UW returning to 'traditional' atmosphere for fall semester

WYOMING – The University of Wyoming announced its intentions to move forward with a traditional fall 2021 semester, featuring in-person experiences and fewer restrictions, due to the encouraging decline in COVID-19 infections and vaccine availability throughout the state.

The university determined to make the announcement now, as opposed to June, after the latest university board of trustees meeting.

The UW board adopted a resolution during its March 25 meeting to “fully reopen” the university for the fall semester “consistent with the health police guidelines and directives of the state and federal governments regarding COVID-19.”

Classes for the 2021 fall semester start Monday, Aug. 23.

“What we’re seeing with infection numbers and vaccine availability and acceptance has given us a high degree of confidence that we’ll have a pre-pandemic campus environment for the fall semester,” UW President Ed Seidel said. “Unless there’s a dramatic, unexpected development – such as an outbreak of some new dangerous COVID variant that is resistant to the new vaccines – we’ll be back fully in person this fall.”

As of the board’s meeting on March 25 the university had eight active COVID-19 cases, four students and four employees, all living off campus. The university’s testing program indicates an positivity rate drop from .34 percent at the start of the spring semester to .06 percent as of last week. Vaccines have already been made available to UW employees and are expected to be made available to all students 18 years and older in Albany County in the coming weeks.

“We’re encouraged at the level of acceptance of the vaccines by members of the UW community,” Seidel said. “Whereas a month ago we weren’t sure if students would have access to vaccines until later in the summer, it’s clear now that the rollout will be much sooner than that. We’re counting on the level of vaccine acceptance to continue at a high level.”