MISSOULA — Students at the University of Montana will say goodbye to the classroom, and hello to online learning following spring break.
“I’m not terribly excited about going online because I prefer talking and asking questions to a professor live,” said first-year student Lorri DeLong, “But I’m pretty sure it’s doable, I mean everyone else is doing it, and I’m pretty sure the professors are capable of doing this.”
Faculty have been prompted to do as much as they can virtually, but for some courses, that’s easier said than done.
“All of my classes have the ability to go online, but I am in an acting class, so I’m not sure how I’ll be able to do that," first year student Gemma Sladich said.
As a biology major, DeLong echoed Sladich’s concern. “We do a lot of stuff under the microscope and we still have a lot of labs to do. My TA was kind of concerned about this, in fact, because she doesn’t know exactly how we’re gonna work it out.”
While there may be some kinks to work out, UM officials feel this is the right thing to do -- amnd many students feel the same. “I don’t think they need to go as far as complete campus closure, but I think it was a good preventative measure,” said Sladich.
It’s hard to say how long MUS campuses will operate by remote instruction. There hasn’t been a hard end date yet as that will all depend on how the coronavirus develops. For now, the University of Montana simply wants to err on the side of caution.
“There’s the potential toll on the healthcare system and there’s potential far spread impacts on our community, and we just feel like it’s prudent at this time to take some proactive measures, and again just really looking at health and safety of our community, and we know that what the university does has ripple effects into the community as well," UM spokeswoman Paula Short said.
Housing and dining will still be available for students following spring break, but events like lectures, theater performances, and conferences will be restricted. UM officials say that at this time they feel this choice is the most responsive and responsible decision to make in light of coronavirus concerns.
At the end of the day, the safety and health of their campus communities is their top priority.
President Bodnar also made comments on Friday afternoon.