Frequently Asked Questions about Coronavirus

Health and Wellness

According to the CDC, novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.

Reviewed Aug. 3, 2020.

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.

Read more from the CDC about COVID-19 Symptoms.

Reviewed Aug. 3, 2020.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). 

COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in many affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Reviewed Aug. 3, 2020.

If you are sick, stay home.

Practice good hygiene.

  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing, and immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.

Monitor your symptoms closely. Take your temperature daily.

Stay home from school and work until at least 72 hours after your fever ends, without the use of fever-reducing medications. If you must go out of the house or be around others, wear a mask and avoid close contact. Be especially careful around people who have compromised immune systems, underlying health conditions or are age 60 and older.

Take care of yourself. Rest as much as possible. Drink lots of fluids.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 infection — such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath — please take the steps listed below:

First: Call your health provider in advance. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or other health facility without calling first. Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic. Telemedicine may also be available, enabling you to consult a provider from home.

  • Students on the UM campus may contact Curry Health Center at 406-243-2122.
  • Students who have a primary health care provider should contact that doctor.
  • Faculty, other academic personnel and staff should contact their primary care provider.
Reviewed Aug. 3, 2020.

If you had close contact* with a person with confirmed COVID-19, but you do not have any symptoms (fever, coughing, shortness of breath):

  1. Stay at home for 14 days after your last contact with the ill person. Do not go to school or work. Avoid public places.
  2. During the 14 days, monitor your health for fever, cough and shortness of breath.
  3. Notify the Missoula City-County Health Department at 406-258-4770.

*Close contact is defined as being within about 6 feet of a person with confirmed COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time, or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case without wearing personal protective equipment.

Reviewed Aug. 3, 2020.

According to Missoula City-County Health Department:

  • The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. These can be symptoms of other respiratory illnesses as well as COVID-19.
  • If you are in a high-risk category, and have symptoms of COVID-19, call your health care provider for advice. If you are at risk for serious illness, your health care provider may arrange a test for COVID-19.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Avoid sharing personal household items. Clean your hands often. Clean all high-touch surfaces like doorknobs often.
  • Monitor your symptoms and call your health care provider if symptoms worsen.
  • Stay home and avoid others for 72 hours after your fever goes down and symptoms get better.
  • Visiting the Missoula City-County Health Department Testing and Screening Resources website for information on testing.
Reviewed Aug. 3, 2020.

Testing is typically conducted at a health care provider’s office or at the Missoula City-County Health Department testing site. Always call ahead before visiting your health care provider or testing site.

UM students who have symptoms, have been in contact with someone who tested positive or believe they have COVID-19 symptoms should call Curry Health Center at 406-243-2122. 

Curry Health Center is using a point-of-care COVID test that we run in our lab. Curry Health Center coordinates all COVID testing services with ongoing guidance from the local health department.

At this time, Curry Health Center is prioritizing the testing of symptomatic students. Employees should contact their own health care provider or the health department for testing. If you have symptoms and would like to schedule a test at the county testing facility, call 406-258-INFO and select Option 2 to speak to a nurse. Tests are free and by appointment only. 

If and when employee testing becomes available on campus, UM will share that news with employees and on this site. 

Updated Sept. 21, 2020.

Your health care provider will contact you to notify you of your test results. That information is not shared with UM. If you test positive, your results will be provided to the Missoula City-County Health Department.

Updated Aug. 11, 2020.

All contact tracing is handled by employees of the Missoula City-County Health Department. UM cooperates with the health department to provide relevant information, but the University does not conduct its own contact tracing. UM students who are participating in contact tracing as part of their academic experience are hired and employed by the health department. 

Per CDC guidelines, all efforts to locate and communicate with COVID-19 patients and close contacts must be carried out in a manner that preserves the confidentiality and privacy of all involved. This includes never revealing the name of the client to a close contact unless permission has been given (preferably in writing), and not giving confidential information to third parties (e.g., roommates, neighbors, family members).

Updated Aug. 11, 2020.

If you are sick, stay home. You should take steps you normally would when sick, including focusing on caring for your health, contacting your health care provider if you feel you need and don’t attend social events. 

Reviewed Aug. 11, 2020.

People with preexisting health conditions are at higher risk to develop complications from a COVID-19 infection. People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and stay away from people as much as possible.

People at higher risk include people:

  • More than 60 years of age.
  • With underlying health conditions, including include heart disease, lung disease or diabetes.
  • With weakened immune systems.
  • Who are pregnant.

If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:

  • Stock up on supplies
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick
  • Limit close contact and wash your hands often
  • Avoid crowds, cruise travel, and non-essential travel

If there is an outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible. Watch for symptoms and emergency signs. If you get sick, stay home and call your doctor. 

Reviewed Aug. 11, 2020.

The novel coronavirus outbreak presents stress and worry for members of our UM community. This is a critically important time for all of us to reinforce a community of care on our campus and support one another.

If you would like to talk with someone, support is available to students through through Curry Health Center Counseling

Reviewed Aug. 11, 2020.

The Missoula County Infectious Disease Line has COVID-19-specific support from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at 406-258-3896. The county also has a COVID-19 website. Local government leaders are providing regular video updates on the Missoula County YouTube channelVisit the Safer Missoula website for information about our community response.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services staffs the Nurse First Line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reach it by calling 1-800-330-7847.

Missoula's Community Medical Center provides a Nurse-on-Call hotline 24 hours a day, seven days at week. Call 406-327-4770 to speak with a nurse.

If you are in need of immediate emergency assistance, call 9-1-1.

Updated Aug. 10, 2020.

Prevention

The best way to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and influenza, is to avoid exposure to the virus. Take the CDC-recommended precautions to reduce your risk of exposure, including proper handwashing; covering your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others, covering coughs and sneezes and then throwing the tissue in a trash receptacle; cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces; and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

Reviewed Aug. 11, 2020.

You can reduce the risk of spreading coronaviruses by taking the same steps as you would to prevent infection from the flu and the common cold:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for a least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer, with 60-95% alcohol if water is not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and immediately dispose of the used tissue.
Reviewed Aug. 11, 2020.

The CDC recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door knobs, tables, computer keyboards, handrails, exercise rooms).

Departments should use a disinfectant on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus, an alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol or a 10% bleach/water solution to disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces. It is also recommended that all departments purchase single use disinfectant wipes for touch points within their work spaces.

Please avoid putting disinfectant gels or liquids on electronics and other equipment, including elevator buttons, unless they have been indicated as safe to use on those devices.

Reviewed Aug. 11, 2020.

On Aug. 3, 2020, UM issued a policy requiring all University employees, students, contractors, vendors and visitors to wear face coverings on-site at a University location and off-site in all University programs and activities in:

  • Indoor spaces.
  • Enclosed or partially enclosed outdoor spaces.
  • Outdoor settings when people are unable to keep a six-foot distance at all times.
  • University-owned vehicles when more than one person is in a vehicle, including but not limited to ASUM buses and vans.

On July 15, 2020, Gov. Bullock announced a mandatory face covering directive for Montana counties with four or more active COVID-19 cases. The governor's directive applies to everyone ages 5 years and older. In places where there are differences between the local rule and order and the governor's directive, the more stringent requirement applies.

Additional, the Missoula City-County Board of Health issued an order requiring face coverings on July 9, 2020. 

Updated at Aug. 10, 2020.

University Operations

Montana entered Phase Two of its reopening on June 1 and continues a phased approach and adjustment at the discretion of the governor. 

Updated Aug. 10, 2020.

Our dining team is making modifications to service to minimize risk to our community, and they will continue to adjust as the situation evolves. Visit the Campus Dining website for the latest hours of operation.

Updated Aug. 19, 2020.

The University of Montana is hosting a limited number of in-person campus visits Monday-Friday.

For the safety of students, family and our staff, advanced notice is required for a scheduled visit and space is limited.

We recommend contacting our office at least two weeks in advance for the best availability.

Contact our Campus Visit Coordinator at campusvisit@mso.umt.edu for more information and/or to set up a visit.

If you are unable to schedule ahead or visit campus in person at this time, please take advantage of our Virtual Visits.

We also have canceled all in-person Bear Tracks events scheduled for this spring and summer.  The Bear Tracks program is now offered fully online. Learn more about UM's Online Bear Tracks Registration Program.

 Updated Aug. 10, 2020.

Events at UM with a total in-person attendance greater than 50 are required to fill out and submit this survey

UM event organizers should consider if their event or gathering is essential to the mission of UM, their department, student group or organization. Event organizers also should be aware of possible increased staffing cost around events that needs greater sanitation frequency and attendee monitoring.

All events and gatherings at UM must have a COVID-19 Risk Mitigation plan. Event organizers must follow their plan during the event and make adjustments as needed throughout the event if needed. Organizers need to be prepared to modify, scale back or cancel the event if current conditions and or guidelines change, or if notified by a public health officer to do so.

If you have questions or need additional event planning guidance, call the Conference and Event Services office at 406-243-4119, email ces@umontana.edu. or visit the Conference and Event Services Event Policies and Forms website.

The Mansfield Library is now operating under the following schedule for fall semester:

  • Monday-Thurday: 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
  • Friday: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Saturday: Closed.
  • Sunday: noon-7 p.m. ⁠

Masks or cloth face coverings are required.⁠ Please social distance. ⁠

Changes in service: No reservations required for entry. Headphones will not be checked out. Study rooms will not be available for check out/reservation. Reduced amount of computers. ⁠

f you have questions, call 406-243-4071. ⁠

Updated Aug. 17, 2020.

Campus buildings are open. Mail delivery and package delivery is operating normally.

While campus buildings were locked and many offices were closed over the summer, Central Receiving accepted packages from UPS and FedEx. As employees return to campus, they can pick up packages from Central Receiving in Building 32 at the customer service window from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday. 

If you have questions about campus mail delivery, all Mike Weddle at 406-243-6304. 

Updated Aug. 10, 2020.

Workplace Safety Mitigation

There is no "committee." The checklists were briefly reviewed, organized and filed in a Box folder for record-keeping purposes by Jason Sloat, UM's risk manager. With almost 120 checklists submitted, it is not possible to individually answer every question that was written in the comment boxes. We are providing this FAQ to answer your questions.

If your checklist was incomplete or included questions, it is your responsibility to update and complete your checklist using the answers we are providing here. If you have a question that is not answered here, please email your questions to jason.sloat@umontana.edu. When your checklist is updated, you should resubmit it so it can be re-filed.

Updated Aug. 10, 2020.

If you want to review the safety mitigation checklist for your unit, you should request a copy from your supervisor.

The checklists were intended to address shared office spaces that house staff and contract professionals, particularly those office spaces around campus where multiple employees work in close quarters, or where one primary unit shares a breakroom or common restroom facility specific to that unit.

The checklists were also intended to address forward-facing reception areas, such as the reception areas in Human Resource Services or Financial Aid, where students or employees tend to congregate or form lines.

The checklists were not intended to address the following:

  • Every floor, hallway, or public restroom in every building on campus. If there is a hallway or stairwell or other “common” space that is used by your unit, and you believe the space would be safer with certain signs or mitigation measures, then please follow through and address those issues. However, we are not asking that a safety mitigation checklist be submitted for every space on campus.
  • Classrooms or academic learning areas. The safety measures in those areas are being addressed through classroom simulation exercises, as well as the efforts by Facilities Services to map out allowable capacity and seating arrangements in individual classrooms.
  • Individual faculty or employee offices. For those who do not share an office space with others, we didn’t feel there was a need for written safety checklists.
Updated Aug. 10, 2020.

Contact Human Resource Services by phone at 406-243-6095 or email ASKHR@mso.umt.edu
and explain the situation.

Updated Aug. 10, 2020.

The UM marketing team is providing signs that you may print and post as appropriate for your areas. Find the signage on the COVID-19 Printables webpage.

Updated Aug. 10, 2020.

No. We are trying to keep signage consistent around campus to keep our messaging and branding on point. If you need a specific sign but don’t see it in the list, email university.marketing@umontana.edu

Updated Aug. 10, 2020.

Email university.marketing@umontana.edu to request floor decals

Please note that we are supplying floor decals only for places around campus where individuals tend to form lines. The purpose of the branded floor decals is to encourage 6-foot distancing while individuals stand in lines. We currently are not supplying floor decals for any other purpose.

Updated Aug. 10, 2020.

Email Bob Hlynosky in Procurement at bob.hlynosky@mso.umt.edu to request masks.

Please note that UM will be distributing two UM-branded cloth masks to every faculty, staff and student at UM as part of the Healthy Griz Kits UM is supplying. Requests for additional masks should be restricted to disposable masks for front-facing reception areas that can be offered to students or visitors who forgot to bring their own mask when they enter a building.

Updated Aug. 10, 2020.

A small dispenser of hand sanitizer will be supplied to every student and employee as part of the Healthy Griz Kits UM is distributing.

Sanitizer refill stations are located across campus. Find a map of sanitizer and disinfectant refill stations here.

Additionally, Facilities will be installing wall-mounted hand sanitizer pumps throughout every building on campus, and Facilities will be refilling those wall-mounted dispensers.

Updated Aug. 19, 2020.

A small dispenser of surface disinfectant and a microfiber cloth will be supplied to every faculty, staff, and student as part of the Healthy Griz Kits we will be distributing.

Disinfectant refill stations are located across campus. Find a map of sanitizer and disinfectant refill stations here.

Additionally, Facilities will be installing surface disinfectant wipe dispensers throughout every building on campus.

Updated Aug. 19, 2020.

You can find information about UM's effort to ensure a healthy campus in a time of COVID-19 on the Facilities Services COVID website

The website also includes building plans, classroom layouts, information on outdoor classrooms and refill station locations.

Human Resources

See UMOnline's Keep on Working webpage for more information.

As we navigate this evolving situation, we must acknowledge several important points:

  • Our campus provides essential services for our students and our community. Though we have moved to remote instruction and the number of students on campus will be reduced greatly, some students will remain on campus in residence halls and will need access to key services that in some cases cannot be delivered remotely.
  • Certain functions — payroll, IT, facilities, HR, finance, research, to name a few — are critical not just for students, but for all UM employees, and some of this work cannot be done remotely.
  • The current situation regarding COVID-19 is unlikely to be resolved in a matter of days. We must take appropriate steps to be prepared to operate for an extended period of time under conditions that are not normal.

Our goal is to ensure continuity of operations for our campus while encouraging and enabling remote work to the greatest extent possible. A key reason for encouraging remote work arrangements for positions where it is possible is to lessen the traffic and exposure to health risks for our essential service providers whose responsibilities cannot be exercised off campus.

On March 17 UM shared a memo with all supervisors providing guidance on remote work. While the University must remain open and continue to offer an appropriate base level of service, we are encouraging departments to use greater flexibility in work-from-home and telework arrangements, where feasible, to reduce campus-based activity and traffic.

We have asked sector heads to review each department, program and service within their sectors to determine if there are modifications required, including, but not limited to: reduced hours of operations, condensed services or adjustments to accommodate remote delivery of required work. Supervisors and team members should discuss remote work possibilities, and if a remote work is an option, establish a Telework Agreement that establishes expectations for employee-supervisor contact and accountability during the modified work arrangement.

This agreement is important for tracking purposes and legal matters such as worker’s compensation coverage. For this reason, faculty who are able to perform their work as a telework arrangement will need to complete a faculty-specific Telework Agreement as well. For managers who supervise student employees, you may also explore telework options and complete Telework Agreements for your student employees.

While policy states that probationary employees are not eligible for telework, this will not be a deciding factor under the current circumstances. 

Updated March 27, 2020.

UM recommends employees with specific health concerns contact their health care provider for medical advice tailored to their individual situations. Employees should work with their supervisor and can contact Human Resource Services at 406-243-6766 to discuss their situation. See the Keep on Working webpage for more information on HR policies, leave information, teleworking agreements and more. 

Reviewed Aug. 11, 2020.

If you are sick, stay home. Staff and student workers should continue to follow their unit’s procedure for requesting sick time off and can find more information on the HR website.

UMOnline also has information about leave policies on the Keep on Working webpage.

Additionally, President Bodnar has authorized expanded use of sick time to cover situations that may be unique to the risks posed by COVID-19. Please refer to UMOnline’s Keep on Working website for those details.

Reviewed Aug. 11, 2020.

UM Information Technology offers free tools for videoconferencing, chat, collaboration, online storage and more. Visit UMOnline for additional resources and guidance.

Reviewed Aug. 11, 2020.

There is new information on the leave types that are available to employees under regulations issued by the federal government.  The purpose of these leaves is to help support employees during the current pandemic. These federal leave types are available from April 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.  These federal leaves are available in addition to the State Paid COVID-19 Leaves. All of the information regarding these additional leave types is available on the HRS website.

COVID-19 Information and Resources

Please note: An employee can use both the federal and the state leave. For instance, the employee could use 14 days of paid State COVID-19 leave to cover being in isolation (quarantine) and then follow that with 14 days of Federal COVID-19 Leave to cover the same circumstances.

Reviewed Aug. 11, 2020.

Travel and Study Abroad

On Aug. 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of State and the CDC discontinued their global travel advisories and both organizations are reverting to national level advisories for each country. However, all UM-sponsored travel outside the U.S. by faculty, students and staff will remain suspended through the end of fall semester 2020. The decision about UM-sponsored travel beyond the end of fall semester 2020 will be made by late October. Faculty and staff may apply for an exception by following the process outlined on Global Engagement Office website.

NOTE:  Native students, faculty and staff who have reserves on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border (individuals covered under Jay's Treaty) are exempt from the international travel suspension for travel to Canada. 

Updated Sept. 2, 2020.

All UM sponsored travel outside the U.S. by faculty, students and staff will remain suspended through the end of the fall semester 2020. The decision about UM-sponsored travel beyond the end of fall semester 2020 will be made by late October. Faculty and staff may apply for an exception by following the process outlined on Global Engagement Office website.

NOTE:  Native students, faculty and staff who have reserves on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border (individuals covered under Jay's Treaty) are exempt from the international travel suspension for travel to Canada.

Updated Sept. 2, 2020.