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Table of Contents

Frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 and Montana State University are arranged in categories below. Click on a question to go directly to that answer.


Questions About COVID-19?

If you have questions about MSU’s response to COVID-19 that are not answered on this page or elsewhere on this site, please submit them through this form. Please note, that we’re not in a position to answer scientific questions about the virus. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control for those questions.

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Questions about COVID-19



1. What are MSU's plans for fall semester 2020?

MSU will begin its fall semester two weeks early, starting classes on Monday, Aug. 17. Classes will end on Wednesday, Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

Starting two weeks earlier gives the campus optimal conditions: taking advantage of a period of expected lower case rates as well as excellent weather, which positions us better to complete the academic work of the semester in its entirety.

In addition to the public health benefits outlined above, the adjusted dates eliminate the need for students, faculty and staff travel between the Thanksgiving holiday and the conclusion of the semester.

Winter break will run from Nov. 25 until the start of spring semester on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. 

2. Are summer courses going to be online?

Most summer courses will be offered via remote delivery. The university is offering a small number in-person courses this summer. Additional information about those courses is available at MSU's Summer Session website.

3. Will MSU have in-person classes this fall?

MSU's fall semester will provide students with the opportunity for in-person instruction in classrooms, laboratories and studios. In addition, remote options and combinations of in-person and remote options will be available as well.

MSU will be putting into practice measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread among students, faculty and staff in the classroom while providing a high-quality, on-campus educational experience. Classroom seating will maintain 6-foot social distancing. Adherence to public health practices and protocols will be implemented and widely communicated. These practices include hand washing, social distaincing, cough/sneeze etiquette, frequent sanitization of common and high-traffic areas, symptom assessment and wearing face masks and coverings.

Achieving this will require caution and flexibility to respond to the uncertainties and social changes the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted throughout the world of higher education, including the adoption of new technologies to communicate and deliver course content. Read the president's email about planning here.

4. As a student, how can I find out more and get tips about remote learning?

Please visit the Getting Started with Online Learning page published by MSU Academic Technology and Outreach. It has information about getting started with online learning, tools, tips and help with Brightspace.

5. What library services are available on campus?

The MSU Library's building reopened June 29 with modified summer hours. It is open weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Archives and Special Collections are open Tuesdays through Fridays, noon to 4 p.m. or by appointment. A full and updated listing of library services is available online.

6. What computer labs are available?

UIT student computer labs are closed for the summer. Check the lab locations list for the latest information.

7. Where can I find frequently asked questions about Research & Graduate Education?

You can find frequently asked questions on the Research and Graduate Education page.

8. Is it possible to connect to the internet at a university or college that is close to me?

Eduroam (education roaming) is a secure wireless network that is available to participating universities and institutions in the United States and abroad. It allows traveling MSU students, faculty, and staff to securely connect to the Internet at any institution that is an eduroam member. MSU students who are near member institutions may be able to connect to the internet via wireless at those institutions.

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Employee Guidance

2. What is MSU's guidance on face masks?

Wearing non-medical face masks or face coverings is strongly encouraged for all employees working on campus, especially in circumstances where putting 6 feet between people is impractical or difficult to maintain.

Guidance from the CDC on the recommended use of cloth face coverings is available online, as are recommendations on the materials needed, how to construct masks and how to launder them.

Instructions for putting on and removing masks are available on MSU’s COVID-19 website.

Upon request to a unit supervisor, MSU will provide one non-medical face mask to each employee who returns to campus. This single university-provided mask is intended to supplement an employee's own mask or face covering. Masks will be distributed through department and unit supervisors. 

3. What are MSU's plans for reopening?

On April 22, 2020, Gov. Steve Bullock announced changes to Montana's stay-at-home and travel directives as part of a phased plan to gradually reopen the state. The same day, the Commissioner of Higher Education sent guidance to state campuses for developing staffing strategies that align with the governor's directive.

In consultation with health officials, MSU will continue teleworking arrangements for employees and all the current practices of online and remote instruction, building and travel restrictions, food service reductions, and social distancing practices until the morning of May 7.

On May 7, MSU entered Phase One of a plan to gradually resume on-campus staffing and operations in a way that protects the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors. Plans for resuming on-campus operations will include social distancing measures, limits on the number of employees in common areas and the practice of keeping sick employees at home. Employees will be encouraged to wear non-medical facemasks, wash their hands frequently and maintain hygiene best practices.

Read President Cruzado's full email about Phase One operations. Direct questions about planning to the members of the University Reconstitution Committee.

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1. Is MSU giving tours to prospective students?

MSu is hosting a limited number of in-person visits. To minimize the risk of COVID-19 virus transmission, space is limited. Those interested in a tour should fill out the online form, preferrably at least two weeks in advance to ensure our Admissions office can make the necessary arrangements. Learn about all MSU visit opportunities.

2. Will there be a fall commencement ceremony?

Fall commencement is tentatively planned for Sunday, Nov. 22. That date is dependent on public health considerations at that time.

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Residence Life

1. How is Residence Life preparing for fall?

Residence Life staff is working closely with MSU, county and state officials to evaluate all aspects of campus housing and make needed changes in our physical environments.

Culinary Services is reviewing needed adjustments as well in our dining halls related to offerings and service to ensure the highest levels of safety.

All our planning is being conducted with the health and safety of our students, families and staff foremost in mind. Concerns and questions can be directed to housing@montana.edu.

2. How will the fall move-in process work for residence halls?

The move-in period will run Aug. 10-16. Returning students will move in during the first two days, and new students will move in beginning Aug. 12. All students must sign up for a move-in date and time unless they are part of an early arrival program.

Students will have two hours to move into their rooms and may bring two family members or guests into the building to help them. Masks should be worn, and social distancing maintained.

Additional details are available on the Residence Life website.

3. Can residents' personal belongings be shipped to MSU ahead of move-in?

Yes. Personal items can be shipped to students' rooms ahead of time to reduce the amount of items that they need to move into the building. Students should plan to have their belongings delivered to their residence hall on or after July 27. Additional details, including shipping addresses, are available on the Residence Life move-in page.

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1. What is the status of university-sponsored and -affiliated travel?

All university-sponsored and -affiliated international travel is suspended through Dec. 31, 2020.

2. If I travel within the U.S. or internationally, will I be quarantined?

In April, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock issued a directive for all travelers arriving in Montana from another state or country for non-work related purposes to self-quarantine for 14 days. That directive expired on June 1, 2020; the 14-day quarantine for all travelers arriving in Montana is no longer in place.

For all students, faculty and staff planning personal international travel, the university urges 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.

If you choose to travel and return from a country with a recommended self-quarantine, please do not return to campus, either to the residence halls, classes, offices, fitness center or any other area. Travelers should self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning home from international travel, rather than coming to campus. Please follow the CDC's guidance on self-quarantine

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1. Is the Fitness Center open

The Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center reopened June 1, with COVID-19 mitigation procedures and safety adaptations in place, including physical distancing and frequent cleaning and sanitation throughout the day. Fitness center hours run 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. There will be no weekend hours until further notice.

More details about the fitness center's schedule and plans are available at http://www.montana.edu/getfit/.

2. Is MSU doing anything to document the pandemic? 

The MSU Library's Special Collections and Archives is documenting the university's COVID-19 experience. The archivists are seeking written reflections and other records from students, staff and faculty. Learn more on the library's website.

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