May 1, 2020: Message from the Commissioner of Higher Education

 



The great seal of the Montana University System

University of Montana students,

This is a special message from Commissioner of Higher Education Clay Christian, recognizing the accomplishments of our graduates and plans for ensuring all of the campuses in the Montana University System (MUS) are ready for the fall 2020 semester to ensure the health and safety of our students and university community.

UM is working closely with the MUS, as well as with state and local government and public health and law enforcement, in order to make the best decisions to keep all of our students safe.

May 1, 2020


Dear Montana University System Students and Families,

Spring semester 2020 is down to its final days, and what a journey it has been.

I want to thank you – our students and your families – for your resilience and faith in our Montana University System. Your open-mindedness, patience and discipline made it possible for us to adapt and finish strong. I especially commend our 2020 graduates, whose stoicism and positive attitude through this bumpy final semester continue to inspire me. If there’s one takeaway from the events of spring semester 2020, it’s that our future is in good hands.

While there are still many unknowns, one thing is certain: Your Montana University System is working diligently to prepare for your safe return to in-person classes and on-campus life this fall. Some aspects of our operations will, of course, look different. Social distancing will be incorporated into lecture formats and events. Dining halls and residence halls will operate under new protocols. And we’ll ask students to engage in a new culture of safety. While it will certainly be a new normal, we’re confident that students will find world-class academic offerings and a fun and fulfilling campus life.

Leading the way is the MUS Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force. The 12-member team comprises some of the brightest and most influential leaders from across our campuses. Above all – and I can’t emphasize this enough – the guiding principle of the task force is safety. The Task Force’s recommendations will be vetted by local, state and federal health officials as it is implemented across the system. The result will be an in-person learning environment that is enriched, not replaced, by online resources. Our academic and campus operational plans will marry safety and quality with the agility to operate through whatever challenges the pandemic may bring.

As this most unusual spring semester comes to an end, please know that you have our team preparing for your safe return to campus life – the calm of studying on the campus green, the intellectual nourishment of an in-person lecture and the fun times with friends.

Our Task Force and our entire Montana University System family is working tirelessly to welcome you back for a healthy fall 2020.

Be well,

Clayton T. Christian
Commissioner of Higher Education
Montana University System