Montana State University says students returning from Italy must self-quarantine

Posted at 12:13 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 14:42:02-04

GREAT FALLS — Montana State University has asked a group of students returning home from Italy to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus due to coronavirus concerns.

MTN News obtained an email to these students that said the self-quarantine is a "precautionary measure," and the decision is based on guidance from both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Gallatin City-County Health Department.

The university said it will not provide quarantine housing for students returning from a country with a Level 3 travel health notice. This currently includes Italy, China, South Korea, and Iran. Italy has more than 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and more than 600 deaths.

"Since you will not be provided housing for the 14-day self-quarantine period, we strongly urge that you stay with family (parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) or friends during this self-quarantine period," the MSU email said.

Students will be allowed back on campus after the self-quarantine period is complete.

There are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Montana. Here is the latest update from the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services:

  • Reported COVID-19 Cases in Montana: 0
  • Individuals monitored by public health: 30
  • - Individuals who have completed monitoring process: 26
  • - Individuals who remain under monitoring: 4
  • Persons tested for CoVID-19*: 21
  • - Persons with negative results: 21
  • - Persons with positive results: 0

Here is the full text of the letter sent to the returning group from MSU:

Dear Melissa and Students,

  • We know that you are currently in the process of returning home from Italy amid the current coronavirus situation, and can imagine there is much concern and confusion around your return. We want you to know that we have been diligently keeping track of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are in constant communication with the offices who have the most current information about what next steps should be in regards to your return and the best practices to observe. Based on advisement from the Gallatin City-County Health Department and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, MSU is asking that you not return to the campus until after a 14-day self-quarantine. MSU will not provide quarantine housing to students returning from a country with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice: Currently, China, Italy, South Korea and Iran. Specifically, all travelers who are returning from Italy should return home to their families and/or personal residences (whether in-state or out-of-state). Since you will not be provided housing for the 14 day self-quarantine period, we strongly urge that you stay with family (parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) or friends during this self-quarantine period. NOTE: Family/friends do not have to self-quarantine with you during the 14 day period unless you show signs of illness. Self-quarantine is a precautionary measure at this time. If during your self-quarantine you should you begin showing signs of illness (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing), please: Contact your local health department for additional information and instructions. Seek medical advice. Call ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel an area with community spread of coronavirus, and your symptoms. Avoid contact with others. Do not travel while sick. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty. NOTE: After the 14 day self-quarantine period is over, you are welcome to return to campus and continue your studies. Please know we will continue to work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure your health and safety.