Here's What UW Wants Its Community To Know About COVID-19

Mar 12, 2020

Credit public domain

In an announcement made Thursday afternoon, Acting University of Wyoming President Neil Theobald said spring break would be extended to two weeks, with students returning on March 30. And while the university is holding off on moving classes completely online, the extended break is meant to give faculty time to prepare for distance learning in case it becomes necessary.

The announcement came after Theobald called for the meeting Wednesday evening when the Wyoming Department of Health announced the state's first known case of COVID-19. That case was reported in Sheridan County.

Theobald clarified UW's travel policies. Despite an earlier announcement, there are no limitations on the ability of individuals who have traveled domestically to return to campus. However, people returning from a country currently at Warning Level 3 status have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus. That includes China, all countries in Europe, South Korea, or Iran.

Meanwhile, staff is expected to report for work. Though, Theobald recommended staff consult within their own departments to arrange work that can be completed from home.

Theobald said students with a fever, cough, or shortness of breath should call Student Health Services before visiting the clinic, and faculty and staff with said symptoms should call or visit their healthcare provider.

When it comes to study abroad opportunities through UW, many programs have been suspended, including those in China and South Korea. UW has also recommended all students studying in Europe this semester to return home immediately. Those students are being asked to self-monitor and self-isolate for two weeks. Upcoming Summer 2020 study abroad programming is still being sorted out by faculty-directed program leaders, as well as the university's education abroad partner.

UW said decisions will be guided by information from local, federal and international agencies including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO). More information on UW study abroad programming can be found here.

In the meantime, Theobald said crews have increased cleaning and disinfecting in places across campus with high-touch surfaces and restrooms.

An email hotline has been created for questions, though Theobald asked for it to be reserved for urgent inquiries. The university also provided a website with information on COVID-19 here.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Maggie Mullen, at mmullen5@uwyo.edu.