University of Montana coordinating with health department as spring break nears

The University of Montana is less than a week away from Spring Break, and with the spread of coronavirus around the country the University is getting the word out on best practices to those who are traveling.

Paula Short, University of Montana communication representative,said many services will remain open next week.

“We’re really trying to talk to them about safe practices such as hand-washing, and around close gatherings, sort of that social distancing piece, and really understand the current status of coronavirus in a state they may be visiting, said Short. “But equally important, when they come back home and paying attention if they develop symptoms the things they are going to need to do to seek medical treatment an at the same time minimize the risk of passing that to others.”

Short said the university has been working with other entities in community, including the Missoula Health Department and Missoula County School System as they collect data.

“It’s really important to be coordinated and be using the very best data to inform our decisions, and the University is certainly working hand-in-hand with our local partners and we will make a coordinated response to coronavirus in the event that it becomes prevalent in our community.”

The University has already made several preemptive decisions for student groups traveling as a result of the rapid spread of the virus worldwide.

“We had a Spring Break trip, in fact that was scheduled to go next week to Hong Kong, Macao, and China. We canceled that due to the advisory. We’ve got some later…students traveling to China that have been canceled as well. A May trip and our early June trip,” said Short.

Short reminds students who have had to cancel travel plans that the campus, including the dorms that many services will remain open next week.

Parks added some professors are currently testing an online pilot program so students won’t have to come into the classroom if the University feels that becomes necessary