University of Wyoming Stays Closed For Five More Days After COVID Cases Increase

The University of Wyoming's pause on in-person classes and its fall return plan will be extended until at least Monday, President Ed Seidel announced Wednesday afternoon.

Ellen Fike

September 09, 20203 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The University of Wyoming’s pause on efforts to resume in-person classes will continue until at least Monday, President Ed Seidel announced Wednesday afternoon.

According to a release from the university, the extension is necessary for UW leaders to analyze results from the university’s on-campus coronavirus testing program to understand the level of virus transmission over Labor Day weekend.

“While we continue to detect new cases — which is worrisome — the pause has enabled us to effectively slow the spread of the virus,” Seidel said in the release. “That provides some encouragement for our ability to resume our fall return plan, but only if what happened over Labor Day weekend does not result in a spike in cases.”

The pause last week was triggered by positive coronaivurs test results of seven students who were exhibiting symptoms of the infection Sept. 2.

As of Wednesday, the the number of active cases among the university community was 70; 14 students living on-campus, 53 students living off-campus and three employees living off-campus.

Around 130 other people, 23 on-campus and 107 off-campus, are in a two-week quarantine because they were in close contact with people who tested positive.

The total number of coronavirus cases among UW students and employees since the pandemic began is 141.

During the pause, details of which may be found here, the university is taking steps that include:

  • Instructing students in UW campus housing and others in Laramie to shelter in place;
  • Delivering all courses online;
  • Directing all employees, with the exception of those designated by supervisors as critical pause personnel, to work remotely, and
  • Suspending all face-to-face activities, unless approval is given through an exception process.

UW Residence Life and Dining Services is making arrangements for food service and activities for residence hall students during the pause. Students in the residence halls who have jobs or other off-campus responsibilities are being allowed to leave for those duties.

A little more than 1,000 students are currently in the residence halls and around 400 more are waiting until the end of the pause to come to campus.

“So far, the on-campus experience appears to be relatively safe, and we appreciate the adherence of our students in the residence halls to the pause restrictions,” Seidel said “Unfortunately, it appears that some of our students off-campus are not doing the same, based upon community observations and the relatively high number of cases among those students. If that situation doesn’t change, it seriously jeopardizes the opportunity to implement our full phased return plan for the fall semester.”

No on-campus visits to students, employees or researchers during the pause are being allowed. Most campus facilities are closed.

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Ellen Fike