Visitors to the University of Wyoming campus and other UW-owned facilities are required to wear face coverings, the university’s Board of Trustees has decided.
The announcement was made by the University Thursday evening. According to the written statement the board approved the requirement as an adjustment to the university’s plan for the fall semester to mitigate spread of COVID-19.
UW employees and students already are required to wear face coverings while on UW-owned property or when conducting university business or activities, including instruction and research.
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“We appreciate the board’s support of taking another step to create as safe an environment as possible for our students, employees, visitors and surrounding communities,” UW President Ed Seidel says. “It has been well documented that wearing of masks and other practices help lower the risk of transmitting the virus to others and also may provide some degree of protection to ourselves, as well.”
One exception to the policy on face coverings is that people alone in closed-door offices, or in their residence hall rooms, don’t have to wear masks at those times.
“UW is planning a resumption of in-person educational experiences for the fall semester, with classes beginning August 24,” the UW statement continues. “The university has nearly completed development of a COVID-19 policy that will outline the rule on face coverings as well as other guidelines, including physical distancing and what to do if you develop symptoms that might indicate coronavirus infection.”
The University says that consequences for violation of the policy include disciplinary action through the Student Code of Conduct, for students, and the employee handbook, for faculty and staff members.
Visitors who refuse to comply with the rule on face coverings could be ordered off of campus.
“Among the guiding principles for UW’s fall return plan are keeping the virus out to the extent possible; reducing the probability of transmission; rapidly identifying and containing cases; and reducing environmental contamination by modifying teaching, research, work and communal spaces to reduce human density and increasing cleaning and disinfecting of all UW facilities,” UW’s Thursday statement continued.
As of July 16, there were 47 cases of COVID-19 reported in Albany County.
“A number of those positive cases were UW students or people of traditional college age; none were reported to be living in UW housing or working on campus,” school officials say.
One of the 47 was an employee of the university who tested positive for the infection in early July; officials say he is believed to have contracted the virus at a private appointment off campus.
“All UW students and employees will be required to take an at-home saliva test for COVID-19 before returning to campus in August, and employees of the university’s public-facing units that have opened this summer have been tested as well. Additionally, all 288 UW student-athletes who have returned to campus this summer have received nasal-swab tests, with all testing negative for the virus,” UW said.
The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:
What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.
If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.
Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.
For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.