UW Installs New COVID Indicators To Avoid Second Lockdown

The University of Wyoming has developed a set of indicators to be monitored daily to inform its decisions regarding the coronavirus.

Ellen Fike

September 16, 20203 min read

UW photo 9 2 20
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The University of Wyoming has developed a set of benchmarks to be monitored daily to guide its decisions regarding the coronavirus.

UW President Ed Seidel will present the new coronavirus indicators to the Board of Trustees on Thursday. They will include the total on-campus student cases of coronavirus, the university’s capacity for isolation/quarantine and the total number of active cases.

Action taken based on the status of those indicators could include another pause of in-person classes, quarantining a single residence hall or floor of a hall, shifting specific classes or events to an online venue for a period of time or reducing density of a designated area.

“I am tremendously proud of how our faculty, staff and students have navigated our path to returning to the vibrant on-campus research and learning environment we value. We are committed to creating the safest possible experience for our university community,” Seidel said in a news release. “Our updated set of indicators, thresholds and tactics was developed based upon our experience with the virus at UW; the latest scientific data and guidance from universities across the country; and with the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students as our top priority.

“It will allow us to move forward and nimbly address new developments on a daily basis,” he continued.

The new set of indicators update the university’s contingency plan created by a committee during the summer to help the university decide how to address a potential spike of infections on campus.

As the university has emerged from a short-term pause in operations spurred by an increase in cases, Seidel asked the committee that developed the original plan to revisit the contingency framework using information that was gained through the pause and the continued migration back to campus.

The university also has boosted staffing in key areas, allowing consideration of more possible actions in response to specific situations, Seidel said.

“As we track these indicators, we’ll have a wide-ranging set of actions and interventions that can be taken, based on a combination of the data and the context of the evolving situation,” he said. “We expect this approach will provide a set of actions that, along with the commitment of everyone to follow our policies on distancing, face protection and gatherings, will allow for us to have an on-campus experience in the safest manner possible.”

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Ellen Fike