for identified staff. Please submit your staff suggestions directly to Craig at

Your timely response is appreciated by December 23, with a hard deadline of close-of-business on December 29.

While reallocating staff time to campus public health operations represents a sacrifice to local programs and operations, it is essential for our efforts to ensure a successful spring semester. Thank you in advance for supporting the university in this way. As always, please reach out to me if you would like to discuss, and you may also contact Craig directly with questions.

I ask that you distribute this communication as appropriate within your respective colleges and units.