UW administrators expand mask policy; 78 active cases reported Friday among students, staff
CASPER, Wyoming. – The University of Wyoming board voted on Friday to expand its existing mask requirements with additional exceptions, UW said.
Masks will continue to be required in most facilities where 6-foot social distancing is not possible, UW said. Administrators cited the “moderate-high” COVID-19 transmission level status of Albany County by the Wyoming Department of Health as well as the effectiveness of the policy in avoiding a major peak at the start of the year school, by extending the policy.
The university’s COVID dashboard shows that as of Friday there were 43 active cases among off-campus students, 23 among on-campus students and 12 among staff.
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“Our mask policy has helped us kick off our traditional fall semester without a major peak in COVID cases,” UW President Ed Seidel said. “We appreciate the willingness of our community members to follow this policy in classrooms, laboratories and high traffic areas such as the Union of Wyoming so that we can continue learning and activities in person.”
The policy will be reviewed at subsequent board meetings.
Exceptions to the policy include voluntary public events such as:
- Athletics and music, theater and dance shows
- Volunteer social events
- Private events by invitation involving the rental and / or use of UW spaces on campus
- Courses where the ability to see the mouths of speakers is essential
The Board of Directors has approved an additional exception for clients of the Half Acre Wellness and Recreation Center when participating in recreational, athletic or fitness activities, or when attending a public recreational event voluntary.
Half Acre customers will still be required to wear masks when entering and exiting the building, at all customer service desks and in meeting rooms.
In an anonymous survey at the start of the semester, 88 percent of employees and 66 percent of students said they had been vaccinated, UW said.
“We would like to see these numbers continue to rise, because vaccinations really are the best hope for ending this pandemic,” Seidel said. “The vaccines have been shown to be very safe and effective in preventing serious infections and illnesses, even for the easily transmitted Delta variant. “
The Wyoming Department of Health provides data online on COVID-19 cases, variants, deaths, tests, hospitals and vaccines. The ministry also shares information on how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.