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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.

Click here to view the UMW Healthy Fall 2020 Plan.


Messages for Dec. 4, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Dear Montana Western Students, Faculty and Staff,

We wanted to remind you that there are counseling services and mental health resources available during the winter break. We understand this can be an isolating and stressful time, and we invite you to please reach out if you need to talk to someone.

Below you will find information on our Student Counseling Services and a new statewide Crisis Counseling Hotline currently available to all faculty, students, and staff.

Student Counseling Services (both in person and online): 

Student Counseling Services consist of two-master’s level, fully licensed, clinical mental health counselors, Jerry Girard and Heidi Peterson. Heidi and Jerry offer both in-office and remote eCounseling services to both on campus and distance learning students. 

Student Counseling Services is located in the Dean of Students Center at 528 Poindexter Street, across from the Student Union Building. They are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., year-round. 

To schedule an appointment:

You may ask to meet with Jerry or Heidi specifically, and emergencies will be seen upon walk-in.

For an after-hours emergency, please call 911 or go to the Barrett Hospital emergency room located at 600 State Hwy 91 S., Dillon, Mont.

All counseling sessions follow the campus COVID-19 safety protocols.

New Crisis Counseling Hotline: 

In addition to Student Counseling Services, all students, faculty, and staff in need of crisis counseling can call 1-877-503-0833 to receive free and confidential counseling services from trained crisis counselors Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. through the state-wide Crisis Counseling Hotline.

Other mental health resources that are available include: 

  • Montana Crisis Text Line: available 24/7 by texting MT to 741 741
  • Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline: available 24/7 at 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Montana Warmline: available Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday noon to 9 p.m. at 877-688-3377
  • Thrive by Waypoint Health: an online cognitive behavioral therapy for those actively working to manage anxiety and stress, is available at https://thriveformontana.com/.

    For more information about Montana Western Student Counseling Services, please visit the UMW websiteClick here for more information about the Crisis Counseling Hotline.


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


Montana Western Students,

As we finish the semester and move into the winter break, we wanted to thank you for all of your efforts and encourage you to continue following the guidance that we have been sharing with you during the semester.

This includes:

  • Wearing your mask on and off campus
  • Avoiding large gatherings
  • Maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others
  • Washing your hands and sanitizing surfaces often

These guidelines will help you to keep yourself and those around you safe, no matter where you are spending the winter break. Remember, the healthy choices we can all make during the break will help us to keep classes on campus next semester.

If you are staying in Dillon over the break and develop any COVID-19 symptoms, please contact the Southwest Montana Community Health Center at 406-683-4440 to be tested. If you are home for the break and develop symptoms, please contact your local healthcare provider immediately to schedule a test.

Thank you all for continuing to help slow the spread of COVID-19. We hope you have a safe and enjoyable break. We will continue to keep you updated during the break, so please keep checking your university email.

Be well, Bulldogs!

Sadie Caltrider, COVID-19 Testing Coordinator
Baylee Rawson, COVID-19 Communications Coordinator


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


Dear All,
Please see the attached memo from Commissioner Christian. I echo his gratitude for your hard work and persistence and wish you a restful holiday.
Best wishes,
Beth

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


Montana Western Students,

This Wednesday, November 25th, is the last day we will be offering FREE Symptomatic Rapid COVID-19 testing for students before the semester ends. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please call 406-683-7388 to schedule a testing appointment. The tests will be administered in the garage of the Dean of Students Center from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

After November 25th, please contact the Community Health Center at 406-683-4440 to be tested. 

As a reminder, during the Thanksgiving holiday and winter break, please continue to wear your mask out in public and around others, wash your hands frequently, stay 6 feet from others, avoid large gatherings, and monitor your health daily.

We also ask that you stay in your small family/social group two weeks before returning for the start of the spring semester which begins on January 11, 2021.  

Be Well, Bulldogs!

Sadie Caltrider, COVID-19 Testing Coordinator
Baylee Rawson, COVID-19 Communications Coordinator


Messages for Nov. 17, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Montana Western Students,

The University is still offering FREE Symptomatic Rapid COVID-19 testing for students Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the garage of the Dean of Students Center.

We will continue testing until Wednesday, November 25. 

After November 25, students should contact Community Health Center at 406-683-4440 to be tested.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please call 406-683-7388 to schedule a testing appointment. Please note, you will need to schedule an appointment by 10:30 a.m. the day of your test.

Be Well, Bulldogs!

Sadie Caltrider, COVID-19 Testing Coordinator
Baylee Rawson, COVID-19 Communications Coordinator


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


Montana Western Students,

In less than two weeks, you will depart for the Thanksgiving holiday and shortly after, the Fall 2020 semester will come to an end. Due to your hard work and perseverance, we have been able to keep classes on campus and mitigate the spread of the virus. Thank you for your efforts in keeping the campus healthy.

As we prepare for the holiday break, we are asking you to stay home as much as possible and limit your social activity to the small group of people you live with on a regular basis.  

Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in our county and around the state, we need to stay as cautious as possible and follow all COVID-19 protocols. Continue to wear your mask both on and off campus, wash your hands frequently, stay 6 feet from others, and monitor your health daily. We also ask that you remain in your small family/social group two weeks before returning for the start of the spring semester which begins on January 11, 2021. 

For additional information and guide to a healthy break, please visit our new webpage: https://w.umwestern.edu/section/guide-to-leaving-campus-for-break/

Be Well, Bulldogs!

Sadie Caltrider, COVID-19 Testing Coordinator

Baylee Rawson, COVID-19 Communications Coordinator


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


Dear All,

As you may be aware, the number of COVID-19 cases in Montana and Beaverhead County has increased, as has the number of positive cases associated with UMW. Please be assured that, as planned, we have scaled up our response to meet these increases.

Our extensive preparations and planning are helping us do our part on campus and in the community to mitigate the spread. Teams are in place to test, contact-trace and ensure that all students and employees who are isolated or quarantined are getting what they need. Thank you to every single one of you for your contributions to these efforts.

We are nearing the end of the semester. Please stay the course. Wear masks. Distance. Wash your hands. Stay with your small groups. Avoid large groups.

Have a safe, healthy weekend.  We are almost there!

Chancellor Beth Weatherby


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


To the University Community,

Due to the increase in positive COVID-19 cases across Montana, in our county, and cases associated with our campus, we want to urge you to take all the precautions you can as we move further into the fall and prepare for the end of the semester: 

  • Wear your mask both on and off campus.
  • Stay at least 6 feet from others.
  • Wash your hands and sanitize your surrounding surfaces often.
  • Avoid gatherings.

As we prepare for the Thanksgiving Holiday, we need to do everything we can to not spread COVID-19 to our elderly relatives and friends or those who may have underlying health conditions. Please follow all these precautions so that you can safely return home for the holiday and the winter break. If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Be well, Bulldogs!

Sadie Caltrider, COVID-19 Testing Coordinator

Baylee Rawson, COVID-19 Communications Coordinator


Messages for Nov. 5, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Thank you to all Montana Western students who submitted an application requesting emergency funding through the federal CARES Act.

At this time, Montana Western has awarded all of our funds for the fall 2020 semester. If additional funding becomes available, we will be in touch regarding how to apply.


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


Montana Western Students,

We hope you all had an enjoyable and safe Halloween and we thank you for all of your help in stopping the spread of COVID-19. As we begin this new week, we would like to remind you all of a few precautions to take to help keep everyone healthy for the rest of the fall semester:

  • Wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet from others.
  • Monitor your health. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and call your healthcare provider immediately.
  • If you socialized this weekend, write down who you were with and where you went. Let them know if you get sick.
  • Answer your phone if the health department calls. If you get a call from an unknown number, be sure to check your voicemail.

We will continue to offer FREE Symptomatic Rapid Testing for students, Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the garage of the Dean of Students Center. If you are experiencing any symptoms, please call 406-683-7388 to schedule an appointment.

Also, as we move into flu season, don’t forget that you can get your flu shot at the Community Health Center free of charge (don’t forget to bring your insurance card). To make an appointment, call 406-683-4440.

Be well, Bulldogs!

Sadie Caltrider, COVID-19 Testing Coordinator

Baylee Rawson, COVID-19 Communications Coordinator


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


Montana Western,

Due to all your hard work and efforts, the number of COVID-19 cases associated with our campus has decreased. We would like to thank you all for wearing your mask on and off campus, social distancing and staying home when you are sick.

We will continue to offer FREE Symptomatic Rapid Testing for students, Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the garage of the Dean of Students Building. If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, please call (406) 683-7388 to schedule an appointment.

As always, please continue to follow all the precautions to ensure our cases continue to decrease:

  • Monitor your health and wellness and contact your healthcare provider immediately if you are experiencing any symptoms.
  • Avoid large gatherings.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Stay six feet away from others.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Isolate and quarantine if you are directed to do so.

Be well, Bulldogs!

Sadie Caltrider, COVID-19 Testing Coordinator

Baylee Rawson, COVID-19 Communications Coordinator


Messages for Oct. 21, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Montana Western Students,

We wanted to let you know that there are still funds available through the federal CARES Act- students looking for additional emergency assistance should submit an application requesting funds.

Funds are limited, so students who have not received any CARES Act funds will be considered first. Below you can review the eligibility requirements and find a link to the CARES Act Application.

If you are a Montana Western student, submitted a FAFSA for the 2020-2021 academic year to verify that you are a U.S citizen, 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. Please see the additional eligibility requirements below. 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-for-summer-fall-2020-students/

Eligibility Requirements Per Federal Regulations:

  • Have completed FAFSA for 2020-2021
  • Have a declared major that is eligible for financial aid
  • Be enrolled in at least 1 credit hour for the fall semester
  • Making Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen

Ineligible Students Per Federal Regulations:

  • Students enrolled in a completely online program
  • Students in default of federal student loans

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 Oct. 16, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Montana Western Students,

The University will be offering Symptomatic Rapid COVID-19 testing starting Tuesday, October 20th from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the garage of the Dean of Students building on Poindexter Street for Montana Western students.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please call 406-683-7388 to schedule a testing appointment. Please note, you will need to schedule an appointment by 10:30 a.m. the day of your test.

Details for the day of your appointment:

  • Wear your mask at ALL TIMES during your appointment.
  • Montana Western athletic trainers will hand you your test kit.
  • You will swab your own nose and place the swab in a designated envelope provided to you.
  • Please park next to the testing center while you wait for your result. (There will also be a designated waiting area for those who walk up).
  • Results will be provided and recorded 15 minutes after your nose swab.
  • Next step instructions will be given based on your results.

We will be administering 6 tests per day, Monday through Friday, until December 30th.

This testing is currently for students only, but may be expanded to include faculty and staff at a later date. We will provide more information when it becomes available.  

Be well, Bulldogs!

Sadie Caltrider, COVID-19 Testing Coordinator

Baylee Rawson, COVID-19 Communications Coordinator


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


LET’S HELP SLOW THE SPREAD OF COVID IN OUR COMMUNITY: UPDATE ON MITIGATION EFFORTS 

Through Friday, October 23, Montana Western’s enhanced mitigation efforts will remain in place, with a few changes. On October 2, Beaverhead County Public Health reported 51 active cases. Today, there are 102 reported positive cases in the county. To help slow the spread, the university will continue operations as follows: 

Events, extra-curricular activities, and gatherings, other than classes, must not include more than 10 people. Masks and social distancing are required. Please move these activities outdoors when possible. (Exceptions will be considered but must be approved by Dean of Students Nicole Hazelbaker.) 

Virtual events are encouraged.

Athletics team practices may resume under strict supervision in groups of no more than 15.

The BARC auxiliary gym and weight room will be open under supervision but limited to no more than 10 people at a time.

Outdoor exercise and workouts are encouraged, but not in groups of more than 10. Physical distancing is required and masks are required if distancing cannot be maintained.

Students who work, either on- or off-campus must not attend work if sick or awaiting test results.

Quarantine and isolation rules must be followed.

Class delivery methods: Those courses that are being delivered face-to-face may remain so, at the discretion of the instructor in consultation with the division chair and notification of the provost.

Staff members are to stagger shifts, using teleworking agreements, where possible. Please work with your supervisors.

We can help slow this down. Please: 

  • avoid large gatherings
  • wear a mask
  • stay six feet from others
  • wash your hands frequently
  • stay home when sick

Thank you for doing your part to keep our community healthy. 


Messages for Oct. 4, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


LET’S HELP SLOW THE SPREAD OF COVID IN THIS COMMUNITY: 

CHANGES IN UNIVERSITY OPERATIONS FOR THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 5. 

On October 2, Beaverhead County Public Health reported 51 active COVID cases.  Less than half of those appear to be university-related. BCPH updates university-related case numbers on Monday.

Montana Western is very concerned about these escalating numbers. We are working together with local and state Public Health and other agencies to increase our mitigation and response efforts even further.  It appears that gatherings of all kinds (weddings, church services, banquets, parties, even smaller social gatherings) where distancing and mask-wearing are not practiced are the biggest causes of this increase. Health officials are still seeing cases that appear to have resulted from Labor Day weekend activities here and elsewhere.

The only way for this community to slow the spread of the virus, short of a return to Phase 1, is for these gatherings and lack of distancing and masking in any setting, large or small, to stop. Not forever. For now, until we slow the spread.

Montana Western urges everyone to take precautions for the good of all. Our students continually interact with the community: at work, in shops and restaurants, and churches, and in so many other settings. It is clear that this health crisis belongs to all of us: university and community. We can only solve it together.

For our part, we are going to be increasing our efforts and make adjustments to our operations in a number of ways, re-evaluating them each week. These numbers constantly shift, but today, in addition to those who have tested positive, we have approximately 44 students quarantined in their off-campus housing and 15 quarantined in on-campus quarantine rooms. This is because they are either symptomatic and awaiting testing and test results or were close contacts to a positive case.

OUR PLAN TO SLOW THE SPREAD:

Testing will increase in a number of ways this week. Working with Public and Community Health, more hours and more tests will be available. (Details to come.) We have also located new technology from the state and will conduct rapid antigen testing, and have testing available on campus.

The following adjustments in operations are in effect for the rest of Block 2, from October 5 through October 13, and will be re-evaluated each week.  

Class delivery methods: Those courses that are being delivered face-to-face may remain so. We have little evidence that face-to-face classes that are following COVID protocols are contributing in any significant way to the spread of the virus. Of the seventy courses being offered this semester, approximately thirty are face-to-face and may remain so, at the discretion of the instructor in consultation with the division chair and notification of the provost. Strict distancing and masking must continue in every class.

Meetings should be held by conference call or Zoom, not face-to-face. 

Events, extra-curricular activities, and gatherings, other than classes, must not include more than 10 people. Masks and social distancing are required. Please move these activities outdoors when possible.

Spirit Week will be rescheduled for Block 3.

Virtual events are encouraged.

Athletics practices are suspended.

Facilities: The BARC and the Garage Gym will be closed for the rest of Block 2.

Use of other facilities is being evaluated. In ALL facilities, strict social distancing and mask-wearing must be practiced.

Outdoor exercise and workouts are encouraged, but not in groups of more than 10.  Physical distancing is still required and masks are required if distancing cannot be maintained.

Staff members are to stagger shifts, using teleworking agreements, where possible. Please work with your supervisors.

Students who work, either on- or off-campus absolutely must not attend work if sick or are awaiting test results.

Quarantine and isolation rules violations as well as unauthorized gatherings and parties, on- or off-campus, of which we are made aware will result in discipline, which could include suspension or expulsion as they are violations of the student code of conduct.

We are all tired of this pandemic and all of the restrictions it requires. The only way to move past it is to fight it in the only ways we know how: with masks, with distance, with good hygiene, with patience and the knowledge that we can only fight this as a community, with care and respect.

As they say in the Montana Youth Challenge Academy: Stay in the fight!

And as they say in Residence Life, keep the pack healthy!


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


To the University Community,

I would like to take a moment to remind everyone that face coverings, worn over the nose and mouth, continue to be required on our campus unless an individual has a medical exemption from their healthcare professional.

The only time that face coverings can be removed indoors is if you are in your own enclosed office space or in your dorm room. Masks must be worn in shared workspaces, those working in receiving areas, while walking in hallways and in break/conference rooms, and any other shared spaces.

In accordance with the guidelines from the MUS Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force, all employees, students, and visitors must wear face coverings on campus as outlined below.

Montana Western Face Covering Practices and Protocols:

  • Face coverings are required in all indoor spaces and all enclosed or partially enclosed outdoor spaces.
  • Face coverings will be required in all outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible or difficult to reliably maintain.
  • In outdoor settings where social distancing is possible, face coverings continue to be strongly recommended.
  • These requirements apply to all UMW students and employees, and all visitors including service providers, contractors, vendors, suppliers, families, and community members.

For more information, including exceptions and accommodations, visit: https://w.umwestern.edu/fall-2020-plan/campus-wide-guidance/

It is imperative that we continue, as a campus, to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and wash/sanitize our hands frequently as these practices are our best defense against the spread of COVID-19.

Sincerely,

Chancellor Beth Weatherby


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


Dear Montana Western Students,

As a reminder, please continue wearing your masks over your mouth and nose, practicing social distancing, and using hand sanitizers and surface disinfectants regularly.  Our efforts, both on and off campus, can help slow the spread of the virus and keep our positive cases low.  

Also, please be aware of your own health and continue to monitor any symptoms you may be feeling, such as:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste and smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Additionally, nurses from Community Health will be administering FREE flu shots to students in the Lewis and Clark room today, September 24th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. If you have any questions, please contact Fallon Horrocks at fallon.horrocks@umwestern.edu or (406) 683-7389.  

We wish you all a safe and healthy week. Go Bulldogs!

Sadie Caltrider, COVID-19 Testing Coordinator

Baylee Rawson, COVID-19 Communications Coordinator


Messages for Sep. 17, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Dear Montana Western Faculty and Staff,

Governor Bullock announced yesterday a new statewide effort to report COVID-19 cases within Montana schools as part of the existing Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) dashboard webpage.

The report will include the total number of previous and active cases by county and data for individual K-12 schools and universities. The updated demographic information will be reported weekly (scroll down on the dashboard page and click on “additional information on COVID-19 in Montana schools.”)

*Please note, as this is a new process, that data from all Montana counties are not currently available in this first report.  

For more information on the Governor’s announcement, please refer to the following news article:

https://nbcmontana.com/news/coronavirus/state-to-release-k-12-university-covid-19-data-weekly

The most current DPHHS Montana school data can be found below:

https://dphhs.mt.gov/Portals/85/publichealth/documents/CDEpi/DiseasesAtoZ/2019-nCoV/School%20cases%209162020%20(003).pdf

Montana Western will continue to support all public health authorities as sources of collection, management, and reporting for COVID-19 cases associated with our campus. We will keep you up to date on any new information we receive.

Sadie Caltrider, COVID-19 Testing Coordinator

Baylee Rawson, COVID-19 Communications Coordinator


Messages for Sep. 17, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


To the University Community,

We would like to inform you all that as of yesterday afternoon, there are 4 active cases of COVID-19 in Beaverhead County.

As a reminder, please continue wearing your masks both on and off campus, practicing social distancing, and using hand sanitizers and surface disinfectants regularly. Our efforts can help slow the spread of the virus, keep our positive cases low, and keep classes on campus.  

Also, be aware of your own health and wellness, and continue monitoring any symptoms that you may be feeling such as:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste and smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your health care provider immediately.

Be well, Bulldogs!

Sadie Caltrider, COVID-19 Testing Coordinator

Baylee Rawson, COVID-19 Communications Coordinator


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


To the University Community,

As part of our collaborative COVID-19 mitigation efforts, the Beaverhead County Public Health Department (BCPHD) is now posting Montana Western associated cases on their website.

BCPHD is the only source of statistical reporting for our county and has the most current and accurate data on cases associated with the UMW community. BCPHD will be posting these statistics for the following indicators on their website, every Monday after 4 p.m.:

  • Total historical cases associated with UMW
  • Current active cases associated with UMW
  • Total UMW recovered cases

We are extremely thankful for our continued partnership with the BCPHD team. Their hard work and essential data will ensure that our students, staff, and faculty are up to date on the latest developments related to COVID-19.

Thank you, and we wish you all a safe and healthy week.

Sadie Caltrider, COVID-19 Testing Coordinator

Baylee Rawson, COVID-19 Communications Coordinator


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


Winds can bring smoke from wildfires burning in California, Oregon and Washington into Montana. Residents and visitors in Montana are encouraged to check air quality regularly and follow the guidelines associated with the air quality levels. Where air monitors aren’t present, use visibility guidelines to estimate air quality. To check air quality visit: TodaysAir.mt.gov

Exposure to wildfire pollutants can irritate lungs, cause inflammation, alter immune function and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections, including COVID-19.

Populations known to be vulnerable to wildfire smoke exposure include: children, senior citizens, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions such as heart or lung disease—including asthma and COPD—and outdoor workers. Other factors that may contribute to increased vulnerability include homelessness and limited access to medical care. Respiratory symptoms such as dry cough, sore throat and difficulty breathing are common to both wildfire smoke exposure and COVID-19. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or chest pain, you should seek prompt medical attention by calling 911 or calling ahead to the nearest emergency facility.

Cloth face coverings that are used to slow the spread of COVID-19 offer little protection against harmful air pollutants in wildfire smoke because these coverings do not capture most small particles in smoke. Masks with better filtering such as N95s provide the best protection against wildfire smoke particulates, but because N95s and other medical-grade masks are used by frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the best response to heavy wildfire smoke is to remain indoors. Anyone with lung or heart disease, or who is chronically ill, should check with their health care provider about which mask is best for them.

When air quality is unhealthy, DPHHS and DEQ encourage Montanans and visitors to consider the following tips to protect their health: 

  • Before heading outside for any physical activity, check for air quality updates and pay attention to any hazardous air quality advisories. Air quality information is updated regularly at: TodaysAir.mt.gov
  • When wildfires occur, continue to monitor DEQ’s site for changes in air quality.
  • Pay attention to visibility. How far can you see in the distance? Looking at visibility can help estimate air quality.
  • If the air quality is poor, limit outdoor activities and keep your indoor air clean by keeping all doors and windows shut and setting any air conditioning units to recirculate indoor air.
  • Consider using HEPA air cleaners indoors to reduce overall smoke exposure.
  • Monitor the COVID-19 outbreak at covid19.mt.gov

DEQ will post smoke forecasts to the DEQ website if air quality worsens. To view the updates visit: TodaysAir.mt.gov and click on the “Wildfire Smoke Outlook” link.


Messages for Sep. 11, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


The University of Montana Western is pleased to announce the hiring of two temporary staff positions to assist UMW in its COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

These positions are funded by the federal COVID-19 testing and mitigation funds UMW was awarded by Governor Bullock in support of the Montana University System. UMW received $1,175,720.00 to be used for staffing, testing, and logistics related to COVID-19 mitigation.

View the full press release here.


Messages for Sep. 11, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


The University of Montana Western is pleased to announce the hiring of two temporary staff positions to assist UMW in its COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

These positions are funded by the federal COVID-19 testing and mitigation funds UMW was awarded by Governor Bullock in support of the Montana University System. UMW received $1,175,720.00 to be used for staffing, testing, and logistics related to COVID-19 mitigation.

View the full press release here.


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


Montana Western Students,

We hope you all had an enjoyable Labor Day holiday weekend. Whether you spent time around others or explored the great outdoors, we wanted to share some recent guidance with you from the CDC. If you were in close contact with others, there is always the possibility that you may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Please take the important steps below to protect yourself and others:

  • Wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet from others when you go out.
  • Monitor your health. If you feel sick, stay home and call your healthcare provider immediately.
  • Write down who you were with and where you went during the weekend. Let them know if you get sick.
  • Answer your phone if the health department calls. If you get a call from an unknown number, be sure to check your voicemail.

You can learn more by visiting the CDC website.

Thank you all again for your continued assistance as we navigate through this new academic year. As always, it’s up to each one of us to do our part to keep classes on campus and everyone healthy by committing to the Bulldog Way! 


Montana Western Students,

If you are expecting a refund check, please stop by the Business Services Office if you are in Dillon.

If you need your refund mailed to you, please send an email to businessservices@umwestern.edu with your current address and your student ID #. Please make sure the address is correct to ensure delivery of your refund.

Refund checks will begin to be sent out on Tuesday, September 15th

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


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


To all Montana Western students expecting a refund for this semester,

We wanted to share with you how to see if a refund has been ordered for your account and how you can pick up your refund from the Business Services Office or have it mailed to you for the CARES Act and/or Financial Aid funds.

Check Online: 

  • Please check your DAWGS account and see if a refund has been ordered. If a refund has been ordered for your account, you will see “REFC”  in the charge column.Stop By:
  • We also invite you to stop by the Business Services Office and check with our helpful staff. We currently have CARES and Financial Aid refunds in our office.
  • If you are off-campus – please send an email with your name, current mailing address and student ID # to: businessservices@umwestern.edu and we will mail it to you.
  • If you have a hold on your account – you must take care of the hold before we can release your refund.

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


Dear UMW Students,

I want to thank you for the responsible behaviors I continue to see across campus: mask wearing, social distancing and use of hand sanitizers and surface disinfectants. Unlike many institutions that are grappling with high numbers of positive cases and outbreaks across their campuses, we continue to see indications that our mitigation efforts are helping to keep our symptomatic tests and positive cases low. We know that can change quickly, however, so your continued cooperation and effort to reduce risks for yourself and our campus community is appreciated!

In a few short days, it will be Labor Day weekend, and I suspect you will have opportunities to socialize off-campus, while some will venture further out into the Montana backcountry. Regardless of how you choose to spend your long weekend, I want to remind you of a few ways to ensure your safety.

  • Stay in groups of 2-3 well-known and trusted friends at all times.
  • If going into the backcountry, expect little or no cell service. Designate a “safety contact” who will be in town and knows your exact trip itinerary and when you are expected back in town. Always carry bear spray and know how to use it. 
  • I highly recommend you not engage in large crowds. The following activities are identified as high risk:  attending a large music concert, going to a bar, going to a large sports arena such as a rodeo, and eating at a buffet.
  • Wear your mask, physically distance at least 6 feet, stay home if ill, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and areas, and wash your hands frequently.

When you return to class on Tuesday, please protect yourself and others by screening for any COVID symptoms and report to your health care provider immediately should you have any of the following symptoms.

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Be well Bulldogs! Here’s to your health and safety,

Nicole Hazelbaker, Dean of Students


Messages for August 28, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Montana Western Students,

Thanks for doing your part to keep our campus safe by committing to the Bulldog Way by wearing face coverings, social distancing, and taking other steps to stop the spread of COVID-19.

We encourage you to keep up the good work you’ve been doing as we head into the weekend. Remember, that if you choose to socialize in person, we ask you to please keep your gatherings small and that you should practice the same steps you take on campus whenever you are off campus as well. It’s up to all of us to be responsible so that we can continue having classes face to face.

Promote safety the Bulldog Way, which means we each do our part to keep the pack healthy: 

  1. Wear a face covering at all times when indoors and when you cannot socially distance outside.
  2. Remain close to campus and limit trips outside the Dillon area for the duration of the semester. If you are in public, in Dillon or elsewhere, follow local and state protocols to protect our broader Bulldog community.
  3. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and use hand sanitizer.
  4. Take your temperature every day before you come to work or class.
  5. Maintain physical distancing between others of at least 6 feet.
  6. Cover your cough and sneeze.
  7. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  8. Do not attend class if you are sick and get medical care if necessary. Contact your instructor to let them know you will be missing class due to illness and to make arrangements for accessing course materials/assignments online.
  9. If you are contacted by Beaverhead County Public Health, please participate in testing and contact tracing to ensure the safety of the Bulldog Pack.
  10. Keep your clothing, belongings and personal space clean.

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


Montana Western Students,

Thanks for doing your part to keep our campus safe by committing to the Bulldog Way by wearing face coverings, social distancing, and taking other steps to stop the spread of COVID-19.

We’d like to invite you to share with us your exciting indoor and outdoor classroom activities starting tomorrow and all of next week by posting to Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag, #ExperienceOne.

We’ll then share a selection of the images on our website to show everyone why it’s great to be a Bulldog at Montana Western!


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


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, submitted a FAFSA for the 2020-2021 academic year to verify that you are a U.S citizen, 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. You can see the additional eligibility requirements below. 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-for-summer-fall-2020-students/

Eligibility Requirements Per Federal Regulations:

  • Have completed FAFSA for 2020-2021
  • Have a declared major that is eligible for financial aid
  • Be enrolled in at least 1 credit hour for the fall semester
  • Making Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen

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.


Dear Montana Western Students,

If you haven’t yet picked up your free Healthy Bulldog Kit, which includes hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and a cloth mask and neck gaiter, head over to the Bulldog Life Office in the basement of the Student Union Building to pick yours up today!

Remember, it’s up to each of us to do our part to keep classes on campus by committing to the Bulldog Way! 

For more information on what you can do to keep our University Community safe, visit our Healthy Fall 2020 Plan website and FAQs.


Messages for August 25, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


To the University Community,

In addition to the Bulldog Way defining steps we each need to take to stop the spread of COVID-19, including wearing face coverings and social distancing, it also means making sure everyone feels like they are part of the pack by: 

  • Celebrating our similarities and differences  
  • Holding thoughtful dialogue without personal attack  
  • Including all no matter their race, religion, cultural background, gender identity or sexual orientation 
  • Committing to equity—offering the same opportunities for ALL  
  • Standing up for those being excluded

By committing to the Bulldog Way, you can help your fellow Bulldogs get the very most out of their education at Montana Western and show how much we care about our university community, friends and neighbors.  


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


Welcome to the first day of classes for the fall semester!

We want everyone to come to campus with the mindset that Montana Western, and our surrounding community, is your second home and we are family. We are a pack– and we protect and watch out for each other.

Promote safety the Bulldog Way, which means we each do our part to keep the pack healthy: 

  1. Wear a face covering at all times when indoors and when you cannot socially distance outside.
  2. Remain close to campus and limit trips outside the Dillon area for the duration of the semester. If you are in public, in Dillon or elsewhere, follow local and state protocols to protect our broader Bulldog community.
  3. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and use hand sanitizer.
  4. Take your temperature every day before you come to work or class.
  5. Maintain physical distancing between others of at least 6 feet.
  6. Cover your cough and sneeze.
  7. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  8. Do not attend class if you are sick and get medical care if necessary. Contact your instructor to let them know you will be missing class due to illness and to make arrangements for accessing course materials/assignments online.
  9. If you are contacted by Beaverhead County Public Health, please participate in testing and contact tracing to ensure the safety of the Bulldog Pack.
  10. Keep your clothing, belongings and personal space clean.

By committing to the Bulldog Way, you can help your fellow Bulldogs get the very most out of their education at Montana Western and show how much we care about our friends, neighbors and generous community supporters. It’s up to all of us to be responsible so that we can continue having classes face to face. For more information, visit https://w.umwestern.edu/fall-2020-plan/faqs/.


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


Dear Montana Western Students,
We are excited to have you back on campus for classes starting tomorrow!
We wanted to let all students living off campus know that we are providing one reusable cloth mask and one neck gaiter for every student. You can pick up these free face coverings from the Bulldog Life Office, located in the basement of the Student Union Building (SUB). The Bulldog Life Office is open M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Students living on campus have been provided these face coverings during their move in appointments.
Remember, face coverings are required on campus at all times when indoors and outdoors when social distancing of 6 feet from others at all times cannot be easily maintained. For more information, visit https://w.umwestern.edu/fall-2020-plan/campus-wide-guidance/
Thank you for doing your part to keep our campus healthy and safe and to keep our classes face to face on campus by committing to the Bulldog Way.
If you have any questions, please call 406-683-7520 or email bonita.bontrager@umwestern.edu.

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


Hello Montana Western Students,

In just a few days, you will be back and we are so excited for your return. I would like to share some of the critical steps we are taking and plans that are in place for your healthy and safe return. Even though some of the plans may feel inconvenient and sometimes difficult, I would like to thank each of you for taking these steps with all of us together and know they are necessary for your safety on and off campus and for keeping classes face to face.

Website
Please remember to refer to our website, www.umwestern.edu, and the yellow banner at the very top of the page. Here you will find links to all of the information about COVID-19 and how we are mitigating the spread of the virus. We have also created an easy to use FAQs section and a COVID-19 safety training to assist you in being prepared for the fall semester. Please review these items before the first day of classes on Monday, August 24.

Face Coverings
In accordance with the guidelines from the MUS Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force, all employees, students, and visitors must wear face coverings on campus as outlined below.

Montana Western Face Covering Practices and Protocols

  • Face coverings are required in all indoor spaces and all enclosed or partially enclosed outdoor spaces.
  • Face coverings will be required in all outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible or difficult to reliably maintain.
  • In outdoor settings where social distancing is possible, face coverings continue to be strongly recommended.
  • These requirements apply to all UMW students and employees, and all visitors including service providers, contractors, vendors, suppliers, families, and community members.

For more information, including exceptions and accommodations, visit: https://w.umwestern.edu/fall-2020-plan/campus-wide-guidance/ 

Social Distancing
All areas of the campus will observe the CDC guidance on maintaining 6 feet of distance between individuals. This is an important tool in reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus.  

Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your household.

To practice social or physical distancing, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Handwashing
Another critical tool in reducing the spread of the virus is frequent handwashing. Students, faculty, and staff are strongly expected to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer extensively.

Upon your return, you will see hand-sanitizing stations throughout the campus. Please use them if you are unable to wash your hands with soap and water. 

What do I do if I’m Sick? 

If You are Sick and Reside in Campus Housing:

 

 If You are Sick and Live off-campus:

Stay home and call your medical provider.

Medical Providers in Dillon:

  • Southwest Montana Community Health Center
    44 Barrett St., Dillon, MT, 59725    Phone: 406-683-4440
  • Barrett Hospital Provider Clinic
    30 MT HWY 91 S., Dillon, MT, 59725    Phone: 406-683-1188
  • Beaverhead Urgent Care
    120 South Atlantic St., Dillon, MT, 59725    Phone: 406-683-4400

    If you are sick:
     
  • Do not attend class or work. 
  • Call your healthcare provider for further guidance. 
  • Contact your instructor to let them know you will be missing class due to illness and to make arrangements for accessing course materials/assignments online. 

In the event that you are contacted by Beaverhead County Public Health this semester, you may be asked to quarantine or isolate. Please follow the directions from Beaverhead County Public Health and your medical provider.

What’s the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Quarantine and isolation are measures to help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have an infectious disease.

  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus to see if they will become sick.
  • Isolation separates people who have tested positive with COVID-19 from those who are not sick.

For employees and students living off-campus, quarantine/isolation means staying at home. Please make a plan for yourself and those living in your home in case you are asked to quarantine/isolate. For isolation planning, we encourage you to have a plan in place so that you have access to a private room and bathroom should it become necessary.

For students living on-campus, the university has a plan for isolation and quarantine that may involve moving students to other residential units designated for this purpose. Students living on campus with questions about quarantine and isolation plans should contact UMW Residence Life staff (bonita.bontrager@umwestern.edu or 406-683-7520) for additional information.

If you are a student, please notify me, the Dean of Students, if you need to quarantine or isolate so I can help you manage your courses during this time. Our goal is to help you complete your course while mitigating the spread of COVID-19.      

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me:

Nicole Hazelbaker, Dean of Students, nicole.hazelbaker@umwestern.edu or 406-683-7900

Please be safe as you travel to campus. Block 1 begins on August 24. Let’s each do our part so we can remain face to face all four blocks of the semester by taking care of each other the Bulldog Way.

Be well,

Nicole Hazelbaker
Dean of Students


Messages for August 17, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Dear Montana Western Faculty, Staff and Students,

Please find attached a brief UMW COVID-19 Safety Training document that we are asking each of you to review on your own before the end of the week so you are prepared for the start of classes on Monday, August 24. It covers COVID-19 safety basics, including the three main mitigation measures: wearing a mask, maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others at all times, and practicing good handwashing/respiratory hygiene.

Please also find an easy to use FAQ section on our website, that will be updated on a regular basis.

If you have any questions after reviewing the attached safety training document and the FAQs webpage, please contact the following areas so we can provide answers to your questions.

Thank you for committing to the Bulldog Way- remember, it’s up to each of us to keep our community healthy and safe.

Wishing you well,

Vice Chancellor Reid


Messages for August 12, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Sent on Behalf of the Dean of Students and Director of Student Success: Student Services/Resources at UMW

Dear Montana Western Students, 

We have been preparing for your return this fall and wanted to share some of the resources that are available to you. Some things have changed, so please be sure to read the information below. We have indicated a contact person from each area, but feel free to contact either one of us if you have any questions.

Academic Advising Center  

The Academic Advising Center will be open for both in-person and phone/Zoom appointments depending on the preference of the student. Students wishing to discuss their plan of study, a change in major, or other academic questions, can make a ½-hour appointment by emailing margo.heberling@umwestern.edu (406-683-7050) or lexi.benson@umwestern.edu (406-683-7049). The center is located at Main Hall 214 and is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

In the outer office, there will be two metal boxes, one for forms that need to be processed by the advising staff and one for forms that require signatures. Students should leave the paperwork in the appropriate marked box. Instructions will be posted on each box.

Career Services 

The Career Services office is located within the Learning Center in the basement of the library and is open from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Students should call Susan White at 406-683-7143 or 406-683-7004 to schedule an appointment, or email susan.white@umwestern.edu. The University of Montana Western’s Career Services office provides career readiness workshops and can assist students in finding employment throughout their collegiate career and after graduation. Additional services include assistance with resume and cover letter development, enhancing interview skills, portfolio building, and completing job applications properly. Career Services can review your resume, make suggestions, and provide resources for resume writing. For additional information and resources, go to https://w.umwestern.edu/info/career-services/.

Disability Services 

It is the goal of the University of Montana Western to meet the needs of each student with a disability. Upon receipt of disability documentation, the Dean of Students or her representative will contact the student to arrange a meeting to discuss academic adjustments. The Dean of Students will help guide the student in making decisions regarding classes, academic adjustments and auxiliary aids/services which may include: 

  • Books-on-audio 
  • Note-taking 
  • Proctored and/or orally delivered tests 
  • Extended testing periods 
  • Dictation services 

We look forward to working with you and hope you will benefit from our services. Please feel free to contact Nicole Hazelbaker, Dean of Students at 406-683-7900 or nicole.hazelbaker@umwestern.edu with any questions or for further information. We are located in the Dean of Students Center at 528 Poindexter Street, across from the Student Union Building. 

IT – Help Desk and Swysgood Technology Center (STC) Computer Labs 

The STC computer labs will be open the following hours starting August 24:

  • Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Any issues related to email, printing, or Wi-Fi can be reported online to ITS via the ITS Contact Form https://w.umwestern.edu/section/its-contact-form/ or by calling the Helpdesk at 406-683-7777.  A full list of services provided by IT, as well as other helpful information/instructions pertaining to email, Wi-Fi, and printing can be found on our home page: http://its.umwestern.edu.

Learning Center 

The Learning Center is located in the basement of the library (Room 006) and is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday for free in-person and remote tutoring. Students can call 406-683-7200, email us at Learning.center@umwestern.edu, or go online and make an appointment at https://w.umwestern.edu/section/make-an-appointment-with-a-tutor/More details are available on the Learning Center website at https://w.umwestern.edu/info/learning-center/.

Multicultural Center 

The mission of Montana Western’s Multicultural Center, located in Main Hall 212, is to increase understanding, promote inclusion and inspire critical thinking about diversity. Diversity is defined here as having respect and appreciation of differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education and religion. Diversity and inclusion will be examined through programs, lectures, movies, cultural celebrations, discussion groups and events. For more information, call 406-683-7311.

Student Counseling Services

Student Counseling Services consist of two-master’s level, fully licensed, clinical mental health counselors, Jerry Girard and Heidi Peterson. Jerry is also a Licensed Addiction Counselor. Heidi and Jerry offer both in-office and remote eCounseling services to both students on campus and distance learning students.

Both Heidi and Jerry are willing and able to speak with groups of students (including but not limited to class presentations, student clubs, residence life groups, athletics teams, and other student, faculty, and staff groups) and provide mental health related trainings including QPR Gatekeeper Training and Mental Health First Aid Training. These programs focus on training the members of our community to be more skilled and comfortable with taking care of each other when we encounter community members experiencing mental health related obstacles. In addition, Heidi and Jerry work closely with our Wellness Coordinator, Fallon Horrocks, to tailor mental health messaging and prevention activities to students. All counseling sessions and training programs follow the campus COVID-19 safety protocols.

Hours: 

  • 8:00 a.m. –  5:00 p.m., year-round, Monday through Friday 

Location: 

  • Dean of Students Center at 528 Poindexter Street, across from the Student Union Building

To schedule an appointment: 

You may ask to meet with Jerry or Heidi specifically, and emergencies will be seen upon walk-in. 

For an after-hours emergency, please call 911 or go to the Barrett Hospital emergency room located at 600 State Hwy 91 S., Dillon, Mont. 

Student Health Services 

Montana Western contracts with the Southwest Montana Community Health Clinic to provide basic medical care to all of its students. This service is funded by student fees and there is no extra cost for the clinic’s services for basic care.

To make an appointment: 

  • Call (406) 683-4440
  • You must present your current student Bulldog Card

Hours:  

  • 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday

Location:  

  • 41 Barrett Street, Dillon, Mont.

Primary Care Services Include: 

  • Illness Visits
  • Family Planning/Contraceptives/Pregnancy Tests
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • STDs
  • Annual Paps
  • TB Tests
  • Blood Sugars
  • Minor Cuts/Sutures
  • Toothaches
  • Immunizations (shots)
    • Flu
    • Tetanus
    • MMR
    • Hepatitis B

Student immunizations are available at a reduced rate. MMR’s will cost the student $0 per shot (college students need proof of two MMR shots) and Hepatitis B shots (need 3) are $15 per shot.

For more complicated health services that require extensive labs, X-Rays, and tests, present your student ID and bring your insurance card, as these are not covered under the agreement with the University. A case manager is available to answer any questions you may have.

If you have questions about your student health insurance, contact the Student Wellness office at 406-683-7389 or call the Southwest Montana Community Health Center at 406-683-4440.

TRIO Student Support Services 

TRIO Student Support Services, open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Main Hall 215, offers a range of services aimed at increasing retention and success rates of eligible students. Incoming qualifying students were sent an invitation to the program (based on application submission and available room) and will be receiving additional information. Questions about the program and availability of services should be directed to robert.micken@umwestern.edu or 406-683-7322.

Veterans and Military Exchange 

The Veterans and Military Exchange (VMX), located in the Student Union Building, offers a wide array of services to past and present service members and their families. Services include educational support and resources, access to computers and reintegration assistance. For more information, call 406-683-7311.


Messages for August 5, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


To the University Community, 

We are preparing for the return of our students to campus and taking the necessary steps to continue keeping our community healthy and safe. Please take some time to look over the information below as you prepare to be on campus.

UMW Foundation and Alumni Office 

The Foundation and Alumni office will be doing its part to keep our community safe and healthy. The following large events will be moved to spring 2021 or fall 2021 semesters.  

  • Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame, originally scheduled for Fall 2020 – Fall 2021
  • Scholarship Luncheon, originally scheduled for Spring 2020 – Spring 2021
  • Education Hall of Fame, originally scheduled for Spring 2020 – Spring 2021
  • Dr. Jane Helm Maddock Service Awards, originally scheduled for Spring 2020 – Spring 2021

As we continue to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation, Alumni office and University will evaluate the ability to safely host face-to-face events and explore digital event options that will keep our alumni and friends engaged until we can see everyone in person again.   

For questions about these events, please email roxanne.engellant@umwestern.edu.

ASUMW  

ASUMW is currently planning activities for students that will be fun, engaging and follow all UMW COVID-19 safety protocols for the fall semester.  

Student clubs will still meet and function this year. Clubs should submit their plans for the semester outlining how they will follow the COVID-19 guidelines that have been established on campus to keeley.fitzgerald@umwestern.edu within the first week of Block 1 classes for ASUMW review.  

As in previous years, students can also charter new clubs based on subjects they are passionate about. For more information on how to charter a club, please email keeley.fitzgerald@umwestern.edu

Residence Hall Activities 

Residence Life is excited to welcome residential students back on campus. 

Some COVID-19 safe activities to look forward to in the fall semester include:

  • Floor activities to connect with other residents in your hall and building
  • In-hall competitions for prizes and bragging rights
  • Connection with students in the same block class for in-hall study groups

For more information, please email bonita.bontrager@umwestern.edu.   

Bulldog Athletic and Recreation Center- Fall Semester Open Use Hour Policies

The Bulldog Athletic and Recreation Center (BARC) is a multi-use facility which houses academic classrooms and faculty offices, all Department of Athletics operations, hosts campus and community activities and provides UMW students, staff, and faculty with access to resistance training and cardiovascular fitness equipment and gymnasium space for intramural and recreational activities.  

In order to balance the needs of the many building constituents and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 disease transmission, additional procedures have been implemented for the 2020 Fall Semester. 

Fall Semester Open Use Hours (Starting August 24, 2020)

The BARC fitness and recreation hours will be open for general student, faculty and staff use on Monday through Friday during the following times:

  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. 
  •  3:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

BARC use hours will be adjusted for home athletic contests, scheduled campus activities/events, and academic course activities. Adjustments to BARC open use hours will be posted at facility and/or specific space entrances. 

General Facility Guidelines

  • Entrance to the BARC is available only through the main entrance nearest the BARC parking lot.
  • Use of the facility for fitness and recreation is available only to UMW students, staff, and faculty. No community memberships are available.
  • UMW students, staff, and faculty must swipe their current Bulldog Card upon entrance to the facility.
  • All entrants to the BARC are expected to comply with the UMW Face Coverings Requirement.
  • Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance to all fitness and recreation areas, users are encouraged to sanitize frequently while in the building.
  • Building staff will monitor use to ensure compliance with physical distancing and face covering polices, users are expected to comply with staff instructions and occupancy limits.
  • Physical distancing should be maintained in locker rooms and all common areas, please do not congregate in these areas.
  • Individuals with the following symptoms and circumstances should refrain from entering the BARC, stay home, and contact their healthcare provider.
    • Symptoms of COVID-19 including but not limited to:
      • Fever or chills
      • Cough
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • Fatigue
      • Muscle or body aches
      • Headache
      • New loss of taste or smell
      • Sore throat
      • Congestion or runny nose
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Diarrhea
    • Have a household member who is experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Have been instructed by a healthcare professional to quarantine due to potential exposure to COVID-19.

Guidelines for specific BARC Areas

Weight Room

  • Occupancy restricted to 25 users during open use hours. 
  • Patrons using free weights shall maintain six feet of separation except when a spotter is necessary. In this instance, workout groups shall be limited to two people. 
  • All equipment must be wiped down by the patron when they are finished using the equipment. It is strongly encouraged that the equipment be wiped down prior to use as well. Cleaning materials are provided, please notify building staff if supplies need replenished. 
  • Individuals engaged in strenuous physical activity may remove face coverings, but at all other times face covering compliance is expected.

Auxiliary (upstairs) Gymnasium

  • Occupancy restricted to 25 users during open use hours. 
  • Open use equipment includes six basketball hoops. Users may bring their own additional sporting or fitness items for use. For COVID-19 safety purposes, individuals must supply their own basketballs, volleyballs, etc. 
  • For scheduled activities, sponsoring department or organization will be responsible for supplying and cleaning necessary equipment.  
  • Individuals engaged in strenuous physical activity may remove face coverings, but at all other times face covering compliance is expected.

Keltz Arena

  • Occupancy restricted to 50 users during open use hours. 
  • Open use equipment includes resistance and cardiovascular fitness equipment and two basketball hoops. Users may bring their own additional sporting or fitness items for use. For COVID-19 safety purposes, individuals must supply their own basketballs, volleyballs, etc. 
  • For scheduled activities, sponsoring department or organization will be responsible for supplying and cleaning necessary equipment. 
  • All equipment must be wiped down by the patron when they are finished using the equipment. It is strongly encouraged that the equipment be wiped down prior to use as well. Cleaning materials are provided, please notify building staff if supplies need replenished. 
  • Individuals engaged in strenuous physical activity may remove face coverings, but at all other times face covering compliance is expected.

For more information about the BARC and fall semester open use hours, please email william.wilson@umwestern.edu.


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


To the University Community, 

We are preparing for the return of our students to campus in August and taking the necessary steps to continue keeping our community healthy and safe. Please take some time to look over this information as you prepare to be on campus.

Montana Western Face Covering Practices and Protocols

  • Face coverings are required in all indoor spaces (with some notable exceptions listed below), and all enclosed or partially enclosed outdoor spaces.
  • Face coverings will be required in all outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible or difficult to reliably maintain.
  • These requirements will apply to all UMW students and employees, and all visitors including service providers, contractors, vendors, suppliers, families, and community members.

UMW face covering requirements will supplement measures such as social distancing, frequent hand washing, and frequent cleaning of office, work, and living spaces.

CDC guidance suggests that face coverings may help reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used in public settings. Face coverings help prevent people who are unaware they have the virus and are either asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic from unknowingly spreading it to others.

Exceptions

UMW students, employees, and visitors are exempt from face covering requirements in the following circumstances:

  • when alone in an enclosed office or study area;
  • when in campus residence hall rooms or apartments; however, face coverings are still required in common areas such as hallways and lobby areas;
  • when eating or drinking in a situation where social distancing is practiced;
  • when working outdoors or spending time outdoors (e.g. walking, exercising) and at least a six-foot distance can be consistently and reliably maintained;
  • in instances or spaces in which other requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) make it either impractical or unsafe to wear an additional face covering;
  • when alone in a vehicle or utility vehicle used for UMW business; however, face coverings are required in vehicles used for UMW business when there is more than one person inside the vehicle; and
  • when an accommodation is necessary as indicated by a medical or similar subject matter expert and granted by express written permission of the University (see below for information on accommodations).

Accommodations 

Individuals with circumstances that require an exception to the face covering requirement – as indicated by a medical or similar subject matter professional – can request one from the University. To request an exception, UMW students should contact Dean of Students and ADA Coordinator, Nicole Hazelbaker (nicole.hazelbaker@umwestern.edu or 406-683-7900). Faculty and staff should email Human Resources. If you are exempt from wearing a mask, you will be issued an exemption card. Please show your exemption card if asked to put on your mask.

For more information, please visit https://w.umwestern.edu/fall-2020-plan/.

Building Hours on Campus

Classroom and office buildings are open during regular business hours Monday through Friday. For weekend hours, please contact Facilities Services by calling 406-683-7141.

Residence halls will remain locked at all times. Those living on campus will receive a key to access the outside doors. The only entrance that will be open from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. will be the Dining Hall entrance in Mathews Hall.

In order to care for the health of the UMW residential community, for the first month of classes (August 24, 2020- September 21, 2020) students will not be permitted to have off-campus guests in the residence halls.   

Residential students may visit lobby areas of other residential buildings, while adhering to the mask requirement. Students are required to maintain social distancing protocols with all residential students in order to help protect the health of the campus community.

Facilities Services and Cleaning

  • Classrooms will be fully sanitized between morning and afternoon block, and again in the evening.
  • Desks and seating in all classrooms will be set up to ensure appropriate social distancing.
  • Bathrooms will be cleaned frequently with sanitizing cleaners.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be installed in each classroom and at building entrances.
  • Custodial staff will be especially diligent about frequently sanitizing all touchable surfaces.
  • Disinfectant cleaners will be provided to campus offices so employees can regularly disinfect their workstations and surrounding areas.

Items to Bring with you to Campus: Hand Sanitizer and Thermometer

We encourage our campus community to keep hand sanitizer made with 60-95% alcohol close at hand at all times (i.e. in your backpack, bag, briefcase, etc.), as well as a personal thermometer to measure your temperature at the beginning of each day before coming to campus and whenever you feel ill. We also have hand sanitizer stations located throughout all our buildings on campus. You can learn more about using hand sanitizer and the importance of hand washing on the CDC website.

According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you have a fever of 100° F or above or any of the COVID-19 symptoms listed above, please do not attend work or class and call your healthcare provider immediately for further instruction.

Dillon Healthcare Providers

  • Southwest Montana Community Health
    44 Barrett St., Dillon, MT, 59725    Phone: 406-683-4440
  • Barrett Hospital Provider Clinic
    30 MT HWY 91 S., Dillon, MT, 59725    Phone: 406-683-1188
  • Beaverhead Urgent Care
    120 South Atlantic St., Dillon, MT, 59725    Phone: 406-683-4400

For more information, visit https://w.umwestern.edu/fall-2020-plan/.

The Bulldog Way

We want you to come to campus with the mindset that Montana Western is your second home and we are family. We are a pack–and we protect and watch out for each other.

Promote Safety the Bulldog Way, which means we do our part to keep the pack healthy: 

  1. Wear a face covering at all times when indoors and when you cannot socially distance outside.  
  2. We encourage you to remain close to campus and within the community for the duration of the semester. By limiting trips outside the area, we can help keep the pack safe. 
  3. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and use hand sanitizer.  
  4. Take your temperature every day before you come to work or class. 
  5. Maintain physical distancing between others of at least 6 feet. 
  6. Cover your cough and sneeze. 
  7. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  8. Do not attend class if you are sick and get medical care if necessary. Contact your instructor to let them know you will be missing class due to illness and to make arrangements for accessing course materials/assignments online. 
  9. If you are contacted by Beaverhead County Public Health, please participate in testing and contact tracing to ensure the safety of the Bulldog Pack. 
  10. Keep your clothing, belongings and personal space clean. 

We hope you’ll commit to the Bulldog Way. Welcome to the pack!

If you have any questions about the information in this email, please contact Dean of Students, Nicole Hazelbaker by calling 406-683-7900 or email nicole.hazelbaker@umwestern.edu.  

Thank you,
The Montana Western Safety and Security Committee 


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


Dear Montana Western Students, Faculty, and Staff, 

Recently, there have been questions about our procedures for when we become aware of a COVID-19 positive case in our university community. 

In Montana, COVID-19 cases are tracked by county public health departments as well as the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. When positive cases are connected to a Montana University System campus, the county health department – in our case, Beaverhead County Public Health – conducts contact tracing and notification. Our campuses may be asked to assist with these efforts, however they are led by local public health officials. Beaverhead County Public Health is also responsible for notifications to the community, which includes our campus. 

UMW staff continue to coordinate closely with Beaverhead County Public Health and will ensure that any affected individuals have a safe and healthy place to quarantine.

UMW also has processes and procedures in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including a face covering requirement, social distancing and enhanced cleaning. Details are online in the Healthy Fall 2020 Plan, which is continually updated with new information.

I continue to be in daily communication with health officials and Montana University System leadership as we monitor the pandemic and evaluate and adjust our response. Please know that the well-being of our students, employees and our surrounding community is our top priority. 

As always, please let us know if you have any questions.

Wishing you well,
Chancellor Beth Weatherby


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


UMW Healthy Fall 2020 Plan and Mask Requirement: A Message from Chancellor Weatherby

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, and the University Community,

Our UMW Healthy Fall 2020 Plan is now available on our website. Please visit this page often as our plans are being continually updated as new information becomes available.

To slow the spread of COVID-19, face coverings must be worn by all students, faculty, staff, and visitors to our campus. The details are provided here: https://w.umwestern.edu/fall-2020-plan/.

This information follows the guidelines issued last week by the State of Montana and the Montana University System Healthy Fall Task Force.

Please review the required practices as soon as possible as this statewide mandate is currently in effect.

A ready-to-print Montana Western “Masks Required” sign is also now available for download.

I want to thank each of you for doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and for your commitment to the health and safety of every member of our community.

Wishing you well,

Chancellor Beth Weatherby


The message below was sent to all incoming UMW students from Residence Life/The UMW Orientation Team.

Dear Future University of Montana Western Graduate!

Thank you for choosing the University of Montana Western to continue your education. We are proud to include you among our students and will work hard to provide you with a great orientation program to help you make your college experience a successful one. These are challenging times, but be assured that the University of Montana Western is prepared for and eagerly anticipating your arrival to campus. We are committed to the safety and welfare of our students. We will provide the safest environment possible and have spent the past several months planning and preparing for you.

Each year, orientation brings a special atmosphere to campus. The weather is typically great, the grass is green and the faculty and staff are excited about the return of our students. This year will be no different other than we will all be wearing facemasks and keeping six feet apart for the safety of everyone. Orientation is mandatory for all first year and transfer students.

Our orientation program is intended to connect and orientate you with other students, our campus and the Dillon community.  This three-day event is held Friday, August 21 through Sunday, August 23, and is very different from our Bulldog Bound day.

The orientation schedule will inform you and your family of the details of the event including when you can move into your room on campus, the planned activities for students and when parents and guests should plan to depart.

If you are a student-athlete and will be coming to campus before August 21, you are still required to attend orientation. Don’t worry, your coach knows and expects you to attend orientation so you can be successful in and out of the classroom.

We are excited to have you with us at Montana Western and look forward to your success as a student and community member.

Please check in at the Orientation table on Friday, August 21, during your scheduled check-in time. Information about how to arrange a move in time is located on the orientation schedule. Check in is located in front of Davis Hall (750 East Cornell, Dillon, MT on your phone or GPS).

Sincerely,

The Montana Western Orientation Team


Messages for July 21, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


The message below was sent to all returning UMW students from Residence Life who will be living on campus this fall.

Dear Returning UMW Student,

We are so happy you have chosen to live on campus again this year! These are challenging times, but be assured that the University of Montana Western is preparing for and eagerly anticipating your return to campus. We are committed to the safety and welfare of our students. We will provide the safest environment possible and have spent the past several months planning and preparing for you.

Given the current situation surrounding COVID-19 we have some specific instructions regarding residence hall move-in for returning students. Returning students will receive an email from Residence Life instructing them how to select a two-hour time slot for moving into the residence halls. Students are only being allowed to bring two guests to help move in. It is important for students to honor their selected time slot for a safe transition to campus. At the end of the selected time slot, parents/guests are requested to leave campus in order to protect the health of the community and to meet our social distancing guidelines. Returning students who do not sign up for a timeslot will not be allowed to check in and will have to sign up for a timeslot before doing so.

Please pay special attention to the dates below as you plan your move back to the residence halls:

Saturday, Aug. 22 (required to sign up for a two-hour time slot)

8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 23 (required to sign up for a two-hour time slot)

8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Please note that face masks are required in all Montana Western buildings (including hallways and common areas) and classrooms. The only exception to this policy is for students in the privacy of their residence hall rooms. Face masks are the first line of defense in protecting the community from the virus. It is also important for you to know that offices and public spaces are being modified to provide for adequate social distancing. Please remember to social distance yourself by staying at least 6 feet apart from others while on campus and in campus buildings.

I hope you are looking forward to being on campus as much as we are looking forward to having you here. Please check in at the Bulldog Life office located in the lower level of the Student Union Building on Saturday, August 22nd or Sunday, August 23rd, during your scheduled check-in time.

For more information, call 406-683-7565 or email residencelife@umwestern.edu.

Thank You!

Residence Life


Messages for July 17, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Dear Montana Western Students,

Recently you received an email from Chancellor Weatherby with the Montana Western Healthy Fall 2020 Plan. We are a working hard this summer to create plans to make your experience this fall both healthy and safe as well as a fun and engaging learning experience.

I am writing today with an update on fall courses. Block One will start as planned on Aug. 24 with face to face courses (see the calendar for details). We will also have some courses that are online (which can be completed any time of the day) as well as some remote courses (which will be delivered remotely at the scheduled time). Faculty are working this summer to provide you with immersive Experience One courses, regardless of the mode of delivery. Please pay special attention to the mode of delivery planned for your courses by checking your schedule on Dawgs and continue to check Dawgs throughout July and August for additional updates. Contact the Director of Student Success, Ilene Cohen, with any questions.

It is quiet in Dillon this summer; we are looking forward to seeing you on campus in August.  We know the world will not be back to normal by August, but at Montana Western we are working on making the fall semester a rewarding experience while keeping the health and safety of our community at the forefront.

Dr. Jenny McNulty, Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs


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


Good Morning, Faculty, Staff and Students,

Fall semester is fast approaching. We have been busy all summer planning for a safe and healthy return to campus.

Please take the time to check your university email and read through the attached Montana Western Healthy Fall 2020 Plan document to get a sense of the changes we are making in every area of the university.

This is a fluid document that will change as best practices and conditions dictate. We will continue to carefully monitor conditions and guidance from the CDC, local public health, OCHE, and others, and will keep you informed.

Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of the summer, and feel free, as always, to contact us with questions or concerns, as needed.

Best wishes,

Chancellor Beth Weatherby


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


To the University Community,

Please find a press release from the Montana University System below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2020

CONTACT
Karen Ogden
Communications Director
406-449-9173 (o); 406-788-4375 (c)
kogden@montana.edu

MUS Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force recommends face mask requirement 

HELENA – The MUS Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force today issued a recommendation for a face mask requirement on all Montana University System campuses. Work on policy details and an implementation plan will begin as soon as possible.

Deputy Commissioner Brock Tessman, who led today’s meeting via Zoom, noted that the Task Force has supported face masks as an effective way to curb the spread of COVID-19 since its inception. He emphasized that the reconvening of the Task Force is part of a thoughtful and deliberative process as the MUS continues to evaluate and develop its response to the evolving challenges presented by COVID-19.

Last week Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian called on the Task Force to reconvene based on three factors – the rising number of COVID-cases in Montana, continued evidence on the effectiveness of face masks at curbing the spread, and campus and community dialogue around the possibility of a mask requirement, including discussion at last week’s Board of Regents meeting.

“The Task Force, from its beginning, has been genuine in its commitment to hear from students, faculty, staff and the public as we develop our guidelines, and the spirit of that commitment is alive and well,” Tessman said, adding that the Task Force may reconvene again, if necessary, in response to new considerations in its work to mitigate COVID-19.

The 12-member Task Force, comprised of leaders from across the MUS, was established by Commissioner Christian in April to develop operational strategies to mitigate COVID-19 risk. The Task Force issued its first set of guidelines June 1 as a framework on which campuses are basing their plans to mitigate risk as students return this fall.

Members expressed clear support for a mask requirement during Wednesday’s call, noting a preference for a mask policy that emphasizes a culture of community health and education.

“From the beginning of this Task Force our goal has been to develop a set of guidelines that mitigate risk and present them in a way that is engaging and understandable and encourages participation and compliance,” Tessman said. “That’s how we’ll get the most engagement and slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Public comment:

Please direct comments to Heather Wells at hwells@montana.edu or:

Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education
Attn: Heather Wells
560 N. Park Ave.
Helena, MT 59620-3201


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


If you have not yet provided feedback on the draft of the Montana Western Healthy Fall 2020 Plan and would like to do so, the deadline is tomorrow, Tuesday, July 7, by 5 p.m. Please send your feedback to hillary.lowell@umwestern.edu.

Thank you for all of your assistance with this plan for our campus.


Montana Western Summer 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, submitted a FAFSA for the 2020-2021 academic year to verify that you are a U.S citizen, 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. You can see the additional eligibility requirements below. 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-for-summer-fall-2020-students/

Eligibility Requirements Per Federal Regulations:

  • Have completed FAFSA for 2020-2021
  • Have a declared major that is eligible for financial aid
  • Be enrolled in Summer 2020 for at least 1 credit hour on or after May 18, 2020
  • Making Satisfactory Academic Progress during Summer 2020
  • Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen

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 June 29, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Dear Faculty and Staff,

I would like to thank each of you for everything you are doing to assist in preparing for fall semester and the challenges ahead. Please check your university email account for an attached draft of the Montana Western Healthy Fall 2020 Plan which addresses the guidelines in the “MUS Healthy Fall 2020: Planning Guidelines for Campuses” handbook released earlier this month.

Montana Western faculty and staff are invited to review the draft document and provide feedback. Please email your edits/suggestions by Tuesday, July 7 to hillary.lowell@umwestern.edu.

Feedback must be received by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7, to ensure it is included in the complete version of the plan.

UMW work-groups and area leads continue to address further considerations and the information in this document will be updated as needed and in continued coordination with Beaverhead County Public Health as we continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions and how they may affect our university community.

The final plan will be provided as a PDF document and posted on our Health Advisories webpage. Please continue to check your university email account for further updates.

Wishing you well,
Chancellor Beth Weatherby


Messages for June 12, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


Montana Western Students,

We wanted to notify you that if you applied for emergency CARES Act funds or a Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), the next round of refund checks are available in the Business Services Office now and they can be picked up between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. until Wednesday, June 17.

Please check your DAWGS account to see if your check has arrived. 

Starting Thursday, June 18, 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 and please update your DAWGS address.

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


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


Dear Students,

Last week, the Montana University System’s (MUS) Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force released guidelines for all campuses to follow as we plan for Fall semester. At Montana Western, we are now in the process of aligning our plans with those delineated in the guidebook: MUS Healthy Fall 2020: Planning Guidelines for Campuses. We are sharing this with you now so that you can get a sense of the considerations and logistics we are working on.

We aim to complete our plans by the end of June. We will share our UMW COVID-19 Healthy Fall Protocols with you in early July.

We are planning to welcome students back to campus this fall, with classes beginning on August 24, and to resume face-to-face courses and campus activities. At the same time, with the likelihood that the novel coronavirus will persist, we are reviewing everything we do, from instruction and research, to dining, housing, and athletics, to do our best to mitigate the risk of exposure and transmission of the virus.

Please keep checking your email for updates on Montana Western’s plans.

Wishing you well,
Chancellor Beth Weatherby


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


Sent on Behalf of Chancellor Weatherby: Fall 2020 Academic Calendar Announcement

Dear University Community,

I want to thank all of those faculty, staff, and students who have spent many hours re-designing our fall semester calendar. This became necessary in order to respond to Commissioner Christian’s request that all MUS campuses revise their calendars so that students are not expected to return to campus after Thanksgiving. The purpose is to help reduce the risk of infection by the COVID-19 virus. According to public health officials, this plan may help reduce virus transmission during the typical late fall/early winter influenza season, as described in the May 14 memo from the Commissioner.

When we received the memo two weeks ago, Registrar Charity Walters met with staff, faculty, and student groups, who created numerous options. The preferred and supported option by all campus groups included six remote instruction days after Thanksgiving. OCHE has stated that all instruction must be completed before Thanksgiving. The final version meets OCHE’s expectations of completing instruction before Thanksgiving with two days for finals (to be delivered remotely) the week after Thanksgiving. Click here for the final version.

Please keep in mind that this is a temporary revision. It was not possible to retain all of the features of the calendar that have been carefully designed to facilitate Experience One. For example, you will see that there is one rather than two block break days between Block One and Block Two and Block Two and Block Three. There is no block break between Block Three and Block Four. In order to finish face-to-face instruction before Thanksgiving, Block 4 includes 14 days instead of the typical 17 or 18 days. This means that class-time needs to be 3 ½ hours rather than 3 hours. Another option to consider is to maintain the 3-hour class-time and add 7 hours of contact time that would be designed by each faculty member to meet course learning outcomes. The 7 hours of contact time would need to be stated in the syllabus. Faculty Senate is currently reviewing these two options and will provide feedback within a few weeks. The two days designated for Finals after Thanksgiving must be delivered remotely in order to meet the expectation that students not be required to return to campus after Thanksgiving.

This is obviously not ideal by any means, but we believe that it is the best option for a number of reasons. Students, staff and faculty were very clear that it was a priority NOT to begin the semester early. This is primarily because students need to work as long as possible and some likely would not return, at least for Block One, if we did begin early. We also rejected the idea of lengthening class-times for the entire semester. The Commissioner was clear, as well, that remote instruction after Thanksgiving was not an option, but Finals (whether exams or presentations or other formats) could take place remotely after the holiday.

As you will see on the new fall calendar, these changes will require flexibility and adaptation from all of us. Thank you, in advance, for your continuing patience and understanding as we continue to move forward during this incredibly disruptive and difficult time. To all of you who put a great deal of thought and effort into this revised calendar, thank you again.

Please also see the press release, which is posted to our website and has been distributed to the media.

Sincerely,
Beth Weatherby, Chancellor


Sent on Behalf of Chancellor Weatherby: A Message for our Students

Hello, Montana Western Students,

I am so pleased to tell you that our 20/21 academic year at Montana Western will begin on August 24th as scheduled. During Fall semester, we plan to offer the usual four blocks, where you take one face-to-face, experiential learning course at a time.

You may have heard that all of the Montana University System campuses have been asked to revise their fall calendars so that students are not expected to return after Thanksgiving. We figured out how to do that without you having to start early. We know that many of you have summer jobs and would like to work as long as possible.

We are also carefully planning to follow all of the health and safety guidelines available and are monitoring current conditions. We will keep you informed about these plans and what Fall at Montana Western will be like.

Most of all, I want to tell you that we can’t wait to see you. This has been such a challenging time, with so much disruption and uncertainty. One thing has remained clear, though, and that is the importance of our citizens to be highly educated so that they can meet the kinds of challenges we are now facing together.

Keep watching the website and your email and stay in touch. We will see you soon. Until then, have a good summer.

Wishing you well,
Chancellor Beth Weatherby


Sent on Behalf of the Financial Aid Office: Final Opportunity for CARES Act Funds Application for Spring 2020 Students

Montana Western Students,
This will be your last opportunity to apply for emergency assistance for the spring 2020 semester. Please read the information below if you haven’t yet applied for CARES Act Funds and wish to submit an application.

Guidelines to receive CARES Act funds have changed which should allow more students to apply for emergency assistance. Students no longer need to be Title IV eligible to receive funds but need to be a U.S. citizen.

The only way that Montana Western can verify if a student is a U.S. citizen is if they submit a FAFSA. Students that have not completed a FAFSA to Montana Western could be eligible to receive funds if you submit a FAFSA prior to submitting the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Form. Simply go to https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa and click on “Start Here.” Submit your FAFSA for the 2019-2020 academic year and enter Montana Western’s School Code of 002537. Once you have submitted your FAFSA you can submit the online form to request emergency assistance.

If you have submitted a 2019-2020 FAFSA and have not submitted a form yet, we strongly encourage you to do so as you could receive a lump sum of up to $800. The funding is limited and will be awarded based on the level of student need. This will be your last opportunity to apply for emergency assistance for the spring 2020 semester.

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 June 1, 2020, regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19):


To the University Community,

As you’re aware, the Montana University System Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force has been working over the past six weeks to develop a blueprint to guide colleges and universities as we develop plans for a safe return to campus life this fall.

The Task Force is releasing its comprehensive handbook of guidelines today, which is now available by clicking this link: https://mus.edu/coronavirus/MUS-Healthy-Fall-2020-Planning-Guidelines.pdf

While our Montana Western team is already well into our preparations for fall semester, the new handbook provides us with system-level recommendations and protocols to help guide our work.

You are welcome to review the handbook, which is posted on the Montana University System (MUS) website. However, please keep in mind that the handbook is a high-level blueprint on which we will base planning specific to Montana Western.

While the handbook does not offer specific details on Montana Western, it demonstrates the intensive, high-level planning that is underway to facilitate a safe return to our campus and our other MUS campuses.

As noted in the handbook, the guidance released today is the result of extensive research and discussion, with feedback solicited from experts across the MUS as well as a broader population of employees, students and administrators across the system. The guidelines have been crafted with, and reviewed by, officials from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. Click here to view the official press release about the handbook of guidelines from the Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force.

As the planning process continues at the campus level, please know that we will provide you with more detailed information as it becomes available.

Wishing you well,
Chancellor Beth Weatherby


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


Montana Western Students,

We wanted to notify you that if you applied for emergency CARES Act funds, the next round of refund checks are available in the Business Services Office now and they can be picked up between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. until Wednesday, June 3.

Starting Thursday, June 4, any remaining checks will then be mailed to your mailing address in DAWGS as of May 27. 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 and please update your DAWGS address.

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


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