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UMW Healthy Plan / Provide Student Housing

Provide Student Housing


UMW Residence Life oversees residential operations for students, faculty, staff and their families, 365 days per year. It also operates the Bulldog Card Center. Student and professional staff provide two levels of safety and security on-call response for all residential areas and the Bulldog Card systems, and maintenance and custodial staff are available to respond to any facility issues 24 hours per day, every day of the year. UMW Residence Life is developing operational plans following the guidance of state, local and university public health officials, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is a shared responsibility of those working and living in UMW Housing to take appropriate steps to protect one’s own and others’ health and safety. UMW and UMW Residence Life staff will regularly monitor and update practices and protocols to follow CDC and Montana guidelines. Updates may be provided to residents through a variety of communications, such as emails or other correspondence, updates to our UMW Residence Life webpage, updates to building television monitors, or other methods. Residents are responsible for adhering to required health and safety practices and protocols. For more information, visit the UMW Residence Life website or call 406-683-7565.


Fall Capacity

Living options within Montana Western’s four residence halls for the spring 2021 semester will not be limited to single-occupancy configurations. In the vast majority of configurations, residence hall rooms will be limited to a maximum of two occupants. Campus residence hall capacity will be managed to reserve separate locations for quarantine and isolation housing as needed for residence life occupants. The university has no facilities to quarantine or isolate students who live off campus. Given the self-contained physical structure of units in Family Housing, occupancy is expected to be at normal levels.


Guidance for Resident Students

For the spring semester of 2021, additional requirements will be placed on residents. These include a Housing Contract Addendum that details how residents’ personal belongings will be handled should they be asked to vacate with little notice due to local health conditions, as well as requirements specified in Student Safety Plans, Public Health Guidelines, and Processes for Move-In and Move-Out that will be implemented.


Montana Western Student Safety Plans

All students living on campus will be encouraged to create a Student Safety Plan to be activated in the event of an emergency. For each student resident, elements of a safety plan will include answers to the following questions:

  • Where will the student individually shelter in the unlikely event that on-campus housing needs to close for health and safety reasons?
  • What transportation options exist for the student?
    • Does the student have access to a vehicle?
    • Does the student have a registered vehicle on campus?
    • Is the student dependent on public transportation?
  • How quickly can the student get to the designated location given the transportation options?
  • What is the student’s detailed emergency contact information?


Public Health Guidelines

The following sanitization, hygiene and social distancing requirements will be implemented in residence halls:

  • Montana Western requires that face masks or face coverings be worn in common areas where social distancing is difficult to achieve, such as restrooms, laundry rooms and hallways.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be available at designated building entrances and on every residence hall floor.
  • Dedicated entrances and exits with foot traffic guides will be identified and marked to provide a single point of entry.
  • Occupancy for dorm rooms will, in the vast majority of configurations, be limited to a maximum of two students per room.
  • Approved configurations for double occupancy rooms will maximize social distancing. No bunking of beds will be permitted.
  • Restricted use of building lounges, common areas and kitchens will be enforced.
  • Residence Life staff members will increase hall monitoring to promote social distancing expectations.
  • Enhanced awareness and programming will promote social, mental and academic well-being, as well as promotion of available services, such as counseling and tutoring.
  • Directional indicators and appropriate signage will be installed in lounge rooms, restrooms and laundry rooms indicating occupancy limits and foot traffic patterns.
  • A Restricted Guest Policy will be in place and enforced for the duration of the fall semester.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting schedules will be expanded into the evening hours. This is in addition to enhanced cleaning of shared areas and bathroom spaces during the day and on the weekends.


Guidelines for Move-In/Move-Out

New guidelines will be established for welcoming Montana Western student residents to campus for the spring 2021 semester:

  • Move-in and -out days and times will be expanded to allow social distancing.
  • Cleaning of residence hall common spaces will be enhanced during move-in and move-out.
  • The number of support staff allowed in the residence halls will be limited.
  • Incoming resident students will select and honor a specific time slot for move-in.
  • Directional traffic patterns will be designated and marked in stairwells and hallways.
  • Communication templates and forms will be distributed outlining plans and resources, in case a sudden move-out is required.
  • An additional informational packet will be distributed to parents/guardians in case a sudden move-out is required.

COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Housing

Montana Western will identify facilities for the temporary housing and care of Montana Western students living in the residence halls who cannot travel back home or to an off-site respite location but must be quarantined or isolated. This includes spaces for quarantining Montana Western residence hall students who may have been exposed and may be infected with COVID-19 but are asymptomatic, as well as for isolating Montana Western residence hall students who are symptomatic, awaiting medical test results, or with probable or confirmed infection of COVID-19.

Montana Western’s COVID-19 response plan includes processes to identify residence hall residents who appear to have symptoms (such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath) and provide them with isolation housing until they can get a test confirmation. This is an important and effective strategy to mitigate further spread of the virus.