By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Dailyl
Laramie County Community College employees in Cheyenne and Laramie are being required to wear facemasks in college buildings due to a low rate of vaccination among the employees.
LCCC president Dr. Joe Schaffer sent out the mask guidance to LCCC employees on Thursday night, spokeswoman Lisa Trimble told Cowboy State Daily on Friday. The rules require masks when indoors on college property, including inside vehicles when social distancing is not possible.
Schaffer told employees that the requirement would be in place until either the COVID transmission risk levels in Laramie and Albany Counties is downgraded to at least moderate transmission or at least 80% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Of LCCC’s 364 employees, 206 have reported being vaccinated, which comes out to around 57%. The college would need at least 291 employees to verify they have been vaccinated for the requirement to end.
“Even when we meet these thresholds, we will continue to strongly recommend face coverings for all unvaccinated individuals,” Schaffer said.
While a mask requirement for students would be ideal, Schaffer said the college simply did not have the time or resources to enforce one, therefore masks are strongly recommended but not required for students.
Schaffer also said the college would continue to stock COVID testing supplies and make tests widely available to employees and students. Additionally, the college will re-implement surveillance testing of residence hall students who have not provided proof of vaccination.
Student athletes will be required to wear masks and be tested if they are not fully vaccinated when they are not competing.
Shaffer noted that due to the impacts COVID has had on the college’s human and fiscal resources, additional staffing and assistance would likely be required to implement the new rules.
The Cheyenne campus currently has 16 active cases, while the Laramie campus only has one.
Albany County had 150 active COVID cases as of Thursday, while Laramie County had 347.
The University of Wyoming was the first educational system in the state to implement a mask mandate for staff and students, and on Friday, the UW board of trustees voted to indefinitely extend the mandate.