800 UW courses move online amid COVID-19 - Casper, WY Oil City News
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800 UW courses move online amid COVID-19

File; Brendan LaChance, Oil City News

To execute its plan for the fall 2020 semester, the University of Wyoming says that they have 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 says they are moving certain large lecture course sections to be delivered completely online.

Students are reportedly being notified of these changes via their UW email accounts.

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While more than 800 courses have moved to fully online delivery this fall, more than 2,000 of UW’s courses currently have in-person components. UW says this represents approximately 65 percent of available courses.

The 35 percent of courses currently scheduled to be delivered completely online is up from the historical figure of 15 percent. UW says the uptick is 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 says it 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,” a UW statement said Monday. “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 reportedly 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.”

UW encourages current students log in to their WyoRecords accounts to learn how their schedules may be affected by these changes.

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: covid@cnchd.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.