By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The University of Wyoming is going to disperse partial refunds to full-time students due to the impact of the coronavirus.
Each full-time student taking classes on the Laramie campus will receive a total of $141.17 credit to their UW account for fees that were previously charged for athletics, music/theater and recycling because the pandemic largely eliminated the opportunity to attend events and receive those services.
“The fall semester was unusual in so many respects, and the student experience was altered by being unable to attend in-person athletics and cultural events,” Vice President for Student Affairs Kim Chestnut says. “We’re happy to be able to provide this refund in recognition of the fact that students didn’t receive what they normally would for these particular fees they pay.”
The university limited many events and activities, such as all of the athletic events, due to the pandemic. UW also operated on a phased opening system over the previous semester, meaning students were allowed to return to campus in waves.
By phase four, though, the university moved all of its classes online for the last few weeks (some classes were already fully online for the semester) to prevent the continuing spread of the virus.
The UW coronavirus rules have required everyone on campus to wear face coverings except when in private spaces, maintain physical distancing, use the COVID Pass tool, submit to regular coronavirus testing and to implement enhanced cleaning measures across campus.
Testing, contact tracing and isolation/quarantine remain an important part of the phased return plan.
Classes began as planned on Aug. 24, but were all held virtually for the first few weeks of the semester, and the student population in Laramie was capped for a time.
By mid-September, some classes went back to in-person instruction and more students were allowed on campus.
On Wednesday, the university announced plans for the spring semester that included 10 weeks of in-person instruction, a three-day spring break and five weeks of fully online classes to conclude the term.
To mitigate the impact of possibly infected students returning to campus from across the country, the plan includes a “limited contact period” for students Jan. 14-31.
During that period, students will be allowed to attend in-person classes, participate in work and worship engagements, and be outside, but will also be expected to limit their in-person contacts to people living on the same floor of a residence hall or the same apartment/residence.
While close to 40% of UW courses currently are slated to be delivered fully online in the spring, up from the usual figure of 15%, about 60% are planned to include in-person components during the Jan. 25-March 30 period.