UW reduces restrictions for summer semester

WYOMING – The University of Wyoming announced masks will no longer be required outdoors on campus and fully vaccinated employees will be allowed to travel with no requirement for COVID-19 testing starting May 8, just in time for its summer semester.

UW employees who have been working remotely for the past year will begin moving back to their offices starting June 7. The university’s requirement for students and employees spending time on campus to be tested for the virus at least once per week, as well as the COVID Pass, will be lifted on July 1.

These decisions were made because of the declining cases of COVID-19 statewide and the availability of vaccines. Recently, all UW students were made eligible to get vaccinated.

The only restrictions remaining among UW facilities, staff and students are: indoor mask requirements except when individuals are alone in their offices and other personal spaces and the requirement for distancing at events and gatherings, with no more than 50 percent of the facilities’ capacity.

Masks will be encouraged, but not required, for outdoor gatherings.

UW officials stated these plans could change on a weekly basis before and during the summer term with guidance from state and federal agencies.

“While we’re not in a position to completely return to a pre-pandemic environment this summer, these changes will move us that much closer to where we plan to be when the fall semester starts Aug. 23,” UW President Ed Seidel said. “We’re confident that, combined with widespread availability and acceptance of COVID vaccines, the continuation of some measures this summer will allow us to be back fully in person this fall with even fewer restrictions – barring a dramatic, unexpected development such as an outbreak of some new dangerous COVID variant that is resistant to the new vaccines.”

UW announced last month its fall semester would be at full capacity.

The university encourages students and employees to get vaccinated. As of last week 14,000 county residents had received at least the first dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

Students have been reminded that those doses come weeks apart and those not planning to return to Laramie for the rest of the spring or summer should be vaccinated in their home communities.

“Vaccines truly are the key to putting the pandemic behind us. Shown to be safe and highly effective, they are a major triumph of science in the public service,” Seidel said. “As more and more of our students, faculty and staff are vaccinated, our ability to remove restrictions will increase, and our fully in-person fall semester will have a great chance of being the pre-pandemic type of experience we all remember and long for.”

Seidel recently received a second dose of the Moderna vaccine.

Vaccinations aren’t required but students and employees must report their vaccinations once they’ve received them, so the university can track its overall vaccination numbers.

Students who receive their COVID-19 vaccinations should upload documents to the Student Health Service patient portal.