MISSOULA — The rising number of COVID-19 cases in Missoula County has prompted the University of Montana to temporarily expand its mask requirement to indoor spaces on campus.
The COVID Response Team at UM notes Missoula County surpassed previous records for COVID-19 hospitalizations, total daily new cases, and average daily new COVID-19 cases. More than 80% of the active COVID-19 cases are age 20 to 49.
"While we hope this disturbing trend reverses soon, we also believe. we can assist with additional mitigation to reduce COVID-19 transmission within our University community," a news release states.
The expanded mask requirement to indoor spaces on campus including:
- Academic buildings, including Missoula College and the West Campus.Research facilities.
- Administrative buildings.
- The Mansfield Library.
- Common areas of residence halls.
- UM dining facilities (except when actively eating or drinking).
- Public areas such as the University Center, Adams Center, Schreiber Gym and Lommasson Building.
- Facilities and maintenance buildings.
- Galleries, performance venues and lounges.
- The Campus Fitness and Recreation Center.
While the mask requirement applies to public spaces, it does not include private offices, residence hall rooms and apartments in UM Housing.
The changes will go into effect Monday, Sept. 20.
"With Missoula’s medical system at capacity, UM is taking this proactive measure to be a strong community partner and prevent further spread of the virus. UM has been extremely pleased with the large majority of our students who are doing their part to mitigate COVID-19 on our campus. This temporary change in our mask policy is unanimously supported by UM’s shared governance leaders, our ASUM elected student leaders, administrators, Faculty Senate, and Staff Senate." - UM COVID Response Team
Montana State University in Bozeman has also expanding its face mask requirements as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Gallatin County.