LARAMIE -- Eleven cases of COVID-19 and close contacts among the University of Wyoming's freshman football players have prompted the university to take action to limit the spread of the virus in that group of students, employees and the broader community.

The 31 freshman players will not engage in any athletic activities -- including practice, workouts and in-person meetings -- and the members are encouraged to shelter in place, where possible, for one week. Limited contact is a critical component to the shelter in place. During this time, team members will attend classes virtually.

Additionally, all football team members are being tested today (Friday) for the virus, and anyone who may have had close contact with a team member will be contacted by UW's COVID Hub for testing.

The positive cases involving freshman football players were detected in UW's bridge testing program through Vault Health.

While UW's freshmen have been practicing with their football teammates, the freshman locker rooms are separate. And the freshmen all live in UW's residence halls, not with teammates in off-campus dwellings.

Still, out of an abundance of caution, UW's football team will not practice until the additional test results are received over the weekend.

"We are hopeful that these actions will limit the spread of the virus to the freshman football team members and that the rest of the team can resume its preparations for the shortened season that begins Oct. 24," Athletics Director Tom Burman says. "We have been fortunate to have very little COVID prevalence among our football team until now, in part because of our rigorous testing program that began in the summer. Our ability to move forward with our shortened season depends upon limiting the infection, and we're taking all appropriate steps to do so, including the aggressive testing program adopted by the Mountain West Conference."

There have been four cases of COVID-19 detected among students -- athletes and non-athletes -- on each of floors 10 and 11 of one of UW's residence halls, White Hall. As a result, all of the students on those floors are being told to shelter in place as well. However, students on those floors who have not been in close contact with infected individuals will be allowed to go to in-person class and leave for work or religious activities.

The actions were taken in accordance with UW's newly updated COVID-19 indicators and tactics for Phase 3 of the university's fall return plan. These allow for UW to respond quickly to outbreaks of the virus in certain programs and facilities at the university with targeted interventions to limit the spread of the virus.

As of noon today, the total number of active cases among UW students and employees stood at 164 -- 127 students living off campus, 32 students living on campus and five employees living off campus. Of the 164 total, 31 were to be moved from active to recovered during the day. Some 100 people are in quarantine due to exposure to someone infected by the virus -- 16 students on campus and 84 people off campus.

More information about UW's COVID-19 response can be found at www.uwyo.edu/campus-return, which is being updated as information becomes available. Those with questions also may call (307) 766-COVD (2683) or email COVID19@uwyo.edu.

University of Wyoming press release