July 24, 2020 (Updated August 17, 2020)

Updated for 2021, please see updated guidance.

As an additional mitigation effort against the spread of COVID-19, the Montana Commissioner of Higher Education has adopted the recommendation of the MUS Healthy Fall Task Force requiring face coverings on all the campuses of the Montana University System. The Commissioner has directed campuses to establish procedures, practices and protocols applicable to campus constituents effective immediately and to remain in effect until further notice. More information on the face covering requirement.

This page will updated as new information is available. If you have suggestions or comments, email us at [email protected]

The Center has provided some syllabus language that you can use to let your student know about these guidelines. The information below is to help you in the case that these requirements are not being met in your classroom.


While cloth face masks are preferred, faculty and GTAs are permitted to wear face shields when teaching, providing the shield meets the requirements described in the MSU guidelines, describe in Appendix J: Face Mask Requirement.

Faculty and GTAs do not need to go through an ADA or HR process to gain permission to wear a face shield for teaching. We acknowledge and recognize this circumstance is an acceptable substitution to wearing a face covering. 

Department heads have been advised how to procure face shields for faculty and GTAs who request them.


Compliance with the face-covering protocol is expected. Our first preference is to address this through a conversation and a social enforcement, educational approach, however University community members who repeatedly disregard this expectation will be held responsible for their actions.

After class, instructors should document the incident of disruptive behavior, even though they may appear to be minor at the time.  Email that documentation to your academic unit leader.  

  • For students who initially were non-compliant with the requirement, but who chose to comply when addressed: Faculty members should email the student to remind them of the requirement for future classes, but also allow the student to explain their action in a way that might help mitigate future problems. GTAs should ask their supervisor to email the student.
    • Remind the student that future non-compliance with the requirement will result in a referral to the Dean of Student’s office and the student may be permanently dismissed from the course.  
  • For students who failed to comply with the requirement and were temporary dismissed from the course
    • No later than one working day after the dismissal, the faculty member should file a report with the Dean of Students and your department head/academic unit leader.  If the non-compliance is in a section taught by a GTA, the GTA’s supervisor should file this report.
    • After any temporary dismissal from a class, the instructor or GTA supervisor should attempt to personally and privately meet with the dismissed student in an informal meeting to discuss the disruptive behavior and classroom expectations.  Instructors should include their department head/academic unit leader in this informal meeting.  
    • Remind the student that future non-compliance with the requirement will result in a referral to the Dean of Student’s office and the student may be permanent dismissed from the course.  
  • If student’s disruptive behavior is extreme or occurs a second time, instructors or GTA supervisors may dismiss students from participating in a course for the remainder of the semester. The procedure for an instructor to permanently dismiss a disruptive student is as follows:
  1. The instructor must prepare a Statement of Facts (SOF). The SOF must include:
    • The name of the individual student engaging in disruptive behavior;
    • The factual details of the disruptive behavior or incident that justify the proposed dismissal;
    • The names of any witnesses to the disruptive behavior;
    • Any applicable dates, times, and locations.
  1. Prior to the class period immediately following the disruptive incident, the SOF must be submitted to the instructor’s Department Head and the student. The student will have five days to respond to the SOF in writing to explain the disruptive behavior and the student’s position on dismissal from the course. The department head will review all evidence provided by the student and instructor, and at the department head’s discretion may interview either or both parties. The department head will then approve or deny the permanent dismissal, with a copy of the SOF, the student’s written response, and the decision sent to the Office of the Dean of Students. The Department Head’s decision must be communicated to the instructor and the student within two business days of receiving the student’s written response to the SOF.
  2. A student dismissed from a course by an instructor may not continue to attend the course while awaiting a final determination from the Department Head or a final determination of any appeals; however, the student shall be permitted to submit assignments, tests, and other work as appropriate so long as the student does not engage in any disruptive behavior during such submissions. The instructor will facilitate access to necessary materials for homework and tests.

Faculty Guide for Face Coverings

The Information for Faculty and Staff section of the MSU Code of Student Conduct webpage contains links to report a conduct code violation and to report academic misconduct.

Recorded Workshop on Classroom Management in Covid-19 (Masks)

This workshop helps faculty with classroom communication and management in the time of COVID19.


Take steps to ensure the student’s privacy by not discussing their health in the presence of others. If a student appears ill in this time of COVID-19, you are advised to discuss sympathetically yet directly – “You look like you’re feeling ill. Given the concerns about COVID-19 right now, I’d like you to step out of class and call the student health service at 406 994 2311 to discuss with them.”


The city-county health deptartment is responsible for notifying close contacts and managing contact tracing, quarantine requirements and isolation for positive test cases. The health deptartment will make the determination when a person can return to class or work, not the faculty member nor the GTA. There are possible scenarios in which a student could be tested positive and MSU not be informed and the faculty not be informed if city-county does not think it is necessary.


The complete details about MSU’s mask requirement can be found at https://www.montana.edu/health/coronavirus/index.html


Classroom & Technology Sanitization

Recorded Thursday, August 13, 2020 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm, Strand Union Building, Ballroom D

Center For Faculty Excellence workshop to help faculty understand personal responsibility and technique in sanitizing technology and learning spaces this semester.