Below you will find an updated list of the emails, messages and updates from Montana State University regarding COVID-19.

Sent 3/29/20 at 4:04 p.m.

Office of the President

Dear MSU Community,

This is my son, Gerry, and one of my canine granddaughters, Tita.

Gerry is a physician in a hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Needless to say, I have always been very proud of him, but particularly now, because of everything he is doing during the crisis of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Gerry would be mortified if he knew I am bragging about him with you. It would be even worse if Gerry were to learn that I have also shared with you that I worry about him. I am concerned about Gerry, his teammates, his patients and the families of his patients, just as I worry about our MSU students, faculty, staff, alumni, neighbors, Bobcat fans and friends.

Every morning at the start of my day, I send my blessings to Gerry and to Dr. Pamela Hiebert, my physician at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital, and to all the physicians and nurses and lab technicians and paramedics and custodial staff and hospital employees and police in the entire state of Montana and beyond.

Thankfully, there are many Gerrys in the nation and in the world who are working hard to protect our communities. It is a reminder that this pandemic is many things, certainly, but it is also a very personal matter to many of us.

To all of the wonderful people who are taking such great care of us: Thank You. To all their family members who are making so many sacrifices for our sake: Thank You.

Let's show our gratitude to all the dedicated individuals who treasure our lives and our health: Let's Stay at Home.

 

Sincerely,

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University

Sent 3/27/20 at 4:10 p.m.

Office of the President

Dear MSU Community,

Another week of constant changes is about to close. I am sure that, with the COVID-19 emergency, many of you have experienced new levels of intensity and stress: A day's work feels like a week's worth of really hard work. Personally, this experience has afforded me with a new understanding about challenges that our ancestors faced and, thankfully, overcame. We are resilient and, together, we will face these challenges and come out stronger on the other side.

Yesterday, Montana Governor Steve Bullock issued a directive for Montanans to stay at home except for certain circumstances and for employees working in essential areas. The directive goes into effect one minute after midnight on Saturday, March 28, and will remain in place through Friday, April 10.

Under the Governor's directive, the university system remains an essential government function. As such, we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff while also keeping essential functions of the university operational. Montana State University is open, and the critical functions of instruction, research and Extension continue.

For our employees, this means:

  • Faculty members continue to be involved in online and remote teaching, essential research, outreach and scholarly work with the excellence that characterizes them.
  • All employees who can telework without hampering essential operations of the university must do so. Please fill out a telework agreement with your supervisor and HR business partner.
  • Employees performing essential university functions that require being on campus will be contacted by their supervisors in consultation with HR to make arrangements. We will strictly observe social distancing and best practices of cleaning and hygiene.
  • Non-essential service employees who cannot work remotely are eligible to take leave, and Paid COVID-19 Leave may be available. Employees should contact Human Resources with specific questions. You can also email hrservicecenter@montana.edu with leave-related questions.

For our students:

  • Please know we will continue to offer your courses online and remotely. Additionally, services that you rely on -- the Writing Center, the Math Learning Center, the MSU Library, the Health Center, Counseling & Psychological Services, the Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success and many more -- are still open and available to assist you either by phone or email. Reach out to us!
  • Because we are here to help you succeed, on Monday we will be sending a survey to students via email. We want to hear how you are doing, and what challenges you are facing. We need your feedback, so please watch for the survey Monday from "MSU Surveys" and fill it out.

As always, in addition to these emails we will be posting all the university's communications on the MSU COVID-19 page, which contains a wide range of resources.

These are difficult times my dear Bobcats. I know many of you are worried about your friends, your families and your futures. My heart is with you. I think about you all every moment of every day. May you, and those you love, be safe. We will walk together through this.

Sincerely,

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University

Sent 3/26/2020 at 9:00 a.m.

Vice President of Research, Economic Development & Graduate Education

Dear Faculty, Staff & Students:

Thank you for your patience, resiliency, and extraordinary efforts during these difficult times.  Many of you have reached out the past several days and have expressed appreciation for receiving the Research Operations Level document and affiliated Appendix that guides the intensity of research in situations such as the one we find ourselves in now with the community spread of coronavirus.   

Using this guidance and document, all research programs will be expected to be at Research Operations Level 2 beginning at 5 pm, Friday, March 27, 2020.  We are making this decision with input from public health experts, faculty, staff, students and campus leadership. This decision also takes into account national and state trends, including the appearance of community-transmitted cases in the Gallatin Valley.  Once Research Operations Level 2 begins Friday, the university will remain at this level until further notice.  The decision to progress to Level 3, or back to Level 1, will depend upon a number of factors. However, it is unlikely we will return to Level 1 before mid-to-late April, and it could be longer depending upon the extent of the pandemic and guidance from health officials.

Please remember that Research Operations Level 2 means pausing research when possible, or developing a plan for modified operations when research is deemed essential per guidelines. Research Operations Level 2 still provides guidance and opportunity to pursue exemptions for research studies that “if discontinued, would generate significant financial or data loss.”  The Research Operations Level document and affiliated Appendix provides guidance and structure on how to pursue exemptions through the Office of Research Compliance.  This includes exemptions for COVID-19 research projects, which are beginning to ramp up with some groups, and we need to support and sustain these efforts.

This reduction in research, coupled with additional precautions for essential studies that cannot pause, is for the protection of students, faculty, staff and our community. As outlined in our earliest communications, we must contribute to what health experts refer to as “flattening the curve” so our healthcare system is better equipped to handle current and expected COVID-19 cases in Gallatin County and the state of Montana. We know this research designation is disruptive, and that a number of you – including our pre-tenure faculty – are rightfully anxious about what this means.  Please be aware that a number of creative discussions are ongoing to address expressed concerns. Importantly, the Provost memo this morning clarifies that pre-tenure faculty may request a one-year extension to the tenure clock.

All research programs must submit a Level 2 plan to their department head or center/institute director, as well as the Office of Research Compliance, by the end of business on Monday, March 30.   Do not hesitate to contact the VPREDGE office with any questions, and thank you for your support and anticipated understanding. 

 

Sincerely,

Jason R. Carter, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research, Economic Development & Graduate Education

Sent 3/26/2020 at 7:00 a.m.

Office of the Provost

March 26, 2020

Ad hoc amendment of Montana State University tenure review procedures for currently employed probationary faculty

Responsible Party: Provost and Office of Academic Affairs
Effective Date: March 26, 2020
Scope of Applicability: Applies to faculty with probationary (pre-tenured) tenure status in the Spring of 2020, except those reviewed for tenure in AY 2020.

In consideration of faculty whose normal responsibility and distribution of effort were shifted in the spring semester of 2020, the normal timing of university reviews of probationary faculty shall be amended to allow flexibility as follows:

  1. All faculty with probationary tenure status in the Spring of 2020, except those reviewed for tenure in AY 2020, will be allowed to extend the tenure review period and the date of their next-scheduled mandatory review by one calendar year.
  2. Faculty wishing to exercise this option must notify their primary review administrator, who in turn shall notify their Dean and the Provost.
  3. Faculty shall provide notification if they intend to exercise this option in theacademic year prior to their scheduled review, at least one month before the deadline established for submission of dossiers
  4. .
  5. Candidates who exercise this option for their retention review will have their tenure review extended by one year; they may however, opt for an “early” tenure review,according to the existing provisions of the faculty handbook.
  6. The extension of the tenure clock by the exercise of this option is independent of any other accommodations made in conjunction with existing Family Medical Leaveor Faculty modified Duties policies.
  7. The calendar dates associated with the various stages of the review cycle in each academic year will not be adjusted as part of this policy.
  8. This policy applies only to reviews of probationary faculty; it does not apply to reviews for the promotion of tenured associate professors to the rank of full professor or to post tenure review.

Most Sincerely,

Dr. Robert L. Mokwa | Executive Vice President and Provost
Montana State University

View as original PDF

Sent 3/23/2020 at 4:14 p.m.

Associated Students of MSU

Hey Bobcats,

Welcome back, I hope everyone had a relaxing and safe spring break. We are in an unprecedented situation, and what your MSU experience looks like is going to be quite different for the next few months. As I'm sure most of you know, classes are online for the remainder of the semester and students have been asked to return home if at all possible. In addition, it was announced yesterday that there will be expanded Pass/Fail grading this semester. In light of these and other recent changes I wanted to reach out and pass along the most up to date information I have to help ensure we can all stay safe and help combat the spread of COVID-19.

First and foremost, it is imperative that we are doing our part by social distancing and following all relevant guidance from health authorities to help reduce the rate at which this virus spreads. Please, if you traveled for spring break, particularly those who traveled abroad, follow the Governor's directive and self quarantine for 14 days after you return. In addition, if you are not quarantining please be sure to follow the below government guidelines.

  • Even if you are young, and otherwise healthy, you are at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is critical that you do your part to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Avoid social gatherings, and when you are with others practice social distancing. Stay at least six (6) feet away.
  • Avoid eating and drinking at restaurants. Use drive-thru, pick up, or delivery options.
  • Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits.
  • DO NOT visit nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
  • Practice good hygiene:
    • Wash your hands with soap and water often. Soap and water kills the coronavirus
    • Avoid touching your face
    • Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow
    • Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
  • If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. Call your medical provider.

I know some of these measures may seem extreme, but it is important to remember that we are protecting those around us as much as we are protecting ourselves. With 10 confirmed cases in Gallatin county as of yesterday, the highest of any county in the state, it is more important than ever to do our part. You never know who may be an asymptomatic carrier or who may have a family member or roommate who is at great risk if they were to be exposed to this virus. Please think of those in your life who are most vulnerable and take these steps to protect them and those like them in our community who are relying on all of us to keep them safe.

Do what you can to avoid social gatherings of any size and crowded public places. Practice good hygiene and stay home from work or school if at all possible and especially if you feel sick. Support each other and help hold each other accountable to make the best choices for ourselves and our community. It will only take a few dozen serious cases to put extreme strain on our local healthcare system, so it is up to us to ensure we do not reach that point.

If you are able, I would also encourage you to find ways to support those around you in these efforts. Consider supporting a local business that may be struggling, donating supplies to the hospital, or donating blood. Whatever way in which you are able please support each other and our community.

Stay safe and we will get through this.

Sincerely,

Taylor Blossom | President
Associated Students of Montana State University

Sent 3/23/2020 at 12:36 p.m.

Office of the Provost

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

Thank you for the heroic efforts you are making to adapt your classes to remote teaching, learning and assessment. I am inspired by your spirit of collaboration and innovation, your commitment to the success of your students and your grit as you go about doing the good work.

As we resume classes this week, let’s keep our spirits up for our students and for each other. At this moment, our top priority must be to reassure our students by showing them our devotion to their progress and success. Many will be bewildered and confused by the sudden changes; some may feel detached and isolated. Let’s work together to bring our vulnerable young men and women back to a safe place of learning where they can continue their work to prepare to advance the human prospect.

I encourage you to take advantage of the help available from CFE and ATO. Be sure to make regular visits to Learn Anywhere webpages that are designed to support your work. The site is being updated regularly, please give feedback and suggestions for its improvement.

Take note of the recent addition of a section that provides guidance to students as they transient to the online environment. Direct your student to the information on good practices for remote learning as well as links to the many MSU support services that have been adapted to the remote learning environment: advising, tutoring, help centers, disability services and AYCSS (Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success).

Expect to receive emails from students alerting you to accommodations approved by the Office of Disability Services. Students have been asked to contact you as soon as possible, so that you can prepare appropriately. You can learn more about making your course accessible for all students here.

Be on the watch for warning signs of invidious discrimination that could develop if people were to thoughtlessly associate an infectious disease outbreak with an ethnicity or nationality. Please refer to the CDC website for additional guidance.

Finally, be especially watchful for signs of student difficulties. In these uncertain times, it has never been more important for each of us to share in the effort to engage and retain students. I encourage you to gather information frequently in your courses about potential lack of online engagement by students. Pay close attention to student participation in: electronic communication, attendance at online meetings, Brightspace activity and participation in discussion groups, for example. Convey lack of participation by a student to the “early alert” program in AYCSS.

Together we will get through this. We may perhaps be better educators as a result of these experiences. Please reach out if you need help. Take care, stay healthy and keep spreading the kindness.

Sincerely Yours,

On behalf of the Office of Academic Affairs, ATO and CFE

Bob Mokwa
Executive Vice President and Provost
Montana State University

Sent 3/23/2020 at 8:49 a.m.

University Health Partners

Pharmacy Information for MSU Students

The pharmacy is OPEN normal semester hours and HAPPY to serve

  1. To ensure efficient pharmacy function, PLEASE CALL AHEAD!!! Please call 406-994-5498 and leave a message in our confidential voicemail. There is no need to call back once you leave a message.
  2. IF you are staying home and need your prescription TRANSFERRED: Have your LOCAL pharmacy call us @ 406-994-5498. THEY will call MSU pharmacy and verbally transfer/fax your rx from us. Call your local pharmacy before you pick up to ensure it is ready.

For your safety and those around you: We will be following CDC guidelines and implementing social distancing. Thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation!

Pharmacy Hours:
Monday-Tuesday: 8:30-4:30PM
Wednesday: 9:00-4:30PM
Thursday-Friday: 8:30-4:30PM

Sent 3/22/2020 at 8:02 p.m.

Office of the Provost

Dear MSU Students,

 

In response to the global health emergency imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak, Montana State University switched from in-person classes to remote delivery modality for all Spring 2020 courses beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. I want to thank you for your understanding of the extensive measures we are taking to protect the health and safety of students and the entire MSU community. The flexibility and resilience you have shown through this situation is remarkable and appreciated highly.

I am writing to inform you that as part of our emergency coursework accommodations, MSU is implementing an expanded Pass/Fail (P/F) grading option for all undergraduate courses, effective Spring 2020 Semester.

These unprecedented circumstances necessitate extraordinary measures to accommodate difficulties and challenges faced by students and faculty in managing personal matters during a pandemic, while simultaneously navigating a new course delivery modality. Universities across the country are implementing this measure because it is the right thing to do for students and for faculty who are confronting uncertainty, the likes and scope of which none of us have ever experienced.

These temporary emergency accommodations to the MSU pass/fail policy will allow students the options to transition courses to a P/F grade at the end of the semester. Students not wishing to transition to P/F will still receive the letter grade assigned by their instructor.

Undergraduate students who choose to receive a P/F grade for one or more of their courses can do so by submitting a form available on the University Registrar’s website, no later than five calendar days after final grades have been posted by the Registrar. A revised P/F request form and specific guidelines for these emergency accommodations will be available on the Registrar’s web page at least two weeks prior to the end of Spring Semester.

The Graduate School will publish specific information about the declaration of P/F grades for students in graduate programs in the 2019-2020 catalog addendum.

Additional details regarding these emergency grading accommodations for undergraduate students will be published in the 2019-2020 catalog addendum and include:

  • Faculty will grade students as usual per their syllabi grading structure during the semester with an understanding that the transition to remote learning might impact each student differently.
  • The default option for students is the traditional A¬-F letter grade. Students may choose to receive a P/F grade in place of a letter grade for any number of their courses. The P/F grade option can be requested by a student no later than five calendar days after final grades have been posted by the Registrar.
  • For students who request a P/F grade, the MSU Registrar will record the P/F designation using a rubric in which all grades of C- or higher earn a Pass.
  • Course grades converted to a Pass grade in this temporary P/F option for Spring 2020 will count towards curricular, major, minor, prerequisite, progress toward degree, graduation requirements, transfer requirements, scholarships, financial aid requirements and application to MSU graduate school programs.
  • MSU’s regional accreditor, NWCCU, has approved this modified P/F grading system for our use this semester. Discipline-specific accrediting bodies and professional licensing agencies have agreed to approve P/F grading schemes and will accept Pass grades for required courses, prerequisites and elective courses. This includes nursing, engineering, education and others.
  • Under the P/F option, neither pass nor fail grades will be factored into students’ Grade Point Average (GPA). Pass grades will count towards earned semester hours. An F grade will not count towards earned semester hours in either the A-F or P/F options.
  • MSU will include a designation on students’ transcripts, indicating the extraordinary circumstances of the global public health emergency during Spring 2020. It appears this will be common practice at most universities in the United States.

Given the extraordinary circumstances we currently face, and after extensive consideration, this amended pass/fail policy will provide a good balance to student and faculty needs in both the short and longer terms. Faculty will continue working closely with you remotely for the remainder of this semester to ensure that they successfully provide you the body of knowledge that you have come to expect in all of your courses at Montana State University.

If you have any questions about how this expanded P/F grading option affects your curricular or extra-curricular situation, please contact your faculty advisor or professional advisor.

In closing, I urge you to stick with your course of study and to work with your faculty and advisor to complete your courses. Like you, I look forward to returning to a sense of normalcy by next fall as we work together and adhere to best practices to minimize contagion of the novel coronavirus.

The future is full of hope and promise, and I have great faith that we will get through this situation together and enjoy a bright tomorrow.

 

Sincerely,

Provost Bob Mokwa
Montana State University

Sent 3/20/2020 at 7:16 p.m.

Office of the President

Dear MSU Community,

 

As we get closer to resuming the Spring 2020 Semester, I want to reiterate a few important messages:

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Montana University System is encouraging all students on all campuses to return to their home of origin to live with their family and loved ones. The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education is strongly urging all students to not return to their campuses or campus communities if they have another housing option.
  • All classes will be offered online beginning Monday, March 23. There will be no classroom instruction on campus. Please see the MSU COVID-19 webpage for links to resources for both teaching and learning online. Students, please contact your faculty via email.
  • Following guidance from the Montana University System, the MSU campus is open. However, a number of buildings, including the fitness centers, are closed. The MSU Library will provide online access, but the Renne Library building is closed to foot traffic. The Math Learning Center and the MSU Writing Center, among others, are all operating remotely.
  • University Health Partners is open. Students must call ahead for any visit before coming into the clinic at 406-994-2311. Counseling & Psychological Services is open, but again, students must call ahead at 406-994-4531. CPS has an excellent webpage for managing stress and anxiety during this time.
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock has made a strong recommendation that all travelers returning to Montana from anywhere outside the United States self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival and call their local public health department to notify them of their self-quarantine. In Bozeman and Gallatin County, our local health department is the Gallatin City-County Health Department and its phone number is: 406-548-0123
  • If you traveled outside of the United States during spring break and live in one of MSU's residence halls, we urge you to not return to campus. Please stay with your family and loved ones until your 14-day self-quarantine period is over. Your family and loved ones are best able to provide you care should you need it. Unfortunately, MSU has no capacity to quarantine students returning from overseas spring break travel. For students who need critical items from their residence hall rooms but are not immediately returning to campus, the university has set up a request form.
  • The Montana Commissioner of Higher Education has authorized campuses to begin the process of providing prorated refunds, to the extent possible, for room and board to those students who have departed the residence halls and/or canceled meal plans based on recent guidance from the Montana University System regarding the COVID-19 situation. Refunds may be issued for the period from March 23 through the end of Spring term. Students must complete a cancellation form to be eligible for the refund. The cancellation form, as well as specific procedures for processing refunds, will be available Wednesday, March 25. Please allow until April 15 for reimbursement payment.
  • The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education coordinates all commencement ceremonies for campuses of the Montana University System. As soon as we receive pertinent information about Spring graduation ceremonies, we will share it immediately.
  • We have an MSU COVID-19 webpage with a wealth of information and FAQs for students, faculty and staff. Many of your questions will be answered there. The most important recommendations continue to be: Please stay at home, continue to observe social distancing (6 feet or more from each other), and wash your hands regularly.

I want to thank you for your flexibility during this time of uncertainty and great adjustments. If the last week has taught us a lesson, it is to start every new day with the expectation that the ways in which we conduct our routines might be and will be altered. Given this new temporary reality, let's commit to helping each other and to be kind to individuals around us who, chances are, are also experiencing great changes and alterations in their life.

Have a restful weekend.

Sincerely,

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University

Sent 3/20/2020 at 9:41 a.m.

Vice President of Research, Economic Development & Graduate Education

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

 

As troubling as the news of the COVID-19 pandemic is, it makes me proud to be part of a team of researchers at this university. This event brings into sharp focus  the  importan ce of  our research mission to push the boundaries of human knowledge in all directions. The research we conduct today has  the  potential to save lives tomorrow, and make for a more sustainable, prosperous, and equitable world. I want to thank you all for what you do, and for being patient and working together as we make our way through a moment in time none of us could have imagined. 

Attached is a document clarifying our newly defined Research Operation levels under this COVID-19 pandemic. We are currently working under Level 1 Research Operations, and would like for researchers to think through their unique circumstances if we needed to ever proceed to Levels 2-4. Appendix A within the attachment includes a template and structure to how you and your team can think through the various Research Operation levels.

I want to reiterate that we are currently at Level 1 Research Operations.  The situation remains fluid, and want you all to see how things could progress if the COVID-19 outbreak necessitates.  Many laboratories have voluntarily proceeded to Level 2 on their own, and you are absolutely allowed to proactively do so if your circumstances warrant.

Thank you to the many deans, department heads, and directors – as well as several faculty – who have provided input into this document throughout the  week. I am  grateful for the collegiality and support you have provided in these difficult times.  Stay the course, and thank you for all you do for Montana StateUniversity.

 

Regards,

Jason R. Carter, Ph.D.

Vice President for Research, Economic Development & Graduate Education

 

Attachment: Research Operation Levels

Sent 3/18/2020 at 9:35 p.m.

Office of the President

 

"This is no ordinary time, and no time for weighing anything except what we can do best for the country as a whole," -Eleanor Roosevelt, 1940

 

Dear MSU Community,

I have important announcements to share with you in regard to the most recent precautionary measures for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). I kindly ask that you please read to the end of this email as well as check MSU COVID-19 webpage for FAQs and other information.

Tonight we have received guidance from the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education that applies to the entire Montana University System. This guidance is done in response to the increasing severity of the COVID-19 pandemic around the country and in Montana. These decisions are made with the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff as our primary focus.

REMOTE COURSE DELIVERY THROUGH END OF SPRING SEMESTER

Courses and labs will continue to be delivered via distance, remote and online means through the end of the spring semester. There will be no classroom instruction.

In a very small number of specific and exceptional circumstances, where learning can only be achieved through hands-on methods (e.g., welding, off-campus nursing clinicals), in-person instruction will continue. In those situations, campuses will implement responsible social distancing and cleaning practices in order to promote a safe teaching and learning space.

*Note — If you are unclear about your courses, communicate with your instructor directly via email.

IF YOU HAVE ANOTHER HOUSING OPTION, PLEASE DO NOT RETURN TO CAMPUS AFTER SPRING BREAK.

The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education is strongly urging all students to not return to their campuses or campus communities from spring break.

This is a strong recommendation based on evidence that demonstrates the best way to slow the COVID-19 pandemic is to stop people from congregating in their communities and around the country.

We ask that all students take this request very seriously. The spread of the virus will only become more severe in coming weeks if we are not able to stop the spread now.

It is a known fact that people who have no symptoms can carry this disease. While you may feel perfectly fine, you may be a carrier. Each of us has a responsibility to prevent others from getting very sick.

*Note — To discuss your personal residence hall housing situation, please contact Residence Life at housing@montana.edu.

IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY LIVING ON CAMPUS, PLEASE CONSIDER A HOUSING ALTERNATIVE

We understand that some students chose to remain in the residence halls for spring break. We urge those students to please find other, less-dense living arrangements for their own health and safety as well as that of others.

The higher density living of the residence halls is not recommended by health officials. As with the previous section for students that are currently off campus, this is a very hard, but necessary, message to transmit and we urge you to consider it.

*Note — To discuss your personal residence hall housing situation, please contact Residence Life at housing@montana.edu.

PERSONAL BELONGINGS OF ON-CAMPUS RESIDENCE LIFE STUDENTS

Please do not return to campus to retrieve your belongings even if you live in Montana.

Residence Life will be communicating directly with students on how they can get their absolutely most essential items.

*Note — For other questions, or to discuss your personal situation, please contact Residence Life at housing@montana.edu.

STRICT SOCIAL DISTANCING ENFORCED ON CAMPUS

To be clear, all campuses of the Montana University System are open and students who need to live on campuses will be able to do so, if absolutely necessary for their circumstances. But please, if you can disperse to less-dense living arrangements, do so.

For those students who must continue to live on campus because of their personal circumstances, social distancing will be enforced in the residence and dining halls.

MSU has closed all of its fitness facilities, including Marga Hoseaus, Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, and all residence hall fitness rooms.

The MSU Renne Library will be closed to patron visits. Students, faculty and staff can still use the library online from their homes and will be able to request audio-visual materials and book loans, if needed.

Finally, the Student Union Building will observe new hours of operation, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

ALL BIG SKY CONFERENCE COMPETITIONS CANCELLED, PRACTICE SUSPENDED

The Big Sky Conference announced today that all of its competitions and championships for the remainder of the 2020 spring sports season have been cancelled. In addition, practices and workouts for all teams in every Big Sky sponsored sport have been suspended. MSU Bobcat Athletics has closed the strength and conditioning facilities, weight rooms and other facilities relying on shared equipment. MSU Bobcat student-athletes maintain access to health care and academic services by appointment as well as all services available through digital methods.

I understand we are asking our students to take extraordinary measures, but these are extraordinary times. We face an unprecedented health crisis where our personal interests must come second to the health and safety of all of those around us. What is our goal? To welcome you — and every member of our community — as soon as possible, when you come back to Montana State.

I want for you to think that this is a challenge that we can accept and conquer together.

As Bobcats, I am counting on you.

 

Sincerely,

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University

Sent 3/16/2020 at 9:30 p.m.

Office of the President

Dear MSU Community,

 

First, I want to thank you all for your patience and cooperation as we navigate together the ever-changing situation with COVID-19. On a daily basis, I hear stories of students, faculty and staff stepping up to the challenges we face or showing each other extraordinary kindness during these unpredictable times. Thank you! You all make me proud to be a Bobcat.

This afternoon, President Trump issued guidelines urging Americans to work from home when possible, to avoid discretionary travel as well as gatherings of 10 people of more. In light of this and other guidance provided by local and federal health officials, I want to share with you updates on the following topics:

  • Remote work for employees
  • Additional sick leave for sick employees
  • University-sponsored international and domestic travel
  • Cancellation of university-sponsored events
  • Significant closures and cancellations
  • On-campus dining new guidelines
  • MSU Summer School update
  • MSU Extension changes
  • Closure of large classrooms not in use

REMOTE WORK FOR EMPLOYEES

This afternoon President Trump issued guidelines urging Americans to work from home when possible. In light of this development, MSU and the Montana University System are issuing the following guidance to ensure continuity of operations for the university while minimizing spread of COVID-19 and assuring our campus remains accessible to our students, faculty and staff who depend on the essential services we provide.

I want to reiterate that message for our employees: If you are sick, are at higher risk of becoming sick or have a close family member at greater risk, you should stay home and utilize your sick leave. Please follow normal call-in procedures and communicate with your supervisor on a regular basis.

MSU managers will work with faculty and staff who have heightened family needs at home to consider alternate or remote work arrangements for faculty and staff to meet a family's childcare needs, while striving to maintain operations in the workplace, when possible.

Even with the number of students on campus greatly reduced via remote instruction until further notice, there is still a vital need for essential core services to be maintained on campus. Part of the reason to consider telework arrangements for positions that can be performed remotely is to lessen the traffic and exposure to health risks for our essential service providers whose responsibilities cannot be exercised off campus.

To further improve the type of distancing and optimal space encouraged by health agencies at this time, we encourage departments and units to use greater flexibility in work-from-home or telework arrangements where feasible until further notice. Alternative hoteling options in large spaces that guarantee social distancing for less than 10 people can also be explored as an option at this time.

Employees should discuss remote work possibilities with their supervisors. A Telework Agreement that establishes expectations for employee-supervisor contact and accountability during the temporary off-campus work arrangement is available from Human Resources. Please contact your department's HR Business Partner for this agreement template.

For the staff in residence halls, dining services, university police departments, physical plants, student health clinics -- we realize that these duties cannot be performed off campus, and I want to express my profound gratitude for the work you do. Having fewer people on campus will assist in promoting responsible social distancing. We encourage managers in these aforementioned programs to assist with staff needs in the days ahead.

ADDITIONAL SICK LEAVE FOR SICK EMPLOYEES

Policies guiding all employees are established by the Montana University System (MUS) and approved by the Board of Regents. Today, MUS announced that for employees who are experiencing health issues, the system will provide a new Paid COVID-19 Leave for up to 14 calendar days, subject to certain eligibility requirements and in coordination with regular statutory sick-leave requirements for state government employees. MSU Human Resources officers are working on plans to administer this special leave in accordance with state guidelines.

Generally, the Paid COVID-19 Leave will assist in situations where individuals are told by public health officials, or health care providers, to quarantine because of potential exposure. In a separate context, employees whose job duties and responsibilities do not allow a work-from-home arrangement may be eligible to use Paid COVID-19 Leave for up to 14 calendar days for medical needs or reasons of illness that sick leave would normally cover before having to use accrued sick leave. It should be noted, employees in this situation are also eligible to telecommute if they meet the guidelines for working from home: i.e., they may not have to use sick leave or Paid COVID-19 Leave.

Details are still being finalized, but this leave program will be managed consistently with steps taken with other agencies, departments and branches of state government.

UNIVERSITY SPONSORED INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC TRAVEL

All university-sponsored and affiliated international travel is canceled through the end of the semester, Friday, May 8, 2020. All university-sponsored and affiliated discretionary (not required) domestic travel is also canceled through the end of the semester.

CANCELLATION OF UNIVERSITY EVENTS OF MORE THAN 10 PEOPLE FOR NEXT 15 DAYS

Today, President Trump issued national guidance to slow the spread of COVID-19 which urged Americans to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people for the next 15 days. MSU will be following this guidance and canceling all events of 10 people or greater until March 31, 2020. Please send your cancellation notice to University Communications at universitycommunicatons@montana.edu. All cancellations will be combined into a master list on the MSU COVID-19 webpage.

NOTICE OF SIGINIFICANT CLOSURES AND CANCELLATIONS

  • The MSU Spring Rodeo scheduled for April 2-5 is postponed. Potential re-scheduled dates are under consideration at the moment. Currently held tickets will be honored for the new dates. No action is needed to keep your tickets and current seat locations. Your ticket will be honored for the rescheduled dates. For any further ticket inquiries, including requests for refunds, please reach out to Bobcat Ticket Office at 406-994-2287.
  • The MSU Museum of the Rockies will be closed to the public from March 17 through March 31. This is a preventative action to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and ensure the safety of our community, visitors, staff and volunteers. Museum staff will continue to work from the museum or from their homes, depending on the nature of their job. They will be available via email or phone.

ON-CAMPUS DINING NEW GUIDANCE

In accordance with Gallatin City-County Health Department directives issued this afternoon, restaurants, bars and other venues in Bozeman will close tonight at 9 p.m. and remain closed - except for take-out or drive-through, until 8 a.m. March 24. University food venues Miller and Rendezvous are exempt from this order, with the condition that they will only be open to students, faculty and staff who must show a CatCard in order to use the facility.

Additionally, Rendezvous Dining Pavilion will be shifting to Grab 'N' Go/Take Out only to facilitate MSU students, faculty and staff to get their food and return to their residence hall rooms or office spaces. As noted before, Rendezvous Dining Pavilion is not authorized to be open to the public. Miller Dining Commons is closed for spring break.

MSU Faculty and staff wishing to use Rendezvous Dining Pavilion, will need a CatCard to gain entry. CatCards may be obtained at the CatCard Office in the basement of the Miller Dining Commons.

The retail food operations in the Strand Union, Norm Asbjornson Hall, and the Renne Library have been shut down to comply with the Gallatin City-County Health Department order.

CLOSURE OF LARGE CLASSROOMS NOT IN USE

During the COVID-19 emergency, MSU will begin disinfecting and locking large classrooms to minimize risk of contamination. This will allow MSU's custodial staff to focus on occupied spaces throughout campus.

SUMMER SCHOOL

MSU will offer Summer School courses, starting May 18. At this time, our plan is to deliver the majority of courses via remote and online instructional methods for the first 12 weeks of Summer Session. Decisions about field courses, summer field trips, field camps, expeditions and other hands-on experiential learning will depend on guidelines from national and local health authorities. The situation is too dynamic to allow definitive decision-making about in-person or group courses. I am thankful to our innovative MSU faculty who are hard at work now preparing for a robust, online summer term!

MSU EXTENSION CHANGES

Effective today, March 16, MSU Extension will discontinue face-to-face programming through the end of March, at which time it will reevaluate the situation with the intent to resume as soon as possible.

MSU Extension gatherings of 10 people or more should be avoided through the end of March.

As for large group gatherings, MSU Extension will adhere to the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that for the next eight weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals), cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people. MSU Extension will follow this guidance through May 10.

Service to clientele will continue through phone calls, emails, websites, social media, news releases, radio and other appropriate means. MSU Extension staff will be thinking creatively about new ways to deliver educational and engagement opportunities.

Once again, I want to thank the entire MSU Community for their spirit of collaboration and endurance during this time. Together, we will make our way through this challenge. We are Bobcats. We know how to get things done.

Please continue to check the MSU COVID-19 webpage for updates and past communications.

Please stay healthy and safe,

Sent 3/16/2020 at 9:30 a.m.

Bobcat Parent & Family Program

Dear Bobcat parent and family members,

 

This special edition message is part of Montana State University’s ongoing effort
to provide timely information needed by
our parents and families. On March 15, the CDC issued guidance recommending that organizations cancel in-person events that consist of 50 people or more. Consequently, the migration to distance education will remain in place through the duration of the spring semester. Classes will be taught via remote delivery for the entirety of the semester. At this time, there is no intent to return to face-to-face instruction in spring 2020. ( Correction 3/17/20 2:36 p.m.: Classes will be taught online and remotely from March 23 and until further notice. The wording about the entirety of the semester was in error.)

We believe this shift to remote delivery will give our students and families needed options as they finalize their educational, personal and family plans
in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Although current plans are for the campus to remain open after students return from spring break, students
who do not wish to return to campus will have the opportunity to complete their courses remotely. Please continue to monitor the COVID-19 webpage
for the most recent updates.

 

Sincerely,

Tony Campeau
Registrar & Acting Dean of Students
 

Back to Top

Sent 3/16/2020 at 8:28 a.m.

Office of the President

Dear MSU Community,

 

I shared with you previously, Montana Commissioner of Higher Education, Clayton Christian, has tested positive for COVID-19. The Commissioner, as well as officials and guests of the Montana University System, including Montana State University, participated in the Board of Regents meeting, held during March 5-6 in Dillon, Montana. None of the MSU participants have COVID-19 symptoms, but out of an abundance of caution, state health authorities are asking us to self-quarantine until March 20. Yesterday afternoon, we received the following message from the Office of Montana Governor, Steve Bullock, which we wanted to share.

From the Office of the Governor yesterday:

First, Governor Bullock wants to thank local public health for their incredible work and being the front lines to our state's response. It is through your work we are able to keep the public safe and Montanans informed.

To help clarify:

There have been concerns regarding two individuals testing positive to COVID-19 who were at the Montana Board of Regents meeting March 5-6 in Dillon. With the current information we now have, from our local public health partners who have contacted and interviewed the patients, it is clear that these individuals were not symptomatic at the time of the meeting. These individuals started to show symptoms days after the meeting. By the current CDC recommendations, no one at the Board of Regents meeting would be considered a contact and no one would need to be quarantined. However, this is a very dynamic situation, and we are learning more and more about this virus every day.

Therefore, under the abundance of caution, we are asking each of the members who attended the Board of Regents meeting to self-quarantine until March 20 .

I would like to reiterate that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an excellent webpage which we urge you to visit at,  "Know the facts about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)." Please continue to observe responsible social distance measures and keep washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. We will continue to post MSU-related updates on the  MSU COVID-19 webpage.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we make our way through this unprecedented time.

 

Sincerely,

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University

Back to Top

Sent 3/13/2020 at 4:17 p.m.

Office of the President

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

 

The Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President for Research, Economic Development and Graduate Education have been coordinating with local, state, and federal leaders and resources to establish COVID-19 guidelines for MSU research and graduate education. The situation is fluid, and we may need to provide additional clarifications in the coming days and weeks. Our top priority is the health and safety of our community. It is our collective responsibility to help slow the spread and reduce the number of infections of COVID-19 - or what health officials refer to as "flattening the curve" - particularly for vulnerable populations in our community. We encourage you to take CDC recommended steps of social distancing, isolation when exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, good handwashing practices, and adhering to appropriate cleaning and sanitation practices.

At the same time, we've never had a more urgent time to conduct research. Maintaining research activities, with minimal disruption during the COVID-19 outbreak, is an institutional priority. Indeed, we have MSU faculty collaborating with colleagues across the nation on research related to COVID-19, and we have a moral obligation to be part of the solution. At the same time, we need to go about this safely and responsibly.

Accordingly, we have developed a COVID-19 FAQ document this is attached to this email, and will be posted on the MSU COVID-19 webpage. The FAQ document provides guidance on several issues, including the following:

  • Lab-specific communication plan
  • On-campus vs. remote research
  • Animal care research
  • Personal Protective Equipment shortages
  • IRB research
  • Office of Sponsored Programs
  • Graduate Research Assistantships
  • Graduate Student Thesis/Dissertation Defense

We know that we have not addressed all of the research and graduate education questions. As such, we encourage you to reach out to our office with additional questions or concerns, and we will attempt to address them by updating the VPREDGE FAQ document.

In closing, I want to thank you all for your continued efforts in maintaining a safe and productive research environment during this challenging time.

 

Sincerely,

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University

Jason Carter
Vice President for Research, Economic Development, and Graduate Education

See Frequently Asked Questions about research and graduate education

Back to Top

Sent 3/13/2020 at 11:00am

Admissions

Dear prospective students, family members, and parents,

 

Like many of you, we have been closely monitoring the development of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). To help limit COVID-19 risk to our prospective students and community, Montana State University is taking additional precautions to keep you and our community safe by suspending on-campus visit programs and tours starting Monday, March16 and shifting to virtual visits. We understand the time and effort that goes into the college search, and we apologize that we are unable to host you at this time.

You’ll find a great deal of information which will be helpful in lieu of a personal visit here on our COVID-19 and Visiting MSU Webpage. We will be updating this website very frequently with various links, presentations, online visit options and resources organized by subject as soon as we possibly can.

Our sense of gratitude extends to the families and students who have expressed interest in our university. We will do everything we can to provide the best possible online resources for you and hope that, soon, we’ll be able to welcome you to our campus in person. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at admissions@montana.edu or call us at 1 (888) MSU-CATS.

To learn more about how MSU is handling COVID-19, please visit our informational page.

 

Ronda Russell
Director of Admissions
Montana State University
Bozeman, Montana 59717
888-MSU-CATS; 406-994-2452
rondarussell@montana.edu

Back to Top

 

Sent 3/12/2020 at 11:35am

MONTANA UNIVERSITY SYSTEM | OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER OF HIGHER EDUCATION

MUS logoMONTANA UNIVERSITY SYSTEM
OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER OF HIGHER EDUCATION


 

560 N. Park, 4th Floor – PO Box 203201
Helena, Montana 59620-3201
(406) 449-9124 - FAX (406) 449-9171

 

To: Montana Board of Regents; Montana University System Chief Executive Officers; Montana Community College Presidents; Governor Steve Bullock
From: Clayton T. Christian, Commissioner of Higher Education
Date: March 12, 2020
Subject: COVID-19 UPDATE

In partnership with the Board of Regents and as Commissioner of Higher Education for the Montana University System, the health and safety of our campus communities remains our top priority. With that in mind, and in light of the rapidly evolving challenge presented by the COVID-19 outbreak, I am directing all MUS campuses to implement the following decisions as soon as possible:

  1. As of March 23rd, all MUS campuses will, in every instance possible, transition all in-class instruction to online or other remote teaching modalities that do not require in-class presence. Individual departments, colleges, and universities should provide all material assistance and accommodation possible to faculty and students throughout this transition.
  2. MUS campuses will remain open and operational for students. This includes residence halls, dining services, computer labs, and most other campus services. Employees will continue to report to work unless instructed otherwise or work-from-home accommodations are developed in individual cases.
  3. To protect public health, MUS campuses will implement appropriate social distancing measures in line with CDC guidelines and recommendations. This should include restrictions on large lectures, theater performances, academic conferences, and other large gatherings.
  4. All MUS students and employees need to monitor their official email address for more communications and planning details between now and March 23rd.

These decisions are in effect until further notice. Our COVID-19 challenge remains fluid, however, and as our campus communities prepare for Spring Break, it is our responsibility to establish the current course of action while also preparing for new circumstances as they emerge. If and when we consider a return to face-to-face instruction we will provide as much advance notice as possible and clear instructions for an orderly return to normal operations. Throughout, my office will continue to consult with Governor Steve Bullock, the Montana University System Board of Regents, health authorities, and other statewide partners as we assess our current policies. I ask that every campus leader be ready to answer questions and provide relevant information in a timely manner to students, faculty, and staff.

I do not take these decisions lightly. I am committed to supporting the educational progress of our students and minimizing disruption to campus life whenever possible. I believe that the course of action outlined above is the best way to balance our commitment to protect the public health and safety of our students, employees, and communities.

 

Clayton T. Christian
Commissioner of Higher Education

Back to Top

 Sent 3/11/2020 at 2:20pm

Office of the President

Dear MSU Community,

 

After thoughtful consideration and careful monitoring of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation, and in coordination with the Council on Undergraduate Research, Montana State University is canceling the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR 2020) that was scheduled for March 26-28 on our campus.

While at this time there is not a confirmed COVID-19 case in the state of Montana, as a responsible community member, canceling the conference is the right decision.

If you had registered to attend NCUR 2020 and need additional information, please visit the national conference website at http://www.cur.org/what/events/students/ncur/2020/. For information pertinent to the MSU campus community, visit http://www.montana.edu/ncur2020.

I understand canceling the conference is upsetting and inconvenient for the many talented undergraduate researchers who planned to present their hard work. This decision might also come as a disappointment for their faculty and mentors. We apologize for any inconvenience this decision might create.

I want to thank the faculty, students and staff of Montana State University who worked hard and diligently in planning NCUR 2020, especially to our director of undergraduate research, Colin Shaw. Our sense of gratitude extends to our community partners who were so responsive in planning for this conference. Please know how much our partnership means to this university.

 

Sincerely,

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University

Back to Top

Sent 3/11/2020 at 2:16pm

Office of the Provost

Dear Faculty, Instructors and Staff,

 

We understand many of you have questions about Montana State University moving to online course delivery in light of the continuing spread of COVID-19. This message provides guidance on steps we are asking you to take in preparation for converting all in-person teaching to an online modality for remote delivery of instruction.

We ask you to make these preparations in accordance with the university’s main objective of keeping you and our campus community safe.

We anticipate that your next question will be: What will be the triggering criteria for the university to go fully or partially online?

We continue to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Montana Department of Health, the Gallatin City-County Health Department and direction from the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education. To date, the CDC has only issued “Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education.”  This guidance can best be described as “make preparations.”

As of today, no Montana University System campus has received authority to cancel in-person classes. However, faculty at MSU are encouraged to prepare for that eventuality and begin transitioning their courses online as soon as they are ready.

As you prepare to move to online delivery, please ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can you teach your current in-person, face-to-face courses remotely?
  2. If so, what strategy will you utilize; i.e., Brightspace, Webex, video presentations, TechSmith Relay, or a combination of technology teaching tools.
  3. How will you conduct and coordinate assessments, exams and assignments?
  4. How will you facilitate group discussions and interactive learning?

A task force led by Provost Mokwa has developed a web-based resource –which is live now– called MSU Learn Anywhere, to assist you with course organization and technology tools for use in teaching undergraduate and graduate courses under several potential scenarios:

  1. The course instructor must teach from a distance.
  2. One or more students must engage from a distance.
  3. In-person classroom instruction is suspended for a period of time.
  4. Health officials advise faculty and students to practice “social distancing.”

In all of these scenarios, faculty will need to invoke alternative distance-based instructional methods. In some circumstances, faculty may also need to adjust course content, while maintaining and achieving key learning outcomes.

We recognize that we are asking you midway through the semester to prepare for re-tooling and even re-thinking how you teach. We make these preparations because we know that you want to avoid putting your students, and yourselves, at risk. Please devote time over the next 24 hours to review the teaching and learning resources available to assist you at MSU Learn Anywhere and do not hesitate to seek help with any aspect of your teaching. You will see these pages offer practical, implementable advice for selecting and using alternative instructional methods for remote course delivery.

Under these circumstances, the Department of Education and our regional accreditor, NWCCU have provided universities permission to change teaching modalities within individual courses, without going through a formal review and approval process. Put another way; MSU has approval from our oversight agencies to re-imagine your expectations for students with alternative, equivalent assignments in the event it becomes necessary to modify your mode of course delivery from in-person to hybrid or to fully online.

Plan to use the two days, March 26-27, that were previously reserved for the NCUR event to participate in training and to experiment –pilot– online instruction of your classes. Faculty who desire to move their courses fully online for the remainder of this semester may proceednow. It is vitally important that changes of course delivery method are clearly communicated to students and that students understand the changes and expectations.

When conducting a rapid shift from face-to-face or in-person learning to online learning, be sure to communicate to students clearly and frequently; indicate all of the changes that will take place, including any modifications to expectations, grading, course schedule, due dates, assignments and formats or methods of conducting quizzes/exams, discussions and assignments. You will find it most effective during any transition to communicate this information in multiple places including email, course announcements and Brightspace/D2L (using the course changes section in the course shell that students see when they log into the course). More information on best practices can be found here.

In summary, we ask you to please start active preparation for transitioning to online course delivery. We have resources and people at MSU ready to assist you with the offering of lectures and discussions on-line, either synchronously within the scheduled class period, or asynchronously. Faculty are asked to be as flexible as possible in providing students the opportunity to demonstrate their accomplishment of learning outcomes through take-home examinations, on-line testing or other appropriate means. Most importantly, as changes are implemented, be pro-active with frequent communications to your students to ensure they understand their options and revised expectations.

By working together and taking advantage of university teaching resources, support and a variety of training opportunities, I am confident that we can provide students with the opportunity to complete their courses with minimal disruption while meeting the learning outcomes, competencies and knowledge requirements for each course.

With these steps, we will be ready to act when the time arrives to shift fully to remote delivery of instruction.

 

Sincerely,

Eric Austin
Faculty Senate Chair

and

Bob Mokwa
Executive Vice President and Provost
Montana State University

Back to Top

Sent 3/10/2020 at 5:05pm

Office of the Provost

Dear Students,

 

I am writing to inform you of modifications to our protocols and practices for student class absences. These modifications align with guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control on how best to limit the spread of infectious diseases, especially with the current concern over the spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19.

Specifically, the CDC recommends that people stay at home if they feel sick, especially if they think they may have an infectious disease. However, the need to stay home may impact a student's class participation, which often has implications for their course grades. In order to avoid contagion of infectious diseases, it is critical that students feel that they can miss one class or a series of classes without penalty.

Beginning March 23 and extending to the end of Spring Semester, May 15, 2020, our campus protocols are as follows:

  • Students are encouraged to stay at home if they are sick, and most especially if they think they may have an infectious disease.  
  • Students who need to miss a class, or series of classes, due to illness or 14-day quarantine are responsible for emailing their course instructor to let them know of the need, as soon as possible. There is NO need for a medical excuse to be provided, at least initially. MSU University Health Partners will continue their policy of NOT providing students with medical excuse documentation as part of their commitment to maintain patient confidentiality.
  • Students are responsible for completing any work that they miss due to absence; including assignments, quizzes, tests and exams.
  • Students are responsible for communicating with their instructor(s) via the means established by the instructor(s); e.g., via D2L, email, text, etc.

Students who adhere to these processes will not be penalized.

I have ask that faculty make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations for students who cannot come to class due to illness. Suggestions for reasonable accommodations include:  

  • Requesting that students who join via WebEx or who watch recorded lectures provide feedback through mandatory discussions, quizzes or essays on the material covered in order to receive credit for attendance and participation.
  • Providing make-up exams or tests might be administered through D2L. Guidance for online assessment and testing proctoring methods are available. More information will be provided in a separate communication.

The CDC recommendation applies equally to teaching assistants, who should also stay home if they are sick. Teaching assistants should work directly with their faculty to develop a plan for how to manage in the event that they should have to stay home due to illness.

Your patience and cooperation is greatly appreciated on this and the other many efforts that are rolling out campus-wide to prepare the campus for the possible spread of the Coronavirus / COVID-19.  

 

Sincerely,

Robert Mokwa
Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs
Montana State University

Back to Top

Sent 3/10/2020 at 11:58am

Office of the Provost

Dear Faculty,

 

I am writing to inform you of modifications to our protocols and practices for student class absences. These modifications align with guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control on how best to limit the spread of infectious diseases, especially with the current concern over the spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19.

Specifically, the CDC recommends that people stay at home if they feel sick, especially if they think they may have an infectious disease. However, the need to stay home may impact a student's class participation, which often has implications for their course grades. In order to avoid contagion of infectious diseases, it is critical that students feel that they can miss one class or a series of classes without penalty.

Beginning March 23 and extending to the end of Spring Semester, May 15, 2020, our campus protocols are as follows:

  • Students are encouraged to stay at home if they are sick, and most especially if they think they may have an infectious disease.
  • Students who need to miss a class, or series of classes, due to illness or 14-day quarantine are responsible for emailing their course instructor, to let them know of the need, as soon as possible. There is NO need for a medical excuse to be provided, at least initially. MSU University Health Partners will continue their policy of NOT providing students with medical excuse documentation as part of their commitment to maintain patient confidentiality.
  • Students are responsible for completing any work that they miss due to absence; including assignments, quizzes, tests and exams.
  • Students are responsible for communicating with their instructor(s) via the means established by the instructor(s); e.g., via D2L, email, text, etc.
  • Students who adhere to these processes should not be penalized per the attendance policy for the course.

Providing regular clear instructions to your students is critical during this time so they understand how you will communicate with them and your expectations of them. I ask that faculty make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations for students who cannot come to class due to illness. Suggestions for reasonable accommodations include:

  • Providing students an opportunity to join a live lecture via WebEx and/or recording of lectures through WebEx or Techsmith Relay and making those recorded lectures available on D2L (which is a closed platform). Refer to online for support from Academic Technology and Outreach http://ato.montana.edu/technologies/ and the Center for Faculty Excellence http://www.montana.edu/facultyexcellence/teaching/resources/index.html
  • Requesting that students who join via WebEx or who watch recorded lectures provide feedback through mandatory discussions, quizzes or essays on the material covered in order to receive credit for attendance and participation.
  • Providing make-up exams or tests might be administered through D2L. Guidance for online assessment and testing proctoring methods are available. More information will be provided in a separate communication.

The CDC recommendation applies equally to teaching assistants, who should also stay home if they are sick. Please work directly with your TA(s) to develop a plan for how to manage in the event that they should have to stay home due to illness.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated on this and all the other many efforts that are rolling out campus-wide to prepare the campus for the possible spread of the Coronavirus / COVID-19. More information will be forthcoming about online and hybrid teaching options, and training to bolster our ability to continue teaching and learning while responding to a heightened need for minimizing the spread of disease.

 

Sincerely,

Robert Mokwa
Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs
Montana State University

Back to Top

Sent 3/9/2020 at 4:45pm

Office of the President

Dear MSU Community,

 

In an effort to manage and contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), Montana State University is canceling all university-sponsored and affiliated international travel by students, faculty and staff, effective today and extending through spring break to Sunday, March 22.

Montana State University is making this decision based on the evolving situation with international quarantines as a measure to contain COVID-19. The university does not want to put our faculty, students and staff at risk of being stranded abroad or forced into a quarantine upon return. Many students may find their expectations of university-affiliated international travel come up far short as countries around the world are closing cultural and other sites of significance.

For all students, faculty and staff planning personal international travel over spring break, we urge caution. Travel restrictions and quarantine requirements can change daily. The best, most up-to-date information about travel is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Information for Travel website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

If you choose to travel and return from a country with a recommended self-quarantine - countries with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice from the CDC: currently China, Iran, Italy and South Korea - please do not return to campus, either to the residence halls, classes, offices, fitness center or any other area. This means we are asking students to self-quarantine and return home for 14 days, rather than coming to campus.

Please follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance on self-quarantine, which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html

Those students who currently live on campus in MSU residence halls have the option of staying in their rooms over spring break at no additional cost, however, they must register. These accommodations are for residents only, visitors and/or overnight guests are not allowed in the residence halls during Spring Break. Montana State University will continue to keep its dining, recreation and health facilities open during this time.

We will continue to provide updates via email as well as its COVID-19 page, which also has an archive of all university communications on the issue.

We know that this news can create frustration for many people. This is the time for us to work collaboratively and to keep our focus and our hopes high. This too shall pass.

We greatly appreciate your understanding and cooperation to keep each other safe during this eventful time.


Sincerely,

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University

Back to Top

Sent 3/6/2020 at 3:00pm

University Communications

Dear MSU Community,

With Spring Break nearly upon us, March 14-22, we recognize that the rapidly evolving situation with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) may be raising questions and concerns. We are writing to you to provide some guidance on any upcoming travel and to remind you how to best care for yourself and your community by minimizing the spread of respiratory illnesses. We update MSU's COVID-19 website frequently, so please check there for the latest information and links to other MSU units who are providing advice (especially the Office of International Programs and MSU's International Travel Clinic).

Travel restrictions

All MSU and Montana University System sponsored or affiliated travel to China, Iran, Italy and South Korea is cancelled until further notice.

All MSU and Montana University System sponsored or affiliated travel to countries or areas with a Level 2 Travel Advisory or higher (from either the U.S. State Department or the CDC) is being evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

If you are planning such travel between now and the end of the summer, please contact the faculty member, staff member or unit you arranged your travel through as soon as possible.

Please keep in mind that due to the fast-changing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, travel restrictions may be imposed or lifted at any time, for any area or country.

Please carefully weigh the risks and benefits of any international travel and refer to this site frequently for updates as well as the CDC's COVID-19 travel page and the Department of State's Travel Advisory website.

Post-Travel Guidance

If you are returning from a country with a sustained COVID-19 outbreak, or come in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 and you develop symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please:

Call your health provider in advance. Do not come to MSU University Health Partners, an urgent care, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital Emergency Room or other health facility without calling first. Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic while you are being evaluated.

  • Students should contact MSU University Health Partners at (406) 994-2311, or their usual provider in Gallatin County if they are seen locally but not at UHP. After business hours, this number will provide advice and guidance regarding COVID-19.
  • Faculty, other academic personnel and staff should contact their usual primary care provider or Bozeman Health ER for advice on how to proceed.

Please note: If you are returning from China, Iran, South Korea, or Italy, please check in with the Gallatin City-County Health Department (GCCHD), and plan to stay home for 14 days.

Limiting the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19

At the time of this message, there are currently no known cases of COVID-19 at MSU, in Bozeman, or in the state of Montana. We are working closely with GCCHD, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and the CDC to remain informed of current conditions and concerns.

Like other respiratory infections such as influenza and common colds, you may be able to reduce the risk of becoming infected or spreading viral illnesses including COVID-19 by:

  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if water is not available.
  • 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/nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.

Finding more information

The information about COVID-19 is changing daily. While the information in this email is current as of today, we recommend you check MSU's COVID-19 webpage, the Montana Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 webpage, and the CDC COVID-19 webpage for ongoing updates. Please remember that no one in the MSU community has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus and there are currently no suspected cases in the state of Montana.

We encourage everyone in the MSU community to support each other through this period of public health uncertainty. As a group, we are stronger than any single individual. Help those in need and refuse to stigmatize anyone as a possible disease carrier because of the color of their skin or where they call home. Question rumors you may hear by checking with reputable sources such as the links above.

We will continue to update you as new information becomes available.

 

Yours in health,

Jim Mitchell, MBA
Senior Director, University Health Partners

Sam Mitchell, MD, Ph.D
Medical Services Director, University Health Partners

Back to Top

Sent 3/5/2020 at 6:30pm

Bobcat Parent & Family Program

Dear Bobcat parent and family members,

This special edition message is part of Montana State University's ongoing effort to provide timely information to the emerging concerns related to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

As I write this message, Thursday afternoon, March 5, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in Montana, and the immediate assessment of health risk for our state remains low.

Out of an abundance of caution and taking guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for Institutions of Higher Education (IHE), Montana State University has activated an Incident Management Team to address questions and to plan for potential contingencies on our campuses. This team is monitoring the situation in real time with updates from the CDC, World Health Organization, Gallatin City-County Health Department and Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

The team is posting important updates to our MSU COVID-19 webpage. I recommend bookmarking this page in your web-browser so that you always have access to the latest information about Montana State University's response to the COVID-19 virus. 

We continue to reinforce to students, faculty and staff that the CDC is the best source for information on prevention and treatment, the available science as well as situation updates and guidance for travel.

 If your student lets you know they are ill, please encourage them to stay away from class. Students should contact their professor directly via email to let them know they are sick and will be missing class.

Students with flu-like symptoms that include fever, cough and shortness of breath, should call University Health Partners (UHP) at 406-994-2311 or a local health provider in advance. Local health providers including UHP are taking special measures to protect other people in their clinics while any potential COVID-19 patient is being evaluated.

We are doing our best to remind our campus community of how we can all help reduce the risk of an outbreak by following the preventative protocols related to other respiratory infections such as common-cold and influenza including:

  • 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/nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing and
    Washing your hands frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if water is not available. This is one of the most effective measures for stopping any infectious disease. The CDC has an entire webpage on hand washing as a preventive habit.

The COVID-19 situation is fluid and dynamic. And in President Cruzado's words, "We at Montana State University will remain calm and vigilant, while taking appropriate precautionary measures."

I'll be in touch next week before spring break with further updates and info on other pertinent topics that Dean Caires and I discussed communicating to you while he is away.

Sincerely,

Tony Campeau
Matt Caires
Registrar & Acting Dean of Students

Back to Top

Sent 3/4/2020 at 4:22pm

Office of the Provost

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to provide you with an update on the impact of the corona virus disease (COVID-19) to university-affiliated and -sponsored travel. Montana State University is closely monitoring COVID-19 news and travel restrictions in real-time with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and U.S. State Department, among others. Advisories and restrictions can change rapidly, and MSU remains vigilant. Montana State University, through our Office of International Programs (OIP), is monitoring MSU-affiliated travelers currently abroad. That includes travelers in some countries where the highest incidences of COVID-19 cases have been reported, namely Italy, Japan and South Korea. OIP is in communication with those MSU travelers and is helping them stay informed and safe. Similar to most U.S. universities, MSU students are participating in a variety of international study abroad, student exchange and faculty-led programs. The majority of countries that are hosting our students are under CDC Level 1 designation, which is comparable to the United States. OIP will continue to evaluate advisories and restrictions associated with all of our ongoing institutionally sponsored international programs as well as upcoming programs that include international travel. We have also received guidance from the Montana University System, which has banned university-affiliated and -sponsored travel systemwide to areas and countries under a Level 4 "do not travel" advisory, as designated by the State Department, such as China. Travel to places that are under Level 2 or 3 advisories must be reported to the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education for evaluation on a case-by-case basis. It is important to note that any travel undertaken at this time poses a level of risk for exposure to COVID-19. Additionally, travel advisories and restrictions can change without warning. Countries open to travel this week may have different situations in the future. Potential travelers must weigh that risk individually, and we encourage you to use resources such as those linked above to inform yourselves. Montana State University is watching the COVID-19 situation closely, balancing the need for preparation with appropriate concern. Our information page about COVID-19 is available at montana.edu/coronavirus. Please feel free to reach out with any questions. 

 

Sincerely,

Robert Mokwa
Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs
Montana State University

Back to Top

Sent 3/3/2020 at 10:30am

Office of the President

Dear MSU Community,

We at Montana State University are carefully tracking the development of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the United States and around the world. As I write this note, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in Montana, and the immediate assessment of health risk for our state is low.

Out of an abundance of caution, Montana State University is activating an Incident Management Team to address questions and to plan for potential contingencies on our campus. This team, made up of representatives of more than 20 campus units, will monitor the situation in real time with updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Gallatin City-County Health Department and Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

This team will post any important updates to our MSU COVID-19 webpage. We have added a new feature to this page, an online form for submitting questions about COVID-19 as it relates to our campus. Please note that the Centers for Disease Control is still the source for the best available science on the virus.

Once again, it is important to emphasize that there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in Montana and, as of today, the CDC's current risk assessment is: "For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low."

As simple as it sounds, we know that we can all help keep that risk low by washing our hands. This is one of the most effective measures for stopping any infectious disease. The CDC has an entire webpage on hand washing as a preventive habit.

The COVID-19 situation is fluid and dynamic. We at Montana State University will remain calm and vigilant, while taking appropriate precautionary measures. We will continue to keep you informed and we urge you to reach out to us if you need additional information or assistance.


Sincerely,

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University

Back to Top

Sent 2/14/2020 at 1:30pm

University Communications

Dear MSU Community,

Earlier this week, the Gallatin City-County Health Department reported that an individual who had visited mainland China was hospitalized in Bozeman while they were tested for 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which causes the disease recently named COVID-19.

Testing has since determined that this person does not have the virus.

Based on current information, public health officials in Gallatin County believe the current risk for exposure to the virus is very low.

MSU has been working closely with the Gallatin City-County Health Department and other health officials to monitor the spread of the virus. Information on the virus is available at http://www.montana.edu/health/coronavirus_2019-ncov.html.

To your health,

Jim Mitchell, MBA
Senior Director, University Health Partners

Sam Mitchell, MD, Ph.D
Medical Services Director, University Health Partners

Back to Top

Sent 2/10/2020 at 4:26pm

University Communications

Dear MSU Community,

This afternoon, the Gallatin City-County Health Department reported an individual known to have visited mainland China is being evaluated at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital to determine if that individual has 2019 novel coronavirus. To be clear, at this time, it is unknown if the person -- who is unaffiliated with Montana State University -- has the coronavirus.

As a precautionary measure, the individual has been placed in isolation and is being evaluated in a manner recommended by current guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designed to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.

Matt Kelley, health officer with Gallatin City-County Health Department, said this is not unexpected and that the community has many people traveling the world. He said that health officials have been preparing for this situation.

Kelly added that just because someone is not feeling well doesn't mean they have novel coronavirus, but health officials are using an abundance of caution so that risk is minimized. It is a time for vigilance and caution, he said.

While public health officials are taking all necessary precautions, it is worth noting that most people with a travel history to China who become ill do not have novel coronavirus. As of Monday, the CDC reports that roughly 330 people in the U.S. have been tested for novel coronavirus and only 12 have tested positive for the disease (less than 4% of those tested).

Based on current information, local public health officials in Gallatin County believe the person currently in isolation had limited exposure to the community, which reduces the risk to the public. At present, it is believed there is a very low risk to anyone in Gallatin County for exposure to novel coronavirus.

The university has been working closely with the City-County Health Department and other public health officials to monitor the virus. Information on the virus is available at http://www.montana.edu/health/coronavirus_2019-ncov.html.

 

To your health,

Jim Mitchell, MBA
Senior Director, University Health Partners

Sam Mitchell, MD, Ph.D
Medical Services Director, University Health Partners