UW trustees extend mask policy; 78 active cases reported Friday among students, staff - Cheyenne, WY Cap City News
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UW trustees extend mask policy; 78 active cases reported Friday among students, staff

University of Wyoming UW College of Business Building / COE Library (Brendan LaChance, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo — The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted Friday to extend its existing mask requirements, with additional exceptions, UW announced.

Masks will continue to be required inside most facilities where 6-foot social distancing isn’t possible, UW said. The trustees cited Albany County’s “moderate-high” COVID-19 transmission level status by the Wyoming Department of Health, as well as the policy’s efficacy in staving off a major spike at the beginning of the school year, in extending the policy.

The university’s COVID dashboard states 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 start our traditional fall semester without a major spike in COVID cases,” UW President Ed Seidel said. “We appreciate the willingness of our community members to follow this policy in classrooms, labs and high-traffic areas such as the Wyoming Union so that we can continue with in-person learning and activities.”

The policy will be revisited in subsequent meetings of the board.

Exceptions to the policy include voluntary public events such as:

  • athletics and music, theater and dance performances
  • voluntary social events
  • private, by-invitation events that involve rental and/or use of UW spaces on campus
  • classes where the ability to see speakers’ mouths is essential

The board approved an additional exception for patrons of Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center when participating in recreational activities, sports or fitness, or when a spectator at a voluntary public recreational event. 

Half Acre patrons 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 love to see those numbers continue to increase, as vaccinations truly are the best hope for ending this pandemic,” Seidel said. “The vaccines are proven to be highly safe and effective in preventing infection and serious illness, even for the easily transmissible Delta variant.”

The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.