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ROCK SPRINGS — The COVID-19 protocols for Western Wyoming Community College’s spring 2022 semester were approved by the board of trustees at the meeting on Thursday, Jan. 13.

During the Oct. 19 meeting, the board of trustees voted to “relax” the COVID-19 face covering restrictions.

It was decided that face coverings would be required “where social distancing could not be maintained” while in classrooms, including laboratories and clinicals; college vehicles; small office spaces; theater events and performances; Children’s Center staff, if they were not fully vaccinated.

The agenda states that the administration is recommending to the board that the current face covering mandate “be expanded to include an additional five days for a student or community member who is returning to campus following a positive test and five days of isolation.”

In addition, the administration is also recommending that the current face covering mandate “immediately expire in all other areas, and face coverings become ‘strongly recommended’ for those who are unvaccinated, are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or in areas where social distancing cannot occur.”

For athletes, the agenda states that the administration is recommending that student surveillance testing for COVID-19 to continue before travel and “be immediately suspended otherwise unless requested by a student.”

There are also protocol recommendations for employees that will be presented and voted on at the meeting.

Like the recommendations for students and community members, the administration is recommending that that the face covering mandate be expanded an additional five days following a positive test and isolation.

It is also being recommended for employees that the face covering mandate immediately expire in all other areas.

According to the meeting’s agenda, the college’s positive COVID-19 case numbers have continued to be low.

“At the time of this writing, the college has one positive case among students or staff. This may change as students and faculty return to campus following the winter break.”

The agenda also states that over the past few weeks, Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County has seen a “significant decrease in positive COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks.”

“Administration believes that over the past two years, the college has been proactive in implementing measures to help keep its stakeholders safe from COVID-19. At this time, administration believes it is the role of each individual to take personal responsibility for his/her health by practicing CDC safety protocols in our battle against COVID-19.

“This includes the use of vaccines or vigilant use of face coverings. We also believe it is the role of each individual to respect choice, space and protection of others.”

Western’s president Dr. Kim Dale expressed her thoughts concerning how the college has handled the COVID-19 pandemic during the meeting.

“Our college has done a really really wonderful job of protecting students, faculty, staff and our community,” said Dale. “I’m proud of the work that we’ve done over the past two years.

“I can speak for administration, we believe that it’s time to remove mandates and implore personal responsibility for these types of decisions in protecting ourselves and others.”

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