LARAMIE — The University of Wyoming has decided to return to on-campus learning and activities this fall semester.
UW was originally slated to make a final decision in June, but given the rapidity of the vaccination campaign and the significant decrease in positive cases of COVID-19, the Board of Trustees adopted a resolution to fully reopen the university for the fall semester in a way that is “consistent with the health policy guidelines and directives of the state and federal government.”
“The vaccine rollout is much faster than we thought,” said UW Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications Chad Baldwin. “Case numbers are almost down to nothing.”
He added that the overall acceptance of the vaccination on campus and the growing availability in the community is encouraging.
According to a newsletter released by the university, the percentage of samples testing positive in the UW testing program has decreased from .34% in the spring to .06% in the last week.
As of Thursday, only eight active cases were announced on the COVID-19 campus dashboard: four employees and four students — none living on campus.
Additionally, Chairman Jeffrey Marsh of the UW Board of Trustees said he and several other trustee members received community support from constituents who expected a return to normalcy for the upcoming semester.
“As long as it’s safe,” Marsh said.
He added that his observations of K-12 educational institutions gave him the confidence to move forward at UW, but acknowledged a key factor.
“It’s a little different at university,” he said.
As of March 19, revisions regarding social distancing and physical barriers at the primary level have been removed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No updates for operation at the university level have occurred since Dec. 31, 2020.
Marsh said the spirit of the resolution imbeds itself in the safety of the students and faculty.
Until the fall semester begins Aug. 23, students and faculty are required to abide by all restrictions still in place by the university, which is influenced by state and federal health guidelines. Per the newsletter, masks, social distancing and COVID-19 testing will continue throughout the spring semester, including in-person commencement ceremonies scheduled in May.
For more information about UW’s pandemic response, visit www.uwy.edu/campus-return.
Those with questions about testing and other COVID-related issues, call 307-766-2683 or email COVID19@uwyo.edu.