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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.



1. Will MSU cancel classes or switch to online classes due to COVID-19?

Yes. Following the March 12 direction from the Montana Commissioner of Higher Education, all campuses in the Montana University System will, in every instance possible, transition all in-class instruction to online or other remote teaching methods that do not require an in-class presence as of March 23.

Campuses will remain open and operational for students, including residence halls, dining, computer labs and most other campus services. Read the details of this announcement.

2. How long will classes be delivered online or via remote instruction?

Courses and labs will continue to be delivered via distance, remote and online means through the end of the spring semester.

3. Will all classes be delivered online or through remote instruction?

In the majority of cases, courses and labs will 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.

4. I’m concerned about missing class, whether due to illness or being quarantined. What do I do?

Beginning March 23 and extending through the end of spring semester, May 15, MSU is adjusting its protocols regarding student absences.

Students are encouraged to stay home if they are sick or have to complete a 14-day quarantine, especially if they think they may have an infectious disease.

Students who must miss a class or several due to illness or quarantine must contact their course instructors via phone or email as soon as possible to let them know. There is no need for a medical excuse, at least not initially. University Health Partners does not provide medical excuses (aka “doctor’s notes”) as part of its commitment to maintain patient confidentiality.

Students are also responsible for completing any work they miss due to absence, including assignments, quizzes, tests and exams. And they are responsible for communicating with their instructors using the means established by their instructors, such as D2L, email or text message.

These guidelines also apply to teaching assistants, who should work with their faculty members to develop a plan to manage absences.

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

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

6. 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.

7.  What computer labs are available?

UIT is maintaining an updated list of available computer labs and workstations. Check the list for the latest information.

8. How will undergraduate class grades be affected by the transition to remote instruction?

Effective for Spring 2020, MSU is implementing an expanded pass/fail grading option for all undergraduate courses. This temporary, emergency accommodation to the university's pass/fail policy will allow students to transition courses to a pass/fail grade at the end of the semester. Students who do not wish to transition to pass/fail will still receive the letter grade assigned by their instructor.

Undergraduates who choose to receive a pass/fail grade for one or more of their courses can do so by submitting a a form no later than five calendar days after final grades have been posted by the registrar. A revised pass/fail request form and specific guidelines for these emergency accommodations will be available on the registrar's website at least two weeks prior to the end of spring semester.

More details about this policy is available in the email from the Office of the Provost to students March 22

9. With the Renne Library building closed to patron visits, how can I access materials and resources?

In order to respect social distancing and help protect public health, the MSU Library building is closed to patron visits until further notice. The Library will continue to support the information needs of our students, faculty, and staff in an online environment by focusing on the following. 

10. 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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1. What is the status of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research?

MSU has canceled NCUR 2020, which was originally scheduled for March 26-28. You can read President Cruzado's email to campus here: http://www.montana.edu/health/coronavirus/archived-comms.html#Email11.

2. Is MSU still giving tours to prospective students?

On-campus visitation programs and tours are suspended starting March 16. Additional information is available from the Office of Admissions.

3. Is MSU planning on holding graduation?

Decisions about campus commencement ceremonies will coordinated through the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education as a statewide university system. Please rest assured that, as soon as we receive pertinent information, we will share it immediately.

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Residence Life

1. Are the residence halls and dining halls still open?

Yes, residence halls and dining halls are still open.

2. When are the halls expected to close?

Right now, the residence halls and dining halls are expected to stay open for the duration of the spring semester.

3. Should students living in the residence halls return after spring break?

Students are strongly encouraged not to return to their campuses or campus communities following spring break if they have another housing option.

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

MSU is asking students to take this recommendation very seriously. People who have no symptoms can still carry the disease, and while you may feel perfectly fine, you might still be a carrier. Each of us has a responsiblity to prevent others from getting sick.

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

4. Should I stay if I am living on campus now?

The higher density living of the residence halls is not recommended by health officials. MSU urges students who are currently living in the residence halls — including those who chose to remain for spring break — to find other, less-dense living arrangements for their own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of others.

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

5. Are there plans in place for checking students out if they are no longer here or coming back?

A student checking out of their on-campus residence will need to complete a Contract Release on the Residence Life website through the Housing Portal. They then need to contact the Residence Life Office or their hall front desk when they are ready to checkout, and a staff member will check them out.

6. Are there plans in place for the end of the semester checkout for students that have already left?

Students should contact the Residence Life office to discuss their plans on a case-by-case basis and determine what options are available or arrangements they want to make. You can contact the office at 406-994-2661 or housing@montana.edu.

7. What happens to my personal belongings in my on-campus residence?

MSU is asking students not to return to campus to retrieve their personal belongings from on-campus residences, even if they live in Montana. Residence Life will be communicating directly with students on how they can get their absolutely most essential items. See the Request for Essential Personal Items from Resident Halls online form.

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

8. Can students check out and leave right now?

Yes, they can fill out a Contract Release on the Residence Life website through the Housing Portal and be checked out the same day.

9. Are residents of Family & Graduate Housing being asked to move out?

Family & Graduate Housing residents do not have to move out of their homes. Currently, residents within MSU's residence halls are strongly encouraged to seek alternative, less-dense living arrangements if possible. Family & Graduate Housing is a much different living environment, allowing individuals and families to maintain social distance from neighbors and self-quarantine if needed.

10. Will I get a refund of my room and board money if I I move out of the residence halls right now?

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.

Find information related to the prorated refund process as well as answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on the Residence Life COVID-19 Pro-rated Refunds page. Please allow until April 15 for reimbursement payment.


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

All university-sponsored and -affiliated international travel has been 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.

2. If I travel within the U.S., including to areas where COVID-19 cases have been reported, will I be quarantined?

On March 30, Gov. Steve Bullock directed travelers arriving in Montana from another state or country for non-work-related purposes to self-quarantine for 14 days. If the person will be present in Montana for fewer than 14 days, they must self-quarantine for the duration of the visit. The directive applies both to Montana residents and non-residents. Read the full details on the governor's website.

Additional, up-to-date information is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

3. If I have traveled internationally, do I need to self quarantine?

On March 30, Gov. Steve Bullock directed travelers arriving in Montana from another state or country for non-work-related purposes to self-quarantine for 14 days. If the person will be present in Montana for fewer than 14 days, they must self-quarantine for the duration of the visit. The directive applies both to Montana residents and non-residents. Read the full details on the governor's website.

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.

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1. Should I get a flu shot? Where can I go to get one?

This refers to the standard influenza “flu shot” vaccination available beginning each fall and through the winter. Currently, there is no “shot” for COVID-19, however, regular influenza is still a concern and getting a flu shot can help you stay healthy. 

Influenza immunizations are available from local commercial pharmacies, but call ahead, as the supply varies from store to store. You may also check with the Gallatin City-County Health Department at 406-582-3100, but telephone wait times may be lengthy due to their need to address questions regarding COVID-19. 

As of March 18, University Health Partners Medical Services was out of seasonal flu shots. UHP conducted four flu shot clinics in the Fall of 2019 and immunized more than 3,000 students this flu season.

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