coronavirus updates

Wash Your Hands!

One of the most effective measures for stopping any infectious disease is frequent and thorough hand washing. Please join the effort and wash your hands a lot! The Centers for Disease Control has an entire webpage on the science behind hand washing. Check it out! There’s more to it than you think.

Coronavirus 2019-nCoV



The Butte-Silver Bow Unified Health Command has opened a call center in response to coronavirus (COVID-19). The public can call 406-497-5008 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Leave a message after hours.

Coronavirus Basics


Coronaviruses are a large family of 50+ distinct viruses which are found worldwide and infect both mammals and birds. Four coronaviruses have been circulating among humans for years and are believed to cause 20-40% of common cold infections per year. Two other coronaviruses have caused much more serious human illness since 2002: SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.

In December 2019, a cluster of human respiratory illnesses in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, prompted a public health investigation which identified a new coronavirus, now called COVID-19.

Symptoms include a short respiratory illness with a cough and low-grade fever. In a minority of cases, the virus can lead to critical illness or death. Severe cases have primarily been noted in patients over 65 years of age who also have significant underlying chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease or liver disease.

Learn more about the corona virus



The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person among people who are in close contact with one another, within about 6 feet, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.



There is no vaccine nor any known antiviral treatment for COVID-19 so treatment is primarily supportive care. Mild cases may be treated at home, but severe illness requires hospitalization.


Graduation and Commencement


We can begin awarding degrees after final grades have been posted to transcripts. Please email to request to be put on the Degree Priority list to have your degree awarded as soon as possible so you can return your home country or start your employment. We reserve the priority list for students with a legitimate need to have their degrees awarded early, and they are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please note that the process of checking final degree requirements can take up to a week, depending on the number of students who request to be on the list.


A degree cannot be awarded unless all degree requirements have been satisfied, including the final courses you are taking this semester. If you choose to withdraw or a degree required course has been canceled, your graduation date can be pushed forward to the semester that you do complete your degree requirements. Please contact a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> if you plan to make any changes to your graduation date. We will work with you on finding solutions.

Academic Calendar, Grading, and Scheduling

  • Numerous changes have been made. Key dates for the semester are:
    • First day of online instruction: Monday, March 23
    • Last day to drop a class with a “W”: March 31
    • Last day of online instruction: April 24
    • Finals week: April 20 – 24. Please contact your instructor to see when your final exam/assessment will be held. 
    • Final grades will post to your student transcript on or before May 8. We strive to post grades as soon as possible. Please monitor your orediggerweb transcript and keep in mind that we have until May 8 to calculate your GPA, class standing, etc.
  • The last day to drop with a “W” has been moved to March 31. Through this day, advisor and instructor approval is required. If you wish to withdraw from a course, please email your advisor and instructor. Forward their responses to the Enrollment Services inbox for processing If you want to withdraw from all of your courses through March 31, please fill out the Request for Complete Withdrawal from College form. The Dean of Students requires that you fill out the form, scan (or take a photo on your phone) and email the necessary signees. Their email addresses are listed on the form
  • If you wish to partially or completely withdraw from a course after March 31, you must complete the Request for Withdrawal for Extraordinary Reasons Form 
  • You can also email Enrollment Services, and we will help you through this process. 
Please contact your instructor for more information about assignments and grading rubrics.

International Services


Many cultural offices have made statements stating that they will be flexible regarding their online course policy to allow students to complete their workload. Please see your country’s cultural office to confirm their position on the subject.


Yes. On March 9, 2020, the U.S. government issued guidelines allowing schools to make temporary procedural adaptations so nonimmigrant students can continue to make normal forward progress in their program of study. Students can temporarily engage in distance-learning, either from within the U.S. or outside the country, in light of COVID-19.


Since the situation is changing rapidly, it is unclear whether the semester schedule will change. We encourage you to follow updates from campus administration and plan accordingly. You are welcome to email or call 406-496-4256 if you have any questions or concerns.


Please email or call 406-496-4256.


No. All Montana University System international travel, including Canada and Mexico, is suspended through the end of the semester.

Following CDC and Department of State travel advisories, the MUS strongly recommends that students, faculty or staff currently on university-sponsored or affiliated international travel consider returning home. Please contact the faculty member, staff member or campus unit you worked with to arrange your return.

Following CDC guidelines, students, faculty or staff who are returning from countries or areas with a CDC Travel Advisory Level 3 or higher (this currently includes China, South Korea, Iran and all of Europe) must contact their city or county public health office before returning to campus to determine whether they have risk of exposure to COVID-19 and whether they need to take precautionary monitoring steps.

Please note that MUS campuses won’t provide on-campus housing for students, faculty, or staff returning from locations abroad that require self-quarantine upon reentry. In some instances, campuses may be able to help find off-campus accommodations for those individuals requiring self-quarantine.


Please contact the faculty member, staff member or campus unit you arranged your travel through as soon as possible.

Please also check your email frequently for updates from your campus. In addition, please regularly check the travel websites of the U.S. Department of State and the CDC. Prepare yourself by being aware of changes to travel plans such as availability of commercial flights, local public health updates in your area and global resources on COVID-19 such as the World Health Organization’s website.


Health, Wellness and Prevention


The power to protect our campus community from coronavirus and flu lies with each and every one of us. Please practice the following hand-washing and respiratory hygiene habits to protect yourself and those around you:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Stay home if you’re sick. We will work with you to make arrangements for missed exams and work.

Please see the CDC’s guide for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in communities.



The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, tables, keyboards light switches). Use a disinfectant registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or a 10% bleach/water solution to clean surfaces.

Please avoid putting disinfectant gels or liquids on electronics and other equipment, including elevator buttons, unless the products are indicated as safe to use on those devices.



Public health officials do not recommend wearing a mask to protect against COVID-19. Campus clinic patients who are coughing or sneezing will, however, be asked to wear a mask to avoid exposing people in close proximity.

Keep in mind that in some parts of the world mask use is customary for a variety of health and social reasons. Do not assume that someone wearing a mask has been exposed to COVID-19 or any other illness.


Many are experiencing anxiety as news and warnings about COVID-19 intensify. Remember that the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Montana and in the U.S. as a whole is currently low. If you would like to talk with someone, support is available to students through your campus’ mental health services.



Although there are no cases in Montana, the COVID-19 outbreak has heightened stress for those who have family and friends in affected areas. If you would like to talk with someone, support is available to students through your campus’ mental health services.


Classes and Academics


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


Spring semester 2020 is continuing. That said, all of our coursework across the system will be delivered remotely.

In all cases, steps will be taken to promote health and safety during in-person instruction.

Please check your official university email account frequently for communications from instructors and campus administrations about the move to remote delivery.



We ask all students to stay home if you’re sick.

Faculty have been advised to work with students who miss classes because of illness, childcare disruptions or to care for a sick family member by offering makeup exams, alternate assignments or alternate weighting of missed work.


MUS colleges and universities are in close communication with area K-12 schools and would respond to any K-12 school closures on a case-by-case basis.

Faculty have been advised that COVID-19 could cause childcare and/or work schedule disruptions for students and are asked to work with them by offering makeup exams, alternate assignments, or alternate weighting of missed work.


In coordination with MUS colleges and universities, the MUS is working to respond to the Governor's decision for K-12 school closures.

If you are a student and are impacted by K-12 closures, please work with your faculty members to make arrangements for missing any in-person classes that will occur between now and the MUS-wide transition to online course delivery beginning on March 23. 

Faculty have been advised of disruptions for students caused by COVID-19 such as K-12 school closures. Faculty have been asked to work with students by offering makeup exams, alternate assignments, or alternate weighting of missed work.


Yes. Refunds of room and board fees will be issued for the period from March 23 through the end of spring term. Students must complete a cancellation form to be eligible for the refund. The cancellation form, as well as specific procedures for processing refunds, will be available Wednesday, March 25. Please watch for further instruction from your campus. Please allow until April 15 for reimbursement payment.

Campus Response


To protect patient privacy, the Montana University System cannot legally release the immediate location of individuals being screened for or confirmed to have COVID-19.

Confirmed and suspected cases will be reported by the Montana Department of Health & Human Services. Montana’s Department of Health and Human Services tracks possible, negative, and confirmed cases on their website.

In the event that a member of one of our Montana University System campus communities were confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19, the campus would follow the lead of the local county health department to initiate appropriate quarantine and public health management protocols.


Local health departments closely monitor people who are at potential risk for COVID-19 and have protocols for identifying and contacting individuals who may have been in close contact with someone being screened, such as roommates.

Should a member of your campus community be tested for or diagnosed with COVID-19, the campus would follow the guidance of the county health department and the Montana Department of Health & Human Services on protocols to protect the health of anyone deemed to be at risk.


Upon arrival to a Montana University System campus clinic, staff will follow usual respiratory illness precautions by having any student with a cough put on a mask immediately.

Front desk staff will ask all students who complain of cough or fever whether they have had any international travel or have traveled to affected areas in the United States within the past 14 days; if so, in addition to immediately placing them in a mask, the patient will be moved to an exam room to reduce exposing other students and staff. The patient will then be assessed per CDC recommendations.

Your campus health clinic is in close contact with your county health officials and is checking the CDC, WHO, and DPHHS websites daily for updates.



Your health is our top priority. Please do not hesitate to seek the care you need.

IMPORTANT:  If you develop fever; cough and/or difficulty breathing; and in the past 14 days have returned from a country or area with a COVID-19 outbreak OR have been exposed to someone with confirmed COVID-19, please call your campus health clinic or other provider immediately to discuss your illness and plan for how you will be seen.

If you are sick, you should take steps you normally would when sick, including focusing on caring for your health, contacting your healthcare provider if you feel you need to and not attending class or work if contagious.



The Montana University System has protocols in place at its clinics to keep patients and staff safe. One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from any virus is to practice good hand-washing and respiratory hygiene. Please do not hesitate to seek the care you need.