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Advisories, Messages and Updates


Below is a running list of communications sent from Montana Western regarding COVID-19 with the latest update at the top and the oldest at the bottom.


Messages for May 22, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Montana Youth Challenge Academy Reopening Update

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to let you know that the Montana Youth Challenge Academy is preparing to return to campus on May 31 to finish Class 42, which was interrupted in March shortly after the stay-at-home directive was issued. I want to thank Director Trent Gibson and his staff for their thorough and meticulous preparations and for working with us, as always, as true partners.

Montana Western, the MYCA, and public health officials have spent many hours over the past month exploring this possibility and creating safety protocols for every aspect of the program. We have included the communication we sent to the campus earlier this week below for those who may have missed it. The protocols and details of the return of Class 42 are attached (click here to download) for your review. This has been a valuable process not only in preparation for the return of the cadets, but also for building out campus protocols for the return of UMW students for fall semester.

Thank you to those of you who shared ideas and comments as we explored the return of the cadets.

Have a good, safe weekend, everyone!

Best wishes,
Beth Weatherby, Chancellor

Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Subject: Sent on Behalf of Chancellor Weatherby: Montana Youth Challenge Academy Update

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As I mentioned last week in the announcement regarding the return of the Pima Vet Tech students to their classes in the Poindexter Street building, the Montana Youth Challenge Academy is also working with public health officials and Montana Western to explore the resumption of Class 42, which was cut short in March when the stay at home orders were issued.

The cadets and staff would arrive on May 31. The class would graduate one month after arrival. As you will see, the safety protocols and precautions are extensive. All have been reviewed and approved by Beaverhead County Public Health. Each participant would be tested upon arrival and the activities of the cadets would be carefully restricted to three locations on campus, with physical distancing and hygiene practices that align with the guidance of Public Health and the State of Montana. I have also attached (click here to download) our new Dining Services Plan for Reopening, as the cadets would be served their meals in the dining hall. These, too, are extensive and rigorous and have been created in conjunction with our county sanitarian.

Please review the attached press release, protocols and practices and send any input you may wish to share to Dean of Students Hazelbaker, Provost Hedeen, Vice Chancellor Reid, or me before the end of the day on Thursday. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Beth Weatherby, Chancellor


Messages for May 19, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Governor Steve Bullock today announced the state will move to Phase Two of the Reopening the Big Sky plan and will lift the 14-day out-of-state travel quarantine beginning June 1 as Montana continues to have the lowest number of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations per capita. Click here to read the full press release.

Sent on Behalf of Business Services: CARES Act Funds for Students Now Available for Pick Up

Montana Western Students,

We wanted to notify you that if you applied for emergency CARES Act funds, your refund checks are available in the Business Services Office now and they can be picked up between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. They will be available for pick up in the office through this Friday.

Any remaining checks will then be mailed to your mailing address in DAWGS. If you need your check to be sent to a different address, please send an email with a new address to karen.throckmorton@umwestern.edu.

If you have any questions, please email karen.throckmorton@umwestern.edu or call 406-683-7347.


Messages for May 15, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Dear Faculty and Staff,

As you will see in the attached memo from Commissioner Christian, all MUS campuses are being asked to end fall semester by November 25, the day before Thanksgiving. Based on the rationale provided in the memo, I believe that this is a good idea and worth every bit of the effort that it will take to make it happen.

A representative calendar subcommittee of the Fall Courses 2020 Task Force will be formed when the group meets this afternoon. Its charge will be to create new calendar proposals. Please keep checking your email. We will be keeping you informed and asking for your input.

Thanks again for your commitment to adapting as needed in order to serve our students.

Be well,

Chancellor Beth Weatherby


Messages for May 14, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


To the University Community,

We wanted to make you aware that the reopening of the Pima Medical Institute will take place starting this Monday, May 18, with six to ten students. The reopening is based on rigorous safety protocols and guidance from public health that are described in depth in the press release from Pima below.

We will also host one or two geology camps later this summer with ten or fewer participants.

We also wanted to let you know that the Montana Youth Challenge Academy is evaluating options for a potential reopening to take place this summer, again, based on rigorous safety protocols approved by the National Guard, public and state health and key stakeholders. More information about this will be sent out soon, as well as an opportunity for you to provide your feedback.

Thank you for everything you are doing as we continue to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 together.

Stay Well,
Chancellor Beth Weatherby


Pima Medical Institute’s Dillon Campus to Reopen May 18, 2020

The School, Which Provides the State’s Only Accredited Veterinary Technician Program Will Strictly Adhere to All State and County Health Regulations

Dillon, Mont. (May 14, 2020) – Pima Medical Institute has announced its Dillon campus will reopen Monday, May 18, 2020. Faculty, staff and students will rigorously follow all state and county health guidelines in relation to COVID-19, and those returning to campus are expected to adhere to the Pima Medical Institute Code of Conduct. Pima Medical offers the only accredited veterinary technician program in the state of Montana, in partnership with the University of Montana Western. The current student population includes a small number of students, who will be staggered in both morning and afternoon classes.

Getting students back to their programs is important, but nothing is more important than the safety of those on campus. Prior to returning, all individuals must confirm that they have not been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days, have no current CDC-listed symptoms and will agree to have their temperature checked and recorded daily.

“This protocol is designed to protect students, staff and faculty while attempting to mitigate the COVID-19 virus,” said Jan Winderl, DVM, Campus Director, Pima Medical Institute Dillon Campus. “These steps will allow an environment conducive to learning/teaching for continuity of education for the students and a safe place for the staff and faculty in which to work.”

Once on campus, additional safety protocols have been established, including a check-in system where everyone entering will answer screening questions, have their temperature checked and receive the daily, color-coded wristband that indicates the person has completed the check-in process.  All individuals will be required to wear face coverings at all times. Pima Medical will provide masks to everyone.

All classrooms are stocked with disinfectant wipes, disinfectant hand soap, paper towels, Lysol spray and other cleaning products. Hand sanitizer is also available. Social distancing will be maintained by desk spacing and floor taping of the area. Touchable items like tables, doorknobs, keypads, sinks and faucets, light switches, etc. will be disinfected multiple times each day. Classrooms will also be professionally cleaned each week.

Pima Medical’s lab classrooms will have no more than 10 people inside at one time, including instructors. Counters and touch surfaces will be disinfected after each use of workspace, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be worn at all times. Labs will be professionally cleaned each week. Hospital disinfectant air sanitizers will be used each weekend.

In office areas, faculty and staff will maintain social distancing of six feet or more. All common touch items will be disinfected multiple times a day, and all student interactions must maintain social distancing protocols. All employees will wear facial coverings at all times, and those who do not feel well are required to stay home.

Common areas, including break rooms, student lounges and the student library are closed until further notice. Restrooms have been designated as single-use.

If a student, faculty or staff member has tested positive for the coronavirus, they must notify the campus immediately. Upon being notified, the campus will follow CDC protocol. The campus administrator will also notify employees and/or students who may have been in contact with this individual on their last day at the campus. Per privacy laws, the name of the individual who tested positive will not be revealed. The campus administrator will then notify the local public health administration office and follow all guidance relative to required exposure notifications and facility management.  The Campus Administrator will document all communication.

For more information on the Pima Medical Code of Conduct and its Safety Protocols go to pmi.edu. Specific questions or concerns should be directed to Fred Freedman, President and CEO, Pima Medical Institute at ffreedman@pmi.edu.

About Pima Medical Institute
Pima Medical Institute is an employee-owned, private, accredited school dedicated to providing students classroom studies paired with real-world training at medical facilities. Established in 1972, Pima Medical Institute helps students become career ready, focusing exclusively on health care professions, including medical, dental, veterinary and nursing fields. Curriculum includes certificate, associate degree and bachelor’s degree programs.

Pima Medical Institute operates 18 campuses as well as an extensive online curriculum. The medical career college has a presence in eight western states with the following ground locations: Albuquerque and Albuquerque West – Rio Rancho in N.M.; Tucson, Phoenix and two campuses in Mesa, Ariz.; Aurora, Denver and Colorado Springs, Colo.; Seattle and Renton, Wash.; Las Vegas, N.V.; Houston, El Paso and San Antonio, Texas; Chula Vista and San Marcos, Calif.; and Dillon, Mont. For more information and a complete list of programs offered at each campus, visit 
pmi.edu or call 1-888-442-5998.

Media Contact: Diane Smith | dismith@pmi.edu | o: 480-610-6068 | c: 480-320-0142


Messages for May 13, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Sent on Behalf of the Financial Aid Office: CARES Act Student Assistance Reminder

Montana Western Students,

There are still funds available through the federal CARES Act. If you have not yet submitted a request using the online form for financial assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.  

Submit the online form to request funds by clicking on the link below:

https://w.umwestern.edu/section/covid-19-emergency-assistance-request-form/

Montana Western is grateful to have the opportunity to deliver extra financial support to qualifying students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government recently passed the CARES Act, which allocates emergency relief funding for eligible college students to address pressing needs due to the disruption of campus operations.

If you are a Montana Western student eligible for financial aid and your financial situation was negatively impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can apply to receive a lump sum of up to $800. The funding is limited and will be awarded based on the level of student need.

Eligibility Requirements Per Federal Regulations:

  • Have completed FAFSA for 2019-2020
  • Have a declared major that is eligible for financial aid
  • Be enrolled in Spring 2020 for at least 1 credit hour on or after March 23
  • Making Satisfactory Academic Progress during Spring 2020
  • Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Completed at least one credit hour in Spring 2020 with a grade of D or better

Ineligible Students Per Federal Regulations:

  • Students enrolled in a completely online program
  • Students in default of federal student loans
  • Students who have already received a refund for housing and a meal plan will only be considered for educational-related expenses submitted on the online form

Please submit this form as soon as possible if you have been financially impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic as funds are limited. If you have questions about the CARES Act or your eligibility, please contact Louise Driver, Director of Financial Aid, at louise.driver@umwestern.edu or 406-683-7893.


Messages for May 6, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Sent on Behalf of Chancellor Weatherby: Fall 2020 Planning Update

To the Campus Community,

A number of task forces are working on plans for fall semester.  As they proceed with their discussions, they will send more information to all of us. These are the task forces, so far:

MUS Healthy Fall Task Forcechaired by Deputy Commissioner for Academic and Student Affairs Brock Tessman, is looking at operational consideration of all kinds and will be sharing guidelines and directives to all campuses next week. Dean of Students Nicole Hazelbaker is contributing to this group.

Healthy Bulldogs Task Forceco-chaired by Provost Hedeen and Dean of Students Nicole Hazelbaker, will meet next Tuesday, May 12, and will focus on the campus community and services, and preparation of a healthy and safe fall semester for students, staff, and faculty. This group will share campus-wide information and coordinate the campus plans and procedures for academic instruction, student life, athletics, housing, dining, events, student recruitment and facilities. The task force will provide a Healthy Bulldogs Campus Plan to the Chancellor’s cabinet.

Fall Courses 2020 Task Forcechaired by Provost Deb Hedeen, has met twice and will meet again this Friday.

Athletics Safe Start Task Forcechaired by Athletics Director Bill Wilson, began meeting on May 5th.

Thank you to the many individuals who are contributing to this important work. If you are interested in sharing your ideas, please contact the chair of the respective task force.

Wishing you well,
Chancellor Beth Weatherby


Sent on Behalf of the Financial Aid Office: CARES Act Relief for UMW Students Update

To the Campus Community,

The email below was sent earlier today to spring 2020 students at Montana Western regarding how they can apply for emergency relief funding through the federal CARES Act. The email was sent to each student’s university email account.

If you receive questions from students asking about the CARES Act, please let them know that if they check their university email account, they can submit an online form to apply for the relief funding.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Louise Driver, Director of Financial Aid, at louise.driver@umwestern.edu or 406-683-7893.


Montana Western Students,

Through the federal CARES Act, the University of Montana Western is able to offer financial assistance to students in need.

Montana Western is grateful to have the opportunity to deliver extra financial support to qualifying students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government recently passed the CARES Act, which allocates emergency relief funding for eligible college students to address pressing needs due to the disruption of campus operations.

If you are a Montana Western student eligible for financial aid and your financial situation was negatively impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can apply to receive a lump sum of up to $800. The funding is limited and will be awarded based on the level of student need.

You can submit an online form to request funds by clicking on the link below:

https://w.umwestern.edu/section/covid-19-emergency-assistance-request-form/

Eligibility Requirements Per Federal Regulations:

  • Have completed FAFSA for 2019-2020
  • Have a declared major that is eligible for financial aid
  • Be enrolled in Spring 2020 for at least 1 credit hour on or after March 23
  • Making Satisfactory Academic Progress during Spring 2020
  • Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Completed at least one credit hour in Spring 2020 with a grade of D or better

Ineligible Students Per Federal Regulations:

  • Students enrolled in a completely online program
  • Students in default of federal student loans
  • Students who have already received a refund for housing and a meal plan will only be considered for educational-related expenses submitted on the online form

Please submit this form as soon as possible if you have been financially impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic as funds are limited. If you have questions about the CARES Act or your eligibility, please contact Louise Driver, Director of Financial Aid, at louise.driver@umwestern.edu or 406-683-7893.


Messages for May 1, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Sent on Behalf of Chancellor Weatherby: Conclusion of Spring Semester and Virtual Commencement

To the University Community,

As next week approaches, the final week of classes for the spring semester, I want to take a moment to reflect on the changes that have occurred on our campus, in our city of Dillon, the state of Montana, our country and our world.

We have seen great courage in the face of the unknown, and a tremendous ability of our university community to adapt to meet the needs of our students and to keep everyone around us safe. Our students continue to inspire us to find new and creative ways to engage with them and celebrate their accomplishments. Thank you to our students, our faculty, and our staff for their efforts in working together to successfully conclude this unique and challenging semester.

On Saturday, May 9, starting at 9 a.m., we invite all of you to visit our website to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating Class of 2019-2020 for our 123rd Annual Commencement Ceremony. While this year’s spring commencement is held virtually, we are honored, more than ever, to come together and recognize the challenges and achievements that have faced this year’s graduating class. While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we are celebrating, we couldn’t be happier for our graduates.

As we celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s graduating class, we are also planning for the future. At Montana Western, our students’ education, health and safety are our top prioritiesTo that end, we will do everything possible, as conditions allow, to resume face-to-face courses in Fall 2020 and to safeguard the health of our students and campus community.

Several working groups are meeting on a regular basis to plan for the enhanced hygiene and cleaning practices and social distancing that will be necessary this fall to keep our campus community safe. Our planning efforts are in concert with our colleagues in the Montana University System under the direction of Commissioner Christian and his leadership team as well as with state and local government and public health and law enforcement. These collaborative efforts will allow us to make the best choices to ensure the safety of our campus and community.

I would also like to thank all of the members of our entire Bulldog community for your unwavering support. Though there will be some changes in place on campus this Fall, our commitment to providing our students with impactful experiential learning opportunities remains the same and we couldn’t do it without you! Let’s finish the semester together by celebrating the challenges we’ve overcome and by looking forward to the future. Go Bulldogs!

Wishing you well,
Chancellor Beth Weatherby


Montana Western Students,

Please find attached a special message for you from Commissioner of Higher Education Christian recognizing the accomplishments of our graduates and plans for ensuring all of the campuses in the Montana University System (MUS) are ready for the Fall 2020 semester to ensure the health and safety of our students and university community.

The University of Montana Western is working closely with the MUS, as well as with state and local government and public health and law enforcement, in order to make the best decisions to keep all of our students safe.


Messages for April 29, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Sent on Behalf of Chancellor Weatherby: Fall 2020 Planning and Budget Update

Good Afternoon,

As I mentioned last week, a number of groups and departments across the university are imagining what Fall Semester might look like and planning for a range of scenarios.

Two goals are clear. We will do everything possible, as conditions allow, to resume face-to-face courses. We will do everything possible to safeguard the health of our students, community, and all of us who work at the University of Montana Western.

Provost Hedeen has convened a group of 18 faculty and staff, the Fall Course 2020 Task Force, which began work last Friday. Our directors of the auxiliary operations (Dining, Residence Life, etc.) are working together to plan for the enhanced hygiene and cleaning practices and social distancing that will be necessary this fall to keep our campus community safe. Vice Chancellor Reid has met with the Budget Committee and all those involved in enrollment and budget projections.

All of our planning is in concert with our colleagues in the Montana University System under the direction of Commissioner Christian and his leadership team. Dean of Students Hazelbaker is our representative on the MUS Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force and will be providing information and asking for your input. Our planning is also aligned with state and local government and public health and law enforcement, and other organizations with whom we routinely collaborate.

Today, I write to let everyone know that, based on recommendations from the Budget Committee, we have decided that we must plan for and implement a 5% budget reduction for this next fiscal year, which begins July 1. For this and for all of the planning in which we are engaged, we are in the challenging situation of having to make decisions without all of the facts we usually rely upon. Even so, to safeguard the university’s fiscal health, we must move forward based on the likelihood that the pandemic will negatively impact enrollment, revenue and expenses. We have carefully followed the national higher education news, discussion, and projections and believe that this is a conservative, but responsible reduction. We are also preparing for larger reductions, should they be necessary.

Again, our goal is to minimize risk for the university and maximize the protection of the health and safety of our community.

We cannot delay this reduction as we need to begin generating savings as quickly as possible and staffing decisions and a variety of deadlines must be met.

Vice Chancellor Reid and Provost Hedeen are working with directors, supervisors, and division chairs of all of their departments to generate the necessary adjustments and savings.

Until further notice, we are instituting a university-wide travel freeze. No institutional funds may be used for travel without approval by the appropriate vice chancellor in advance.

In addition, all institutional memberships will be reviewed and those that aren’t deemed essential will not be renewed in order to help with our cost reduction efforts.

Events for Fall Semester will also be reviewed and streamlined on a case-by-case basis.

We will work with you to develop this reduced budget and will continue to keep you informed.

I want to also take a moment to reflect that we are fortunate in many ways, but I will mention just a couple. We entered this volatile time as one of the most stable, financially sound institutions in Montana, AND Experience One allows us to be flexible and adaptable to keep meeting the needs of our students, no matter what happens next. We will be well-positioned to welcome students back to Dillon for the Fall Semester, but also to keep adapting if conditions require us to do so.

Thank you again for your patience and understanding. Thank you for supporting and educating our students. Thank you for your hard work and commitment to the health of our university and community.

Sincerely,
Chancellor Beth Weatherby


Messages for April 24, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Sent on Behalf of Chancellor Weatherby: Your Work Arrangements

Good afternoon,

As we head into the weekend, I want to let you know that we will be hearing more early next week about the plans our county officials are making for phase one of a careful re-opening in line with Governor Bullock’s directives.

Meanwhile, though, many people seem most concerned about how all of this will impact their work arrangements; especially since the schools remain closed.

We will give you as much notice as possible when it is time for everyone to come back to campus. For this next week, at the least, please continue with the current work arrangements approved by your supervisor.

Have a good weekend.

Wishing you well,
Chancellor Beth Weatherby


Messages for April 23, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Sent on Behalf of Chancellor Weatherby: Planning Update from Montana Western

Good afternoon,

I wanted to let you know that in response to yesterday’s announcements by Governor Bullock and Commissioner Christian providing guidance and parameters for the gradual reopening of the state, we are working on the most appropriate plan for Montana Western.

Also, I am pleased to share that a number of groups are thoughtfully planning for various scenarios for fall semester with regards to instruction and campus life. We are also creating various budget scenarios.

We will provide you with more information about all of this next week. Meanwhile, please continue with your current work arrangements and with the health practices that have helped mitigate the impact of the pandemic on our university, community, and state.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this complicated situation together. Thank you to all of you who have been contacting our students individually to offer information and the comfort of a listening ear, and thank you all for persisting in your excellent work.

Wishing you well,

Chancellor Beth Weatherby


Messages for April 20, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Sent on Behalf of Vice Chancellor Reid: Announcement of Dining Services Temporary Furlough

To the Campus Community,

The University of Montana Western notified 15 employees today in Dining Services that they will be on temporary furlough until fall. The last day of work for these employees will be May 22, with an anticipated date of August 17 for them to be back at work for the fall semester. Our auxiliary programs, including Dining Services, depend on generating their own income to operate. Due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, residential students were refunded a pro-rated portion of their semester room and board (in excess of $350,000). In addition, this furlough was necessitated by the cancellation of the summer geology camps, suspension of the Montana Youth Challenge, and the other numerous events that have had to be cancelled or delayed, causing revenue to stop coming in that would normally fund these salaries.

UMW is working to identify alternate work for impacted employees. Some areas, such as facilities and grounds, will be entering their busiest season. As work becomes available, UMW will try to place impacted employees in those areas where possible.

Furloughed employees will continue to receive their health insurance benefits. UMW will continue to pay the employer-paid contribution for up to six months. Furloughed employees will also retain any accrued leave balances (sick or annual) and they will be available when they return to work. The plan is to help all of our impacted employees apply for all of the state and federal benefits they are eligible to receive and bring back as many of them as possible in the fall.

If you have any questions, please email michael.reid@umwestern.edu.


Messages for April 16, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Regents make standardized tests scores optional, temporarily, for MUS admittance

To the Campus Community,

Please click here for a press release sent out today by the Montana University System.


Messages for April 9, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Reminder: Upcoming Important Dates for Block Break and Block 8

To the Campus Community,

As a reminder, please find the upcoming important dates below for Block Break and Block 8.

Block Break: Monday, April 13 and Tuesday, April 14

Block 8: Wednesday, April 15 – Wednesday, May 6


Messages for April 8, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Commencement Update

At the request of our graduates, the University of Montana Western will host a fall commencement ceremony in addition to a spring virtual ceremony to recognize their achievement. Details regarding the fall ceremony will be sent out over the summer as the University weighs recommendations regarding COVID-19 and the ability to assemble together in future months. Please check your university email for more information.

Pass/No Pass Grading Option Announcement

By recommendation of the Faculty Senate and approval from administration, the University of Montana Western will implement a “Pass/No Pass” grading scheme as an alternative to traditional grading for Block 7 and 8, as well as full and half stringers occurring in the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. This change has been made in light of the challenging remote instruction environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and to help reduce stress to our students. Please check your university email for more information.


Messages for April 6, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


On Friday, April 3, 2020, Beaverhead County Public Health received notice that a Beaverhead County resident has tested positive for novel coronavirus in Beaverhead County.  The individual is a female in her 20s that had direct contact with another infected individual in another county. At this time, Beaverhead County has 1 confirmed case. Public Health is investigating potential close contacts.

Please remember, if you have not received a call from Beaverhead County Public Health regarding contact with a case, you are not considered a direct contact.  For questions about COVID-19 please visit the DPHHS COVID-19 website or the CDC website. For your safety and the safety of the community, continue practicing social distancing by staying at least six feet apart from others, staying home as often as possible, perform frequent handwashing, and wear a cloth mask when going outside of the home. Please visit the Beaverhead County Public Health website for more information.


Messages for April 3, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Beaverhead County has first positive COVID-19 case. Female / 20s / with direct contact. Remember to practice social distancing by staying at least six feet apart, wash your hands, and stay home if you are sick. For more information, visit the Beaverhead County Public Health website.


Commencement Ceremony Update

To the Campus Community,

I am writing to inform you that in the best interest of the health and safety of our students and their families and friends, and our faculty and staff, we have decided to celebrate commencement virtually instead of gathering together on our campus. Please visit www.umwestern.edu on May 9 to celebrate the accomplishments of our inspiring students.

We recognize that this is a huge disappointment for students who have worked so hard and looked forward to this day and for their families who have supported them. Please know that any student who wishes to walk in the 2021 Commencement ceremony is welcome to participate.

Please check your university email every day as we will be sending more instructions to the Class of 2020 in order to prepare for the online recognition of our graduates.

Sincerely,
Chancellor Beth Weatherby


Messages for April 2, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Governor Steve Bullock in a letter today called on U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to extend the deadline for the decennial census from August 14, 2020 to at least September 30, 2020 to ensure an accurate count while allowing for continued health and safety measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.


Messages for April 1, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Governor Steve Bullock today issued a Directive providing additional guidance on childcare facilities to ensure that Montana’s essential workers can receive access to childcare during the state of emergency. Additionally, the Directive requires safeguards to protect children, families and childcare workers from the spread of COVID-19. To read the full directive, click here.


Messages for March 30, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):

Governor Steve Bullock today directed that travelers arriving from another state or country to Montana for non-work-related purposes undergo a 14-day self-quarantine. The Directive follows the governor’s prior travel advisory and last week’s Stay at Home Directive. To read the full directive, click here.


Messages for March 27, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):

As you will see, below, in a message from MYCA Director Trent Gibson, the Montana Youth Challenge Academy is suspending its current class until at least April 17. Cadets will be picked up tomorrow, March 28. 

Dear Families, Mentors, and Friends of MYCA-

The Academy has taken proactive and aggressive steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection to meet guidance and directives while keeping our Cadets in training and focused on their progress. The MYCA Staff, UMW Staff, our partners in the Dillon community, and our Cadets have done an exceptional job responding to the limitations and making the necessary adjustments to operations to meet the guidance from our local and state healthcare professionals.

I have been in constant contact with public health officials to validate the mitigation steps we have put in place.   As you are all aware, the situation continues to evolve and risk reductions measures are constantly being assessed.  We have had staff pulling double shifts, working overtime, and putting the needs of their families aside to ensure we could continue training.  They are truly to be commended.

Today, we have received an official recommendation to suspend operations at MYCA from Beaverhead County Health Department.   Given the current circumstances and the ever-changing situational environment I must act to protect the Cadets and staff.  As the Commandant of the Academy I feel we must comply with this recommendation and temporarily suspend the program.

The suspension of MYCA operations will begin Sunday, March 29, 2020 and will continue until Friday, April 17, 2020.


Messages for March 26, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):

To the Montana Western community: you may have heard that Governor Bullock has issued a stay at home order for Montana to begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 28, until April 10 (read more at https://tinyurl.com/s9e5hlw). Students, please note, classes will continue as scheduled. Faculty and staff will continue to provide instruction and essential support services. For more info, please check your university email account.


Messages for March 23, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):

In this morning’s edition of MUSings, the Montana University System shares some very helpful resources and provides a summary of the MUS COVID-19 response to help keep everyone safe during these challenging times.

Read more: https://mailchi.mp/montana…/musings-newsletter-march-23-2020


Messages for March 20, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):

Dear students,

Please find below a memo from Higher Education Commissioner Christian regarding prorated refunds for room and board and/or meal plans due to COVID-19. We will send further instruction next Wednesday, March 25 when the cancellation forms and further instructions are available. It is very important that you read the memo below:

Information Regarding Student Refunds (click link to read full memo)

Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we work through the challenges of COVID-19 together.


Press Release from MT National Guard Office: Montana Youth Challenge Academy to Remain Open (click link to read full press release)


Information about MUS & Federally Mandated COVID-19 Leave

To the Campus Community,

During these times, it is understandable that many are concerned about how they will handle the effects and pressure that COVID-19 may have on their need to be away from work. This concern may arise from being directly and/or indirectly affected by COVID-19.

The Montana University System will provide a new “Paid COVID-19 Leave” for up to 30 calendar days, subject to certain eligibility requirements and in coordination with regular statutory sick-leave requirements for state government employees. Your campus and system Human Resources officers are implementing plans to administer this special leave in accordance with state guidelines. This leave program will be managed consistently with steps taken in other agencies, departments and branches of state government.

As the State of Montana prepares for potential impacts of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, employees are encouraged to review the information found on Montana Western’s Human Resources webpage in the Employee Resources section, where you will also find answers to many Frequently Asked Questions in a PDF documentWe highly encourage you to take time to read this important information available at the links below:

https://w.umwestern.edu/section/employee-resources/

You may also access this information directly from the following link:

http://w.umwestern.edu/wp-content/uploads/MUS-Paid-COVID-19-Leave-in-Certain-Situations.pdf

As we get further information, we will let you know and update the Human Resources webpage accordingly.

We also wanted to provide you information about federally mandated Coronavirus leave:

Federally Mandated Coronavirus Leave

Families First Coronavirus Response Act – This provides public sector employees (including the Montana University System) with two forms of paid leave for workers impacted by the outbreak.

  • The first paid leave provision entitles employees who have been on the payroll for 30 calendar days up to 12 weeks of job-protection leave as established under the Family and Medical Leave Act for a qualifying need. A qualifying need includes instances where the employee is unable to work or telework due to the need to care for a minor child if the child’s school or childcare is unavailable due to a public health emergency. The first 10 days of this leave would be unpaid but employees would have the option to substitute sick leave or annual vacation leave. The remainder of the leave would be paid at a two-thirds regular rate of pay with certain total caps on daily and total compensation. These details will be coordinated with the regular Montana sick leave provisions and the Paid COVID-19 Leave noted above.
  • The second paid leave in the federal mandate is emergency paid sick leave. This leave, which is largely overlapping or concurrent with normal state sick leave, is for employees who are unable to work for COVID-19 circumstances such as quarantine, care for family members, and other situations such as those described above. This leave, too, will be coordinated with the normal sick leave benefit and the state Paid COVID-19 Leave program.

Again, we understand these times are stressful for many of you. Your campus and system Human Resources officers are working diligently to provide you with all available information. We thank you for your patience while we work through this difficult and ever-changing time.

If you have any questions, please email michael.reid@umwestern.edu.


In accordance with the direction from Commissioner Christian, the Montana Western Lucy Carson Library will close the library building to in-person visits as of Friday, March 20, to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.

Beginning Friday, March 20, (until further notice) the library will move to “Restricted Access and Curtailed Operations.” The library is committed to continuing to offer remote support to both students and faculty engaged in remote course work and delivery. We thank you for your flexibility and understanding during this time.

During this time, the library will:

  • Shift focus to increase production of resources that support remote learning and teaching. Please let us know of any resources that will be helpful to you and to your students.
  • Continue, as usual, to provide the support that enables 24/7 remote access to electronic collections.
  • Library staff will be available to faculty and students for Virtual Reference appointments via phone, Zoom, or email.
  • Suspend physical item Inter-Library Loan. Electronic article delivery will continue. Please do not use the UMW Library’s automated request system for articles. Rather than signing into your Inter-Library Loan account, contact Bethany Hauer through email with your article requests: bethany.hauer@umwestern.edu.
  • Fulfill faculty requests for scanned electronic delivery of physical item course reserves, as allowable under Fair Use Guidelines. Librarians are available to assist instructors with finding alternate course materials.
  • Meet remotely with faculty to brainstorm new and creative ways to continue meeting information needs.

Please contact the library with any questions at 406-683-7542 or email anne.kish@umwestern.edu.


The following message was sent on March 19, 2020, to faculty, staff and students regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

To the University Community:

At the University of Montana Western, we are working with state and local government, the MUS, and health officials to do our part to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, to avoid overwhelming healthcare providers, and to protect everyone’s health.

We are continuing with our preparations to begin remote course delivery on Monday, March 23.

We have received additional guidance from the Commissioner of Higher Education in a memo that was distributed last night (https://mus.edu/coronavirus/message_3-18-2020.html) and wanted to share the following key points with you:

All MUS campuses should, per the Commissioner’s memo, effective immediately:

1.    Ask all students currently away on spring break travel that they do not return to campus and urge students currently on campus to consider an alternative living arrangement.

  • Campuses can work with students in exceptional circumstances or;
  • Those needing to retrieve essential medication from their residence halls.
  • For all other students, campuses will ensure that course work can continue remotely and that students can retrieve other items from their dormitory rooms when conditions allow.
  • Email communications were sent to Montana Western students with specific instructions yesterday on the check-out process from our residence halls if they are currently residing there, or if they have not returned from extended spring yet, to pursue alternate living arrangements. Students with no housing alternatives are able to stay living on campus, if necessary. Students currently in the residence halls are asked to check out no later than 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, 2020. For questions and assistance, please call 406-683-7565.

2.    Focus on the most essential services only. 

  • Campuses will continue to serve the students that remain on campus.
  • For those students remaining on campus, however, services will be limited to those deemed strictly essential to promote a safer environment for both the remaining students and employees.
  • There will be little or no programming or events for students, dining services will be consolidated and limited to Grab and Go models, and on-campus resources/services may reduce hours or close.
  • Campuses may ask students to change residences in order to further consolidate services. Students staying on campus will be expected to remain on campus and not bring guests from off-campus.

MUS Statement on Refunds                                                              

Due to the dynamic and complex nature of this rare and extraordinary situation, the Montana University System will postpone consideration of potential refunds until after the COVID-19 emergency has been addressed. At this time, there is no certainty whether it will take weeks or months to manage this emergency. 

Commencement

The University of Montana Western, based on guidance from the Montana University System, will be announcing plans for our Spring Commencement Ceremony at a later date. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.

We are grateful for the commitment, skill, and caring of our entire team of faculty and staff as they work day and night to address this crisis and for everyone’s patience, understanding, flexibility, and support.

For more information:

Online:

Please visit our health advisories webpage for the latest updates, COVID-19 FAQ and more: https://w.umwestern.edu/section/health-advisories/

Phone:
For questions from students or their families call: 406-683-7900
For questions from employees call: 406-683-7031
For questions from faculty call: 406-683-7115

Wishing you well,
Chancellor Beth Weatherby and the entire team at the University of Montana Western


UMW Events Update, March 18:

Montana Western is doing its part to help minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 and the health and safety of our campus and community is our top priority. Following CDC guidelines, the University has cancelled all events hosted on the UMW campus through Friday, May 8, 2020.

The University of Montana Western, based on guidance from the Montana University System, will be announcing plans for our Spring Commencement Ceremony at a later date. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time. For questions, please email roxanne.engellant@umwestern.edu.


The following message was sent on March 18, 2020, to faculty, staff and students regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Dear Students, Families, and Friends:

As you know, the Coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has come to Montana.  At the University of Montana Western, we are working with state and local government and health officials to do our part to slow the spread of the virus to avoid overwhelming healthcare providers, and to protect everyone’s health, particularly the most vulnerable.

University decisions regarding our actions related to this situation are guided and directed by state and local public health in coordination with state government. As members of the Montana University System, our decisions are also guided and directed by the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.  We also work closely with our Safety and Security Committee, which includes several members from our campus, public health officials, and our community’s first responders.

At all of these levels, people are working hard together to respond to this dynamic, disruptive and disturbing situation.

On Friday, March 13, we announced the extension of Spring Break to March 23 in order to give our faculty and staff time to prepare to deliver courses online so that students have the opportunity to continue to make progress toward their degrees. We also canceled all events through May 8. We are continuing to consider options regarding the May 9 Commencement Ceremony. We will make that decision soon so that you can finalize your plans.

On Saturday evening, March 16, we learned that two individuals who had attended the Board of Regents meeting on our campus March 4-6 developed symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19 just a few days after the meeting. We were advised that people who had spent substantial time in the meeting in the Great Room of the Swysgood Technology Center should self-quarantine for 14 days since the last possible exposure, which is this Friday, March 20. This group includes most of my administrative team, the faculty senate president, several student government leaders, and two of our support staff.

Yesterday, we were informed that one additional individual who spent substantial time at the Board Meeting has tested positive. State and local health officials are using registration lists to contact individuals who attended to interview them, assess their risk level and current state of health, and provide guidance and direction.

As of this moment, we have not received word that any of the UMW self-quarantined individuals had tested positive for COVID-19, nor do we know of any of our other employees or students testing positive for COVID-19.

As of now, we are continuing with our preparations to begin remote course delivery on Monday, March 23.

We have received additional guidance from the Commissioner of Higher Education.

  1. We strongly encourage students to consider living arrangements outside our campus residential halls for the rest of the spring term. Our efforts to promote adequate social distancing and safe living, learning, and working spaces for our students and employees will be more successful if we are able to streamline our services and staff our campuses accordingly. To be clear, our campuses will remain open and students who need to live and learn on our campuses will be able to do so. For students who determine that they must continue to live on campus, please know that we have implemented aggressive cleaning and hygiene practices across campus, changed the dining services practices to mostly “Grab and Go,” altered computer labs and other spaces to support the serious need for social distancing, and altered our practices in many other areas to protect everyone’s health and safety.
  2. MUS Statement on Refunds                                                              

During the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Montana University System’s foremost priority is the safety of our students, faculty and staff.  We recognize there are other issues of importance, financial and otherwise. Due to the dynamic and complex nature of this rare and extraordinary situation, the Montana University System will postpone consideration of potential refunds until after the COVID-19 emergency has been addressed.  At this time, there is no certainty whether it will take weeks or months to manage this emergency. 

We are grateful for the commitment, skill, and caring of our entire team of faculty and staff as they work day and night to address this crisis. We are all committed to doing everything in our power to allow our students to continue to progress toward the degrees they seek. Health and safety are our number one priority.

We are grateful for the patience, understanding, and flexibility all of you have shown during this incredibly volatile situation.  Thank you, too, for your kind words of appreciation and support.

We will continue to keep you informed. Please visit our updates webpage for the latest information: https://w.umwestern.edu/section/health-advisories/

Wishing you well,
Chancellor Beth Weatherby and the entire team at the University of Montana Western


The following message was sent on March 16, 2020, to faculty, staff and students regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

COVID-19 Updates from Montana Western, March 16, 2020

To the University Community,

We wanted to share with you a few recent updates in relation to COVID-19:

Sanitization

The University of Montana Western has increased its sanitization efforts on our campus to help minimize the potential spread of COVID-19, including:

General Campus and Residence Halls

  • The custodial staff sanitizes all touchable surfaces daily in the campus buildings (including light switches, desks, doorknobs, tables, railings, etc.).
  • Bathrooms are mopped daily with a disinfecting solution.
  • As the staff conducts their other shift duties including vacuuming, emptying garbage, waxing floors, etc., they re-disinfect the areas in which they have been present.

Dining Services

  • Regular sanitizing of surfaces is conducted before and after each shift.
  • The open salad and sandwich bars have been closed- dining services staff will now put together individual salads/portions for diners per their request.
  • Whole fruit is now individually sanitized and wrapped.
  • Disposable gloves are available for diners.

Paid COVID-19 Leave

The Montana University System shared with our campus today that it 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.

Our campus and system 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. Details still need to be finalized but this leave program will be managed consistently with steps taken in other agencies, departments and branches of state government. We will keep you posted as we learn more and the details are finalized.

Telework and Flex Schedules

Supervisors, please see your university email for information about Telework and Flex Scheduling options for employees and further instructions.

For more information about Telework and Flex Schedules, Paid COVID-19 Leave, or other human resources related questions, please call 406-683-7031.

Next, we want to remind you of instructions should you feel ill:

Upon your return from spring break, if you become ill and are in the Dillon area:

  • If you have visited an area with a travel advisory that had a Travel Advisory Level 4 at any point during your travels, please immediately notify UMW Dean of Students, Nicole Hazelbaker, by calling 406-683-7900 during regular business hours or after hours by calling 406-925-9782 for further instruction.
  • If you visited an area affected by COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left, please call your health clinic or other provider immediately to discuss your illness and plan for how you will be seen. Do not go directly to your clinic or other healthcare provider without calling first.If you become ill wherever you are:
  • If you visited an area affected by COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left, please call your health clinic or other provider immediately to discuss your illness and plan for how you will be seen. Do not go directly to your clinic or other healthcare provider without calling first.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not return to class or work.
  • Do not travel on public transportation.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol.
  • Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For more information:

Online:

Please visit our health advisories webpage for the latest updates, COVID-19 FAQ and more: https://w.umwestern.edu/section/health-advisories/

Phone:
For questions from students or their families call: 406-683-7900
For questions from employees call: 406-683-7031
For questions from faculty call: 406-683-7115

Thank you for your flexibility, understanding, and patience as we work together to manage the challenges of COVID-19. Remember the best defense against any virus is good hand-washing and respiratory hygiene. Please help us keep our campus safe: Cover your Cough, Stay Home if you’re sick and Wash Your Hands. As the CDC notes, everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy.


The following message was sent on March 15, 2020, to faculty, staff and students regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

MUST READ: COVID-19 Afternoon Update Sent on Behalf of Chancellor Weatherby

In response to the news Saturday evening that two individuals who attended the Board of Regents Meeting on our campus March 4-6 tested presumptively positive for COVID-19, Montana Western is working with the Office of the Commissioner, the Governor’s Office, and public health officials to continually assess the situation on campus.

State health officials have provided the following assessment and direction to local public health officials:

There has been concern that two individuals who were at the Board of Regents meeting tested positive to COVID-19.  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 do not 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 an abundance of precaution, we are asking each of the members who attended the Board of Regents meeting to self-quarantine through March 20th.  As we are learning more, we will be communicating with those who participated in the meeting.  In the event of any additional cases, these recommendations may be modified.

In light of this assessment, Montana Western will proceed as noted in our earlier communications. We will resume classes via remote delivery March 23. Students may choose to return to the residence halls this week, if they wish.

Those who spent significant time at the Board of Regents meeting in the STC Great Room should self-quarantine. Those include the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Dean of Students, Director of Communications, Foundation Director, the Dean of the School of Outreach, the ITS-Computer Technician, the Faculty Senate President, and Associated Students of University of Montana Western (ASUMW) leaders. Our local public health officials have advised that family or household members do not need to be added to quarantine.

If you are not included in the list above and believe that you should self-quarantine, please contact your supervisor as soon as possible to discuss it. All of these individuals will be available via email. Chancellor Weatherby will call phone conference meetings of the Cabinet to continue monitoring and responding to the situation.

Again, this situation has changed quickly and dramatically. We will be sending out more information, so please check your university email frequently and visit our Health Advisories and Updates webpage for the latest updates: https://w.umwestern.edu/section/health-advisories/

Thank you for your flexibility, understanding, and patience as we work together to manage the challenges of COVID-19. Remember the best defense against any virus is good hand-washing and respiratory hygiene. Please help us keep our campus safe: Cover your Cough, Stay Home if you’re sick and Wash Your Hands. As the CDC notes, everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy.

Sincerely,

Chancellor Beth Weatherby


The following message was sent on March 15, 2020, to faculty and staff regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

To the University Community,

As you may have already seen, the Montana University System’s Commissioner of Higher Education, Clayton Christian, announced yesterday evening that he has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19. The announcement included that his suspected exposure most likely took place during the Board of Regents meeting that was held on our campus March 4-6.

As you know, many of us from across the campus and community were involved with all aspects of hosting and participating in the meeting. We wanted to let you know that we are working closely with the Governor’s Office, the MUS and local and state health officials who will provide us the proper guidance in reaching out to those individuals based on their recommendations.

We will be sending out more information soon, so please check your university email frequently and visit our Health Advisories and Updates webpage for the latest updates: https://w.umwestern.edu/section/health-advisories/

We recommended you to self-monitor and contact your healthcare provider with any questions as there now are a number of COVID-19 cases in Montana. Thank you for your flexibility, understanding, and patience as we work together to manage the challenges of COVID-19. Remember the best defense against any virus is good hand-washing and respiratory hygiene. Please help us keep our campus safe: Cover your Cough, Stay Home if you’re sick and Wash Your Hands. As the CDC notes, everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy.

Sincerely,

Chancellor Beth Weatherby


The following message was sent on March 13, 2020, to students regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Montana Western students,

As you are most likely already aware, Montana Western has extended spring break for students until March 23, 2020 in response to COVID-19 and will be remotely delivering all courses for blocks 7 and 8.

The University is still open, as are all student services, but we are implementing social distancing in our effort to minimize potential spreading of COVID-19 and keep our students, faculty, and staff safe. 

If you choose to continue living in the residence halls, we welcome you back- but don’t forget you need to check in at the Residence Hall office front desk when you arrive so we can make sure you have everything you need. For more information, please visit our Health Advisories page below or call 406-683-7900 (during regular business hours) or 406-925-9782 (after regular business hours or weekends).

https://w.umwestern.edu/section/health-advisories/

We wanted to let you know of a few items as you return from Spring Break.

First, we want to clarify the new course schedule for Blocks 7 and 8.

Block 7 Dates:

  • Start: March 23
  • End: April 10

Block Break:

  • April 11-14

Block 8 Dates:

  • Start: April 15
  • End: May 6

Stringer online courses will resume next week. If you have a stringer face-to-face course (will transition to a remote course) that meets once a week, the course will resume the week of March 23.

Please check your university email every day for updates and communication with your instructor.

Next, we want to give you instructions should you feel ill upon your return from spring break. 

Upon your return from spring break, if you become ill and are in the Dillon area:

  • If you have visited an area with a travel advisory that had a Travel Advisory Level 4 at any point during your travels, please immediately notify UMW Dean of Students, Nicole Hazelbaker, by calling 406-683-7900 during regular business hours or after hours by calling 406-925-9782 for further instruction.
  • If you visited an area affected by COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left, please call your health clinic or other provider immediately to discuss your illness and plan for how you will be seen. Do not go directly to your clinic or other healthcare provider without calling first.

If you become ill wherever you are:

  • If you visited an area affected by COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left, please call your health clinic or other provider immediately to discuss your illness and plan for how you will be seen. Do not go directly to your clinic or other healthcare provider without calling first.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not return to class or work.
  • Do not travel on public transportation.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol.
  • Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

We also want to let you know how to pick up your text books for blocks 7 and 8.

Step 1: Pre order your books

Step 2: Pay for books

  • Card
  • Bookstore authorization (putting money on Bulldog Card)
  • Third party
  • Residence Life will also take card payment for students living in dorms

Step 3: Bookstore packages books

Step 4: Get your text books

  • Pick up at Bookstore
  • Delivered to Residence Life if living in dorms
  • Mailed to your residence (added cost for shipping and handling)

The Bookstore will be open during our regular hours next week March 16–March 20 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday – Friday). If you have any questions, please call 406-683-7283.

Commencement:

We haven’t made a decision yet if we will be holding commencement ceremonies this spring. We will keep you posted on our decision very soon.

For more information:

Online:

Please visit our health advisories webpage for the latest updates, COVID-19 FAQ and more: https://w.umwestern.edu/section/health-advisories/

Phone:

For questions from students or their families call: 406-683-7900
For questions from employees call: 406-683-7031
For questions from faculty call: 406-683-7115

Thank you for your flexibility, understanding, and patience as we work together to manage the challenges of COVID-19. Remember the best defense against any virus is good hand-washing and respiratory hygiene. Please help us keep our campus safe: Cover your Cough, Stay Home if you’re sick and Wash Your Hands. As the CDC notes, everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy.


COVID-19 Information & Resources


As world health officials response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Montana University System is committed to keeping our students, faculty and staff safe and well-informed. As the situation evolves, we want to provide you with the most reliable and up-to-date sources of information for novel coronavirus health and travel updates:

Please follow prevention measures to keep yourself and your campus healthy:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze, ideally into your elbow and not into your hands.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use sanitizing gels.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home if you’re sick (seek medical attention if you feel it is becoming serious).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Get your flu shot. It’s not too late!

The following message was sent on March 12, 2020, to students, faculty and staff regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

To the University Community,

The administration, staff and faculty of the University of Montana Western are working together to maintain educational continuity for our students while taking prudent measures in relation to the global COVID-19 outbreak.

As we continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation in coordination with the Offices of the Governor and the Commissioner of Higher Education , we will be taking the following steps to help protect all members of our campus community.

CLASSES

As you know, Block 7 was scheduled to resume on Monday, March 16. In order to allow our faculty to prepare to transition all courses to remote delivery, classes will resume online on Monday, March 23.      

Following the guidelines from the CDC and social distancing protocols, we are encouraging our students to remain off-campus, if at all possible, to take their courses for the rest of the semester. Our campus will  be open to provide key services like computer labs, dining services, library access, technology support, and business services, but we are trying to limit the number of student gatherings as much as possible to limit the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.

If you live in the residence halls and don’t have other housing options, we welcome you back. You must check in at the Residence Hall front desk when you arrive so that we can make sure you have everything you need.

Please check your university email every day to make sure you receive updates that we will send on a continuous basis and for communication from your course instructors. We realize that this shift can be a dramatic change, but we want to do everything we can to make sure you stay healthy and safe. Please find below the new schedule for Blocks 7 and 8. You’ll notice that we have removed two block breaks to accommodate for the extension of spring break.

Block 7 Dates:

  • Start: March 23
  • End: April 10

Block Break:

  • April 11-14

Block 8 Dates:

  • Start: April 15
  • End: May 6

Deb Hedeen, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, in collaboration with Justin Mason, Montana Western Director of eLearning, will provide additional support to faculty to assist with the transition and training for all course instructors in relation to Moodle, teleconferencing, and best practices for remote course delivery. Be on the lookout for invitations to workshops and more information coming soon.

Work Study

If you are a work study student, you will still continue to work, but please contact your supervisor to go over your upcoming work schedules.

Returning from Spring Break

Upon your return from spring break, if you become ill and are in the Dillon area:

  • If you have visited an area with a travel advisory that had a Travel Advisory Level 4 at any point during your travels, please immediately notify UMW Dean of Students, Nicole Hazelbaker, by calling 406-683-7900 during regular business hours or after hours by calling 406-925-9782 for further instruction.
  • If you visited an area affected by COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left, please call your health clinic or other provider immediately to discuss your illness and plan for how you will be seen. Do not go directly to your clinic or other healthcare provider without calling first.

If you become ill wherever you are:

  • If you visited an area affected by COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left, please call your health clinic or other provider immediately to discuss your illness and plan for how you will be seen. Do not go directly to your clinic or other healthcare provider without calling first.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not return to class or work.
  • Do not travel on public transportation.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Events

For the remainder of the spring semester, we are suspending all University- sponsored/funded events with large groups of people. For questions about events, please email roxanne.engellant@umwestern.edu or call 406-683-7305.

We will continue to monitor athletic activities, practices, and competitions in coordination with the NAIA and other member institutions. Athletic practices will be suspended until further notice and the Bulldog Athletic and Recreational Center (BARC) will be closed to any recreational activity. For questions about athletics, call Bill Wilson at 406-683-7391.

Activities

All student club and wellness activities and travel are suspended until further notice.

Meetings

All member of the campus community should consider conducting meetings virtually whenever possible. For assistance with meeting technology, call the IT Help Desk at 406-683-7777.

For Faculty, Staff, and Operations

In coordination with OCHE, we are continually monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will make alternative work arrangements for faculty and staff as needed in consultation with County Health Services and CDC recommendations.

Travel:

We have cancelled any university sponsored international travel until further notice. Other university-sponsored travel will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Students at off campus sites:

Students who are attending Montana Western classes at locations outside of Dillon will receive further instructions.

Counseling Services:

Our licensed counselors are here to help! Please contact either Jerry Girard at 406-683-7181, (jerry.girard@umwestern.edu) or Heidi Gjefle at 406-683-7180, (heidi.gjefle@umwestern.edu) to schedule an eCounseling appointment that you can attend over your mobile device or computer, no matter where you are. We’re here to help during this stressful time.

For more information:

Online:

Please visit our health advisories webpage for the latest updates, COVID-19 FAQ and more: https://w.umwestern.edu/section/health-advisories/

Phone:

For questions from students or their families call: 406-683-7900
For questions from employees call: 406-683-7031
For questions from faculty call: 406-683-7115

Thank you for your flexibility, understanding, and patience as we work together to manage the challenges of COVID-19. Remember The best defense against any virus is good hand-washing and respiratory hygiene. Please help us keep our campus safe: Cover your Cough, Stay Home if you’re sick and Wash Your Hands. As the CDC notes, everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy.

Sincerely,

Chancellor Beth Weatherby


The following message was sent on March 11, 2020, to students, faculty and staff regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

To the campus community,

As you may have seen in the news today, a Montana woman visiting Maryland has tested positive for COVID-19. We are closely monitoring the situation with the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, and will continue to keep you updated.

Your health and safety are our top priority, and the Chancellor’s Cabinet, in collaboration with the UMW Safety and Security Committee, are following the procedures outlined in our Community Health Crisis Safety Plan and have communicated with the heads of each key area to ensure that we are prepared in the event that COVID-19 were to become present in the state, Beaverhead County, or the City of Dillon.

For current updates, please visit our UMW Health Advisories webpage: https://w.umwestern.edu/section/health-advisories/

There is also a yellow notification bar at the top of our website, https://w.umwestern.edu/, with the link to the Health Advisories page for your convenience.

Above all, we ask for your help. The best defense against any virus is good hand-washing and respiratory hygiene. Please help us keep our campus safe: Cover your Cough, Stay Home if you’re sick and Wash Your Hands. As the CDC notes, everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy.

Sincerely,

Chancellor Weatherby


The following message was sent on March 10, 2020, to students, faculty and staff regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

A Message About COVID-19 from Commissioner Clayton Christian (click the link to read the message)


The following message was sent on March 4, 2020, to students, faculty and staff regarding novel coronavirus.

Important Spring Break Travel Guidelines: Sent on Behalf of Chancellor Weatherby

To the Campus Community,

Spring break is almost here, and we wish you a fun and refreshing getaway, or simply time away, as your plans may be.

As the global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) intensifies, it’s important to take precautions and be aware of health risks as well as potential impacts to your travel plans.

If you’re planning to travel outside Montana, we offer some simple guidelines to stay healthy and protect our campus community upon your return.

  • For travel to countries with Level 2 or 3 Travel Advisories in effect either from the U.S. Department of State or the CDC, please carefully weigh the risks and benefits of your trip. Please see the CDC’s guidance on assessing whether to cancel or postpone a trip.
  • 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. Check the status of your destination frequently at:
  • Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water and remember to pack and take prescribed medications.
  • Wherever your travels take you, remember that your best defense against any kind of illness while traveling is proper hand-washing and respiratory hygiene:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning product.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol.

Please be aware of the following guidelines in the event you become ill upon your return:

  • If you visited an area with a travel advisory that had a Travel Advisory Level 4 at any point during your travels, please immediately notify UMW Dean of Students, Nicole Hazelbaker, by calling 406-683-7900 during regular business hours or after hours by calling 406-925-9782 for further instruction.
  • If you visited an area affected by COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left, please call your health clinic or other provider immediately to discuss your illness and plan for how you will be seen. Do not go directly to your clinic or other healthcare provider without calling first.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not return to class or work.
  • Do not travel on public transportation.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Finally, this is an evolving situation. Please frequently check your email for updates from our campus and be alert to public health notices and travel restrictions in your area.

Remember that the power to protect our campus communities from coronavirus and flu lies with each and every one of us.

We wish you a healthy and safe spring break,

The members of the Montana Western Safety and Security Committee

Nicole Hazelbaker – 406-683-7900
Mike Piazzola – 406-683-7664
Cole Cottom – 406-683-7145
Matt Raffety  – 406-683-7301

For coronavirus updates please visit:

US Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
World Health Organization
Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services (DPHHS)
US State Department Travel Advisories


The following message was sent on Jan. 31, 2020, to students, faculty and staff regarding novel coronavirus on behalf of the members of the Montana Western Safety and Security Committee, the Dean of Students and University Communications:

Coronavirus and Travel to China MUS Update: January 31, 2020

To the campus community,

Please be aware that the State Department has raised its Travel Advisory for China to Level 4: Do Not Travel.

For the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, the Montana University System (MUS) has prohibited all MUS sponsored or affiliated travel to China until further notice. Please be aware that any travel expenses incurred en route to and from China or in China while the MUS travel ban is in effect will not be covered or reimbursed by the MUS.

The travel ban is for China only and does not apply to trips to other countries.

The Montana University System is committed to protecting students, faculty and staff across our campus communities and is closely monitoring the situation in cooperation with state and county health officials. There are no known cases of 2019-nCoV infection in Montana, and the CDC states that the current risk to the American public of becoming infected is low.

We will provide updates as new information becomes available.

For reliable information on coronavirus visit:

US Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services (DPHHS)

Thank you,

The members of the Montana Western Safety and Security Committee
University Communications
Dean of Students
406-683-7900


A message from the Dean of Students

The following message was sent on Jan. 30, 2020, to students, faculty and staff regarding novel coronavirus on behalf of the members of the Montana Western Safety and Security Committee, the Dean of Students and University Communications:

To the campus community,

As you’re aware, world health officials are working to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak that began in Wuhan, China.

There are no known cases of 2019-nCoV infection in Montana, and the CDC states that the current risk to the American public of becoming infected is low.

An intercampus preparedness team of Montana University System (MUS) faculty, administration and staff is closely monitoring the situation and ensuring that appropriate response plans are in place to protect our campus communities. The team is working closely with state and local health officials.

The CDC currently has no restrictions on travelers returning from China, although these travelers may undergo screening at an airport or receive information on what to do if they experience symptoms.

The CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel to China and the US State Department has issued a recommendation to reconsider travel to China and to not travel to Hubei Province. Travel advice is being updated nearly daily, so check these sites frequently if you are planning travel.

Unless you have recently traveled to Wuhan, China or have been in close contact with someone who has, there is no reason to be concerned that you have been exposed to coronavirus. Passing through an international airport is not considered by the CDC to be a risk factor.

If you develop fever; cough and/or difficulty breathing; and in the past 14 days you have visited Wuhan or been in close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of novel coronavirus, please call your regular healthcare provider immediately.

For reliable information and updates on novel coronavirus, please follow these links to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services (DPHHS).

Please keep in mind that the biggest health risk right now is the regular flu season, which sickens thousands of Montanans each year. As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Get rest, eat well and be vigilant about the following practices, which are the best defense against flu:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze, ideally into your elbow and not into your hands.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use sanitizing gels.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home if you’re sick (seek medical attention if you feel it is becoming serious).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Get your flu shot. It’s not too late!

Thank you,

The members of the Montana Western Safety and Security Committee
University Communications
Dean of Students
406-683-7900