COVID Communication: February 24, 2022

Dear Campus Community,

As you know, the COVID Response Team has closely monitored COVID-19 on campus and throughout the Missoula community. Thankfully, case data continue to show steady declines in positive cases and in hospitalizations in Missoula, and we continue to see data from around the world demonstrating the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing severe illness due to COVID-19. Based on this information, UM’s mask requirement will become a recommendation with two effective dates:

  • This change is effective immediately for all non-classroom environments.
  • For classrooms and teaching labs, the effective date will be one week from today (Thursday, March 3). The additional week of requiring masks in classrooms is to give ample time for those seeking accommodation or for anyone wanting to receive N95 respirators before the requirement becomes a recommendation. Please honor the mask requirement in these areas for this additional time.

We do not expect any changes to how courses are offered as a result of the move to a mask recommendation. We also realize that some members of our community will choose to continue wearing masks and some may want to wear N95 respirators for increased protection. N95 respirators are available at the ASUM Offices or from Chuck Emnett in Environmental Health.

Please be respectful of individual choices with regard to wearing masks or respirators. Keep in mind that masks will continue to be required inside Curry Health Center and in medical clinic environments on campus. These areas will have the requirement clearly posted. Per federal TSA policy, masks are required for public transportation (i.e. UDASH buses, Mountain Line, airlines, etc.) For these reasons, it’s a good idea to keep a mask available in the event that you need one.

Just as we have throughout the pandemic, we will continue to meet and monitor COVID-19 cases closely along with other impacts to our campus and community. We will be ready to respond if campus conditions change.

In closing, we want to remind you of the key practices you can do to limit the spread of any upper respiratory virus, including COVID-19:

  • If you are sick, please stay home and recover. We’ll see you back on campus when you’re feeling better!
  • If you experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or influenza, get a test. Curry Health Center continues to offer free COVID-19 testing for current students and employees. For those with underlying conditions that make them vulnerable to severe flu or COVID-19 symptoms, there are medications available to treat or minimize symptoms. But the key is an early diagnosis of illness.
  • Vaccines can limit the severity of influenza and COVID-19. Both are available (for students and employees) at the Health Services Pharmacy inside Curry Health Center.
  • Continue with common-sense behaviors to protect yourself and others from colds, flu, COVID-19 or other illness. Cover your cough or sneeze, wash your hands, maintain distance when possible and consider wearing a mask in situations where you are concerned about potential exposure (either becoming exposed or exposing others if you have symptoms).

UM’s mask recommendation has been updated on the coronavirus website.

Be well,

COVID Response Team
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