MISSOULA — Students at the University of Montana have been hitting the books for a month now and despite 90 active COVID-19 cases on campus, university officials say life at UM is almost looking “normal.”
“Our students are in the classroom, they're learning face to face, and those mitigation efforts we have that include quarantine and isolation, testing, vaccines -- they’re all working really well,” UM communications director Dave Kuntz said.
Sporting events, live performances, in-person classes; you can thank the vaccine for the return of UM’s vibrancy, according to Kuntz.
"The biggest difference between this fall and last year is we have access to a safe and effective vaccine right here on campus and we've seen our students utilizing it in high volumes. So, we’re really aggressively communicating the benefits of the vaccine, because we believe that that's our best tool to get back to normal.” - UM communications director Dave Kuntz
While vaccination is highly encouraged, it still isn’t required. While mask-wearing is found inside buildings, it’s not found in a crowded Washington-Grizzly Stadium. The university continues pushing mitigation but in moderation.
"We don't see it as a switch that you turn on and off, but rather a dial that we can increase those mitigations when we need to, that was especially true last month when we put in the mask requirement for indoor policies, and hopefully here soon we can dial that mitigation back low. We've had to make that quick shift in modality to remote in the past so we know we can do it again if needed. That's not in our plans right now and we're just going to continue to make sure students are following the mitigations that are necessary, and above all keep encouraging vaccine intake as much as possible. - UM communications director Dave Kuntz
Additional information about the University of Montana’s COVID-19 policies and guidance can be found here.