UNI campus in Cedar Falls.

This is the final day of classes at Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.

Students will start taking finals tomorrow and the fall semester will end on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.

UNI president Mark Nook says less than 30% of UNI’s classes have been exclusively online.

“Just sit back and think about what was going on in July and August,” Nook said Wednesday. “No one would have bet that we would have made it to this point in our semesters without moving completely online for at least a week or two and we really have made it.”

Iowa State University president Wendy Wintersteen said it’s been a fall semester “unlike any other,” but the student body has been fairly stable.

“We had a record retention rate of 88.5% of students coming back,” Wintersteen said during Wednesday’s Board of Regents meeting. “We were very concerned about that, given the Covid-19 pandemic.”

There were huge spikes of Covid cases in Ames and Iowa City when students returned for fall classes. University of Iowa president Bruce Harreld said after initial fears, it appears the virus has been “manageable” on the Iowa City campus.

“We’re seeing some spread in our residence halls,” Harreld said during the board meeting, “but the phrase that I heard a number of us talk about: ‘Are they going to be like the cruise ships?’ They have not been.”

Harreld said the university updated the air handling systems in some campus buildings and mask wearing is very common in the community, both contributing factors in keeping Covid “relatively controlled” on campus, according to Harreld.

“A lot of people are asking: ‘What will next semester look like?’ It’s going to look a lot like this semester,” Harreld said. “…Right now, we’re about 78% of our student credit hours are being taught online. We’ll continue with that.”

University of Iowa students get a Thanksgiving break, starting next Wednesday. Classes resume November 30,  but they will all be online through the end of the fall semester.