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UW Lifts Requirements for Masks, Distancing

(KGWN)
Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 11:55 PM CDT
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LARAMIE, Wyo. (Release) - Requirements for social distancing and the wearing of masks at the University of Wyoming have been lifted, following action by the Wyoming Department of Health.

Effective today, the university is only recommending masks and distancing for those who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19, continuing UW’s transition to a traditional fall 2021 semester.

UW’s Board of Trustees voted earlier this month to follow state Department of Health orders, which required masks in educational settings indoors only when social distancing couldn’t be maintained. The agency removed that requirement for higher education institutions Friday.

The Board of Trustees’ and Department of Health’s actions followed new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that people who are fully vaccinated can go without masks or physical distancing in most cases, even when they are indoors or in large groups.

A mask requirement remains in place for UW Transit Service buses, in accordance with federal guidelines for public transportation.

UW announced earlier that it’s proceeding with plans for face-to-face classes at maximum capacity this fall, along with face-to-face student engagement programs, in-person athletics experiences and the like. The Board of Trustees voted March 26 to “fully reopen” the university “consistent with the health policy guidelines and directives of the state and federal governments regarding COVID-19.”

In concert with a directive from Gov. Mark Gordon, UW is not requiring employees or students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 -- though they’re strongly encouraged to do so. Those who are vaccinated are required to report it -- to allow the university to track overall vaccination numbers.

As of today, 2,045 of UW’s 2,928 full-time, benefited employees -- 70 percent -- have reported having received at least one dose of the vaccine. Adding in non-benefited workers, 3,181 of 6,101 employees -- 52.1 percent -- have reported receiving at least one dose.

Students who receive their COVID-19 vaccinations should upload documentation to the Student Health Service patient portal as soon as their vaccine series is complete. This is as simple as taking a photo of your vaccination document and uploading the picture here: http://patientportal.uwyo.edu, using your regular UW user ID and password.

For employees, a quick reference guide has been created to help record this information within HCM.

Employee Prize Winners

UW employees who’ve reported being vaccinated continue to be eligible for a weekly prize drawing.

Today’s prize winner is Gwen Cameron, of UW’s EPSCoR office. She receives a weekend gear rental from the UW Outdoor Program. Last week’s winner, from the Small Business Development Center, elected to not be identified. He won AirPods Pro ear buds.

Names are drawn weekly for prizes from the total pool of employees who’ve reported being fully vaccinated. If you are unable to be vaccinated due to medical or religious reasons, you may contact Human Resources to participate in the drawing.

The university is developing an incentive program for students to be vaccinated as well.

COVID-19 vaccines are now readily available to the public and can be scheduled at Walmart, Walgreens, Pole Mountain Pharmacy, Ridley’s, Stitches Acute Care, Laramie Pediatrics, Albany Community Health Clinic, Ivinson Medical Group, the Downtown Clinic and Family Physicians of Laramie.

Those who need assistance to travel for their vaccinations may request rides by calling UW Transit and Parking Services at (307) 766-7433. Requests should be scheduled in advance, if possible. Callers should indicate if the transportation is vaccination related and if any special accommodations are needed.

Students and employees leaving Laramie for the summer can go to https://vaccinefinder.org/search/ and learn where vaccines are available. They can even narrow the search to look for a particular type (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) in up to a 50-mile radius of the zip code they enter.

Employees who experience reactions from the vaccines are eligible to use emergency sick leave with pay as described in the university’s COVID-19 leave policy.

Limited Testing After June 30

While requirements for masks and distancing this summer have been lifted, other parts of the previously approved summer plan remain. Employees who are fully vaccinated are allowed to travel with no requirement for COVID-19 testing; those who are not vaccinated must be tested prior to trips. Until June 30, gatherings and events on campus are limited to 50 percent of venue capacity; effective July 1, that restriction will be lifted and venues will be able to operate at 100 percent capacity.

The university’s requirement for students and employees spending time on campus to be tested for the virus at least once per week will be lifted July 1, as will use of the COVID Pass.

To help track the prevalence of the virus among the community, UW is making plans for a limited testing program beginning July 1. It will consist of voluntary diagnostic testing that is free to the public, staff, faculty and students; and random sample diagnostic testing of 3 percent of the entire UW community on a weekly basis. Faculty, staff and students who have been fully vaccinated for two weeks -- or who have been tested in the previous five days -- will be able to opt out of the random sample testing.

As of today, there are nine active cases of the virus reported by UW’s COVID-19 Hub -- four students living off campus, two students on campus and three employees.

More information about UW’s COVID-19 response can be found at www.uwyo.edu/campus-return, which is being updated as information becomes available. Those with questions about testing and other COVID-19 issues may call (307) 766-COVD (2683) or email COVID19@uwyo.edu.

Questions specifically about the vaccine should be emailed to COVIDVX@uwyo.edu. A UW vaccine webpage has been established at www.uwyo.edu/alerts/campus-return/vaccination.

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