Back to Business 2020

Updated 8/13/20 at 3:24 p.m.

Read the Riverstone Health Letter of Support

Back to Business Taskforce Members

Disclaimer:  The following action plan is developed based on the most up-to-date information from local, state, and federal resources at the time it was written.  As events, circumstances, and local, state, and federal guidance changes, updates to the plan will be made.

Table of Contents

Letter from Chancellor Edelman

Dear Campus Community,

Last month, Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian released the report  “Montana University System Healthy Fall 2020: Planning Guidelines for Campuses.” The report asked for every university campus in Montana to prepare and publish its own report providing guidance for the return of students to campus in the fall. In collaboration with our state and local health officials and using the MUS Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force report as our blue print, we have thoughtfully compiled our Montana State University Billings Back-to-Business Fall 2020 Action Plan; a report to welcome the safe return of our students to campus this fall.

This report is the result of months of research and hard work from our local and state public health officials and our MSU Billings Back-to-Business Task Force. Together, we have ensured that a realistic plan that promotes the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is in place. Although it is important to acknowledge that public health risk factors cannot be entirely eliminated even in the best of times, we are confident that this plan incorporates clear health and safety protocols for all areas of campus and look forward to providing our students with our famous Yellowjacket experience this fall.

The decisions within our report were made with the best information available at the time, and we fully acknowledge that as our public health landscape evolves, we will continue to adapt and make changes accordingly. Please take time to read this report carefully and contact me with questions, concerns, or recommendations. 

We are united in our “new normal” and I look forward to seeing our campus full of life again this fall.

Sincerely,

Dr. Dan Edelman, Chancellor, MSU Billings

Dan Edelman signature 

Executive Summary

Montana State University Billings’ (MSUB) Back to Business Fall Action Plan establishes a clear direction for students to return to and remain on campus this fall semester, following the spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), which was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

This action plan is based off of the Montana University System Healthy Fall 2020: Planning Guidelines for Campuses, which gives the state public higher education institutions guidance to create their own plans for returning to in-person instruction and operations for fall and modifying their academic calendars to conclude before the traditional Thanksgiving break.

Overarching themes of the plan are as follows:

Social Distancing will be strongly encouraged whenever possible. MSUB will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on maintaining six-feet distance between individuals.

Cloth face masks and face coverings  Effective July 23, 2020, MSUB will implement the following:

Face coverings are required in all indoor spaces and all enclosed or partially enclosed outdoor spaces. Face coverings will be required in all outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible or difficult to reliably maintain. In outdoor settings where social distancing is possible, face coverings continue to be strongly recommended. The face covering requirement applies to all MSUB students, employees and to all visitors, including service providers, contractors, vendors, suppliers, alumni, families, and community members.

The following exceptions apply to students, employees, and visitors regarding face coverings:

  • when alone in an office, enclosed study area, or other space where permitted by official notice;
  • when inside campus residence hall rooms or apartments; however, face coverings are still required in common areas such as hallways, common restrooms and when visiting other rooms;
  • when working or spending time outdoors (e.g. walking, exercising) and at least a six-foot distance can be consistently and reliably maintained;
  • Persons engaged in an activity that makes wearing a face covering impractical or unsafe, such as strenuous physical exercise;
  • in instances or spaces (such as welding labs, nursing labs, etc.) in which other requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) make it either impractical or unsafe to wear an additional face covering;
  • when alone in a vehicle or utility vehicle used for MSUB business, however, face coverings are required in vehicles used for MSUB business when there is more than one person inside the vehicle; and
  • when an accommodation is necessary as indicated by a medical professional and granted by written permission of the University.
  • Children under the age of five and those who cannot physically remove a face covering without assistance, or those who have requested and received a necessary accommodation are not required to wear face coverings. All children between the ages of two and four, however, are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering. Children under the age of two should not wear a face covering.

Appropriate face coverings are those that cover the mouth and nose of the wearer. Following Centers for Disease Control guidance, effective face coverings include simple cloth masks, scarves, or bandanas.

Following CDC guidance, face coverings should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face;
  • be secured with ties or ear loops;
  • include multiple layers of fabric;
  • allow for breathing without restriction; and
  • be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damaging them or changing their shape.
  • Cannot have an “exhale valve,” as those allow droplets to escape the mask

Plastic face shields may be used in instances where an individual can consistently and reliably maintain appropriate social distancing or where a cloth mask is otherwise impracticable. Such instances may include, but not be limited to, ADA and other medical accommodations. If an individual chooses to use a plastic face shield the shield should cover from above the eyes to below the chin and wrap around the side of the wearer’s face to reduce the risk of the spread of respiratory particles. However, it is important to note that cloth face masks are preferred. The  CDC notes: It is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Plastic face shields for newborns and infants are NOT recommended.

Disposable, single use paper masks are also acceptable when another face covering option is not available. Unless in healthcare or other specialized settings, MSUB recommends prudence about using N95 ( additional regulatory requirements may be applicable) or surgical masks, which, due to critical supply issues nationally, should be prioritized for healthcare workers and other first responders.

Regardless of whether you wear a face covering or face shield, it’s important to know how to properly maintain and clean them.  Learn how to keep your face covering or face shield clean.Afterwards,store them in a plastic bag.

It is our sincere hope that faculty, students, staff, and visitors will appreciate and follow the wisdom associated with wearing a face covering to help protect the safety of themselves and others while on campus. In this way, we may all enjoy as much of a return to normalcy on campus as possible. All MSUB campus community members (students, employees, and visitors) are expected to comply with the guidelines set forth in this document. Refer to the Appendix: Face Covering Guidelines section for details regarding personal responsibility and accountability.

Updated July 31, 2020: See Appendix: Face Covering Guidelines for a detailed training and awareness plan for students and employees regarding face covering requirements. On July 31, 2020, MSUB’s detailed mask protocol will be in place outlining a robust training strategy for all employees that ensures they have a clear understanding of the campus’ face covering requirement and accountability expectations. In addition, through sustained communication and training, students will be made aware of the ways in which the face coverings protocol will be enforced by employees prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester.

Hand-hygiene is strongly encouraged. Students, faculty, and staff should utilize safe hand-washing practices and use hand sanitizer whenever possible per the CDC guidelines. Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout both campuses.

Symptoms of COVID-19 and self-monitoring: Students, faculty, and staff familiarity with the symptoms of COVID-19 is key to help reduce spread of the virus. All campus community members should become familiar with the symptoms described by the CDC and to self-monitor daily.

  • MSUB strongly encourages every member of campus community to assess themselves for symptoms and to personally check their temperature daily before coming to campus. Individuals who have a fever or exhibit symptoms should not come to work or class and should immediately contact their health care provider.

Public Health Testing & Contact Tracing protocols: MSUB has been in frequent communication with RiverStone Health regarding monitoring, testing and tracing efforts as well as advised quarantine and isolation protocols, and will continue to follow the guidance from local, state, and federal health officials. RiverStone Health manages all instances of contact tracing when needed, as required by Montana law.

Enhanced campus cleaning and sanitizing protocols: Facilities Services will continue their regular cleaning activities throughout both campuses and enhance the disinfecting of public spaces including washrooms, classrooms, laboratories, hallways, hand rails, elevators, corridors, common study spaces, and public spaces in residence halls. Each department has been equipped with a “Cleaning Caddy” consisting of disinfecting wipes, spray, and hand sanitizer to ensure the proper and frequent disinfecting of offices and public spaces within each respective department. In addition, every student, faculty, and staff member will receive a 'Jacket Safety Kit containing:
    • 1 reusable disinfectant bottle, pre-filled, and labeled
    • 1 reusable personal face mask
    • 1 8-oz refillable bottle of hand sanitizer
    • Personal care and community safety information and instructions for product use
    • Plastic carrying bag

Campus Events: Event occupancy is set at 50 percent for each venue on campus to allow for appropriate social distancing following the protocol set by the Governor for Phase 2. See the Student Engagement section for more information.

Health and safety protocols have been created for in-person classes. Comprehensive plans for individual classes such as configuration, seating charts, attendance policies, foot traffic, personal sanitization, etc., will be in place.  Faculty will work with their students directly to ensure customized accommodations for those who require them are in place, as well as for students who must potentially self-isolate or quarantine.

The following protocols apply to all areas of academics:

  • Students will receive education during orientation emphasizing the health and safety expectations MSUB has of them while on university or City College campus.
  • Classroom occupancy will allow for social distancing. Disinfectants will be available in each classroom to wipe down desks and other high-traffic areas between classes.
  • All in-person classes will have assigned seating and attendance will be taken to ensure contact tracing if necessary. 
  • Faculty will develop backup plans or partner with a “teaching buddy” who can take over their classes if they become ill.
  • Faculty have developed plans for each in-person class for fall semester to transition to online learning, if necessary.

See Academics section of plan for more details.

MSUB’s website plan will be revised as needed to ensure the continuous health and safety of students, faculty, and staff. Please refer to the web-version of the plan for the latest revisions.

Guiding Principles on Reopening Campus

Health and Safety Protocols

These principles of the plan are applicable to all areas of university and City College campus are as follows:

Social Distancing will be strongly encouraged whenever possible. MSUB will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on maintaining six-feet distance between individuals.

Cloth face masks and face coverings — Effective July 23, 2020, MSUB will implement the following:

Face coverings are required in all indoor spaces and all enclosed or partially enclosed outdoor spaces. Face coverings will be required in all outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible or difficult to reliably maintain. In outdoor settings where social distancing is possible, face coverings continue to be strongly recommended. The face covering requirement applies to all MSUB students, employees and to all visitors, including service providers, contractors, vendors, suppliers, alumni, families, and community members.

The following exceptions apply to students, employees, and visitors regarding face coverings:

  • when alone in an office, enclosed study area, or other space where permitted by official notice;
  • when inside campus residence hall rooms or apartments; however, face coverings are still required in common areas such as hallways, common restrooms and when visiting other rooms;
  • when working or spending time outdoors (e.g. walking, exercising) and at least a six-foot distance can be consistently and reliably maintained;
  • Persons engaged in an activity that makes wearing a face covering impractical or unsafe, such as strenuous physical exercise;
  • in instances or spaces (such as welding labs, nursing labs, etc.) in which other requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) make it either impractical or unsafe to wear an additional face covering;
  • when alone in a vehicle or utility vehicle used for MSUB business, however, face coverings are required in vehicles used for MSUB business when there is more than one person inside the vehicle; and
  • when an accommodation is necessary as indicated by a medical professional and granted by express written permission of the University.
  • Children under the age of five and those who cannot physically remove a face covering without assistance, or those who have requested and received a necessary accommodation are not required to wear face coverings. All children between the ages of two and four, however, are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering. Children under the age of two should not wear a face covering.

Appropriate face coverings are those that cover the mouth and nose of the wearer. Following Centers for Disease Control guidance, effective face coverings include simple cloth masks, scarves, or bandanas.

Following CDC guidance, face coverings should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face;
  • be secured with ties or ear loops;
  • include multiple layers of fabric;
  • allow for breathing without restriction; and
  • be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damaging them or changing their shape.
  • Cannot have an “exhale valve,” as those allow droplets to escape the mask

Plastic face shields may be used in instances where an individual can consistently and reliably maintain appropriate social distancing or where a cloth mask is otherwise impracticable. Such instances may include, but not be limited to, ADA and other medical accommodations. If an individual chooses to use a plastic face shield the shield should cover from above the eyes to below the chin and wrap around the side of the wearer’s face to reduce the risk of the spread of respiratory particles. However, it is important to note that cloth face masks are preferred. The  CDC notes: It is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Plastic face shields for newborns and infants are NOT recommended.

Disposable, single use paper masks are also acceptable when another face covering option is not available. Unless in healthcare or other specialized settings, MSUB recommends prudence about using N95 ( additional regulatory requirements may be applicable) or surgical masks, which, due to critical supply issues nationally, should be prioritized for healthcare workers and other first responders. 

Regardless of whether you wear a face covering or face shield, it’s important to know how to properly maintain and clean them.  Learn how to keep your face covering or face shield clean.Afterwards,store them in a plastic bag.

It is our sincere hope that faculty, students, staff, and visitors will appreciate and follow the wisdom associated with wearing a face covering to help protect the safety of themselves and others while on campus. In this way, we may all enjoy as much of a return to normalcy on campus as possible. All MSUB campus community members (students, employees, and visitors) are expected to comply with the guidelines set forth in this document. Refer to the Appendix: Face Covering Guidelines section for details regarding personal responsibility and accountability.

Updated July 31, 2020: See Appendix: Face Covering Guidelines for a detailed training and awareness plan for students and employees regarding face covering requirements. On July 31, 2020, MSUB’s detailed mask protocol will be in place outlining a robust training strategy for all employees that ensures they have a clear understanding of the campus’ face covering requirement and accountability expectations. In addition, through sustained communication and training, students will be made aware of the ways in which the face coverings protocol will be enforced by employees prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester.

Hand-hygiene is strongly encouraged. Students, faculty, and staff should utilize safe hand-washing practices and use hand sanitizer whenever possible. Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout both campuses.

Symptoms of COVID-19 and self-monitoring: Students, faculty, and staff familiarity with the symptoms of COVID-19 will be key to reducing the risk of the virus spreading this fall. All campus community members should become familiar with the symptoms described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to self-monitor daily.

  • MSUB strongly encourages every member of campus community to assess themselves for symptoms and to personally check their temperature every day before coming to campus. Individuals who have a fever or exhibit symptoms should not come to work or class and should immediately contact their health care provider.

On the local level, the campus maintains a strong working relationship with RiverStone Health, which is the city/county health department.  Dr. John Dorr, Safety Subcommittee Co-Chair at MSUB, is chair of the RiverStone Board of Health.  Chief of Police Denis Otterness is an active member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee.  Student Health Services (SHS) Director Darla Tyler-McSherry and University Chief of Police Otterness are members of the local Health and Medical Advisory Group, a broadly representative group associated with the Unified Health Command.  MSUB has been and will continue to be in regular communication with all these organizations. 

At the state level, MSU Billings continues to participate in the MUS system-wide COVID-19 calls, in which there is representation from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.  At the national level, MSUB Student Health Services is a member of the American College Health Association (ACHA), and SHS Director Darla Tyler-McSherry is a board member.

Montana is in Phase II for reopening, and the CDC recently released a decision tree for places of employment to use when making reopening decisions during the COVID-19 era. MSUB is following guidelines from the CDC and local health department officials to help ensure a healthy and safe environment. MSUB’s Back to Business Action Plan has been reviewed and approved by John Felton, President & CEO/Health Officer at RiverStone Health.

Readiness

Consistently across the board, the campus has in place, or is currently working toward:

  • Health and Safety Actions
    • Communications that encourage the wearing of cloth face-coverings via the Back to Business website, digital screens, social media, email communications, and posters/flyers. 
    • Signage installation (floor and walls) to indicate/encourage 6-foot spacing.
    • Moving or re-arranging desk/chairs/equipment/traffic flows to help facilitate 6 foot spacing.
    • Limiting group gatherings to no more than 50 people via class section sizing, and student organizations and activities planning.
    • Installation of plexiglass shields in high-traffic reception areas.
    • Implementation of more frequent cleaning practices on high touch surfaces.
    • Increased availability of hand sanitizer across campus.
    • Increased availability of CDC -approved cleaning products for use on high-touch surfaces.
    • MSUB will coordinate with OCHE for guidelines for use of personal safety supplies, cleaning supplies, and health monitoring equipment. Current plans call for the construction and distribution of “personal safety kits” which will include cloth face masks, hand sanitizer, CDC-approved cleaning solution and cloth, and information on COVID-19 symptoms and recommended follow up for students and employees. Plans for distribution are being developed.
  • Education and Communication
    • The MSUB Back to Business website will continually be updated for content and resources. Local, state, and federal health officials acknowledge this is a novel virus. As such, MSUB acknowledges and communicates to students and employees that there is some increased risk associated with a return to living, learning, and working on campus. 
    • Promotion of healthy hygiene practices and how to stop the spread of germs via Back to Business website, social media, digital screens, campus weekly emails, posters, and flyers across campus.
    • Development of a safety video that will be part of the virtual Orientation process.
    • Implementation of reasonable accommodations including telework agreements, COVID-19 pay, and remote learning for those who qualify and/or are at an increased risk.
    • With guidance from RiverStone Health, MSUB will strongly promote self-monitoring of symptoms, avoiding crowds, and logging of contact information for all out of state or outside the U.S. students, faculty, and staff within 14 days prior to their arrival on campus. This will take place with coordination among Athletics, Office of International Studies, Housing & Residence Life, Human Resources, and Student Health Services. 
      • Specifically, international students are asked to arrive 14 days early to self-quarantine.
      • We will encourage faculty to utilize a set seating chart for the entire semester which will assist with contact tracing. 
    • Ongoing Monitoring

Public Health Testing & Tracing Protocols

MSUB will continue to be in frequent communication with RiverStone Health regarding COVID-19. MSUB continues to support the monitoring, testing, and tracing efforts of RiverStone Health, as well as advised quarantine and isolation protocols. MSUB will continue to coordinate with public health officials to develop and implement mitigation strategies to reduce health risks to students, employees, and communities. Riverstone Health has assured us they will do the contact tracing when needed, as required by Montana law.

Buildings and Facilities

Develop a building/facilities usage and staffing plan that ensures adequate cleaning and sanitation, with particular attention to all high traffic areas, common areas, and restroom facilities; develop a tracking process for cleanings.

In order to assist students, faculty, and staff, Facilities Services have implemented a layered strategy to enhance cleaning and disinfecting of campus buildings and spaces to meet or exceed CDC guidelines. Facilities Services staff will be on campus and more visible during regular working hours and will ‘flex shifts’ as necessary to meet campus needs.

Facilities Services staff will continue normal cleaning activities throughout campus.  Enhanced disinfecting of public spaces by Facilities Services staff will include washrooms, library spaces, classrooms, public spaces in residence buildings, laboratories, hallways and corridors. 

Enhancements include:

  • Disinfection of horizontal surfaces of classroom desks, tables, and similar surfaces once each day per CDC guidelines.
  • Disinfection of high touch items like door push/pulls, elevator buttons, light switches, stair railings, cabinet doors, etc. throughout the day per CDC guidelines.
  • Bathrooms, showers, locker/changing rooms will be thoroughly cleaned and continuously stocked to support the expected increase in hand-washing and personal hygiene activities.
  • Event specific plans to ensure these activities receive the same standard of enhanced cleaning and disinfection.
  • Provision and supplies for 25 pedestal hand sanitizer stands to be distributed throughout the campus.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at all points of service.
  • A tracking process for area cleaning and disinfecting has been created to monitor workload and ensure all target cleaning and disinfection standards are being accomplished.

Plexiglass separation barriers

In locations where social distancing cannot be readily achieved, physical plexiglass barriers have been installed. Plexiglass separators at all points of sale, reception, and service will be in place for the return of students to campus. 

Social distancing protocols

  • A combination of schedule adjustments and physical changes to space has been completed to reduce room capacity to 50% and create 6- feet social distancing to meet CDC/State guidelines.
  • Floor stickers to remind individuals to maintain a 6-foot separation will be installed throughout the institution. 
  • In classrooms and labs, tables and chairs will be limited to ensure distancing for students.

Develop a plan for placement and monitoring of materials that promote healthy hygiene practices.

Specialty-cleaning supplies have been distributed in three formats to supplement custodial disinfecting by allowing individuals to take personal action to protect themselves and their peers. 

Student, faculty, and staff members will receive a 'Jacket Safety Kit containing:

  • 1 reusable disinfectant bottle, pre-filled and labeled
  • 1 reusable personal face mask
  • 1 8 oz refillable bottle of hand sanitizer 
  • Personal care and community safety information and instructions for product use
  • Carrying bag

Each work area and teaching space will be equipped with a "cleaning caddy" that contains the following:

  • 1 refillable 16 oz bottle of hand sanitizer
  • 1 refillable 16 oz spray bottle of disinfecting product
  • 1 microfiber rag
  • 1 pair of nitrile gloves
  • 1 instruction sheet

Each building is provided with a resupply cart to ensure the availability of cleaning supplies.

Establish, as applicable, clearly communicated guidelines if there are any changes to building hours of operation or general accessibility.

Building hours of operation changes have been and will continue to be announced in the weekly Buzz Bulletin, Jacket Journal, and posted on the Back-to-Business webpage. Signage posted on buildings also reflect changes to hours of operation. Any major building hours of operation or general accessibility changes will be communicated promptly with students, faculty, and staff. 

Develop a plan for visible signage that promotes social distancing and healthy hygiene practices.

Working collaboratively with University Communications & Marketing (UCAM), signs to promote healthy hygiene and social distancing will be prominently displayed around campus.

Develop a communication plan that allows for timely reaction to specific cleaning needs and any needed changes to scheduling/rescheduling of space after a positive case is discovered.

In the event of a positive COVID-19 case on campus, the area will be closed off for direct targeted cleaning and disinfection of the identified area(s).

Faculty and Staff Campus Operations

Design staffing and facility use plans to mitigate risks for employees and students to possibly include redesigned physical spaces, designated traffic flow patterns, use of physical barriers such as plexiglass where feasible.  Adjusted staffing schedules and operational hours that allow for staggered work shifts, rotating teams in each operational area, and more social distancing for staff and students.

  • Employees will operate safely respecting social distancing within the work environment. Departments may design plans for their individual spaces and work environments to mitigate health risks for students, employees, and the public. These plans may include:
    • Using physical barriers and signage to remind and encourage students, employees, and visitors to respect social distancing.
    • Rearranging office spaces and furniture to meet social distancing recommendations and to deter gathering and crowding.
    • Making alternative scheduling arrangements for close-quarter work environments, such as rotating teams or staggering shiftwork, to reduce contact while still ensuring the needs of unions and employment contract obligations are met.
    • Limiting offices and workspaces to no more than 10 employees in an office with one employee at the front desk.
    • Installing plexiglass shields to assist with safe public contact.
    • Supplementing in-person services with remote delivery options with emphasis on phone/tablet accessibility.
  • Employees will be responsible for the sanitization of their individual workspaces and are encouraged to participate in office-wide sanitizing efforts using provided cleaning caddies:
    • Employees will disinfect their workspaces and high-touch areas daily and in-between visitors.
    • Shared equipment, tools, phones, and other devices will be sanitized in-between users; employees are required to wash their hands after use.
    • Computer labs will have alcohol wipes at their entrance allowing students to wipe down the equipment before use and hand sanitizer will be available for students using shared equipment.
      • The available Remote Computer Lab provides access to MSUB software for students, on or off-campus, without having to physically be in a computer lab.
  • Anyone (including students, faculty, staff, and visitors) entering MSUB university or City College campus buildings, including residence halls, must wear a face covering. 

Plan a strategy for reasonable work accommodations for employees with heightened risk from COVID-19 exposure.

  • Individual employee accommodations and requests concerning COVID-19 will be addressed through the Human Resources Office (HR). Supervisors of these employees will work with Human Resources (HR) on a case-by-case basis.
    • COVID-19 leave is available to employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19 related events such as school closure and imposed-quarantine. The process for requesting accommodations will begin with the employee’s supervisor and proceed to HR.
    • Reasonable accommodations are available to employees who cannot work on-site due to medically related COVID-19 concerns. The process for requesting accommodations will begin with the employee’s supervisor and proceed to HR.
  • Employee health and hygiene practices will be encouraged.
    • Offices will maintain a supply of hand sanitizer which will be available and accessible to all employees in the workplace.
    • Employees must wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Employees will follow CDC guidelines by covering coughs and sneezes and avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Employees who are sick will remain home.
    • Supervisors will regularly remind their employees to stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Supervisors can require employees to leave the workplace if COVID-19 symptoms are present (this does not apply to non-COVID related illness or conditions).
    • COVID-19 leave is available to employees who are symptomatic, quarantined, or who have received a positive diagnosis.
  • As a reminder to all MSUB employees and their families, the Employee Assistance Program is available for a wide range of services including, but not limited to, mental and emotional well-being services.

Where relevant, consult with employee unions as staffing strategies are developed.

MSUB HR participates in regular weekly meetings with OCHE HR and unions for questions, updates, etc. HR will work with union representatives directly as needed on an individual employee basis, or if other staffing strategies are required. 

Ensure that employee work calendars comply with contractual obligations.

Union contracts and employment contracts allow flexibility with employee schedules. MSUB will work on an individual basis with employees who need schedule changes or adjustments under ADA or COVID-19 leave. 

For student-facing business operations, supplement in-person service with remote delivery options whenever possible, with an emphasis on phone/tablet accessibility.

MSUB will reconfigure certain student support operations, such as advising, so that students can access the service remotely and offer tele-advising. 

Communications

  • There will be a weekly section in the Buzz Bulletin reminding campus to continue to follow the proper safety precautions along with a weekly COVID-19 tip. Slides will be created for the campus monitors reminding people to take safety measures.
  • Once the Back-to-Business plan is complete, a text will be distributed to all students, faculty, and staff who have signed up to receive Emergency Alerts via text message; notifying them that our fall Back-to-Business plan is complete and include the link to where they can access and read it.
    • The Back-to-Business plan will be compiled into a downloadable PDF on the msubillings.edu website and will also be created into a separate webpage for convenience and ease of access.
    • UCAM will send out a campus-wide admin general notifying campus of the plan, along with sending a press release to announce the completion of the fall plan with link to it, for the media to announce and distribute far and wide.
    • Chancellor  will write an email to all parents directly notifying them of the Back-to-Business plan.
    • A small section with the link to the Back-to-Business plan will be included in the fall marketing materials (road pieces). Messaging around COVID-19 preparedness and preventative measures has been and will be included in the prospective student communications flow messaging, with more details, by New Student Services.
  • UCAM is also creating branded signage with reminders to practice health and safety precautions. Signage lives on the Back-to-Business page where anyone can easily download, print, and hang them up. Each Vice Chancellor will communicate to their respective departments that they are responsible for printing and displaying these branded COVID-19 preventative signs. The Center for Engagement will assist with displaying signs to promote health, hygiene, and remind students, faculty, and staff of COVID-19 precautions.

Campus Safety and Security

Develop campus safety and security plans that balances public health concerns and precautions with protecting student and campus community safety in accordance with federal guidelines (e.g., Clery, Title IX guidelines, etc.).

  • The University Police Department will continue to provide law enforcement, public safety, and support services to both MSUB campuses.
    • Staffing levels will remain consistent with increased staffing during daytime hours when there are increased calls for service and the greatest number of students, faculty, staff, and visitors on both MSUB campuses.
    • Engagement efforts with Student Health Services, the Dean of Student Engagement and Associate Dean of Students/Director of Housing & Residence Life will be continued.
    • Support to other university and City College campus departments and organizations will continue to be provided as requested.
  • The University Police Department, through the Chief of Police, will continue to provide Emergency Management Services and coordination.
  • The Chief of Police will continue membership and involvement with the Yellowstone County Local Emergency Planning Committee.
  • The Chief of Police will continue to coordinate MSUB Emergency Management services in conjunction with university administration, Director of Student Health Services, and other local emergency management professionals.

Develop plans and protocols to maintain and protect student and employee privacy in remote, online, and blended operational environments in accordance with federal privacy guidelines (e.g., FERPA, HIPAA, etc.).

  • In December 2019, the U.S. Department of Education, along with HHS, issued guidance on the applicability of FERPA and HIPAA to student health records, the “Joint Guidance on the Application of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) To Student Health Records.”
  • FERPA prohibits educational agencies and institutions from disclosing PII from students’ education record without the prior written consent of a parent or “eligible student,” unless an exception to FERPA’s general consent rule applies. 20 U.S.C. §§ 1232g(b)(1) and (b)(2); 34 C.F.R. §§ 99.30 and 99.31. For instance, pursuant to one such exception, the “health or safety emergency” exception, educational agencies and institutions may disclose to a public health agency PII from student education records, without prior written consent in connection with an emergency if the public health agency’s knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other individuals. 20 U.S.C. § 1232g(b)(1)(I); 34 C.F.R. §§ 99.31(a)(10) and 99.36. For all other situations where an exception to FERPA’s general consent requirement does not apply, educational agencies and institutions must obtain prior written consent of a parent or eligible student to disclose PII from student education records. 20 U.S.C. §§ 1232g(b)(1) and (b)(2); 34 C.F.R. §§ 99.30 and 99.31.
  • Information sharing, web-hosting, and telecommunication innovations that have enabled new education technologies raise questions about how best to protect student privacy. MSUB will need to evaluate the use of new online educational services on a case-by-case basis to determine if FERPA-protected information (i.e., PII from education records) is implicated. Prior to using educational technologies, faculty and departments should consult with Information Technology (IT) to review compliance with data sharing and student privacy.  Per established policy, software purchasing requires all software needs to be vetted by IT, MSU IT Security, and MSU Legal before it is used.

Establish clear, student-centered guidelines for campus safety personnel who engage in enforcement of health and safety protocols. 

  • University Police Officers will not take an enforcement position related to the university’s COVID-19 guidelines, recommendations and requirements (e.g. social distancing, mask-wearing, hand sanitizing, etc.), unless there are other criminal violations present.
  • University Police Officers will continue to respond to all reported criminal activity and appropriate service-related details.

Travel

Travel policies are developed in coordination with the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE) and in accordance with state and federal guidelines and will be updated as necessary and as circumstances warrant.

International Travel

MSUB will extend its suspension of university international travel for faculty and staff until December 31, 2020.

Updated Aug. 10, 2020: International students coming to Billings from international locations will no longer be required to undergo a 14 day quarantine period. However, they should follow the Governor's mandate and MSUB requirement to wear a face covering, maintain social distancing, follow hand washing guidelines and monitor for signs and symptoms especially if they have traveled from an area with a high rate of infection, per the CDC guidelines

In-state, work related travel

In-state travel that is central to the maintenance and operations of MSUB and that cannot be managed through remote modalities may be deemed essential.  Faculty and staff who believe they must travel for work should submit a written request to their supervisor for approval explaining why the travel is necessary and why the meeting cannot be accomplished remotely or through alternative means. Supervisors will be asked to approve travel requests and forward to HR.  Faculty and staff will be asked to file a COVID-19 Travel Plan that indicates what the faculty or staff member plan to do to mitigate risk while traveling.  This plan should include plans to social distance, continue good hygiene, not report to work if feeling sick, and include mask-wearing whenever possible.

Out-of-state, work related travel

Out-of-State travel that is central to the maintenance and operations of MSUB and that cannot be managed through remote modalities may be deemed essential.  Faculty and staff who believe they must travel for work should submit a written request to their supervisor for approval explaining why the travel is necessary and why the meeting cannot be accomplished remotely or through alternative means. Supervisors will be asked to approve travel requests and forward to HR.  Faculty and staff will be asked to file a COVID-19 Travel Plan that indicates what the faculty or staff member plan to do to mitigate risk while traveling.  This plan should include plans to social distance, continue good hygiene, not report to work if feeling sick, and include plans for mask-wearing whenever possible.

Any travel to a state that has a quarantine policy is prohibited.  Additionally, faculty and staff should be aware that conditions may change at any time and that they may be unable to leave their location or they may have to quarantine upon reentry to Montana.

Student travel

MSUB will suspend all student travel until December 31, 2020.

Information Technology

  • Internet Options for Students
    • A loaner wireless hotspot program is available to provide a loaner hotspot to currently enrolled students who do not have internet access. Requests can be made by filling out a Hotspot Loaner Application.
    • Outdoor wireless access points will be purchased and placed strategically where students would be able to access the internet from their vehicles in a parking lot or a common space should the university need to move all classes to the remote learning modality.
  • Computer Labs
    • To adhere to social distancing requirements, computer labs will be modified to allow for social distancing between computers.  This will result in the computer lab capacity operating at approximately 50% capacity. 
    • A laptop loaner program is available to provide a loaner laptop to currently enrolled students who do not have a computer. Requests can be made by filling out a Laptop Loaner Application.
    • Remote Computer Lab: A virtual desktop infrastructure environment will be available to students that will allow access to MSUB software on student’s personal devices, whether on campus or off. Please see the Information Technology website for more information.

Academics

Instructional Plans

Establish a classroom occupancy, traffic flow, and course scheduling plan that minimizes health risks associated with in-person instruction.

  • Classroom occupancy will allow for social distancing (remaining 6-feet apart) in the classroom. Cleaning materials will be made available in each classroom for use in wiping down desks and other materials between classes. Students are strongly encouraged to maintain proper social distance (remaining 6 feet apart) while changing classes.
  • Students will receive education during orientation emphasizing the meaning of social distancing, staying home when sick, cleaning classroom space before leaving the class, etc.
  • All face-to-face meetings and classes will have assigned seating to ensure contact tracing.  Attendance will be taken in all classes to ensure contact tracing. 
  • Common language will be developed for faculty to use in their syllabi encouraging students to stay home when they are sick. Faculty will develop statements to explain class operations with regard to modalities and distancing. Faculty will develop backup plans or partner with a “teaching buddy” who can take over class if they become sick.
  • For courses offered face-to-face, faculty may hold virtual or in-person office hours during the fall semester, depending on their preference.  For hybrid or online courses, office hours may be held virtually for the fall semester.

Where possible, work with faculty to develop flexible instruction plans that leverage instructional technology, encourage blended delivery, and encourage smaller groups for in-person class meetings.

  • All faculty in all colleges submitted plans for fall semester to allow for social distancing between students as much as possible without reducing course caps.
    • Distribute plans to facilitate advising.
    • Develop a holistic approach to assigning rooms based on distancing and specific course needs.
    • Follow facilities and health and safety plans for minimizing gatherings of 50 people or less.

Work with faculty to develop a plan for quickly transitioning to remote delivery should conditions warrant.

Faculty have developed plans for each face-to-face class for fall semester to transition to remote delivery, should that become necessary. D2L shells are available for each course, making this transition as easy as possible.

Provide training and resources to help faculty maximize use of learning technologies and blended course delivery.

  • Faculty (minimum of 20) are receiving training over summer in the HyFlex modality to be implemented in 2020-2021 academic year.
  • Faculty development through the Online Teaching and Learning Institute was increased to two classes with overloads to accommodate 28 faculty members, full and part-time, to migrate courses to an online environment.
  • Faculty development of workshops in academic year 2020-2021 will be offered through the eLearning Faculty Fellowship to address technological and pedagogical practices in web-based and technology-enhanced classrooms.

Establish tools and practices to assess student learning in remote, blended, or other delivery formats.

  • All courses, regardless of modality (including face-to-face traditional formats) will be assigned a D2L course shell from the Learning Management System and the Department of eLearning will check for content (at a minimum, check that the course syllabus is uploaded).
  • The Department of eLearning and Information Technology provides software application, hardware, support, and training in synchronous (real-time) video delivery of courses.
  • New tools being researched, pilot tested or utilized to enhance online learning and assessment include:
    • Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor for proctoring and Respondus 4.0 for online exam creation.
    • YuJa for lecture capture and improved captioning for students with disabilities.
    • TopHat for proctoring, assignments, formative electronic feedback (clickers), and Open Educational Resources.
  • Adoption and implementation of Quality Matters program to maintain standards of practice and principles in web-based teaching and learning.

To the greatest extent possible, develop a technological infrastructure (e.g. course scheduling, LMS shells, etc.) that can transition between remote and in-person delivery.

  • Faculty will develop robust D2L shells for every course to transition quickly to online if needed and make the most of classroom time to do hands-on activities (especially in labs and CTE programs).
  • Limited access will be provided to on-campus offices for faculty who don’t have access to high-speed internet and additional rural considerations that might develop if we again transition to all online delivery.

Account for impacts on federal compliance requirements (accessibility, financial aid, veteran’s services, etc.) resulting from alterations to instruction models and/or physical learning spaces and identify how compliance requirements in each area will be met.

  • Financial Aid is working with the Department of Education, the state, and others to verify student financial aid and make aid (regular and CARES Act funding) available to all students who qualify.
  • Veterans Services is working with the federal government, state, and others to verify qualification for funding and disburse based on modified semester timelines.  MSUB is investigating offering an Intersession for students who may require additional coursework and who may qualify for additional funding.
  • Office of International Studies is working with the federal government and others to make sure that learning modalities for international students are in compliance with requirements.
  • Disability Support Services Is working with faculty to ensure that students disability needs are met. Courses that require closed captioning or other accommodations are being managed on a course-by-course basis.

Make decisions about experiential learning (e.g. internships, clinical work, student teaching in K-12 settings, education abroad, etc.) based on an assessment of:  health risks at destination/learning site, compatible approaches by external partners, size of learning group, equipment needs, health risks associated with required transportation, and the extent to which the experience is essential (for accreditation, etc.) to the program of study.

  • Internships
    • Faculty supervising internships will work closely with employers to ensure the highest level of safety for students.
    • Faculty have developed contingency plans for completion of internship requirements online or in a subsequent semester to ensure program completion and graduation.
    • Faculty will also work closely with students to develop completion plans that best allow for attainment of learning outcomes.
  • Clinicals and Student Teaching
    • Clinical placements will follow the policies and procedures set forth by the sites.
    • Finishing clinicals may become problematic if students are barred from entering the sites.  Programs requiring clinicals used simulation software during Spring 2020 along with postponing clinical experience to summer.  Those options will be utilized during the fall semester as well, in consultation with the appropriate accrediting organizations.
    • Student teachers (College of Education) will be offered multiple options including, postponing the experience to a different semester, evaluating the length of the experience to determine if minimal work has been completed, or continuing the experience online.

Research & Creative Scholarship

Establish clear protocols for moving between Research Operation Levels 0-4.

  • All labs and principal investigators (PI’s) have approved re-entry plans before resuming any research (Level 1).
    • Due date for fall is August 10.
  • Movement from Level 1 to Levels 2, 3, and 4 will require an approved response plan, available from the Grants and Sponsored Programs Office.

Develop standard operating procedures and protocols for cleaning, social distancing, and traffic flow in lab/workspaces. Particular attention should be given to cleaning and usage of shared lab/workspace equipment.

  • All labs have cleaning and training plans based on updated biosafety plans.
  • Lab schedules must be posted to ensure social distancing.
  • Students, faculty, and staff utilizing research spaces must stay home if exhibiting any signs of illness. Participants who appear sick will be required to leave the research space and building immediately.
  • PPE required for lab activities will be provided by the college.
  • Appropriate policies will be developed and implemented, in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations and guidance, and informed by industry best practices.
  • Institutional Review Board language and guidelines will be revised to require safety and social distancing plans for research with human subjects.

Design meetings with off-campus research collaborators and sponsors to minimize health and transmission risks.

  • Internships
    • Faculty supervising internships will work closely with employers to ensure the highest level of safety for students.
    • Faculty have developed contingency plans for completion of internship requirements online or in a subsequent semester to ensure program completion and graduation.
    • Faculty will work closely with students to develop completion plans that best allow for attainment of learning outcomes.
  • Clinicals and Student Teaching
    • Clinical placements will follow the policies and procedures set forth by the sites.
    • Finishing clinicals may become problematic if students are barred from entering the sites.  Programs requiring clinicals used simulation software during Spring 2020 along with postponing clinical experience to summer.  Those options will be utilized during the fall semester as well, in consultation with the appropriate accrediting organizations.
    • Student teachers (College of Education) will be offered multiple options including, postponing the experience to a different semester, evaluating the length of the experience to determine if minimal work has been completed, or continuing the experience online.

Student Engagement

Admissions & New Student Services—University Campus

For all event venues, develop occupancy limits and seating charts that follow local and state guidelines on event size and allow for social distancing at all events.

Event occupancy is set at 50% for each venue on campus to allow for appropriate social distancing.  Facilities Services and the Center for Engagement know modified occupancy requirements and will schedule events accordingly.

For all event venues, establish rules for traffic flow and congregational spaces (e.g. bathrooms, concession areas) that minimize risk of disease transmission while still meeting accessibility requirements.

Signage promoting traffic flow and social distancing will be present in all venues.

For all venues, and for each event, establish a pre-event, intra-event, and post-event cleaning plan based on public health and CDC guidelines. Ensure that event scheduling allows for appropriate cleaning to take place between the conclusion of one event and the beginning of another.

Facilities Services will develop a plan that allows ample time for cleaning prior to, during, and after an event has taken place.  Multiple events in the same venue will be scheduled with ample time to allow for cleaning protocols to be implemented.

For all major, high-occupancy events (e.g. Commencement, Homecoming) develop a plan that considers:

  • Moving events to Spring 2021 or Academic Year 2021-2022 when possible.
  • Breaking up singular event instances into multiple, smaller instances of that event.
  • Avoiding overlapping events that place stress on campus staffing, cleaning resources, and ability to maintain social distancing.

For “welcome to campus” events (e.g. orientation, move-in day), develop a plan that considers:

  • Staggering arrival/move-in days and times to allow for smaller groups and lighter traffic flow.
  • A strategy coordinated with state and local public health authorities for testing students who are returning to campus from time recently spent out-of- state due to travel or residency.
  • Breaking up larger orientation events into multiple smaller events.
  • Allowing students to complete some items on their “welcome to campus” checklist virtually, in order to reduce crowding on campus.
  • Accounting for any relevant quarantine and health check requirements when welcoming students and/or visitors to campus from outside Montana.

Establish decision criteria for hosting (or not hosting) non-college/university events.

  • When possible, events will be asked to move to Spring 2021.
  • For events that cannot be moved, a COVID-19 response plan is required, which addresses the following from Montana Phase 2 guidelines, and is on file before the event begins on campus.
    • In the event a confirmed COVID-19 case is associated with a facility, the facility should clean in accordance with CDC facility environmental cleaning procedures the areas of the establishment frequented by patrons.
    • Maximum number of attendees is 75 percent of normal capacity (PE building) and 50 people (other campus event space) while maintaining 6 feet between non-family member groups.
    • Signage must be posted with the following or substantially similar wording: “Patrons with fever, shortness of breath, a cough, or other COVID-19 symptoms must refrain from using this facility.”
    • Signs shall be positioned for effective visual observation by patrons, such as on the entry way door.
    • Increase cleaning and sanitizing of frequently touched surfaces, including door handles, chairs and tables.
    • Social distancing of at least 6 feet between non-family member groups or immediate party should be maintained.
    • Food vendors must run through MSUB Dining Services to ensure applicable COVID-19 procedures for restaurants and retail food service are followed.
    • Facilities should try to control customer flow in a manner that maximizes social distancing such as signage or ropes and directing flow in one direction.
    • Provide hand sanitizer or hand washing stations throughout the venue whenever possible.
    • Increase cleaning and sanitizing of restrooms to no less than every two hours whenever possible.

Require all off-campus organizations scheduling non college/university events on campus to agree to updated terms and conditions requiring campus sanitation protocols.

  • Off-campus entities wishing to schedule space in PE Building will need to create a COVID-19 response plan with the facility request.  Response plan will be required to meet all Montana Phase 2 requirements and guidelines and must be on file prior to the event taking place.
  • Organizations must agree to all university terms and conditions and will be responsible to effectively monitor and manage their event in compliance with the guidelines.
  • EMS scheduling system has updated contract terms and conditions at the top of each space reservation confirmation. 

Design in-person campus tours to include smaller groups that meet social distancing guidelines and restrictions on gathering size.

  • Signs and stanchions are placed to assist students and guests in social distancing when at the information desk and in the New Student Services/Admissions Office.
  • The visit calendar has been adjusted to begin on campus tours starting June 1, 2020.
    • New Student Specialist will follow up with prospective students to confirm their visit and discuss with them where they are visiting from, number of guests they will have joining them, so that we can make the best game plan for location of visit and movement through campus.
    • Visits will be scheduled through various times throughout the day to assist in limiting the number of visitors to the office and campus.
    • Beginning June 1, group visits will be scheduled based on state guidelines and groups will be split into even smaller groups with appropriate staff. Route plans will be devised to best accommodate the groups.
    • Virtual visits will continue to be offered.
    • Fall travel will be adjusted and determined as state guidelines are followed, as well as monitoring of the information coming from regional and national recruitment organizations/college fairs.
    • The Conduit platform will be launched to be able to provide virtual content and webinars, hopefully in addition to fall travel, but also as a supplement when necessary.

Admissions & New Student Services—City College

Jacket Student Central will offer three options for campus visits: on campus, virtual, or a combination of both. 

  • Campus visits
    • Explain social distancing expectations for all on campus tours when arranging appointments.
    • Arrange campus tours to follow federal and state guidelines.
      • Evaluate size of the tour; individual or group/number of guests and will coordinate location of campus tour.
  • Recruiter visits/recruitment events (off-site)
    • Evaluate state and federal regulations guidelines to determine travel options (high school visits and outside recruitment events).
    • Coordinate with VCSAS/MSUB leadership on participating in MT/WY college fairs; following all social distancing protocols.
    • Coordinate with NSS to continue and enhance our marketing outreach through various virtual college fair/information sessions and “chats” via StriveScan, the new Conduit platform and social media platforms.
    • Build our “video” library highlighting programs, resources, and opportunities so it can be shared on numerous platforms to sell our campus virtually.

Athletics/Recreational Activities

MSUB is currently awaiting further decision from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and the NCAA on student-athlete travel. If so, all guidelines will be met from the state of Montana and the destination state. A final announcement is expected on or around July 19, 2020.

Updated, July 2020: The Great Northwest Athletic Conference have suspended all athletic competition, in both championship and non-championship segments, through Nov. 30, 2020. Division II 's seven fall 2020 championships are canceled due to operational, logistical, and financial challenges presented by COVID-19.

While general planning guidelines are provided, modifications may be necessary and will be strongly influenced by upcoming guidance established by the MUS Athletics 2020 Advisory Group and by future decisions from relevant athletics conferences (e.g. Big Sky Conference, GNAC Conference, Frontier Conference) and national organizing bodies (e.g. NCAA, NAIA).

MSUB has created a COVID-19 Athletics Coordination Team, that includes the athletic director or designee, head athletic trainer or designee, head team physician or designee, coaching representative, strength and conditioning representative, student health services representative, counseling services representative, a student-athlete, and a representative from the local health care system (campus medical center or local health care system) who has been involved in the development of this report.

Conduct an assessment of the potential for COVID-19 transmission in each sport (e.g. individual vs. team sports, contact vs. non-contact sports, major spectator vs. limited spectator sports, etc.). Risk factors should be established and return to practice and competition should be based on factors including, but not necessarily limited to, any impediments to social distancing (e.g. contact between players), ball transfer, cleaning of shared equipment, and feasibility of social distancing among any spectators.

  • Intramural team sports will not be offered in Fall 2020.  Recreation Activities will focus on smaller activities, e-sports and non-contact programs, where social distancing will be enforceable. Any shared equipment will be sanitized regularly.
  • Each coach and athletics operations personnel will draft a plan to limit all COVID-19 transmission.

Develop a health assessment survey for student athletes at onset of the practice and competitive seasons; and develop an ongoing health screening process to monitor health of student athletes at regular intervals throughout the practice and competitive seasons.

  • A daily wellness survey that will be sent out to all student-athletes each day has been implemented. Student-athletes are instructed to complete this and the results are automatically sent to the athletic trainer.
  • In the event a student-athlete marks that they feel ill, they will be instructed to fill out the COVID-19 screening questionnaire. The athletic trainer has immediate access to this and can determine if the student-athlete needs to social distance and be referred to a physician or if they can continue with regular class and practice schedules.

Promote social distancing and enhanced cleaning in areas of congregation, including, training rooms, locker rooms, strength and conditioning facilities, and other team meeting areas.

  • Social Distancing
    • Signs are posted throughout the Physical Education building encouraging social distancing.
    • There will be decals on the floor of the building in high volume traffic areas encouraging people to maintain 6 feet distance.
    • Recreation/Athletics Fitness Center, gyms, activity areas, swimming pool and other activity areas will operate at reduced capacity, currently 75%. 
  • Enhanced Cleaning
    • Facilities Services have changed their hours to be more present during occupied times of the building to facilitate more frequent sanitizing of high traffic areas.
    • QT-3, a CDC approved disinfecting product will be used to sanitized facility and equipment.
    • Teams have been given wipes and disinfectant spray in order to clean and disinfect team locker rooms and equipment daily.   
    • In the athletic training room, a cleaning plan has been implemented and all tables and equipment will be sprayed and wiped after each use. An electrostatic sprayer will be used at the end of the day to disinfect all other surfaces.
    • Fitness Center will have a dedicated employee during open hours to ensure users wipe equipment after each use and to continually clean/sanitize common areas and equipment.
    • Fitness Center, general locker rooms, and other activity areas will be sanitized with electrostatic sprayer nightly after closing. Users are strongly encouraged to come dressed ready to be active and change and shower at home.
    • Other activity spaces will be opened as needed and sanitized by coaches, instructors, and users after each use. 

Athletics administration and sports medicine staff should follow federal, state, local, and institutional public health recommendations related to screening and testing of student-athletes and staff following team, work-related, and personal travel.

  • Upon return from out-of-state travel, all student-athletes, coaches, and staff will be required to take their temperature daily for 10 days. In the event that someone has a temperature above 100.4°, they will be asked to leave the premises and fill out the COVID-19 screening questionnaire electronically.
  • If a student-athlete, coach, or staff member has signs or symptoms of COVID-19 they will be advised to contact their provider to discuss their symptoms and possible COVID-19 testing.
  • Any student-athlete that displays symptoms or has a flag on their screening document will be put in contact with RiverStone Health officials and will be evaluated from there.

Campus Dining Services

The health and safety of all MSUB students, faculty, staff and community guests is of the utmost importance to our dining services team.  Our team is trained on proper food handling, sanitation and personal hygiene, and new protocols put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, which include daily personal wellness checks.

  • Guests will be encouraged to use the sanitizer stations at all entrances.
  • Additional staff positions have been added to enhance cleaning and sanitization.
  • New card transaction systems will be connected at every register to allow guests to swipe their own U-Card (may be delayed delivery due to demand).
  • Upon “swiping in,” guests will be handed a drink glass to choose their own fountain beverage. Milk, juice, and coffee will be pre-poured and served by dining staff.
  • Daily and weekly menus will be at the host stand to assist with decision making.
  • Menu options and recipes may be streamlined to enhance speed of service.
  • Utensils and napkins will be available packaged or via “touchless” dispensers for each menu format.
  • Disposable linens, napkins, plates, beverage service ware, and utensils are recommended for all events.

Establish hours of operation that allow for facility occupancy that meets social distancing guidelines and allows for proper cleaning and sanitation.

  • Hours of operations have been determined by using historic guest counts, traffic flow, and projected enrollment levels.
  • Rimrock Dining Hall—operating 7 days/week
    • Breakfast (Monday – Friday) 7:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
    • Brunch (Saturday & Sunday) 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    • Lunch (Monday – Friday) 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
    • Dinner (Sunday – Thursday) 5 p.m.  – 7 p.m.
    • Dinner (Friday & Saturday)  5 p.m.  – 6 p.m.
  • Retail Locations— Stingers, Jazzman’s, SubConnection, City College operating Monday–Friday.  Hours of operations have been determined by using historic guest counts, traffic flow, and projected enrollment levels.
    • Stinger’s Bistro (Monday – Friday) 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Jazzman’s Brew & Bakery (Monday – Friday) 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • SubConnection (Monday – Friday) 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • City College Café (Monday – Friday) 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
    • Concessions – opens 30 – 45 minutes before game time

Require all dining facility staff to wear face masks and gloves while working and interacting with the public.

Dining services staff will be gloved and masked for guest’s protection and their own. Guests encouraged to wear masks in heavily trafficked spaces as well, or when a 6 feet distance cannot be maintained.

Plan to limit the number of individuals dining in a single facility at one time.  Dining hall capacity should achieve appropriate social distancing of diners, and, once the target capacity is reached, an additional individual should only be allowed entry when another leaves.

  • Seating layouts have been reduced to comply with CDC guidelines for social distancing.
  • Guest capacity at each location have been reduced. Monitors will regulate traffic flow per the new standards: Entry into the dining hall will be slowed or stopped as capacity is reached. Take-out containers are available when seating is at maximum capacity.

Eliminate buffet-style self-serve food and beverage stations and replace with staff-served meals stations.

Served buffets will take the place of self-serve buffets as self-serve food and beverage stations will not be available during fall semester. 

Develop traffic flow patterns and seating arrangements for each venue that allow for social distancing and discourage unnecessary congregating.  Physically spaced (6 foot) floor markers should be used for waiting lines outside and inside the facility.  Inside the facility there should be an appropriately limited number of tables and chairs per table.

  • Floor stickers will guide guests to properly queue in line both inside and outside of each dining location; directional signs will clearly mark entrances, traffic flow and exits.
  • Guest capacity at each location have been reduced. Monitors will regulate traffic flow per the new standards. Take-out containers are available when seating is at maximum capacity.
  • Seating layouts have been adjusted to comply with CDC guidelines for social distancing.
  • Guests are encouraged to enjoy their meals within 30 minutes of sitting and to be mindful of others waiting for a seat.
  • Personal coffee cups will be discouraged indefinitely; dining staff will serve drip coffee.

Promote more pre-order, curbside pick-up, delivery, and ‘grab-and-go’ food service options.

  • Self-serve stations have been eliminated and replaced with packaged options or staff-served stations.
  • Take-out containers and Grab & Go options will be available when seating is at capacity.
  • Single service, packaged meals are recommended wherever possible.

Arrange for food delivery to students in isolation or in quarantine.

  • Food delivery is available for students in isolation or quarantine.

Events and Welcoming Visitors/Students to Campus

  • Whenever possible, events will be evaluated to see if they can be held outdoors or online.
  • When able to comply with the 50-person capacity guideline, we will host meetings and events during Fall 2020.
  • Event workers will be trained accordingly to help properly clean and manage the building to limit transmission.
  • All facilities will have signs that inform fans/attendees of COVID-19 guidelines and symptoms to watch out for. These include social distancing floor markings.

For all event venues, develop occupancy limits and seating charts that follow local and state guidelines on event size and allow for social distancing at all events.

  • PE Building facilities will run at the 75 percent capacity required in Montana Phase 2 guidelines. Athletic camps and other events held on campus are limited to 50 people per space.
  • Social distancing is required, maintaining 6 feet between non-family member groups.

For all event venues, establish rules for traffic flow and congregational spaces (e.g. bathrooms, concession areas) that minimize risk of disease transmission while still meeting accessibility requirements.

  • All campus events (including the PE Building) will have traffic flow signs throughout building(s).  Entrances and exits will be clearly marked.
  • Areas of congregation, lines, doorways, etc. will have floor decals to encourage 6 feet of social distancing.

For all venues, and for each event, establish a pre-event, intra-event, and post-event cleaning plan based on public health and CDC guidelines. Ensure that event scheduling allows for appropriate cleaning to take place between the conclusion of one event and the beginning of another.

  • For both camps and events, the event coordinator and/or vendor will provide a COVID-19 response plan which will include cleaning and sanitation of facility pre-event, during event, and post-event. Plan will need to follow Montana’s Phase 2 guidelines for each specific facility.  This plan will be implemented in conjunction with Facilities Services and will be on file prior to the event taking place on campus.

For “welcome to campus” events (e.g. orientation, move-in day), develop a plan that considers:

  • Staggering arrival/move-in days and times to allow for smaller groups and lighter traffic flow.
    • Housing plan outlines the move-in day process.
    • A communication plan will be developed to share with students prior to their arrival on campus which highlights all current guidelines and highlighting action steps for students if they have any signs/symptoms. If students show signs and symptoms, they will be guided to work directly with our Student Health Services team and RiverStone Health professionals. There is no testing requirement for students upon their campus arrival.
  • Breaking up larger orientation events into multiple smaller events.
    • New Student Day on August 18, 2020 will be facilitated in a large venue to allow social distancing of all students, in addition to small group sessions in classrooms, which allow for fewer numbers of students in the same space.
  • Allowing students to complete some items on their “welcome to campus” checklist virtually in order to reduce crowding on campus.
    • As part of the New Student Orientation process, new students will be completing all checklist items virtually throughout the summer

Housing and Residence Life

  • Visitation of outside guests/visitors will be suspended for the Fall 2020 semester. Students living on campus in the two residence halls will be able to check-in to the building where they do not reside. Staffed residence hall desks will allow for enforcement of this new policy.
  • Housing staff  and student staff are strongly encouraged to limit personal travel. Housing staff will promote more programming efforts on weekends to encourage  student residents to stay on-campus and limit travel. Desk operations will be adjusted.. All materials coming in/out from the desk (equipment, keys, etc.) will be sanitized on a daily basis. Desk operating hours will be minimally reduced to balance the health and safety risk building security.

Develop an occupancy plan for residence halls to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This plan should be completed in coordination with university emergency management, university health professionals, and county public health officials.

Students have the option to choose between a single or double room on-campus. Students will pay the single rate if they choose the single room option.

Follow campus cleaning procedures for all common areas (e.g. shared restrooms, study areas, laundry rooms, vending machines, etc.), with special attention to high-touch surfaces.

Custodial staff reports to Facilities Services on-campus and they will be implementing their specific cleaning plan for the residence halls. Housing staff will continue to collaborate with Facilities Services on cleaning these high-touch surfaces and modifying plans to meet student needs as necessary.

Conduct training on public health measures and signs/symptoms of COVID-19 for all live-in professionals, graduate hall directors, residence advisors, and others in similar roles.

Training sessions will occur August 7-13, 2020 for all housing staff members. These training opportunities will be in collaboration with Student Health Services and public health officials.

Develop a plan, including but not limited to signage and traffic flow markings, to promote social distancing in high occupancy or confined areas within residence halls (e.g. elevators, stairs, and entrances).

Housing & Residence Life will post signage in the following areas to promote social distancing, proper hand hygiene, COVID-19 signs and symptoms, and instructions to follow if students become sick.

  • Main lobbies
  • Floor lobbies
  • Kitchenettes
  • Laundry rooms
  • Elevators
  • Stairwells
  • Computer Labs

Re-configure seating in common areas to ensure proper social distancing.

All common space areas will be reconfigured to ensure proper social distancing. All seating that promotes multiple people (love seats, couches, etc.) will be removed and only single seat options will be available.

Build a “welcome back to campus” plan that establishes staggered move-in dates/times, promotes social distancing, and accommodates smaller group orientation sessions.

The residence halls officially open on Saturday, August 15, 2020 and a four-day staggered move-in process will occur. Residents will select a date and time to check-in to the residence halls. A maximum of ten students can check in per hour, per building. Residents will complete an expedited check-in process in the front lobby of their residence hall. Residents are able to bring a maximum of two guests to help them move-in to their room.

Develop a plan to address any relevant quarantine or health-related requirements for out-of-state students returning to residence halls. This plan should align with statewide requirements and be completed in coordination with university emergency management, university health professionals, and county public health officials.

Housing & Residence Life will encourage and recommend all students living on-campus to self-quarantine at home for 14 days prior to coming to campus. International students coming from overseas will have the opportunity to arrive to campus 14 days before classes begin to self-quarantine on-campus. 

Updated Aug. 10, 2020: International students coming to Billings from international locations will no longer be required to undergo a 14 day quarantine period. However, they should follow the Governor's mandate and MSUB requirement to wear a face covering, maintain social distancing, follow hand washing guidelines and monitor for signs and symptoms especially if they have traveled from an area with a high rate of infection, per the CDC guidelines

Develop a plan for the quarantine and isolation of campus residents awaiting COVID-19 test results, after testing positive for COVID-19, or when directed to quarantine by public health officials.

  • Housing & Residence Life will work with RiverStone Health, Student Health Services, and Dining Services if students are placed in quarantine or isolation housing on-campus. Students will have access to meal delivery and appointments through Student Health Services for any medical or counseling needs they may require. Designated staff are appropriately trained and on call to assist these students with any personal needs.
  • Housing & Residence Life will hold the following rooms for isolation purposes:
    • Guest apartment located within Petro Hall.
    • Family Housing apartment located on 32 Mountain View Boulevard.
    • Rimrock 6th floor (this space does not have private bathroom/shower facilities). This space could be utilized only if occupancy numbers do not increase and there is capacity to leave the entire floor vacant.
    • Two campus owned housing rentals managed through Facilities Services.

Student Support

Academic Support Center

Where possible, plan to supplement delivery of in-person support services and student conduct management with alternative delivery strategies.

Continue utilizing the online scheduling program WCONLINE to increase the Academic Support Center's (ASC) capability to provide virtual academic support.

Train student support staff to effectively use alternative delivery methods.

  • Train newly hired student support staff in WebEx and WCONLINE.
  • Emphasize the importance of new protocol of delivery methods (in- person, hybrid, fully online) and cleaning, hand-washing, social distancing guidelines at mandatory pre-semester orientation sessions for all full-time and student staff.

Design staffing, facilities, scheduling, and traffic flow to mitigate health risks for students and employees during in-person delivery.

Accommodations at both the ASC on the university and City College campuses are spacious enough to accommodate large numbers of students even with the implementation of the following measures.

  • Remove chairs to create appropriate spacing (no side-by-side seating) at tables and computer stations throughout both centers.
  • Wipe down and thoroughly disinfect all commonly used surfaces frequently.
  • Post MSUB COVID-19 signage to remind patrons of proper safeguarding protocol.
  • Use tape or ropes in lobby/sign-in area to avoid excess congregation at main entrances.
  • Continued emphasis of online resources in order to reduce overall traffic levels.

Develop a communication strategy to inform students and the campus community about various delivery modes (e.g. in-person, online, both), specific precautionary measures/risks, and contingency plans for remote or altered delivery for each area of student support.

The combined use of WCONLINE with the continued enhancement of the ASC’s website will serve as an “Academic Support Portal” to provide student access to the complete portfolio and immediate live connections to ASC personnel, along with the ASC and Writing Center email accounts to receive student inquiries.

Advising and Career Services

Where possible, plan to supplement delivery of in-person support services and student conduct management with alternative delivery strategies.

  • Services that can effectively be offered remotely:
    • Advising appointments.
  • Services that require a hybrid model:
    • Option A – Utilize a model where all staff telework and there is a rotation of one full-time employee and one student worker on-campus to cover front desk and phone traffic.
      • Host employer-related events virtually.
      • Utilize how-to videos for registration, navigating course schedule, CareerLink program, etc.
    • Option B – Employ a model where all staff members who are able to, return to campus. Staff members with medical or cautionary reasons continue to telework.
      • Use of common staff areas, where social distancing cannot occur, must be staggered or masks worn (back room with refrigerator, sink, etc.).
      • Conduct student appointments virtually during the summer.  Continue virtual appointments during the fall or provide in-person appointments.
      • Conduct staff meetings virtually.
      • Host employer related events virtually.
      • Utilize how-to videos for registration, navigating course schedule, CareerLink, etc.
  • Services that require in-person delivery:
    • Schedule in-person testing in such a way to ensure social distancing guidelines (one person testing at a time).

Train student support staff to effectively use alternative delivery methods.

  • Use WebEx for appointments with students.
  • Continue to add resources to the Advising & Career Services website that include how-to videos.

Design staffing, facilities, scheduling, and traffic flow to mitigate health risks for students and employees during in-person delivery.

  • Schedule in-person testing or appointment one person at a time.
  • Safeguard so staff remain at their office space and use their own equipment (e.g. not stand at a walk-in desk or shared space).
  • Relocate furniture to discourage students and visitors congregating in lobby area.
  • Restrict use of shared computers in lobby area.
    • Provide cleaning products, instructions after each use, and/or disposable keyboard covers, if the computers cannot be restricted.

Develop a communication strategy to inform students and the campus community about various delivery modes (e.g. in-person, online, both), specific precautionary measures/risks, and contingency plans for remote or altered delivery for each area of student support.

  • Continue use of WebEx Softphone, so that staff have access to their desktop phones through their computer, while at home.
  • Develop and communicate resources (Frequently Asked Questions, entry level processes, etc.) to assist other departments and eliminate unnecessary student campus movement.

Business Services

All business services documents that students may require are available online. Students may also access their information through MyInfo.

Installment contracts, payments, and refund information is available electronically and in-person.

Students who come to the Business Office will receive in-person service. Signs will direct traffic flow and floor stickers will help maintain social distancing. 

Disability Support Services—University Campus and City College

Where possible, plan to supplement delivery of in-person support services and student conduct management with alternative delivery strategies.

Utilize WebEx, WebEx Teams, and WebEx Softphone program to allow employees to access work telephone numbers via VPN.

Train student support staff to effectively use alternative delivery methods.

All staff are trained.

Design staffing, facilities, scheduling, and traffic flow to mitigate health risks for students and employees during in-person delivery.

  • Redesign the foyer area to seat three people with six feet between each chair.
  • Sanitize individual testing rooms in between use. 
  • Ensure each staff members’ private office allows for six feet between the visitor and the person behind the desk.

Develop a communication strategy to inform students and the campus community about various delivery modes (e.g. in-person, online, both), specific precautionary measures/risks, and contingency plans for remote or altered delivery for each area of student support.

  • Maintain the Disability Support Services (DSS) website for students to schedule tests, order textbooks, and make appointments with staff.  Equipment check-out and check-in requires personal contact between staff member and student utilizing social distancing.
  • Communicate with faculty, staff, and students via email.  Provide contact information and links to DSS-related resources.
  • Employ surveys to give students the opportunity to ask for assistance.

Dual Enrollment

Where possible, plan to supplement delivery of in-person support services and student conduct management with alternative delivery strategies.

  • Services that can effectively be offered remotely:
    • Meet with students, faculty, and administration from partner high schools virtually.
    • Determine how to successfully deliver labs (impacting seven dual enrollment classes).
    • Arrange for virtual visits and presentations to classes (versus in-person).
  • Services that require a hybrid model:
    • Offer Dual Enrollment applications for high school connections students via e-sign.  Communicate with partnership high schools about this change.
    • Conduct the hands-on portion of labs with fewer students to allow for social distancing and/or require masks.
  • Services that require in-person delivery:
    • Schedule in-person testing in such a way to ensure social distancing guidelines (one person testing at a time) and continue discussions with the Predictive Student Task Force.

Train student support staff to effectively use alternative delivery methods.

Train dual enrollment instructors on the use of D2L (with the help of e-Learning).  

Design staffing, facilities, scheduling, and traffic flow to mitigate health risks for students and employees during in-person delivery.

  • Remove chairs in the gathering areas outside the City College Administration Office (where Dual Enrollment is located).
  • Safeguard so staff remain at their office space and use their own equipment (not be at a walk-in desk or shared space).
  • Use of common staff areas, where social distancing cannot occur, must be staggered or masks worn (copier machine, etc.).
  • Arrange Accuplacer group testing in larger classrooms to allow social distancing; employ check-in methods prior to students being on-campus.
  • Meet with students online. If an in-person meeting is necessary, limit to one person in the office at a time and maintain social distancing.

Develop a communication strategy to inform students and the campus community about various delivery modes (e.g. in-person, online, both), specific precautionary measures/risks, and contingency plans for remote or altered delivery for each area of student support.

  • Post updates on the Dual Enrollment website for students, parents, and school partners.
  • Send bi-weekly updates to appropriate partners, specifically to dual enrollment students, teachers, school districts, and MSUB faculty.

Financial Aid & Scholarships/Registrar’s Office

Where possible, plan to supplement delivery of in-person support services and student conduct management with alternative delivery strategies.

  • Increased use of WebEx, phone calls, and email with students and staff to maintain operations. 
  • Phones are forwarded, when necessary, if staff are unable to work from campus.
  • DocuSign is utilized whenever possible.
  • Students can fax, email, mail, or hand-deliver forms to the office.

Train student support staff to effectively use alternative delivery methods.

Student and other support staff have been adequately trained to utilize alternative service delivery options.

Design staffing, facilities, scheduling, and traffic flow to mitigate health risks for students and employees during in-person delivery.

  • Seating and display materials will be removed.
  • Plexiglass barrier will be installed.
  • Wipes and sanitizer will be distributed.
  • Floor and counter signage will be posted.
  • Stanchions will be placed to secure safe distancing from the front counter.
  • Surfaces will be wiped down routinely with sanitizer and some staff have elected to wear gloves and/or face masks. 
  • Regular public space disinfection is taking place.

Develop a communication strategy to inform students and the campus community about various delivery modes (e.g. in-person, online, both), specific precautionary measures/risks, and contingency plans for remote or altered delivery for each area of student support.

Staff are able to answer calls on and offsite, online transcript ordering is fully functional, internal forms are routing electronically/available electronically, students can access information electronically through the university website.

Jacket Student Central-City College

Where possible, plan to supplement delivery of in-person support services and student conduct management with alternative delivery strategies.

  • Services that can effectively be offered remotely
    • Offer services remotely (will require some staff in the Registrar’s office and/or Jacket Student Central (JSC) office for document retrieval, etc.).
  • Services that can be delivered in a hybrid model
    • Coordinate staff in the office with those who must telework to ensure excellent customer service.
    • Offer three recruitment options for campus visits including on-campus, virtual tours, or a combo of on-campus and virtual. 
    • Conduct Advising appointments via WebEx and/or phone (especially for students with small children) or in-person.
    • Assist walk-in students at the front counter, create appointments, and share any literature/information needed.
    • Encourage no more than the potential student and two to three supporters during recruitment visits.  Phase in more visitors as allowable. 
  • Services that require in-person delivery
    • Coordinate testing (Accuplacer) with other offices to utilize for proctoring.  Accuplacer testing is more productive on-campus.

Train student support staff to effectively use alternative delivery methods.

  • Ensure all staff are trained on WebEx, WebEx Teams, WebEx Softphone, email, and intercampus communications.

Design staffing, facilities, scheduling, and traffic flow to mitigate health risks for students and employees during in-person delivery.

  • Set up office space to assist one person on Accuplacer at a time in JSC and one in the testing center.
  • Request staff to only use their office space and equipment.
  • Use a third monitor when advising students.  The additional monitor will allow students to access their own screen. 
    • Limit one student at a time for advising appointments (due to space constraints) in the JSC office. 
    • Request appointments for recruitment meetings; accommodate walk-ins as staffing and spacing allow. Limit appointments to the potential student and two to three supporters.  Meetings will take place in the City College commons area to allow for social distancing (ensure rotation as necessary with other departments that might need the commons area as well). 
  • Ensure social distancing guidelines are enforced during in-person campus tours. 
  • Stagger campus tour visits and restrict tour size (individual student, small group, etc.) based upon federal guidelines.
    • Relocate JSC furniture to discourage congregation in area and move out most soft seating.

Develop a communication strategy to inform students and the campus community about various delivery modes (e.g. in-person, online, both), specific precautionary measures/risks, and contingency plans for remote or altered delivery for each area of student support.

  • Add resources and how-to video resources to JSC website.
  • Link to other Student Support Service websites.

Library

Where possible, plan to supplement delivery of in-person support services and student conduct management with alternative delivery strategies.

  • Circulation Desk will be set up so that students can swipe their own UCARD for book checkout.
  • Students may call/email to communicate with librarians.
  • Online databases are available for student, faculty, and staff use.

Design staffing, facilities, scheduling, and traffic flow to mitigate health risks for students and employees during in- person delivery.

  • Library will be open to students and the university community beginning August 10, 2020.
  • Library access for the general public will be strictly limited.
    • No computer/printer access for the general public.
    • Library will not issue any new courtesy borrower cards at this time.
    • Current courtesy borrowers may come into the library only to check out materials.
  • Proposed Fall Library hours are: (totals 67 hours) provided the library is able to hire work-study students to help staff these hours.
    • M-Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
    • Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, Closed
    • Sunday, 3:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
  • Library will strongly encourage the use of face masks while in the building.
  • All common use items, i.e. staplers, paper clips, paper hole punch, puzzles, popular magazines will be removed.
  • People will be encouraged to utilize book returns located outside the Library building, one at north entrance and one at south entrance.
  • All physical library materials will be quarantined 72 hours upon return.
  • Print reserves will be suspended for Fall semester.
  • Library will configure furniture to encourage social distancing.
  • Social distancing floor stickers and striped tape will visually designate the proper distance people should maintain in all library spaces, specifically high traffic areas such as the Circulation desk, IT Help Desk, Library main office, printers, and scanner areas.
  • Plexiglass barriers installed on the public service desk on 2nd floor and the 1st floor Information Commons/HelpDesk areas.
  • Signage about safe library use will be prominently displayed in all areas of the library.
  • Many study rooms will be closed to assist custodial staff with cleaning.
  • The university community will be encouraged to reserve the available study rooms. Available study rooms will have limited capacity to ensure social distancing.
  • There will be a limited number of computers in the labs to maintain appropriate social distancing.
  • Sanitizing wipes will be provided on request for touch stations such as kiosks, printers, scanners.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the three floors of the library.

Develop a communication strategy to inform students and the campus community about various delivery modes (e.g. in- person, online, both), specific precautionary measures/risks, and contingency plans for remote or altered delivery for each area of student support.

The library website has the most up-to-date information regarding library operations and how to communicate/utilize materials as does the  Back-to-Business website.

Military and Veterans Success Center

The following pertains to both the University and City College campuses.

Where possible, plan to supplement delivery of in-person support services and student conduct management with alternative delivery strategies.

  • Modify the modality of student support services in accordance with safety precautions based upon in-person, hybrid, or online delivery. 
  • Utilize WebEx, phones, and VPN where necessary.
  • Access VA certification systems remotely and work with students to determine the safest mechanism to ensure support is provided.
  • Implement and enhance strategies created during the spring semester to ensure students and employees are safe.

Train student support staff to effectively use alternative delivery methods.

All staff are trained.

Design staffing, facilities, scheduling, and traffic flow to mitigate health risks for students and employees during in-person delivery.

  • Display small posters with social distancing guidelines on all office doors.
  • Reorganize the foyer to seat up to four people with six feet between each chair.
  • Provide students with brochures, business cards, and handouts and remove such items from common areas.

Develop a communication strategy to inform students and the campus community about various delivery modes (e.g. in-person, online, both), specific precautionary measures/risks, and contingency plans for remote or altered delivery for each area of student support.

  • Redesign the website to make it easier for students to find online resources and communication methods, including contact information for staff members.
  • Communicate via text or email with students wishing to be certified; students no longer need to hand deliver schedules.
  • Send emails and communicate to students on ways to request assistance and staff phone numbers so they can continue to access staff remotely.
  • Send emails when lounges are reopened for limited use with precautionary measures (such as limited seating, cleaning of work space requirements, request to only use remote communication methods if necessary.
  • Replace coffee mugs in the kitchen/snack areas with Styrofoam cups.

Office of International Studies

  • The Office of International Studies (OIS) will continue to recruit international students, produce immigration documents, and develop face-to-face and online international student orientation content.
  • OIS will continue to support new, returning, and transferring international students.
  • International students coming to Billings from international locations will no longer be required to undergo a 14 day quarantine period. However, they should follow the Governor's mandate and MSUB's mandate to wear a face covering, maintain social distancing, follow hand washing guidelines and monitor for signs and symptoms especially if they have traveled from an area with a high rate of infection, per the CDC guidelines.  will be quarantined for 14 days prior to the start of classes, as per CDC guidelines.
  • MSUB will not send students on Study Abroad exchange programs in the Fall 2020 semester.
  • MSUB will not accept exchange students in the Fall 2020 semester.
  • MSUB will not accept international visiting scholars in the Fall 2020 semester.
  • International travel by students, faculty, and staff will be suspended for the Fall 2020 semester or until the U.S. Department of State removes its travel restrictions and warnings.

Student Support Services/TRIO         

Where possible, plan to supplement delivery of in-person support services and student conduct management with alternative delivery strategies.

All services, except equipment check-out, have been coordinated to be fully online.  Equipment check-out requires a staff member to physically contact a student to deliver the item(s) or to physically mail, via the USPS, to the student. 

Train student support staff to effectively use alternative delivery methods.

Train staff on how to update the website and social media sites.

Design staffing, facilities, scheduling, and traffic flow to mitigate health risks for students and employees during in-person delivery.

  • Main Office:
    • Reconfigure the main office to allow six- foot distances and/or use of plexiglass between the Program Coordinator office space, Office Aide desk, copy machine, printer/fax, and one table and chair for single student use. 
    • Designate one entryway as entrance only and the other as exit only.
    • Establish six-foot distances between desks in the Academic Coordinator and Director private offices and chairs for students.  
  • Lounge/Computer Lab:
    • Ensure computers and chairs are at least six feet apart. Ask students to use hand sanitizer and wipe down computer equipment and printer before and after use.
  • Mentor Room:
    • Rearrange space from five to three offices to allow each mentor at least six feet distance from mentees.  Stagger the number of mentors in the room during the week and encourage virtual meetings.
  • Tutor Room:
    • Continue group tutoring online.
    • Provide one-on-one tutoring while employing social distancing and/or the use of plexiglass.

Develop a communication strategy to inform students and the campus community about various delivery modes (e.g. in-person, online, both), specific precautionary measures/risks, and contingency plans for remote or altered delivery for each area of student support.

  • Continue strong and consistent team meetings and communications with SSS students, staff, and faculty.
  • Ensure students are fully aware of resources both on and off-campus. 
  • Update website and social media sites often; link to other support services on-campus.
  • Reach out to each SSS student individually (via mentors) if MSUB goes completely online again.

Resources/Citations

Appendix: Face covering guidelines 

Effective July 23, 2020, the Montana State University Billings (MSUB) Back to Business Fall 2020 Action Plan requires that anyone entering an MSUB campus building, including residence halls, must wear a face covering. All MSU Billings students, faculty, staff, and visitors are required to wear a face covering on University and City College campus and on MSUB-leased properties.

This face covering requirement has been established because we respect and care for our own health and the health of every person that we encounter on campus and in our community. We choose to work together and do our part to limit the spread of this serious disease.

Purpose

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that use of facial coverings will help to protect ourselves and others and assist with slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. A facial covering can reduce the trajectory of expelled respiratory droplets, which pose risk. Recent studies indicate that a significant portion of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before exhibiting symptoms. This means that the virus can spread via respiratory droplets between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if people are asymptomatic. When you wear a face covering, you demonstrate care about the health and safety of our campus community and assist in limiting the emission of respiratory droplets, thus reducing community spread of the disease.

Note that face coverings are not Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Face coverings are worn by a person to prevent an asymptomatic person from spreading COVID-19 to friends, family, co-workers, and all the other people they interact with throughout the course of a day (community spread). PPE, on the other hand, is equipment worn by someone to protect themselves from real or potential hazards, e.g., safety glasses, lab coats, respirators, etc. Wearing facial coverings do not necessarily protect us directly, like PPE, but are instead worn to protect others.

Donning your face covering properly

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Inspect the face covering.
  3. Place the loops over your ears.
  4. Ensure the face covering is worn properly.

Steps on donning face masks

Removing your face covering properly

  1. Grab the loops and pull it away from your face. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth while removing the face covering.
  2. Dispose of the face covering after using it. If you have a cloth face covering, carefully put it in a plastic bag after use and take it home to wash it. 
  3. Wash your hands after touching the face covering.

Steps on removing face mask

Face covering exceptions

There are exceptions to wearing a face covering. The following exceptions apply to students, employees, and visitors:

  • when alone in an office, enclosed study area, or other space where permitted by official notice;
  • when inside campus residence hall rooms or apartments; however, face coverings are still required in common areas such as hallways, common restrooms and when visiting other rooms;
  • when working or spending time outdoors (e.g. walking, exercising) and at least a six-foot distance can be consistently and reliably maintained;
  • Persons engaged in an activity that makes wearing a face covering impractical or unsafe, such as strenuous physical exercise;
  • in instances or spaces (such as welding labs, nursing labs, etc.) in which other requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) make it either impractical or unsafe to wear an additional face covering;
  • when alone in a vehicle or utility vehicle used for MSUB business, however, face coverings are required in vehicles used for MSUB business when there is more than one person inside the vehicle; and
  • when an accommodation is necessary as indicated by a medical professional and granted by express written permission of the University.
  • Children under the age of five and those who cannot physically remove a face covering without assistance, or those who have requested and received a necessary accommodation are not required to wear face coverings. All children between the ages of two and four, however, are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering. Children under the age of two should not wear a face covering.

Face coverings are a supplement to, not a substitute for, other preventive measures. They are intended as an added layer of protection in addition to social distancing, frequent handwashing, use of hand sanitizer, frequent cleaning of working and living spaces, and staying home when sick or experiencing common symptoms of COVID-19.

Signage will be prominently posted around campus and on TV monitors to help remind the campus community that face coverings are required.

Note that you may see individuals on campus not wearing a face covering. Please do not immediately assume they are noncompliant but may have a medical exemption. If you approach individuals not wearing a face covering, please do so kindly.

Appropriate Face Coverings

Appropriate face coverings cover the mouth and nose of the wearer. Following CDC guidance, effective face coverings include simple cloth masks, scarves, or bandanas. Neck gaiters are also allowed.

Face coverings should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face;
  • be secured with ties or ear loops;
  • include multiple layers of fabric;
  • allow for breathing without restriction; and
  • be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damaging them or changing their shape.
  • Not have an “exhale valve,” as those allow droplets to escape the mask.

While not ideal, disposable, single use paper face coverings are also acceptable when another face covering option is not available. Unless in healthcare or other specialized settings, the MUS recommends against using N95 or surgical coverings, which are critical supplies and should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.

While plastic face shields are not considered a face covering under the guidelines outlined above, a face shield may be used in instances where an individual can consistently and reliably maintain appropriate social distancing and where the University has expressly approved the use of the face shield instead of a cloth face covering. Such instances may include, but not be limited to ADA and other medical accommodations. If an individual is approved to use a plastic face shield, the shield should cover from above the eyes to below the chin to reduce the risk of spreading respiratory particles.

Regardless of whether a face covering, or face shield is worn, it is important to know how to properly maintain and clean them. Click on the links provided to learn how to keep your face covering or face shield clean. Afterwards, store them in a plastic bag.

Accommodations

There may be circumstances where an exception allowing faculty, students, staff, or visitors to forego wearing a face covering is requested. In these situations, the following processes should be followed:

Employees

MSUB employees whose unique and individual circumstances require an exception to the face covering requirement, as indicated by a medical professional, may request an exception in accordance with the campus ADA policies. Employees should contact Human Resources at employment@msubillings.edu or call 406-657-2278. The Human Resources office will work with the employee and their supervisor on a case-by-case basis to determine the best accommodation for the employee and their department needs.

Students registered with Disability Support Services

Any student who is registered through Disability Support Services (DSS) and who cannot reasonably wear a face covering should contact the Disability Support Services Office. Contact University campus Disability Support Services at tcarey@msubillings.edu and contact City College campus Disability Support Services at greg.gerard@msubillings.edu. Students are strongly encouraged to contact Disability Support Services prior to the beginning of fall semester, Aug. 19, to allow adequate time for their request to be evaluated.

Students not registered with Disability Support Services

Any student who is not registered through Disability Support Services but who wishes to request exemption from wearing a face covering, should complete the Face Covering Exemption Form. This form will be reviewed by a committee to determine a decision. Students and their instructors will be informed via email of a decision regarding the request within 24 hours of submitting the form. Students who are granted an exception to wear a face shield in lieu of a face covering will be provided one by Student Health Services or the Dean of Students Office.

Campus community accountability

It is our sincere hope that faculty, students, staff, and visitors will appreciate and follow the wisdom associated with wearing a face covering to help protect the safety of themselves and others while on campus. In this way, we may all enjoy as much of a return to normalcy on campus as possible. All MSUB campus community members (students, employees, and visitors) are expected to comply with the guidelines set forth in this document.

Employees

  • Isolated, unintentional instances of non-compliance by employees (e.g. an employee or student forgetting to bring a face covering to work) will be met with an opportunity to comply (e.g. reminding the employee of the requirement and providing a single use face covering).
  • Repeated, willful non-compliance by employees (e.g. an employee who refuses to wear a face covering in an office setting, even after multiple requests and receiving a free face covering) can be addressed more directly. Repeated, willful non-compliance should be reported to the appropriate department/division head and may lead to disciplinary action in accordance with existing campus policies applicable to policy violations and disruptions on campus.
  • Failure to comply may subject an employee to disciplinary action through their supervisor through the existing progressive disciplinary processes. Employees with concerns about non-compliance should notify their immediate supervisor or department/division head.

Students

  • Isolated, unintentional instances of non-compliance by students (e.g. a student forgetting to bring a face covering to class/campus) will be met with an opportunity to comply (e.g. reminding the student of the requirement and providing a single use face covering). A polite verbal request asking the student to comply should be made to educate, encourage, and direct students to wear face coverings. 
  • Students engaging in sustained, willful non-compliance may be directed to leave campus spaces and in certain cases subject to disciplinary action. Students who do not comply with the face covering requirement will be referred to the Dean of Students where the student code of conduct will be applied (section 127: Disruptive Conduct).
  • Unless a student is being disorderly or there is other criminal activity coupled with the university’s face covering protocol violation, University Police will not be contacted.

Face coverings will be available at the following campus locations should a student/employee/visitor need access to one to ensure compliance:

University campus

  • Petro and Rimrock residence hall front desks
  • All university and City College dining locations
  • Center for Engagement, Student Union Building, second floor
  • Academic Support Center, Student Union Building, first floor
  • Student Health Services, Petro Hall, second floor
  • New Student Services, McMullen Hall, first floor
  • Financial Aid, McMullen Hall, first floor
  • Advising Center, McMullen Hall, first floor
  • Department of Music, Cisel Hall, main office, Room 119
  • Military and Veterans Success Center, COE Building, Room 106
  • Recreation Center Front Desk (lower level of the P.E. Building)
  • Native American Achievement Center (2630 Normal Avenue)
  • Business Services, Cashier, McMullen Hall basement
  • Library, Information Commons, Liberal Arts Building
  • University Campus Police Department (southwest corner of parking garage)
  • Campus Store (inside the Student Union Building)
  • College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Dean’s Office, Liberal Arts Building, Room 427
  • College of Health Professions and Science, Dean’s Office, Apsaruke Hall, Room 109
  • College of Education, Dean’s Office, COE Building, Room 264
  • College of Business, Dean’s Office, McDonald Hall, Room 300

City College

  • Jacket Student Central (Tech Building)
  • Business Office (Tech Building)
  • Health Sciences Building (at main entrance, mask dispensary station)

Training and Awareness

MSUB students, faculty, and staff will receive training regarding MSUB’s face covering protocol. Students, faculty, and staff will be notified of the face covering protocol primarily through the MSUB website and campus email. Email notifications will be sent from the leadership with the MSUB protocol and accountability. Website messages regarding the face covering guidelines will be available on the COVID-19 webpage and training videos will also be available to the campus community.

Supervisors and department/division heads are also responsible for ensuring employees in their work areas have been sufficiently notified of the MSUB face covering requirements. The MSUB face covering requirement will also be covered in New Employee Orientations.

Campus Visitors

Campus visitors are expected to abide by all recommendations and requirements of the MSU Billings Back to Business Fall 2020 Action Plan, including the guidelines on the face covering requirement.

Any on-campus department/group or any off-campus group renting space on campus through the Center for Engagement will be provided with a copy of the MSUB face covering requirement. Departments and off-campus groups are responsible for complying with the face covering requirement for the duration of their stay on campus.

If a member of the public is inside a campus building without a face covering and with a legitimate exemption, they should notify the office they are visiting of the exemption.

In accordance with these guidelines, if a member of the public is in a campus building without a face covering and does not have a legitimate exemption, a polite verbal request for compliance will be made to educate, encourage, and direct them to wear a face covering, including offering directions on where to access a face covering. Visitors unwilling to comply will be asked to leave campus. Visitors engaged in disorderly conduct, a trespass violation, or any other criminal activity coupled with violating the university’s face covering requirement, will be referred to University Police.

Disclaimer

Due to the uncertain nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the face covering protocol and other MSUB COVID-19 protocols are subject to change at any time at MSUB’s sole discretion and will be consistent with updates and changes from the CDC, the MUS, and other governmental authorities.