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UW Puts More Than 800 Courses Online

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To execute its plan for the fall 2020 semester, the University of Wyoming has made adjustments related to the delivery method for some courses and reduction of density in classrooms.

As indicated in the “Return to Campus” plan approved by the UW Board of Trustees, the university is moving certain large lecture course sections to be delivered completely online. Students are being notified of these changes via their UW email accounts.

While more than 800 courses have moved to fully online delivery this fall, 65 percent of UW’s courses — more than 2,000 — currently have in-person components. The 35 percent of courses currently scheduled to be delivered completely online is up from the historical figure of 15 percent, primarily due to physical distancing requirements stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We knew there would be a higher percentage of online-only courses than usual this fall, but we’re pleased that our students will still have mostly in-person opportunities. We have given priority to first-time students, as well as seniors and graduate students, in preserving these in-person experiences,” says Kyle Moore, associate vice provost for enrollment management. “At the same time, because of the increased number of courses offered online, students who aren’t comfortable being on campus should have plenty of opportunity to continue progressing toward their degrees.”

Additionally, the university has been working on assigning new room capacities to classrooms to accommodate social distancing requirements. These new seating capacities will allow for 6 feet of spacing for students and instructors. The reduced density will mean the experience for face-to-face classes this fall will include practices such as students rotating between spending time in the classroom and engaging in the course virtually on other days.

“Each instructor is building this rotation appropriate to their course needs and the number of students in the course,” says Steve Barrett, associate vice provost for undergraduate education.

Students will continue to have access to advising, tutoring and other services in both in-person and online formats.

“These services will be available for all students, no matter their preferred mode,” Barrett says. “Because of the unusual circumstances we’re in now, our approach is to provide maximum flexibility for everyone.”

Students are encouraged to log in to their WyoRecords accounts to learn how their schedules may be affected by these changes.

For more information about UW’s fall return plan, go to www.uwyo.edu/campus-return.

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UW Poll: Growing Number of Wyomingites Worried About Coronavirus Spread

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

A growing number of people surveyed by the University of Wyoming are worried about the spread of coronavirus in Wyoming.

The university’s Survey Research Center reported its July 14 survey of 504 Wyoming residents showed that 35.7% of those questioned are very or fairly anxious about the spread of the illness in Wyoming, an increase of 10 percentage points from the center’s last coronavirus-related survey in June.

Another 30.4% of those questioned said they were somewhat anxious, a decline of 3.1 percentage points, while 33.9% said they were not worried at all, a decline of almost 7 percentage points from June.

Among those responding to the survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%, 41.7% said they felt that the “worst is yet to come” in Wyoming from the virus, an increase of 14.1 percentage points from June.

Almost 23% said they felt the virus is not likely to be a major problem, a decline of 3.5 points from June.

However, almost half of those questioned, 49.4%, also said they felt confident Wyoming’s health care system can handle the virus.

The survey was the latest of a series conducted by the Survey Research Center to gauge the opinions of Wyoming’s residents on issues related to coronavirus. Those questioned came from the center’s “WyoSpeaks” panel of state residents who have indicated a willingness to respond to the center’s online surveys.

On other issues, those answering the survey’s questions seemed about evenly split over the idea of visiting outdoor events that drew up to 250 people. About 45% said they would be extremely or somewhat comfortable attending such events, while 43.3% said they would be somewhat or extremely uncomfortable.

When the number of attendees exceeds 250, 48.8% said they would be uncomfortable attending an outdoor event, while 40.4% said they would be comfortable. 

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UW Poll: Most Wyomingites Support Mandatory Mask Ordinance

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

Support among Wyoming residents for most measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus continued to decline in July, according to a survey conducted by the University of Wyoming.

However, the survey conducted by the UW’s Survey and Analysis Center also showed that more than half of those questioned would support a rule that would make the use of face masks mandatory for people visiting indoor public places.

The survey of 504 Wyoming residents conducted on July 14 and 15, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%, showed that fewer people in July supported actions such as closing public schools, daycare centers and restaurants than supported similar actions in June.

The closure of public schools was supported by 36.6% in July, a decline of more than 15 percentage points from June, while the closure of daycare centers was backed by 33.8%, a drop of more than 13 points since June. The closure of restaurants and bars was backed by only 27%, a decline of more than 5 points from June.

The one action supported by a growing number of those questioned was for limiting public gatherings, which was supported by 61.2% of those questioned in July, an increase of 3.9 percentage points from June.

Of those questioned, 56.4% said they would strongly or somewhat support a face mask requirement for indoor public places, while 35.7% said they would strongly or somewhat oppose such a requirement.

Support was much lower for the idea of requiring a face mask for people visiting outdoor public places. The survey showed 55.6% somewhat or strongly opposed of such an ordinance, while 34.7% would strongly or somewhat support it.

The survey also showed that those questioned are using face masks more often themselves.Of those questioned, 29.2% said in the last two weeks, they have always worn a face mask when visiting indoor public places, an increase from 25.2% asked the same question on June 8.

The number who reported they often or occasionally wear face masks indoors also went up slightly to 34.4%, compared to 29.2% in June.

Those who said they rarely or never wore masks when visiting indoor public places declined from 42.7% to 33.5%.

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University Of Wyoming Sees First Coronavirus Case

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The University of Wyoming has now seen its first confirmed case of the coronavirus, it announced Friday.

In a news release, the university said the case involves an employee who believes he contracted the virus at a private appointment off campus. The individual hasn’t been on campus since July 2 and has been self-isolating since July 3, when he began feeling ill.

The employee is now recovering at home and there is little campus exposure risk. Known contacts have been notified and UW officials are working with the Wyoming Department of Health.

“I think we all knew it would be just a matter of time before COVID-19 was detected among the UW community,” President Ed Seidel said in the news release. “We have taken proactive steps to minimize the spread of the virus on campus, and we would ask everyone now to be even more vigilant.”

Although a number of UW students were among the 39 other positive cases reported in Albany County as of Thursday, none were reported to be living in UW housing or working on campus.

University employees and students are required to wear face coverings while on UW-owned property or when conducting university business or activities.

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Wyoming Sees Surge In Miller Moths

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Poor wildflower growing conditions on Wyoming’s prairies are pushing miller moths into communities in search of food, resulting in the flocks of the insects being seen throughout the Front Range, a University of Wyoming extension entomologist said.

Reports have flooded in from all over Wyoming, Colorado and Montana about the influx of miller moths, a type of moth that’s abundant in the western region.

Miller moths are usually gray or dark brown in color, with a wing span of 1.5 to 2 inches. On their wings, the moths have fine scales that easily rub off.

UW entomologist Scott Schell told Cowboy State Daily that a wet spring and summer last year, combined with a drier winter and spring of this year, caused fewer wildflowers to produce on the prairie and near sagebrush steppes. Without flowers to feed on, the moths will come to towns and areas with a lot of water for food instead.

Schell’s heard reports of the moths from all over the state, particularly in southeast Wyoming, Niobrara County, Sublette County and the Big Horn Basin.

While the moths are a nuisance when in a home, they generally don’t cause any damage to buildings or furnishings, Schell said, because the moths don’t lay eggs in a house.

The moths are attracted to certain types of light, as they use the moon and other celestial lights to guide them on their flights.

To keep moths outside, Schell recommended sealing obvious openings, turning off unnecessary lights and switching to non-attractive yellow lights to keep the moths away.

He also suggested vacuuming the moths and releasing them outside or setting a trap by using small nightlights in various outlets and keeping a small dish of soapy water beneath each one. Moths will be attracted to the light, fall into the water and die.

Many birds, beetles and hunting wasps eat miller moths. Bears also feast on miller moths, especially the grizzlies in Yellowstone.

“The moths shelter under rocks and come out at night to feed on wildflowers, so during the day, the grizzlies will flip the rocks over and eat all the moths they find,” Schell said. “The millers are a tremendous source of nutrition for bears.”

Although miller moths have been taking over the Front Range for the last few weeks, Schell did say the end was in sight. The moths are migrating toward the high country and should be gone in the next couple weeks.

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University Of Wyoming To Mix In-Person, Online Learning For Fall Semester

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

The University of Wyoming will have a mix of in-person and online courses when students return for the, its board of trustees agreed Wednesday.

The board approved a plan for students to return to campus for the fall semester, contingent upon securing funding for implementation from the federal coronavirus relief act.

Under the plan, classes will begin Aug. 24 and end Dec. 4, but students won’t return to campus after the Thanksgiving break. All courses will move to online instruction beginning Nov. 23 and final exams will take place through distance technologies.

“UW is looking forward to welcoming students back to campus for the fall semester. While the united work of everyone to go online in March resulted in a successful spring semester, the message is clear that we need to return to the on-campus experience,” Acting President Neil Theobald said in a news release. “Over the last few months, our students, staff and faculty have helped develop a plan that puts us on a path to do so as safely as is reasonably possible during the era of COVID-19.”

The plan calls for various preparations, such as:

  • Faculty members and academic departments developing the best mix of in-person and online instruction, with classrooms scheduled in such a way to provide for social distancing;
  • All students and employees must be tested for the coronavirus within seven to 10 days of their return to campus. The university is arranging for saliva tests to be mailed individually to students and employees before the start of the semester;
  • Students and employees will have to take online coronvirus training;
  • Students and employees who have developed coronvirus-like symptoms must immediately report to a health care provider, self-quarantine and submit to a test. The university is considering giving coronavirus tests at intervals throughout the fall semester to all students employees, depending on test availability and cost;
  • While in communal spaces, students and employees will have to wear face coverings, which will be provided by the university. Visitors will be encouraged to do the same;
  • Employees and students will have to conduct daily temperature and symptom checks and self-report through a smartphone app made available by UW;
  • Extensive physical modifications will have to be made to ensure adequate social distancing and to reduce density. This may include suspending the use of small classrooms and meeting rooms, turning off communal water fountains and expanding the space between seats in rooms that are used, and
  • Residence hall rooms will be converted to single rooms only and the residential dining plan will be modified to facilitate social distancing.

The plan was developed with input from the Wyoming Department of Health and is designed to be adaptable to allow for changing conditions.

“While none of us can be certain about what the fall will look like, we’re doing everything we can to prepare for as much of the traditional on-campus experience as possible,” incoming President Ed Seidel said in the news release. “We’re looking forward to a successful semester. Ultimately, its success will depend upon the personal responsibility of everyone — and our ability to take action as needed. The planning group has done a very thorough job of preparing the university for this.”

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University Of Wyoming Ranked Nation’s Best College For Education Majors

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The University of Wyoming is the best college in the nation for education majors, according to a company that provides educational programs through video courses.

The company Study.com said the university’s wide variety of available education degrees and its low cost made the UW the most attractive university on its list of “50 Best Colleges for Education Majors in 2020.”

“… (Students) in its College of Education can earn impressive undergraduate, master’s or doctoral degrees in areas like early childhood education, elementary education or secondary education, K-12 education leadership, special education and educational research,” the company’s study said. “To make their excellent programs even more affordable, the College of Education offers almost 20 scholarship opportunities for graduate students and variety of undergraduate scholarships.”

The rankings are based on a number of factors, including the variety of programs offered, specialization options and the opportunities for hands-on teaching experiences.

“(UW) students have the chance to hands-on experience through internship opportunities, clinical experiences or even student-each while studying abroad,” the company said.

To see the rankings, visit https://study.com/resources/education-schools.

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Wyoming’s Logan Wilson Ready For NFL Draft

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By Cody Tucker, Cowboy State Daily

CHEYENNE — A representative from one of the NFL’s 32 teams will step up to some sort of virtual podium at the end of the week and utter these words into a microphone: “Logan Wilson, linebacker, Wyoming.”

For Wilson, it’s still surreal to think about. Five years ago, he strolled on to campus in Laramie as a 180-pound defensive back.

Fast forward to the biggest weekend of his life.

Wilson, now 6-feet, 2-inches tall and weighing in at 241 pounds, has 409 tackles under his belt. Tack on 10 career interceptions, seven sacks and five forced fumbles. That equates to a second-team All-American nod, first-team All-Mountain West selection, a finalist for the Butkus Award and a three-time team captain for Craig Bohl’s Cowboys.

Now, the pro football media is claiming the Casper product could be drafted anywhere from the third round to the fifth. Just today, Wilson was called a “sleeper.” He could sneak into the first round, according to some.

Why?

Because he has all the intangibles. All of those impressive numbers above, coupled with a blue-collar attitude and work ethic.

Wilson said the nerves haven’t set in yet, but the Natrona County grad knows they are coming.

He will likely become the 83rd Wyoming football player to hear his name called at the draft.

Wilson will be the first Cowboy linebacker selected since Mark Nzeocha went in the seventh round in 2015. Wilson will also be the first UW player from the Cowboy State to get that phone call since Buffalo’s Chris Prosinski went to Jacksonville in the fourth round of the 2011 draft.

If anyone understands the significance of this, it’s Wilson.

He proudly displays a headband with the Wyoming state flag plastered across it. He sported it at the Senior Bowl in Alabama and the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Wilson also wore it to UW’s Pro Day in Laramie, where he worked out in front of 23 NFL scouts. 

“That’s what makes Wyoming so special,” Logan said, referring to the fan support behind his course to professional football. “It’ll always be my home and I can’t wait to represent Wyoming the right way in this next part of my journey.”

Wilson knows he has an entire state behind him.

He’s watched his former teammate, Josh Allen, turn Wyoming — traditionally a Denver Broncos state — into the newest member of Bills Mafia. That’s another reason Wilson wants to let fans know Buffalo is a team that has been in contact with him.

Former Wyoming basketball player, Larry Nance Jr, knows all about the “Wyoming treatment,” too. When his Lakers traveled to Denver in 2015, hundreds flocked south of the border to Pepsi Center to see him.

“I felt like I was back playing in the Arena-Auditorium in Wyoming,” Nance told NBA.com that night. “It was really cool getting to hear the ‘Larry! chants, the fans screaming. It was awesome.”

Wait until the Bills visit Mile High Stadium this fall. And imagine if Wilson is on either team?

Wilson said he has had conversations with 17 NFL teams since his Wyoming career ended with a 38-17 Arizona Bowl victory over Georgia State. He got in one official visit to Philadelphia before COVID-19 shut the world down. He also met with four teams in Birmingham and four more in Indy.

Denver has called. So has Dallas, Atlanta, New Orleans and plenty of others.

Like he always does, Wilson is quietly going about his business, getting in workouts across from his father’s house at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper. He runs drills daily. He lifts weights. Sometimes his girlfriend joins him. Other times, his father will. 

Wilson will take his 4.63 40-yard dash and laser focus to any team that calls. With him, what you see is what you get.

What we’ve seen is pretty darn good.

“It’s all in God’s hands,” he said of his upcoming selection. “I’ve done what I’m supposed to do in these steps leading up to the draft, so, we will see where I end up. I’m relying on the fact that God will put me where I’m meant to be.”

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Who’s on Your Mount Rushmore of U.W. Cowboy Football?

in News/sports/University of Wyoming
4052

Former UW players Weigh-In On The Top Four Stars in Program History

By Cody Tucker, Cowboy State Daily

CHEYENNE — Sports are on a hiatus. That’s no secret.

Now, we are limited to online polls, all-time lists and dropping opinions about our favorite players, games, moments, etc. Daily, the University of Wyoming is asking fans on social media who the best players are in its storied history.

On my website, 7220sports.com, we just posted our 68th story in a series we call “Who wore it best.” Which UW football players “own” their jersey number is the basis of what was supposed to serve as a way to have new, fresh content on our site every day.

The best part for me is learning Cowboy football history.

For fans, it’s about the debate.

Let’s add to that — who would go on the Mount Rushmore of Wyoming football?

Four players who did more, meant more and own names that roll off the tongue from Tongue River to Evanston, Jackson to Pine Bluffs.

I’ve wrestled with this one. Only four? 

It has to be done. So, here goes:

Marcus Harris, wide receiver, 1993-96

For me, this one is a no-brainer. Harris was the NCAA’s all-time leading receiver when he left Laramie. He won the Biletnikoff Trophy, which is given to the nation’s top receiver. He still owns most of the pass-catching records in UW history: yards (4,518), receptions (259), single-season yards (1,650), single-game yards (260-Fresno State), single-game receptions (16-Iowa State). That’s just scratching the surface. Harris was also a Heisman Trophy candidate in 1996. He finished ninth in the voting. Harris was a seventh-round draft pick by the Detroit Lions. He never played a down in the NFL. That doesn’t matter when it comes to this vote.

Ryan Yarborough, wide receiver, 1990-93

Before that guy above broke every record in the book, they all belonged to Yarborough. He still owns the career touchdown mark at UW with 42, four more than Harris. Yarborough fit perfectly into Joe Tiller’s “basketball on grass” offense, hauling in 239 passes for 4,446 yards. He was a two-time All-American and held the NCAA record for most games with a touchdown reception with 27. “Yards” was a second-round pick of the New York Jets in 1994. He played just two seasons in the Big Apple and spent time with the Packers and Ravens. 

Mitch Donahue, defensive end, 1987-90

This super athlete came to Laramie thanks to Dennis Erickson, who spent just one season as the head coach at UW. He thrived under an “old guy no one knew,” Paul Roach. Donahue still owns the school’s all-time sack record with 49. That’s 19 more than his teammate, Pat Rabold. The Billings, Montana, product racked up a record 22 sacks in 1990. Three times that season — against Utah, New Mexico and UTEP — Donahue tallied three sacks in a game. He was a two-time Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Donahue was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round of the 1991 NFL Draft. 

Casey Bramlet, quarterback, 2000-03

This Wheatland product won just nine games during his four seasons at UW. It was one of the lowest periods of Cowboy football. Despite the mounting losses, Bramlet always seemed to give off a ray of hope. Bramlet owns the school record for career yards (9,684), pass attempts (1,378), completions (767). He has the second-most touchdown passes with 56. So why on earth would Bramlet make this list? He got sacked, hit and beat up — and he got up every single time. He was an All-Conference player in all four seasons. He went undrafted in 2001, but spent time with the Bengals and Redskins. He played in NFL Europe and won the MVP of the World Bowl as a signal caller for the Hamburg Sea Devils.

Now, let’s rip my picks apart.

Not one of these guys ever won a bowl game. All played in the 90’s and early 2000’s. None had sustained success in the NFL. 

What about Josh Allen? Where’s Jim Kiick? No Eddie Talboom, Jerry DePoyster, Ryan Christopherson, Brian Hill or Jay Novacek?

There are plenty of greats to choose from, but the main factor in my picks — I saw them all play with my own eyes.

I played the part of Marcus Harris in the backyard, playing catch with my buddies as a kid in Cheyenne. At age 12, I flew by myself to Las Vegas for the inaugural WAC title game against BYU. Josh Wallwork, Richard Peace, Jay Jenkins, Jim Talich … my list of favorites could go on and on.

Let’s see who some former UW football players would put on their Mount Rushmore:

Jeff Boyle (1997-2000): Marcus Harris, Ryan Yarborough, Conrad Dobler, Josh Allen

Jovon Bouknight (2002-05): Jay Novacek, Marcus Harris, Ryan Yarborough, Josh Allen

Mitch Donahue (1987-90): Jim Kiick, (coach) Paul Roach, Randy Welniak, Conrad Dobler

Chase Appleby (2014-16): Brett Smith, Josh Allen, Brian Hill, Mitch Donahue

Mitch Unrein (2006-09): Josh Allen, Marcus Harris, Mitch Donahue, Jay Novacek

Don Clayton (1975-78): Paul Nunu, Conrad Dobler, Aaron Kyle, Kevin McClain

Brian Hendricks (2008-11): Jay Novacek, Jim Kiick, Marcus Harris, (coach) Phil Dickens

Ryan Christopherson (1991-94): Mitch Donahue, Ryan Yarborough, Jay Novacek, Josh Allen 

UW Undergraduates To Finish Out Semester Online

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

All undergraduate courses at the University of Wyoming will be offered only online for the rest of this semester, the university announced Monday.

The university earlier had decided to extend its spring break by one week to give officials time to develop a plan to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.

On Monday, acting UW President Neil Theobald announced the plan to teach classes remotely.

“This response plan seeks to allow the university to best address the larger public health needs of the university community, Albany County and the state of Wyoming,” Theobald said in a news release. “We are invested in keeping our campus community members as health as possible.”

Theobald said students would be asked via an online survey to assess their limitations with and accessibility to the technology needed to take courses online.

Classes are scheduled to resume on March 30, allowing students to continue building credit toward graduation.

About 9,000 undergraduate students are enrolled at the university.

The university also urged students remaining in its residence halls to leave as quickly as possible and for those who have already left to plan not to return to campus after spring break.

Students who have no other housing options will be allowed to remain in the residence halls, Theobald said.

He added university employees would continue to work as usual.

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