UW trustees extend mask requirement

Masks will continue to be required inside most University of Wyoming buildings where 6-foot social distancing isn’t possible, following action by the UW Board of Trustees.

The board has voted to extend the mask policy, as Albany County remains in the Wyoming Department of Health’s “high transmission levels” category for COVID-19. As of this past week, there were 32 active cases among UW students and employees — 18 students off campus, 10 students on campus and four employees.

“Our indoor mask requirement has helped us have a traditional fall semester without a spike in COVID cases, and we appreciate the willingness of our community members to do their part by complying,” President Ed Seidel said in a news release. “It will be important for us to maintain a high level of compliance before and after the Thanksgiving break so that we can complete a successful semester.”

The mask policy will be revisited at the Dec. 15 teleconference meeting of the board, when the COVID-19 plan for the spring semester – including any mask requirement – will be presented. As it did at the start of the fall semester, UW plans to conduct required COVID testing of all employees and students who will spend any time on campus in the spring semester the week of Jan. 17, followed by weekly random-sample testing of 3% of the UW community.

Exceptions to the indoor mask requirement are voluntary public events such as athletics and music, theater and dance performances; voluntary social events; and private, by-invitation events that involve rental and/or use of UW spaces on campus. Employees and students who have legitimate medical reasons to not wear masks can seek exceptions.

More information about UW’s COVID-19 response can be found atuwyo.edu/campus-return, which is being updated as information becomes available.

Community Holidays needs donations

Christmas is fast approaching and Community Holidays is working hard to make the holiday season a bit merrier for some of our neighbors during another Christmas with COVID-19.

Dozens of local residents are shopping for others in the community, folks of all sizes and ages, to ensure that Christmas will come to their homes.

Community Holidays also wants to make sure each applicant this year receives a grocery food card to help with holiday meals.

If you would like to contribute to the effort, send a check in any amount to Community Holidays, c/o First Baptist Church, 1517 E. 15th St., Laramie, WY 82072.

Your donation will help provide good food during December to a number of families and will be much appreciated.

Outdoor rec agencies to meet in Laramie

The Wyoming Office of Outdoor Recreation facilitates several outdoor recreation collaboratives convened throughout the state by Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails.

These initiatives bring together local community members, recreation stakeholders, businesses, conservation groups, federal and state agencies, and elected officials to identify and prioritize opportunities for the growth and enhancement of outdoor recreation.

For southeast Wyoming, the Great Divide Outdoor Recreation Collaborative (Laramie, Albany and Carbon counties) will meet from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Albany County Public Library in Laramie. Join virtually at https://meet.google.com/vck-pkwi-iny or dial 252-574-6135, PIN: 380 052 988#.

Members of the public are welcome to attend collaborative meetings in person or virtually. There will be a designated time for public comment near the end of each meeting.

Established by recommendation of the 2017 Governor’s Outdoor Recreation Task force, the Office of Outdoor Recreation aims to diversify Wyoming’s economy by expanding, enhancing, and promoting responsible recreational opportunities through collaboration, outreach, and coordination with stakeholders, landowners, private industry and public officials.

Learn more about the office and future community collaboratives by following on social media or visiting wyorec.com.

Gordon’s call for ideas brings in big proposals

Earlier this year, after Wyoming received the first installment of money from the American Rescue Plan, Gov. Mark Gordon asked a Strike Team to work on big ideas that would help Wyoming drive toward a future where its citizens will thrive.

Now, there are more than $3 billion in proposals that the Strike Team is evaluating.

Many of these proposals will not qualify for the $1 billion of American Rescue Plan funds, but could qualify for other one-time funds or be funded through the new infrastructure funding package. A list of the draft proposals can be found on a dedicated section of the governor’s website.

The governor released his strategy for Wyoming’s future in June, which has 11 goals, now down to 10. Since that time, the Governor’s Office has continued to make public presentations on this planning effort and take input from elected officials from across the state, as well as members of his cabinet, who have worked with stakeholders on these ideas.

The governor’s website has information on the projects and a page where the public can provide input. In December, the governor will present his proposal for how to spend the American Rescue Plan funds Wyoming received. Distribution after that point will be decided by the Legislature. The American Rescue Plan has a timeline that dollars must be spent by the end of 2026, which provides additional time for strategic evaluation.

Some of the big ideas include:

  • Investing in housing, spurring more supply for workforce, working families, veterans and the homeless
  • Carbon capture and storage facilities to support the drive toward commercialization
  • Small business support programs
  • Expansion of broadband connectivity
  • Funding the Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust to improve habitat
  • A grant program for new outdoor recreation facilities and trails
  • A grant program for health care and human service facilities
  • Workforce development grants for students to get new skills and jobs while meeting industry needs
  • Telehealth investments
  • Suicide prevention funding
  • Support for emergency medical services
  • Water infrastructure improvements
  • Two new state parks
  • Wildlife and highway crossings

To view all of the proposals, visit http://drivethrive.wyo.gov/.

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