Montana State University MSU entrance sign

BOZEMAN, Mont. - Montana State University has released a detailed "roadmap" of its plans to reopen the campus for classes, athletics and more in the fall.

Life on campus will look a little different for students come August, starting with classes that will kick off the semester two weeks earlier than normal. Students can also expect to have classes in new locations like the Student Union Building or the gym facilities.

That's part of the university's efforts to keep students safe in class, from more frequent cleaning to social distancing in the classroom.

Students are also strongly advised to wear a face mask at all times. Every student, faculty, and staff member will get a cloth mask as part of a "Clean Cat Kit" at the start of the school year.

"Those decisions are all based on the best public health guidance we can get," says MSU News Service Director, Michael Becker.

The academic day will be longer, as class will be available earlier in the day to later at night, another tactic the school is utilizing to keep students from being forced into large groups that could potentially accelerate the spread of COVID-19.

Becker says there will be more online classes available than ever before in the fall semester, along with in-person and blended classes.

"Maybe a student comes to class one day of the week, they're online another day of the week or they're blended another day of the week," explains Becker.

Instead of faculty being forced to move quickly to get courses online as they did in mid-March - along with every university in the country - MSU faculty are being asked to plan ahead for the possibility in another lockdown.

"And now from the very beginning of the semester they're being asked to plan that contingency should the public health need arise - right into their classes from the start."

Detailed information about university athletics, on-campus housing, dining services, and more can be found on the university's website.

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