University of Wyoming Keeps Masks On in All Campus Buildings

University of Wyoming Keeps Masks On in All Campus Buildings

Written by on September 20, 2021

Masks will stay on at the University of Wyoming after the Board of Trustees voted to extend the campus policy due to high transmission levels in Laramie.

During a meeting on Friday, Sept. 17, the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted to extend the university’s mask policy. As a result, masks will be required in all U.W. buildings where social distancing isn’t possible for at least another month.

In a statement announcing their decision, the board cited the Wyoming Department of Health categorizing Albany County in the “moderate-high transmission levels” category for COVID-19. As of Friday, Sept. 17, there were 63 active cases among UW students and employees.

“Our mask policy has helped us start our traditional fall semester without a major spike in COVID cases,” UW President Ed Seidel says. “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.”

Masks have been required on the U.W. campus since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. The Board of Trustees last reviewed the policy in mid-August, at which time they voted to extend it into September.

The Board of Trustees will revisit the campus mask policy in subsequent meetings, but it seems the policy will remain in place as long as COVID-19 transmission remain high.

Exceptions to the indoor mask requirement are voluntary public events such as:

  • Athletics and music
  • Theater and dance performances
  • Voluntary social events
  • Private, by-invitation events that involve rental and use of UW spaces on campus.

For classes where the ability to see speakers’ mouths is essential, faculty members can seek exceptions to the masking policy. As well, employees and students who have legitimate medical reasons not to wear masks can seek exceptions.

An additional exception approved by the board is for Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center patrons when participating in recreational activities, sports, or fitness or when a spectator at a voluntary public recreational event. However, half Acre patrons will still be required to wear masks when entering and to exit the building, at all customer service desks, and in meeting rooms.

The University of Wyoming continues to strongly encourage COVID-19 vaccinations — as well as reporting of those vaccinations.

As of Monday, 4,282 UW students had reported being vaccinated to Student Health. Of 2,877 total benefited employees, 2,191 — 76.2 percent — had reported receiving at least one vaccine dose to the HCM. In non-benefited employees, 54.3 percent of the total 6,372 staff and faculty members had reported receiving at least one amount.

In an anonymous survey at the start of the Fall 2021 semester, 88 percent of employees and 66 percent of students said they had been vaccinated.

Those who report vaccinations become eligible for weekly prize drawings.

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

UW continues to conduct weekly random-sample testing of 3 percent of the on-campus population. The test positivity rate of 1.47 percent last week was down from 2.89 percent the week before.


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