NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, Mar. 25, 2020


UW looks to alternative grading options for semester

LARAMIE (WNE) – University of Wyoming administrators are scheduled to ask the board of trustees to approve allowing students to select having their current semester’s courses graded on a “satisfactory” and “unsatisfactory” basis.

Trustees are set to consider the measure during a Thursday conference call, when administrators will provide more details about their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led UW to move all coursework online for the remainder of the semester.

“The optional (satisfactory-unsatisfactory) grading strategy will ease the necessary transitions into remote course delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic, relieve undue stress, and promote strong engagement,” administrators wrote in their request to the trustees.

Students who select that grading option would be able to have their grades this semester not count toward their cumulative grade-point average.

Under UW’s regulations, students can typically only move that grading system during the university’s add-drop period, which ended Feb. 5 this semester. Under the administrators’ proposal, students would be able to opt-in to the GPA-less grading system through April 17.

For students that opt-in, grades of A, B and C count as “satisfactory” while Ds and Fs earn the mark of “unsatisfactory.”

In the last week, COVID-19 has continued to upend UW’s operations.

Most facilities closed to the public last week. After initially keeping Coe Library and the Wyoming Union open, UW closed both buildings Monday. Coe’s computer lab remains open to students. With Coe now closed, all rented materials aren’t due back until May 18.  The Washakie Dining Center is currently remaining open 3.5 hours each day for UW students remain on campus with meal plans.

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Carbon County health official: free condoms still available during coronavirus crisis

RAWLINS (WNE) — With the COVID-19 virus sweeping through the world at an alarming rate, people are being asked to stay home and self-isolate.

If you happen to have an intimate partner you’re isolating with, those fun nights of "Netflix and chill" might turn into something not quite as family-friendly.

Carbon County Public Health communicable disease unit coordinator Megan Cragun knows how quickly cuddling on the couch could evolve, so she has put out a funny, yet serious, reminder on her Facebook page.

“I think I said something about avoiding the next generation of ‘Coronials’ or something like that,” Cragun said, laughing. “Everybody’s on lockdown right now, so it just seems like a good time to promote that the virus isn’t the only thing that can spread quickly.”

Free condoms are available at all of the local family planning or public health nursing clinics in the county and the state. 

If you’d rather stay home, though, free condoms can be shipped to your door through KnoWyo.org. The health offices offer latex-based and latex-free condoms, as well as dental dams, a latex or polyurethane sheet used during oral sex.

Cragun joked about a possible baby boom in December and early next year, but also reiterated that condoms did much more than just prevent pregnancy. Condoms will decrease the chance of the transmission of a sexually transmitted infection or HIV. However, the only 100% guarantee to avoid any of these possibilities is abstinence.

 

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Wyoming Democratic caucus moved to mail-in only

ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — In light of increasing COVID-19 cases and public health measures, the Wyoming Democratic Party (WDP) has adjusted its presidential preference caucus to mail-in voting only.

"Moving to an all mail-in balloting process provides folks with the opportunity to participate in the caucus and ensures that the WDP is doing our part in the fight against COVID-19. These are unusual circumstances, but thanks to a dedicated staff, volunteers, and party leaders across the state, we've been able to continually evaluate the situation and adapt as necessary," a press release said.

Voters who registered between March 11-20, 2020, will automatically be sent a ballot in the mail, at the mailing address reflected on their voter registration. All voters must have been registered as Wyoming Democrats by March 20 to receive a ballot and participate in the caucus.

Two rounds of ballots were previously mailed; voters who previously received ballots but are unable to use or locate them can request a new ballot no later than March 31, 2020, via the form linked at www.wyodems.org/2020caucus.

Returned ballots must be received via mail by the Wyoming Democratic Party no later than April 17, 2020.

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Governor provides grace period for expired driver’s licenses

SHERIDAN (WNE) – Gov. Mark Gordon has signed an executive order that provides a grace period for expired driver’s licenses and identification cards, suspends non-commercial driving tests and continues commercial driving tests by appointment.

The goal of the order is to help protect the public and the state workforce by limiting interaction with state employees and at governmental offices, according to a press release from the governor’s office. 

Wyoming Department of Transportation officials are already implementing social distancing measures by limiting the number of people who can be in a driver services office at one time.

“As a part of our overall efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus and recognizing the importance of facilitating driver’s license renewals and driving tests, I have issued this executive order to provide flexibility for Wyoming drivers during these challenging times,” Gordon said.

Executive Order 2020-4 provides a 90-day grace period to those whose driver’s licenses and ID cards expire between March 15 and June 1. It also suspends non-commercial driving tests for 90 days. Commercial tests will continue at this time, though applicants can expect the possibility of additional health-screening protocols at sites.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation will assess the situation on April 20 to make a determination if testing can resume on a full or limited basis.

“We are grateful to Governor Gordon for enacting this Executive Order that will help encourage social distancing in this coronavirus environment,” said WYDOT Director K. Luke Reiner. “This Executive Order will help alleviate public concerns over renewing expired licenses and ID cards and it also makes provisions to help commercial drivers to get required testing.”

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Central Wyoming College's four-year program is approved

JACKSON (WNE) — The Higher Learning Commission has approved Central Wyoming College's application to start a four-year program, giving the community college the opportunity to offer applicable classes starting in the fall. 

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Management and Leadership program will have two tracks: entrepreneurship and tribal leadership.

Bachelor of Applied Science degrees are a relatively new development in post-secondary education. They are tailored specifically for those with work experience who are looking to advance in their careers, though high school students can also apply.

The final two years of the program are heavy on management and economics classes, and the degree can be undertaken by someone with significant work experience or an associate's degree. Because four-year degrees don't exist in many trades, like welding or auto mechanics, the bachelor of applied science can help workers take the next step in their career.

“I think it’s a great avenue to go into especially if you haven’t been in school for a while,” program director Lael Noonan said in a press release. “There’s a lot of grace in this program which allows exploration and getting your feet wet.”

Given that the program is directed toward students who may be invested in their careers, it will have online, in-person and night classes, so students can fit their work schedules around them. The first cohort will start during the fall term.

Go to CWC.edu/leadtheway for information or to apply.

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