There are just a few weeks left before students start classes at Montana State University.
Until then, and after, MSU officials say preparing to welcome students and faculty back safely is a priority.
“The attitude of the atmosphere is optimistic, with precautions,” says Michael Becker, news director of MSU’s Campus News Service.
Using a method that many new and returning students will face this fall, Becker broke it all down remotely.
Becker says there will be a lot to take in for both students and faculty.
“Social distancing, face mask requirements, classrooms with lots of space in between desks, altered class schedules,” Becker says. “Basically, every corner of campus has seen some sort of adaptation.”
As for students, the first things they may notice will be all around them.
“They’re going to see a lot of signage,” Becker says. “They are going to see a lot of signs all over campuses, reminding them of the good practices that they can undertake on their own to help make themselves and their environment safer.”
Masks will be required, as we now know.
Something the university will help with in the form of “Safe Cat Kits” for students and staff.
“They’ll have hand sanitizer, face mask and some disinfectant,” Becker says. “Those are going to be available all over campus and in a number of pickup locations. Students living in our residence halls are going to have an opportunity to get those and staff and faculty will have opportunities to pick those up, as well.”
Hand cleaning stations will stand sentry across campus, too.
Becker says expertise from the health department and other healthcare experts elsewhere will also help every step of the way, including keeping personal health issues confidential.
A key for instructors: being ready to change up their classes to remote or online.
“We’re counting very much so on their expertise and all of their skill in the classroom to make this semester a success,” Becker says. “We really couldn’t do it without them.”
So as the unprecedented continues to be just that, MSU will work to keep up.
“It’s proud to be part of an organization that’s put so much effort, so much care, so much preparation into something,” Becker says.
The university will also keep an updated online portal on its website as the fall semester gets closer, which will help both faculty and students keep up with any changes and all of the rules.