UM extends online classes through end of semester

Posted at 9:32 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 16:41:40-04

MISSOULA — Students at the University of Montana will say goodbye to campus a little sooner than anticipated this year.

President Seth Bodner notified students on Thursday that the remainder of their semester will be completed by remote instruction.

The University of Montana will continue remote course delivery through the rest of the spring semester due to heightened awareness over the spreading of coronavirus (COVID-19).

“We know that announcing that we were going remote for the rest of the semester really helps students with this notion of ‘am I gonna be online this week, am I gonna be in person at some point before the end of the term?’ So it added a little bit of certainty to a really uncertain time," UM spokeswoman Paula Short said.

Additionally, UM is strongly recommending that students with viable housing options outside of UM do not return to campus following spring break.

“We realize that for many of our students, the University of Montana is their home address and they don’t have a different living situation, said Short, “So we’re certainly telling those students we’ll work with them. If this is the place where they need to be through this, we’ll make sure that that can happen.”

Many students want to know how graduation will pan out amid this pandemic after investing time and money into an education at UM. Administrators say arrangements for spring commencement have yet to be made, but discussion is underway at the commissioner’s level.

“Whatever our plans are for commencement, certainly that doesn’t diminish their success at the University of Montana,” said Short.

For those graduating seniors leaving UM sooner than they’d like to, the university offers a unique perspective on the situation.

"You’re sort of united with hundreds and even thousands of other graduates around the country and perhaps the world that will say, 'yeah i was in the class of 2020 and wow what happened that year'," Short told MTN News.

Short said she expects the Montana University System will announce their decision regarding commencement fairly soon.