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UW Works To Limit COVID Spread After Freshman Players Test Positive

in sports/University of Wyoming
6675

Eleven cases of COVID-19 and close contacts among the University of Wyoming’s freshman football players have prompted the university to take action to limit the spread of the virus in that group of students, employees and the broader community.

The 31 freshman players will not engage in any athletic activities — including practice, workouts and in-person meetings — and the members are encouraged to shelter in place, where possible, for one week. Limited contact is a critical component to the shelter in place. During this time, team members will attend classes virtually.

Additionally, all football team members are being tested today (Friday) for the virus, and anyone who may have had close contact with a team member will be contacted by UW’s COVID Hub for testing.

The positive cases involving freshman football players were detected in UW’s bridge testing program through Vault Health.

While UW’s freshmen have been practicing with their football teammates, the freshman locker rooms are separate. And the freshmen all live in UW’s residence halls, not with teammates in off-campus dwellings.

Still, out of an abundance of caution, UW’s football team will not practice until the additional test results are received over the weekend.

“We are hopeful that these actions will limit the spread of the virus to the freshman football team members and that the rest of the team can resume its preparations for the shortened season that begins Oct. 24,” Athletics Director Tom Burman says. “We have been fortunate to have very little COVID prevalence among our football team until now, in part because of our rigorous testing program that began in the summer. Our ability to move forward with our shortened season depends upon limiting the infection, and we’re taking all appropriate steps to do so, including the aggressive testing program adopted by the Mountain West Conference.”

There have been four cases of COVID-19 detected among students — athletes and non-athletes — on each of floors 10 and 11 of one of UW’s residence halls, White Hall. As a result, all of the students on those floors are being told to shelter in place as well. However, students on those floors who have not been in close contact with infected individuals will be allowed to go to in-person class and leave for work or religious activities.

The actions were taken in accordance with UW’s newly updated COVID-19 indicators and tactics for Phase 3 of the university’s fall return plan. These allow for UW to respond quickly to outbreaks of the virus in certain programs and facilities at the university with targeted interventions to limit the spread of the virus.

As of noon today, the total number of active cases among UW students and employees stood at 164 — 127 students living off campus, 32 students living on campus and five employees living off campus. Of the 164 total, 31 were to be moved from “active” to “recovered” during the day. Some 100 people are in quarantine due to exposure to someone infected by the virus — 16 students on campus and 84 people off campus.

Longtime sports reporter joins Game and Fish

in sports/Community
2076

Longtime Wyoming sports reporter Robert Gagliardi has left the world of newspapers for a position with the state Game and Fish Department.

Gagliardi, who spent 25 years covering sports for the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and WyoSports — a joint sports reporting service between the Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang — is the new associate editor for the Game and Fish Department’s Wyoming Wildlife Magazine.

Gagliardi said he felt that changes in the newspaper industry made it important for him to change directions in his career.

“The newspaper industry as a whole has changed and a lot of those changes aren’t good and those changes are having rippling effects even at places like Cheyenne and Laramie,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “I don’t envy the higher-ups that have to make some of these decisions, but in the end, I felt like for my own stability and even sanity … I just felt that change was needed.”

Gagliardi said he will miss coverage of the people involved in sports at the University of Wyoming and the state’s high schools.

“The games are fun, obviously big wins, even disappointing losses,” he said. “But to tell the stories of some of these young men and women and the coaches and administrators, everyone that entails sports, is probably the thing I’m going to miss the most.”

Gagliardi counted among his highlights as a sports reporter coverage of the University of Wyoming’s win over UCLA in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl, the Cowboys’ overtime victory at the New Mexico Bowl in 2009, the Cowgirl basketball team championship in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament in 2007 and the UW women’s basketball team appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2008.

Making the switch from reporter to sports fan might be difficult, Gagliardi admitted.

“I don’t know how to just sit and watch a game as either a fan or an observer because I haven’t done it since I got into this business,” he said. “I don’t know how to be a fan. That’s going to be an interesting transition.”

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