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Iowa State University plans for 50% capacity at football games, will require face coverings on campus

Story County, where the university is located, has seen an increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen has announced face coverings will now be required when social distancing isn't possible to combat COVID-19

Jack Trice Stadium can also host Cyclone football games at 50% capacity.

This comes as Story County, where the university is located, has seen an increase in coronavirus cases.

"Time will tell what will happen, but I think it's reasonable for the county and students and athletics fans to be hopeful,"  Dr. Molly Lee with the Story County Board of Health told Local 5. "I think that any kind of measure any individual can do, and that includes following ... President Wintersteen's guidance today to protect themselves and especially others. Face masks being one of them."

In a campus memo published Wednesday, Wintersteen outlined steps Iowa State is taking, including:

  • Two cloth face coverings will be provided to students, faculty and staff who request them, for free
  • Individuals who are sick are asked not to attend class or come to work
  • Thielen Student Health Center is providing free testing for students enrolled in summer courses or registered for the fall

Face coverings and/or face shields will be required in classrooms, offices and other areas where social distancing isn't possible. 

"Requiring face coverings is important to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 as we return to a residential campus and support our academic mission," Wintersteen said in the memo. 

The requirement takes effect July 1. 

"As guided by the Governor, the CDC, Iowa Department of Public Health and other state and federal health experts, the current plan is for a 50% capacity limit for events at Jack Trice Stadium, including football," the university announced. "Additional mitigation strategies will be used to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread such as physical distancing, face coverings, electronic ticketing, and crowd management designed to reduce fan congestion and contact."

WATCH: Complete coronavirus coverage from Local 5 on YouTube

Wintersteen also cautioned she didn't want the face coverings policy to become a source of controversy. 

"We do not want face coverings to become a source of conflict on our campus," she said. "Creating positive reinforcement regarding wearing face coverings is the best method to encourage compliance."

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