President's Message: MUS Issues Fall Guidelines

Dear UM family,

As you’re aware, the Montana University System Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force has been working over the past six weeks to develop a blueprint to guide colleges and universities as we develop plans for a safe return to campus life this fall.

The task force is releasing its comprehensive handbook of guidelines today. While our Campus Preparedness and Response Group already is well into our preparations for fall semester, the new handbook provides us with system-level recommendations and protocols to guide our work.

The MUS guidelines dovetail consistently with the approach we’ve been taking at the University of Montana to develop and implement plans for the fall semester. As we review the MUS guidance and aggregate the information from our campus planning efforts, we will release a UM-specific plan that follows the MUS one but provides specificity for UM.

As noted in the handbook, the guidance released today is the result of extensive research and discussion, with feedback solicited from experts across the MUS, as well as a broader population of employees, students and administrators across the system. The guidelines have been crafted with, and reviewed by, officials from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

As the planning process continues at the campus level, please know that we will provide you with more detailed information as it becomes available. I want to thank all of our dedicated employees who are working hard on these efforts. They span every sector and include our Missoula City-County Health Department partners as well. We are fortunate to have UM’s School of Public and Community Health Sciences, Curry Health Center and a robust collaboration with the Missoula medical community providing guidance and leadership through this process.

I look forward to seeing you this fall,

Seth Bodnar

University of Montana President