Aug. 4, 2020: Important Information for Off-Campus-Residing Grizzlies

Dear Off-Campus-Residing Grizzlies,

In just a few short days we will welcome you back to campus to continue your academic experience at the University of Montana. I hope you have had a productive and enjoyable summer and are excited to begin the school year. This year is certain to have some unique elements to it, and I hope you will find the information below helpful as you navigate the COVID-19 environment in the Missoula community.

You have received information about the planning done on campus to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, as well as testing, isolation and quarantine planning that has been completed over the summer. Since you reside off campus during the school year, I want to make sure you have thought about your own living arrangements and what you might do if someone in your household becomes ill, needs to isolate or quarantine, or needs medical help.

Please consider the items below as prompts for you and your roommates/families to review as you plan.

Please keep up-to-date on University COVID-19 planning and guidance through the University’s COVID-19 website. You will find the most recent information there.

The University is requiring masks for all people on campus, inside campus buildings (including classrooms) and in any environment where you can’t maintain adequate social distancing (6’). Please see the website above for the specific guidance regarding masks, and make sure to have a mask with you at all times when you are on campus. The City of Missoula also requires masks for public indoor spaces such as stores, restaurants and other businesses. If you have a documented reason for being unable to wear a mask, please call Disability Services for Students at 406-243-2243.

You will receive a Healthy Griz Kit the first week of classes. We will email you with information about where and when to get that kit next week. Your Healthy Griz Kit will include two reusable Griz-branded face masks, refillable hand sanitizer and disinfecting spray, a microfiber cloth to use for cleaning surfaces, and an information card with helpful tips for staying healthy and protecting yourself and others. You can refill your hand sanitizer and disinfecting spray at a variety of spots on campus.

Curry Health Center offers point-of-care testing for UM students who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. If you feel ill, please stay at home and isolate yourself from other household members. Immediately call Curry Health at 406-243-2122 for advice about how to proceed with medical care. You MUST call in advance if you are experiencing symptoms so that we can arrange for you to be seen in as safe a way as possible.

The definitions of "quarantine" and "isolation" are important and require different actions. Please contact your academic advisor immediately if you are required to quarantine or isolate, as you may not attend in-person classes during the entire term of your quarantine or isolation.

Quarantine is for persons who are asymptomatic but who may have been in contact with someone who has been confirmed to be COVID-19 positive, as well as for persons who are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test. Quarantine is often recommended for 14 days from the date of potential exposure, but please follow the guidance given by medical or community health personnel. If you are quarantined, you may not leave your home for any reason and must keep yourself separated from other household members through the duration of your quarantine. You will need others to do any errands for you and provide food and other personal needs. Your helpers will need to provide your food and other items outside your door to avoid personal contact.
Isolation is required of persons who have been confirmed COVID-19 positive. Persons in isolation may not leave their identified isolation space/home for any reason and the only persons they should have contact with should be others who are already COVID-19 positive or medical personnel. In isolation, as with quarantine, you may not leave your home/isolation space for any reason.

 

If you are found positive for COVID-19, you must isolate away from others who are not ill. The Missoula City-County Health Department will be in touch with you if you are COVID-19 positive to tell you how long you must isolate, and will take the lead on contact tracing for your case. The University will not conduct the contact tracing but will cooperate with the local health department as needed.

If you have been in contact with someone who is suspected of or been confirmed as COVID-19 positive, you will hear from the Missoula City-County Health Department regarding whether you must quarantine. Not all contacts will result in a quarantine order, so please take action based on what the Missoula City-County Health Department tells you to do. If you do not hear from the health department, you need not take any action.

We understand that having contact with friends, family and others is an important human need, and any university experience typically involves lots of social interaction. However, in the COVID-19 environment some of our most common social experiences are fraught with potential danger. Please be aware when you are socializing with others to maintain six-feet distance from others, wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and expect the same from guests in your home. Being mindful of the potential for community spread is particularly important in social settings.

Thank you in advance for your attention to the information above, and I wish you a happy, healthy fall semester at the University of Montana.

Sincerely,

Sarah Swager

Vice Provost for Student Success