Post-Spring Break Recommendations for UM Students

March 19, 2020

Dear UM Student,

I realize that over the past few weeks, you have received a number of messages from the University of Montana about what is happening on campus, in your classes and in the residence halls. Some of those messages have changed by the day, it seems. This is not the way we normally like to communicate with you at UM. But these are not normal times. These are, by any measure, extraordinary times.

With every decision we make, we have remained steady in one ideal — our total commitment to the health and safety of you, our students. Some of those decisions are tougher than others. Asking you to wash your hands for 20 seconds, for instance, is easy. Asking you to continue your education remotely is difficult. We enter into none of those decisions lightly. I want to share a few key points with you as you plan for the remainder of the semester:

  1. As we shared yesterday, remote course delivery will continue through the rest of spring semester.

    Your professors are hard at work preparing to transition to remote instruction beginning March 23, and you should be hearing from your professors soon (if you haven’t already) with specific plans for each of your courses. You should also be hearing from your adviser.

  2. Based on new guidance from the Montana University System, we strongly recommend that, if you have another housing option, you do not return to the residence halls after spring break.

    Your health and safety come first. As you know, social distancing is key in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and that can be difficult in a residence hall. For that reason, we strongly recommend that you do not return to the residence halls after spring break. We will work with any and all students for whom this causes a hardship and will ensure there is a timely process for move-out to ensure families are not burdened unduly.

  3. We understand that for some of our UM students, this campus is home.

    And that is OK. We will continue to work with local health care officials to ensure that we provide the best accommodations possible for you in our residence halls. We may ask you to change residences to further consolidate services, but you will have a home with us until the end of the semester.

  4. For those students who live off campus, we also encourage you to continue your studies in a location where social distancing is most feasible.

    For some of you, that may be here in Missoula. For others, that may be back in your hometown. We urge you to consult with your loved ones to determine what situation is best for you.

  5. To support your learning, we will continue to provide student-focused services on campus over the coming weeks and months.

    As we work to promote a safe environment for all of our remaining students, faculty and staff, we will limit programming and events. Dining services will be consolidated and limited to grab-and-go models and we may have to curtail library operations. We will continue to offer many of our resources and services online and over the phone to serve you. Please bear with us as we work through these scenarios to ensure your health and safety come first.

I am deeply grateful to all of you for your cooperation, and especially to the many people across our community who are working around the clock on our COVID-19 response.
We will continue to share as much new information as possible, as soon as we can, both centrally and through more local communications. All the latest UM updates related to COVID-19 are available online.

Please take care of yourselves and one another, as we strive to take care of you.
Remember, near or far, we are all part of the Griz Family, and we will weather this challenge together. We may be scattered around the globe at this moment, but we remain united by the fierce fighting spirit within the heart of every Grizzly.

Sincerely,

Seth Bodnar
University of Montana President