UM Releases Healthy Return Plan for Fall Semester

A mask adorns the Grizzly Bear statue at the University of Montana.

MISSOULA – The University of Montana released its plan Friday, July 10, for a healthy return to in-person instruction and campus activities for fall semester. “UM Healthy Fall 2020” is online at

Campus officials have spent hundreds of hours carefully crafting the plan at the direction of the Montana University System. The plan provides general health and safety guidelines for 11 key areas, including instruction, student housing, food services, events, athletics, transportation and facilities, among others.

A draft version of the plan was released June 19, and UM employees, students and other stakeholders provided feedback for the current plan.

“Together, we’ve created a framework for the fall that provides guidance for all aspects of campus operations, yet allows us to remain flexible and adaptive as new information or best practices emerge as COVID-19 continues to pose challenges,” UM President Seth Bodnar said.

 He lauded the work of all those involved in the planning process. He said the pace and scale of the effort demanded an all-hands approach tackled by multiple teams. Each team included subject-matter experts, design thinkers, collaborators and problem-solvers.

One example was the Healthy Advisory Group, which is composed of experts from UM’s College of Health and the College of Humanities and Sciences. This group advised campus leaders about the best practices for mitigating risk of COVID-19 transmission and focused in four key areas: mitigation, testing, tracing and isolation/quarantine as they relate specifically to COVID-19. Team members included experts from Missoula City-County Health Department and Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula.

“The safety of our UM family and all who visit our campus is foremost in our minds as we plan for the fall semester and beyond,” Bodnar said. “Our ability to resume campus operations relies on our resilience, adaptability and commitment to minimizing the risks of COVID-19 infection while enabling our students to pursue an education that prepares them for a bright future.”

He said the plan will be adjusted as new information becomes available and requirements are implemented and updated.


Contact: Paula Short, UM spokesperson, associate vice president of University Relations and Strategic Communications, 406-243-5806,