By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The University of Wyoming has announced its spring semester will continue to see a mix of in-person, hybrid and online classes in the face of what is expected to be continued coronavirus activity in the new calendar year.
The university of Friday released its plans for the spring semester, which look much like the plans for the fall esemester.
In addition to the mix of class offerings, plans also call for a continuation of measures to limit the spread of the virus, such as requiring face protection and physical distancing and limiting the number of gatherings and the amount of people at them held at the university.
“Our team has put significant effort into planning for the coming spring semester, just as we did before the fall. As the pandemic is rapidly evolving, much could change between now and January but, at this point, it appears that the spring semester will look very much like the current fall semester,” UW President Ed Seidel said. “I wish we could be more definitive in telling our students what to expect. But we feel it’s important to lay out a general plan for the spring now, recognizing that we must be prepared to adjust quickly to new developments, as has been the case this fall.”
Classes will begin Jan. 25, a week later than originally planned. To minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission, spring break has been eliminated next semester.
“We recognize that, from a mental well-being standpoint, a three-day weekend isn’t the same as a weeklong spring break,” Interim Provost Anne Alexander says. “However, it appears likely that the pandemic situation in the spring will be similar to the present. Like many other universities across the country, we believe this schedule change is a prudent move to help preserve our on-campus experience.”
Close to 40% of UW courses are slated to be delivered online. Around 60% of classes will have some type of in-person component.
UW is now requiring all students who spend time on campus to be tested for the coronavirus twice a week. Employees on campus who aren’t able to maintain physical distance are being tested once per week.
While the exact testing regimen has not been finalized for the spring, the university remains committed to testing, tracing and quarantine/isolation to limit the spread of the virus.
“We all hope that a vaccine will become available soon and that the pandemic will subside, but we must prepare to at least start the spring semester under circumstances that are similar to the present,” Seidel said. “We hope that providing this general outline now will help our students and prospective students make decisions, recognizing that the situation remains very fluid and that things could change before Jan. 25.”