BOZEMAN- Gov. Steve Bullock announced that up to $20 million will aid in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus on university campuses in Montana.
Montana State University and the rest of the Montana University System will use the funding for free, voluntary testing of students returning to campus for the fall.
The funding expands upon the surveillance testing collaboration between MSU and the state of Montana announced July 22, 2020.
The goal of the funding is to speed up testing of students who show COVID-19 symptoms.
Montana State University Vice President of Communications Tracy Ellig said MSU will use the funds to conduct testing in a timely manner so that they can identify positive test results and follow the appropriate contact tracing procedures as fast as possible.
One way they look to accomplish that goal is to higher extra staffing trained by the Gallatin City County Health Department.
“Having those extra staff positions is going to be a great help to slowing down and potentially stopping the virus in instances and I think both MSU and Gallatin City County Health Department are quite encouraged by this funding,” Ellig explained.
According to Ellig they will be working hand and glove with the health department in the contact tracing procedures and want testing results produced in 24 hours or less.
The university system is working to have the testing services in place for the start of this school year.
The testing services adds to MSU’s existing preparation plans for COVID-19 which include a face mask requirement on campus, adapted classroom schedules, and the distribution a personal Clean ‘Cat Kit to help them sanitize frequently used areas.
The fall semester at MSU begins Aug. 17, 2020.
More information about MSU’s response to COVID-19 can be found here.