Continuing our look at the upcoming start of fall classes later this month at the University of Montana, Communications Director Paula Short described the efforts to help students be safe from COVID 19 in their dorm rooms.

“We do have the options for single rooms but we also have some of our larger rooms,” said Short. “Some residents might remember that in many of our residence halls, the six foot distancing can be maintained inside of a shared dorm room, but we do have singles for people that are wanting to have a single room. We also have of course, our apartment style housing and in University Village and Lewis and Clark.”

Short pointed out that a plan is already in place to help students who may come down with COVID during the semester.

“The important thing is that the university does have a plan for isolation and quarantine of positive cases on campus,” she said. “So if you are living on campus with a roommate, and you are positive for COVID-19, we have a plan to support you. We're going to relocate you to a designated unit that we've purposely kept vacant to be used for isolation.”

Short assures students who may have to be placed in quarantine that student life will continue as normally as possible.

“At the same time, we're going to make sure your meal plan so we're going to get you fed,” she said. “We're going to make sure your laundry gets done, we're going to make sure that you have access to your classes so that even in those two weeks if you feel well enough, you can still keep up on those things even if you are isolated. That’s really important because in this age demographic, it's proven that that many of the people that may be positive for COVID exhibit very mild symptoms, so they might be able to continue to attend classes remotely while they're isolated, but we do have a good plan for that for all of our on campus residents.”

UM History Professor Mehrdad Kia has been a faculty member for over 30 years and he said on Tuesday that some adjustments have been made for his large lecture classes.

“One of my classes has been moved to University Center North ballroom, which is not a classroom but it’s more you know, kind of for big lectures and so on and so forth. And so, the university is trying to kind of revise venues so we can maintain social distancing.”

Kia said the University leadership has been diligently working to not only foster a learning environment, but to make everyone as safe as possible.

“We hope and pray that it works and I do look forward to teaching,” he said “But I have to tell you it's a stressful process, making sure that the students are safe and the faculty also remains safe.”

Classes are scheduled to begin on August 19 on the UM campus.