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UMW Healthy Plan / Campus-wide Guidance

Campus-wide Guidance

These health and safety COVID-19 practices apply to all sections of the COVID-19 plan.

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UMW Healthy Plan: Face Covering Requirements

In accordance with the guidelines, exceptions, and accommodations outlined in the July 8 recommendation of the MUS Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force, all employees, students, and visitors must wear face coverings, effective immediately, as outlined below.

Montana Western Face Covering Practices and Protocols:

  • Face coverings are required in all indoor spaces (with some notable exceptions listed below), 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.
  • These requirements will apply to all UMW students and employees, and all visitors including service providers, contractors, vendors, suppliers, families, and community members.

  UMW face covering requirements will supplement measures such as social distancing, frequent handwashing, and frequent cleaning of office, work, and living spaces, already outlined in the June 1, 2020 release of the MUS Healthy Fall 2020 Planning Guidelines that were provided to campuses to follow as they developed their individual campus plans.   CDC guidance suggests that face coverings may help reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used in public settings. Face coverings help prevent people who are unaware they have the virus and are either asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic from unknowingly spreading it to others.  

What Counts as a Face Covering?

  Appropriate face coverings are those that cover the mouth and nose of the wearer. Following CDC guidance, effective face coverings include simple cloth masks, scarves, buffs, or bandanas. Students, faculty and staff will each be provided one cloth face mask and a buff for personal use for fall.   Based on CDC guidance, the most effective face coverings should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face;
  • securely stay in place, covering the nose and mouth;
  • 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.

  While not ideal, disposable, single use paper masks are also acceptable when another face covering option is not available. Unless in healthcare or other specialized settings, N95 or surgical masks should not be used as they are critical supplies and should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.  

Plastic Face Shields

  While plastic face shields are not considered a face covering under the guidelines outlined above, face shields 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 mask. 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 the spread of respiratory particles. Individuals who would like to request the use of a face shield should contact Dean of Students and ADA Coordinator, Nicole Hazelbaker ( or 406-683-7900).  


UMW students, employees, and visitors are exempt from face covering requirements in the following circumstances:

  • when alone in an office, enclosed study area, or other space where permitted by official notice;
  • when in campus residence hall rooms or apartments; however, face coverings are still required in common areas such as hallways and when visiting other rooms;
  • when eating or drinking in a situation where social distancing is practiced;
  • when working outdoors or spending time outdoors (e.g. walking, exercising) and at least a six- foot distance can be consistently and reliably maintained;
  • in instances or spaces 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 UMW business; however, face coverings are required in vehicles used for UMW business when there is more than one person inside the vehicle; and
  • when an accommodation is necessary as indicated by a medical or similar subject matter expert and granted by express written permission of the University.

  In accordance with CDC guidelines, children under the age of two, 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. Exemption cards are available if you request and are approved for an accommodation by Dean of Students and ADA Coordinator, Nicole Hazelbaker. If you are exempt from wearing a mask, please show your exemption card if asked to put on your mask.


Individuals with circumstances that require an exception to the face covering requirement – as indicated by a medical or similar subject matter professional – can request one from the University. To request an exception, UMW students should contact Dean of Students and ADA Coordinator, Nicole Hazelbaker ( or 406-683-7900). Faculty and staff should email Human Resources.  

Responsibility and Accountability

The goal of the face mask requirement is to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. At Montana Western, we believe that universal adoption of this measure will lead to better results when implemented in a civil and cordial environment. Therefore, Montana Western will communicate and promote the importance of voluntary compliance for the benefit of our faculty, students, staff and visitors. In the event of willful non-compliance, existing campus policies apply. Employees, students and visitors engaging in sustained, willful non-compliance may be directed to leave campus spaces, taken off duty, and in certain cases subject to disciplinary action in accordance with existing campus policies applicable to policy violations and disruptions on campus.  

Employee and Student Awareness

Prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester, UMW will develop and implement a training strategy for all employees that ensures they have a clear understanding of the campus’ face covering requirement and accountability policies. In addition, through sustained communication, students will be made aware of the ways in which the face coverings policy will be enforced by employees prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester.  

Symptoms of COVID-19 and Self-Monitoring

Student, faculty and staff familiarity with the symptoms of COVID-19 will be key to reducing the risk of the virus spreading this fall. We urge all members of the university to be familiar with the symptoms described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to self-monitor on a daily basis. The known symptoms are listed on the CDC website and include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19: Students, faculty and staff who have symptoms are to:

  • Immediately contact their health care provider.
  • Students are to stay home from classes. Students are to contact their faculty by email as soon as symptoms are recognized to discuss accommodations.
  • Faculty and staff are to immediately notify their supervisor and stay home from work.

In addition, Montana Western strongly expects every member of our campus community to assess themselves for symptoms and to personally check their temperature every day before coming to campus. Individuals should not come to work and should contact their health care provider if they have a fever or elevated temperature of 100 degrees or higher.  

Social Distancing of 6 Feet

All areas of the campus will observe, to the extent practicable, the CDC guidance on maintaining 6 feet of distance between individuals. This is an important tool in reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus. The CDC’s comprehensive guidance on social distancing and its benefits in reducing the spread of the virus can be found on the CDC website.  


Another critical tool in reducing the spread of the virus is frequent handwashing. Students, faculty, and staff are strongly expected to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer extensively. The federal guidance on hand washing can be found on the CDC website.  

Testing and Contact Tracing

The university will work to support the monitoring, testing and tracing efforts, as well as quarantine and isolation protocols advised by the Centers for Disease Control, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, and the Beaverhead County Public Health Department.  


Due to the number of tests available, current national and regional guidance does not call for, or provide, testing for everyone with symptoms. As the number of available test kits and processing capacity expand, this guidance could be modified. Additionally, there are ongoing local and state efforts to expand testing as fall 2020 approaches. At this time, coordination for testing must occur through your preferred healthcare provider, Community Health, or Urgent Care. Some important resources include:

  • Barrett Hospital Provider Clinic, 30 MT HWY 91 S., Dillon, MT 59725, (406) 683-1188. You will be asked to wear a mask upon entry and you will be screened for symptoms. Please call first if you believe you have Coronavirus or show symptoms.
  • Southwest Montana Community Health, Dillon Office, 41 Barrett St., Dillon, MT 59725, (406) 683-4440. If you are experiencing upper respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms, please call your clinic first to talk with a triage nurse who will direct your care. When you come to the clinic, we are taking precautions that you are asked to follow. This includes wearing a mask, taking temperatures, and ensuring patients are properly social distanced and wash their hands. Currently, anyone wishing to be tested for coronavirus may do so at our clinics or in their vehicles. This testing is free. Again, please contact us by phone so we can prepare and make suitable arrangements.
  • Beaverhead Urgent Care, 120 South Atlantic St., Dillon, MT, 59725, (406) 683-4400. If you are concerned you have Coronavirus or show any symptoms of Coronavirus, please call first.

Contact Tracing

The CDC provides guidance for COVID-19 contact tracing. Those guidelines are intended to provide state and local health departments flexibility to respond rapidly to changing local circumstances. Key concepts from the CDC that are being implemented and/or considered by university, local and state health officials include:

  • Trace and monitor contacts of infected people. Notify them of their exposure.
  • Support the quarantine of contacts. Help ensure the safe, sustainable and effective quarantine of contacts to prevent additional transmission.
  • Expand staffing resources. Contact tracing require that states, tribes, localities and territories establish large cadres of contact tracers.
  • Use digital tools. Adoption and evaluation of digital tools may expand reach and efficacy of contact tracers.