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47 UW Students Quarantined After Being Exposed To COVID

in Coronavirus/News/University of Wyoming
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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

In the wake of parties that left 47 University of Wyoming students quarantined after coming in contact with the coronavirus, the university is cracking down on student parties where attendees fail to observe COVID-19 precautions.

University spokesman Chad Baldwin told Cowboy State Daily that the UW is paying more attention to student parties where people do not take sufficient steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus and may take action against those hosting or attending such events.

“Our vice president of Student Affairs (Kimberly Chestnut) said this is not our normal course,” Baldwin said. “We are not normally monitoring off-campus gatherings But these are unusual times and circumstances. For us to have a chance to have a successful semester, we have to do this.”

The development followed news Tuesday that 47 students had been quarantined since Monday because they were exposed to people with confirmed cases of coronavirus at social gatherings over the weekend.

The university has launched inquiries into the parties, Baldwin said, and will pursue “student conduct proceedings” against students found to have hosted or attended the parties. Those students will be on an interim suspension and will not be able to attend classes until the cases are resolved.

If found guilty of hosting parties, students can be suspended or permanently dismissed, while those attending parties can be placed on probation or suspended.

“Basically, where students were at off-campus events where the rules regarding COVID were being flouted, we intend to pursue some action,” Baldwin said. “This is a recognition that college campuses are particularly problematic when it comes to the spread of COVID and we have an impact on our community. We have a responsibility to minimize that impact.”

The university also announced that any students who host or attend “COVID parties” with the intent of spreading the virus may be permanently dismissed from the university.

Baldwin said there is no evidence that such parties are being held at the UW, but officials are responding to rumors of such parties being held at other colleges in the country.

The university is not cracking down on all parties, Baldwin said, only those where safety precautions are being ignored.

“We understand this is asking for a departure in behavior from college students,” he said. “Basically, if you can distance and wear a mask and you’re not passing around drinks or doing buffet-style food service, you’re probably OK.”

“It’s where there’s a very clear disregard for those measures where we’re going to crack down.”

The university has one of the lowest coronavirus infection rates among colleges nationally, Baldwin said, with 28 active cases, and the university would like to keep those numbers low.

“We have to stay on top of this stuff,” he said.

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UW, Casper College Report More Active Coronavirus Cases

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The coronavirus has been reported among students, faculty or staff at two colleges in Wyoming.

The University of Wyoming reported that seven coronavirus cases were detected among the university population during the first week of classes, all but one of the cases diagnosed in people who live off-campus.

Casper College reported three active cases, two students and one employee. The students were confirmed new positive cases the week of Aug. 22, while the employee was confirmed to be positive the week of Aug. 15.

UW has now seen 75 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began in March. With the recovery of 49 of those patients, the active case count at the UW stands at 26 as of Monday.

Of the current active cases at the university, one is a student living on campus, 19 are students living off-campus and six are university employees living off-campus.

The new UW cases reported in the past five days involve the one student living on campus, two employees in Laramie and four students living off-campus.

As of Monday, 12,779 tests have been processed by Vault Health at UW. A small number of employees and students have taken the test twice.

Casper College won’t report information in addition to the number of new and active cases on campus. No new information was posted Friday, which is when the college had earlier said it would update its coronavirus information.

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Dave Walsh To No Longer Call Cowboy Basketball Games

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By Cody Tucker, 7220 Sports

LARAMIE — Dave Walsh has been courtside inside the Arena-Auditorium, calling Wyoming basketball games for the past 36 seasons.

That will come to an end in 2020.

The “Voice of the Cowboys” will remain as the play-by-play broadcaster for UW football, but will step aside on the hardwood.

“I want everyone to know how honored I am to have had the opportunity to serve as the voice of both Cowboy Football and Basketball for all these years,” Walsh said in a release.

“I’ve really enjoyed calling Cowboy Basketball the last 36 years, but it’s time for me to start cutting back. I’m very excited to continue to call and concentrate on Cowboy Football. I look forward to continuing my relationship with Wyoming fans, student-athletes, coaches and the UW Athletics Department as the voice of Wyoming Football,” he said.

Sources have told 7220sports.com that Walsh will take on a role during home basketball broadcasts.

Reece Monaco, who has announced Cowgirl basketball games for nearly two decades and hosts football pregame shows, will replace Walsh on the play-by-play call. Monaco has also spent the past nine seasons as the sideline reporter for Cowboy football.

The Billings, Montana, native, has worked in Cheyenne for 1240 KFBC for nearly two decades.

Keith Kelley Monday was named the Cowgirls’ new play-by-play voice. Kelly has been the sports director at Cheyenne-based KFBC for more than 10 years. Kelley has served as a broadcaster for high school sports around the Cheyenne area. He has also called UW games in the past, most notably Wyoming’s home football game against Wofford in 2018.

“Dave Walsh is one of the top college play-by-play announcers in the country, and we have been fortunate that he made Wyoming home over three decades ago,” said Tom Burman, University of Wyoming Athletics Director.  “We are extremely happy that he has decided to continue his involvement with Wyoming Athletics, and we know fans will be excited to hear that, as well.”

Walsh, along with color commentator Kevin McKinney, have partnered for more than two decades in the radio booth. Known for his trademark victory call “The score, oh, the score,” Walsh was inducted into the University of Wyoming Hall of Fame in 2016. The San Diego native was also added to the Wyoming Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2015. Walsh is a nine-time Wyoming Sportscaster of the Year.

Walsh has been the school’s play-by-play broadcaster since 1985. Walsh was the color commentator for fellow UW Hall of Famer Curt Gowdy in 1984.

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One-Third Of UW CARES Money To Go To Out-Of-State Students

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

More than half of the University of Wyoming’s student population applied for and will receive at least some of the CARES Act funding Gov. Mark Gordon made available earlier this month, spokesman Chad Baldwin told Cowboy State Daily this week.

Of the 6,256 grant applications received, 2,096 were from out state, most of them undergraduate students. This was 33% of the applications received.

Gordon announced earlier this month that full-time undergraduate and graduate level students, including both resident and non-resident students, will receive up to $3,250 for the fall semester to help cover non-tuition school costs.

To be eligible for the grant, students must be U.S. citizens and be financially impacted by the coronavirus.

Baldwin also provided numbers that showed the applications for admission to the University of Wyoming submitted in the two-week period between Aug. 10 and 24 doubled compared to the numbers submitted during the same period in in 2018 and 2019.

The university received applications from 265 students, all of whom were admitted, over the two-week period between the announcement of the grant program and the start of classes Monday. Just over a quarter of those applicants, 76, applied for the CARES grant, 70 of them residents and only six non-residents.

“As you can see, the response since announcing the CARES funding on Aug. 10 has been incredibly positive,” Baldwin said.

It should be noted that the money is prorated dependent on how many credit hours a student is taking at the university. If a student is enrolled full-time, he or she will receive the full grant.

Non-resident students were required to be enrolled in at least one face-to-face course for the semester to be eligible for the grant.

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UW Athletics Dept To Lose $15 Million With Cancellation of Football

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Published with permission from 7220.com

LARAMIE — In a 2:10 video posted to social media Wednesday, Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman called the ongoing cornavirus pandemic the “greatest adversity we have ever faced.”

That could be a giant understatement.

UW’s athletic department is set to lose upward of $15 million after the Mountain West Conference announced nearly two weeks ago that the league would postpone all fall sports, including the cash cow, football.

That means no television money, no butts in the seats, hot dogs, beers or ticket sales, among many other amenities.

What does that boil down to?

Less funding for scholarships, food, travel, medical care, uniforms and other needs for the university’s 400-plus student-athletes.

“Now is thew time to support our student athletes like never before,” Burman says in the video entitled, “WHYoming NOW.”

In roughly 48 hours, UW supporters — 141 donors, to be exact — have raised $183,731 of a million-dollar goal set by the school.

“In response to the financial challenges ahead, UW Athletics is launching the WHYoming NOW campaign,” says a press release issued by the university. “By giving to WHYoming NOW, you will be protecting the future of our student-athletes, alumni and fans and will be helping to maintain the proud tradition of Cowboy and Cowgirl Athletics that has been built over decades. Current projections show that a revenue loss approaching $15 million is possible, which would negatively impact the future of Wyoming Athletics.”

Another surprise source of income has come from Wyoming season ticket holders. According to Davis Potter of the Casper Star Tribune, fans have allowed the school to keep roughly $120,000 in ticket sales.

Burman mentions in the video above that “tough decisions will have to be made” if the school can’t replace funds lost in the fall. That could include furloughs in the athletic department, cuts in budgets and the loss of certain sports. The University of Iowa Thursday discontinued men’s gymnastics, both swimming and diving teams and men’s tennis.

“I know the Wyoming community will respond and we will get the job done,” Burman said.

If you want to donate to University of Wyoming athletics, you can do that right HERE.

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Man Breaks Into University Of Wyoming Apartment, Flees

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The University of Wyoming Police Department is on the lookout for a man who broke into a university apartment late Monday night, according to an alert sent out by UW around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

A man was seen coming into the apartment through a kitchen window. When confronted, he left the area on foot.

He’s described as a white man, around 40 years old, 5-foot-9 with a slightly heavy build and dirty blond hair. He was wearing a dark shirt and dark trucker hat.

The suspect hasn’t been identified, and the report is under investigation by the UW Police Department.

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the Laramie Police Department (307-721-2526) or UWPD (307-766-5179).

As a safety precaution, it is recommended that students always keep all windows and doors locked.

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38 Coronavirus Cases Found Among University Of Wyoming Students, Staff

in Coronavirus/News/University of Wyoming
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Nearly 40 cases of the coronavirus have been discovered among students and staff at the University of Wyoming.

The university reported there were 38 active cases among the two groups. Two involved students living in residence halls and they have now been moved to isolation housing.

The affected areas in the residence halls have been thoroughly cleaned. The other 36 cases involve students and employees living off campus, some in communities outside of Laramie.

All of them are isolating at their homes. Eight people who had close contact with the two students in the residence halls are now in quarantine housing for 14 days.

Vault Health, the company conducting testing for the university, has processed 8,260 tests.

Here is the breakdown of the new cases, in addition to the two students in the residence halls:

  • Six are students self-isolating in other cities and states, including Casper, Riverton, Sheridan, Colorado, New Jersey and South Dakota.
  • Nine are students in Laramie living in off-campus housing who have had no presence on campus.
  • Six are UW employees, now isolating at home. The facilities where they work have been cleaned according to current disinfection protocols.
  • Four were “past positives” who have recovered.
  • Five are individuals the university is attempting to contact.

The total of UW-related coronavirus cases since the pandemic began is 50. Twelve of the individuals have recovered.

In Albany County, 85 total cases have been reported as of Aug. 16.

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University Of Wyoming To Do Phased Reopening For Fall Semester

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Instead of convening for in-person classes on Aug. 24, the University of Wyoming will instead conduct a phased reopening plan for the fall semester.

Classes will begin as planned on Aug. 24, but they will all be held virtually for the first few weeks of the semester, and the student population in Laramie will be capped for the time being. By mid-September, some classes will go back to in-person instruction and more students will be allowed on campus, according to a release shared by the university.

In late September, all students will be allowed back on campus for in-person instruction for eight weeks of courses. After Thanksgiving break, classes will again switch back to online instruction.

“We understand that this is a significant change for our students and families, complicating decisions regarding travel and other issues,” President Ed Seidel said in the release. “However, this approach greatly increases the likelihood of our students having an opportunity for an on-campus experience in the safest manner possible, and avoiding an outbreak during the semester that would cause an even bigger disruption.”

All UW students and employees are being required to take free coronavirus saliva tests before returning to campus.

The university also is working to develop a comprehensive surveillance testing program that will involve employees and students on campus being tested twice a week during the semester. That program isn’t expected to be fully operational until Sept. 28, one of the reasons the semester will start Aug. 24 with all courses online.

Random-sample testing will take place Aug. 24 through Sept. 25 for students and employees who are on campus.

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SOURCES: Mountain West Cancels All Fall Sports; Will Look Toward Spring

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By Cody Tucker, 7220 Sports

LARAMIE — The 124th season of Wyoming football will have to wait.
The Mountain West Conference Monday canceled all fall sports due to concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, sources told 7220sports.com.

“(We) will likely postpone until spring,” a source told 7220 Sports today at 10:34 a.m.

Stadium.com is also reporting that the league will not play this fall.

The MWC joins the Mid-American Conference as the only two Group of Five conferences to cancel the season thus far.

The Cowboy football team was scheduled to begin fall training camp Tuesday. The other fall sports — volleyball, cross country and women’s soccer — were also getting underway in Laramie.

It was also reported Monday that the Big Ten Conference would be shutting things down this fall, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The conference has not made an official announcement as of this writing, but is expected to be the first Power-5 league to pull the plug due to COVID-19 concerns.

UConn was the first FBS team to call it quits. Old Dominion didn’t wait for Conference USA to say the word, they announced Monday morning that they would also forgo a fall season.

With the MWC announcement, 26 FBS programs have already called it quits.

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Wyoming Supreme Court Denies University Of Wyoming Gun Case Appeal

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The Wyoming Supreme Court will not hear a challenge to the University of Wyoming’s ability to regulate firearms on its property, a divided court has decided.

Justices, in a 3-2 decision, declined to review the case of Lyle Williams, who was charged in 2018 with trespass for carrying a firearm into the university’s conference center in violation of UW rules.

As is traditional, the order issued by the Supreme Court on Tuesday did not disclose the reasons why the justices chose not to review the case. However, it did note that Chief Justice Michael Davis and Justice Keith Kautz believed Williams’ petition for a review of a district court judge’s previous ruling met the standards for Supreme Court action.

The state’s rules for appeals to the Supreme Court say that for a request for review to be granted, the issue to be reviewed must involve “a controlling question of law as to which there are substantial bases for difference of opinion …”

The order means the decision of District Judge Tori Kricken upholding the university’s ability to regulate firearms on its property remains in place.

The case stems from a citation issued to Williams, an Evanston resident, in 2018 while attending the Wyoming Republican Party’s convention in Laramie. The convention was held in the UW conference center.

Williams, who was carrying a handgun in the center, was asked by university police to leave the building because of UW rules banning firearms on university property and was cited for trespass, a misdemeanor.

Williams challenged the citation on the grounds that state law forbids local governments from regulating firearms.

But Kricken ruled that the university is an “alter ego” of the state and as such can regulate firearms on its property. Kricken also rejected Williams’ arguments that the rule is contrary to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, finding that there are limits to the amendment’s reach and that universities must be able to regulate firearms in “sensitive places” to protect students.

“Simply stated, the regulation and prohibition of the possession of firearms in sensitive places falls outside the scope of the Second Amendment,” she wrote.

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