University of Wyoming halts return to in-person classes

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming has paused its planned return to in-person classes after announcing five students tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

University President Ed Seidel said the pause would be necessary to gather more information to reexamine reopening plans moving forward, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.

“We have planned and prepared for this possibility and are ready to evaluate and work toward resuming in-person operations,” he said.

The announcement came after the university said earlier this week that five or more positive COVID-19 tests from students or employees in Laramie in a single day would prompt a five-day pause where officials would decide on appropriate next steps.

Officials have told students to shelter in place during the break and only interact with people in their current living spaces. All classes will be held online during the pause and in-person activities are suspended.

Students scheduled to move into university housing are still able to do so this weekend, officials said.

The five-day period ends Sept. 9, two days after the school was expected to resume some in-person classes and less than two weeks after the university started school remotely Aug. 24.

University officials said Tuesday that about 50 students were in quarantine because of off-campus gatherings resulting in positive COVID-19 test results. Those students were already showing signs of the virus and underwent rapid testing. The school expected to receive more results Wednesday.

Residence Life and Dining Services will continue to provide food service and activities for residence hall students during the stoppage. Athletic facilities also remain open for necessary activities, and modified practices and workouts will continue.