CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming and Laramie County Community College say they will not require students and employees to receive COVID-19 vaccines before returning to campus next school year.
Federal statistical models show that Wyoming is home to the most vaccine-hesitant counties in the country, the Casper Star-Tribune has reported.
“We are working hard to provide (students and employees) with good resources so they can make informed decisions about whether or not they choose personally to get the vaccine,” Lisa Trimble, associate vice president of institutional advancement for Laramie County Community College, told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.
The campus in Cheyenne shut down in-person instruction last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic and reopened this fall to mostly online learning, with a few exceptions. The college is now expecting to reopen next fall to mostly in-person learning.
“Going into the start of the fall semester, we will continue to require face masks and encourage social distancing as much as possible just to continue to keep people safe,” Trimble said.
The University of Wyoming, which said Monday that more than half of its full-time, benefited employees were vaccinated, has taken a similar approach.
The university held limited in-person classes last semester and opened up more in-person class options a few weeks ago. It plans to resume traditional campus operations next fall. Employees are given incentives to get vaccinated, such as electronics and football tickets.
“We’re not requiring the vaccine at this point. We’ve not said that will never be the case, but I’m not sensing any big push to do that,” said Chad Baldwin, associate vice president of institutional communications.
Students and employees who do get vaccinated are required to report it to the university.
More than 32% of Wyoming's population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 23% of the population is fully vaccinated.