With the state of Montana is showing progress in addressing the COVID-19 emergency, Montana State University has began planning to possibly reopen for the fall semester.

According to Montana State University President, Waded Cruzado, school officials are actively working on careful plans to open campus for the fall semester and to offer face-to-face course delivery, in accordance with health guidelines and protocols. 

With the assumption that it is very likely that precautionary measures for COVID-19 will remain in effect for the foreseeable future, MSU is considering many adaptations to keep students, faculty and staff safe while at the same time providing a high-quality, on-campus educational experience.

At Montana State, several planning groups are meeting almost daily to achieve this goal. While no official final decisions have been made, some adaptions that are being considered might include:

  • Seeking larger than typical rooms for courses with sufficient space per person to continue safe face-to-face delivery.
  • Providing some fully online sections in multi-section classes to offer options to students and faculty and to help extend classroom availability.
  • Possibly rotating portions of a class between face-to-face and online delivery, so students get some of each while maintaining social distancing. 
  • Blending face-to-face and online learning so that students have an element of in-room instruction to build community but also can work together in pairs or small groups through online or virtual tools.
  • Using instructional laboratory time for work that is difficult to adapt to virtual delivery, while shifting exercises that are more conducive to remote practice to online delivery.
  • Practicing physical distancing in studios and maker spaces to allow for the necessary student educational experience while keeping everyone safe.
  • Stretching available classroom space by reducing the number of elective and optional CORE courses.
  • Creating new building and classroom entrance and exit procedures and making adjustments to the flow of pedestrian traffic on campus.
  • Adjusting to a stretched daily schedule of classes to allow more time between classes.

School officials are examining how they can safely and effectively provide tutoring, advising, mentoring and on-campus living and recreation. Additionally, MSU is planning for the contingency — should health officials mandate it — of returning to wholly online and remote teaching.

I want to thank each member of our Bobcat community for your patience, trust, and commitment to higher education — now and in the future. As we watch this pandemic unfold, it is clear that research and discovery are keys to drawing the era of COVID-19 to a close. It is because we believe in the possibility of a better future together that we are committed to our ongoing investment in higher education. We want to prepare our Bobcats to work on the challenges of today and to solve the next set of global problems. Our world needs Bobcat nurses, engineers, teachers, physicians, businesspeople, scientists, artists and other professionals — and your university, Montana State, is prepared to respond.

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University