By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A total of 42 University of Wyoming students and employees have so far tested positive for COVID-19 in required testing to start the fall semester, a test positivity rate of 1.2%.
However, a survey conducted during the university’s mandatory five-day testing program last week found that 66% of students and 88% of employees reported they had been vaccinated against coronavirus, a much higher percentage than indicated by self-reporting to UW’s Student Health Service and Human Resources.
“We’re encouraged by the results of this one-time testing event and the related survey on vaccination,” UW President Ed Seidel said. “While the numbers are incomplete, they show that we’re beginning the semester in conditions that will allow us to proceed with in-person classes and activities. We’re counting on those who’ve tested positive and those with whom they’ve had contact to isolate and quarantine as required by the state.
“Those who haven’t yet been vaccinated and are medically able should strongly consider doing so,” he continued. “Everyone should adhere to our indoor mask requirement to start the semester and follow basic health guidelines, such as staying home when you’re sick, so that we keep our infection numbers under control.”
A total of 9,296 students and employees were tested Wednesday through Sunday. The testing is required of all students and employees spending any time on campus this fall.
As of Monday, there are 70 active cases of COVID-19 among the UW community: 45 students off-campus, 18 students on-campus and seven employees. Some of the on-campus students have decided to isolate at home before returning to UW.
A much more limited testing program, also for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated, will resume the week of Aug. 30. Under that program, on a weekly basis, a random sample of 3% of the UW community will receive emails directing them to be tested.
Also as of Monday, 2,192 of UW’s total 2,897 total benefited employees, 75.7%, have reported they’ve received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. Adding in non-benefited employees, some of whom are students, 3,410 of UW’s 6,129 total employees, 55.6%, have reported receiving at least one dose.
As of Monday, 3,727 individual students have reported receiving at least one dose of a COVID vaccine on the Student Health Service portal, up from 3,216 one week ago.
The anonymous survey conducted during the testing program found that 4,402 students, or 66% of those who took the survey, said they’d been vaccinated. Of the employees who took the survey, 1,789 said they’d been vaccinated, or 88%.
“We had a good idea that many of our students and employees haven’t reported their vaccinations, and the survey indicates that’s indeed the case,” Seidel says. “We strongly encourage everyone to not only be vaccinated, but to also report their vaccinations.”
At this stage, the university continues to highly encourage, but not mandate, the COVID vaccine for faculty, staff and students, in concert with a directive from Gov. Mark Gordon.
Vaccinated, faculty, staff and students have been asked to report it to allow the university to track overall vaccination numbers. The information is not being used for any other purpose, except to enter those who’ve reported their vaccinations into the drawings for prizes.