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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Executive travel order puts Iowans who go to school in Chicago in campus quarantine

A new rule for Iowans entering Chicago means Iowa students studying in the Windy City will need to move in earlier, or be in quarantine when classes begin.

CHICAGO — Iowa's high Coronavirus numbers have affected college students who travel from out-of-state to attend school in Iowa, and vice versa. That includes many who are leaving or entering Chicago.

Chicago issued an emergency travel order on July 7th. It requires people traveling from states that have high COVID-19 positivity rates to quarantine for 14 days upon entry.

People caught violating the order can pay between a $100-$500 fine per day, up to $7,000.

Iowa was added to the list July 17. 

Now, it's already affecting the fall semester for college students from move-in day, to what things could look like upon graduation.

States Currently Covered by the Order Travelers from the following states should quarantine upon arrival in Chicago: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. Effective Friday, July 31, travelers from Missouri, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and North Dakota will also be directed to quarantine.

Giorgio Rossi, of Des Moines, is moving back into the dorms this Monday.

Since he attends Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, it's a good thing he's moving in more than 2 weeks before his classes begin.

"Coming from Iowa, I definitely feel like 'oh what should I do!'" said Rossi. "I'm definitely being a bit more cautious."

Rossi, who will be a resident assistant at Moody this year, plans to quarantine inside his dorm room starting Monday so he can be ready to attend classes in person when they start.

Some of Rossi's friends who had planned to move in just a few days before the start of classes had to change their plan.

"They were gonna come only like a couple days before but now that like this is happening they're going earlier," Rossi said. "Because obviously they want to be done with it before classes start."

On the flip side, Chicago natives who'll be traveling to Iowa for college face different challenges.

Ayne Bell, a senior at the University of Northern Iowa, grew up in Chicago. most of her family lives there.

"It does mean restrictions on being with my family," Ayne Bell said. "Like I don't think I would be able to visit as often." 

It's Bell's  last semester at UNI and she fears the travel order might impact her Chicago family's ability to attend her graduation ceremony, if it means many of them would be required to quarantine upon return.

"I do graduate in the fall. So say we do have graduation, I don't think they could come and watch me graduate," said Bell. "I don't really know!"

No one really knows what it will look like come Fall, and those unknowns are hard. But both Rossi and Bell are dealing with the Windy City's safety standards the best they can.

"I feel like we can do it, but it's gonna be a weird semester!" said Bell.