It’s a big step for the Montana University System, but one for which they’ve been preparing for over the last few weeks.

Starting on March 23, all Montana University System campuses will make the switch to remote learning, according to Communications Director Paula Short.

“System wide, all of the campuses will transition to remote teaching modalities, and that will be effective after the end of spring break on March 23,” said Short. “Campuses will remain open and operational for students, despite moving to a different modality of instruction.”

Short said there will be options available for students who don’t have the proper computers for remote learning.

“We do have laptops,” she said. “In fact, our library has laptops that can be checked out. At the individual college level, we do have some computers that can be loaned out. We want to assure our students that nobody will be left behind due to those accommodations. We have anticipated those needs and nobody will be left behind when it comes to meeting their scholastic needs.”

Short said there are some courses that require a physical presence for hands-on work, and there will be special accommodations for them.

“There will have to be exceptions, of course,” she said. “I’m thinking particularly of some of our trades instruction, such as industrial arts and welding and construction, which are difficult to translate into remote learning. The key is to be patient and flexible. Know that we’re working on this and know that the safety and success of our students and being able to complete their academic term remains our top priority. We know that some of these exceptions are out there and we are doing everything we can to address them.”

Spring break is March 16-20 for the Montana University System.