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UW expands face covering requirement to campus visitors

(WTOK)
Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 7:11 PM CDT
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LARAMIE, Wyo. (PRESS RELEASE) - 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 board today (Thursday) approved the requirement as an adjustment to the university’s plan for the fall semester to mitigate spread of the novel coronavirus 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.

“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 them at those times.

UW is planning a resumption of in-person educational experiences for the fall semester, with classes beginning Aug. 24. 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. 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.

As of July 16, 47 cases of COVID-19 have been 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. One of the 47 was an employee of the university who tested positive for the infection in early July; he is believed to have contracted the virus at a private appointment off campus. While on campus, he had been complying with UW’s campus rules on physical distancing and face protection.

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.

For more information about COVID-19 at UW, visit the university’s website at www.uwyo.edu/campus-return; call (307) 766-COVD (2683); or email COVID19@uwyo.edu.

Copyright 2020 Wyoming News Now. All rights reserved.

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