COVID-19 Chemical Engineering Q&A

Q: How will CBE labs take place in the fall?

A: All CBE labs (Chemical Process Safety – CBE:3125, Chemical Reaction Engineering/Separations Lab – CBE:3155, and Process Dynamics and Control in Design – CBE: 4105) will be primarily instructed in person. One key element that future employers will be expecting is experience with and use of lab equipment which is very difficult to experience remotely. As such, we will be taking significant precautions to keep you safe including:

  1. All CBE labs will require both a face shield and face mask in addition to other appropriate PPE.
  2. Equipment and experiments will be moved into other lab spaces to allow additional social distancing between lab groups.
  3. Equipment and work areas will be sanitized before and after use.
  4. We have the option to use portable plexiglass barriers where distancing might not be easily achieved.

Q: How will the College of Engineering and the University limit exposure to other students during classes?

A: The Steps Forward: Returning to Campus Fall 2020 describes the policies and procedures the University will use to limit exposure for faculty, staff, and students. The list below highlights a few:

  1. All students, faculty, and staff will be provided with 2 reusable cloth face coverings, 2 disposable masks, and 1 face shield. Everyone on campus will sign a Health and Safety acknowledgement form confirming they understand and agree to follow safety guidelines, including wearing face coverings while on campus.
  2. Most classes with an enrollment above 50 will be online. This will greatly reduce the number of people in the Seamans Center and other campus buildings at any given time.
  3. The College is providing alternative work arrangements for employees who are able to continue working remotely.  This will further limit the number of individuals in the building.
  4. Instructors may designate specific seating arrangements to help with tracing if someone were to test positive for COVID-19.
  5. Classroom capacity is significantly reduced for all courses.
  6. Specific entrances and exits to buildings will be designated reducing additional contact with other students.

The University also recently produced a video available at that shows many of the features in classrooms and buildings that will keep you and the faculty safe.

Q: Will I be required to attend in person classes?

A: Based on our experience and your comments from the spring, we understand the importance of in person instruction for chemical engineering when possible and safe. While on-line courses can be effective, we firmly believe that it cannot entirely replace the importance of personal interaction and the learning environment of a classroom. As such, we have prioritized certain classes to have significant in-person elements. At the instructor’s discretion, portions of in person classes may also incorporate on-line components based on best practices learned from our spring experiences. A list of in person CBE courses are below:

In person:
CBE:2030 Energy and Society
CBE:2105 Process Calculations
CBE:3113 Heat and Mass Transfer
CBE:3125 Chemical Process Safety
CBE:3150 Chemical Reaction Engineering/Separations Lab
CBE:4105 Process Dynamics and Control in Design
CBE:5120 Data Science in Chemical and Engineering Systems
CBE:5315 Polymer Chemistry
CBE:5415 Satellite Image Processing & Remote Sensing

All other classes will be taught remotely.

Q: What should I do if I feel sick, especially with a cough, sore throat, fever and/or other potential COVID-19 symptoms.

A: DO NOT come to class! Follow campus guidelines to isolate and be tested. Inform your instructor ASAP that you are not feeling well. The instructor will work with you for necessary accommodations.

Q: I just found out someone I have been around has tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?

A: You may need to be tested and self-isolate. Testing is currently recommended for those who have COVID-19 symptoms or believe they have been in close contact to a person who has tested positive for the illness.  A close contact is defined as living in the same household or having been within 6 feet of a positive person for longer than 15 minutes.   A symptomatic positive person could transmit illness to others up to 2 days before symptoms start.  Someone who is asymptomatic (without symptoms) is considered infectious on the day of the positive test.  Call the Nurseline at 319-335-9704 or the UIHC COVID Helpline at 319-384-8819 with questions or concerns. 

If recommended that you should self-isolate after consulting with the Nurseline, contact you instructor to make necessary arrangements.

Q: If I do get sick, will I need to make up work I miss?

A: As with any illness, you will still need to fulfill the requirements for each class and will be graded accordingly. At the same time, you should work with your instructors to help minimize the impact. You should inform them quickly that you are not feeling well, then stay in regular contact while doing your best to complete work.

Q: I am medically vulnerable and at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or live with someone who is. How do I request different arrangements for in person classes?

A: You may apply for temporary alternative learning arrangements (TALA) at

Q: Will course lectures and material be recorded and available to be viewed after the scheduled lecture time?

A: We have strongly encouraged all CBE faculty to record and post lectures. Most courses will still require some synchronous attendance for quizzes, exams, problem solving sessions, etc.  

Q: Will syllabi be available before classes?

A: Hopefully! We are asking faculty to post their syllabi as soon as it is available and no later than one week before the start of the semester.

Q: Where can I go if I have back-to-back classes in different modalities and need a place to sit and log-in to my online class?

A: There will be spaces on-campus that students are able to reserve when they have back-to-back classes in different modalities.  Please visit to reserve a space. 

Q: How to I self-report a positive or presumed positive COVID-19 test?

A: Please complete the COVID-19 Self Reporting Form