MSU will begin phasing out COVID restrictions starting Monday

MSU campus.jpg
Posted at 5:06 PM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 19:21:37-05

In a letter to the MSU community, Montana State University president Waded Cruzado announced Friday afternoon that the university will begin phasing out COVID restrictions as soon as possible.

The letter was sparked by an announcement by the Montana Commissioner of Higher Education that directed the campuses of the Montana University System to begin phasing out COVID restrictions as soon as possible.

After nearly two years of grappling with COVID-19, there is no doubt that we are seeing positive trends on our campuses, across Montana, and throughout the country. Case counts are headed in the right direction, hospitalization rates have stabilized, and there is convincing evidence that most individuals affected by Omicron experience milder symptoms than was the case for individuals affected by earlier COVID-19 variants. This is particularly true for individuals who are fully vaccinated. It is also important to note that, under your leadership, MUS campuses continue to provide access to testing and vaccines and sufficient staffing to deliver an excellent academic and student life experience.

Just as we have intensified our COVID-19 restrictions and protocols during times of increasing threat, we should respond to the improving conditions we see today by easing COVID-19 restrictions and protocols on our campuses. We see this process already underway all around us, in homes, businesses, community organizations, and in our K-12 school districts across the state.

I write today with guidance for each campus to begin the process of phasing out COVID-19 restrictions as soon as possible. Areas in which restrictions should be phased out include, but are not limited to mask requirements, event size restrictions, and any remaining restrictions on out-of-state and international travel. This decision is made as part of our ongoing partnership with the Board of Regents, public health officials, and other statewide authorities, and all of you as campus leaders.

Given that conditions remain variable, the timing, pace, and sequence of the phase-out process is flexible. My expectation is that we will coordinate our efforts whenever and wherever it makes sense, and that campuses will stay in close communication with my office as they develop their phase-out plans.

As the MUS, we will continue to assess conditions and remain flexible in our pandemic response. Thank you for your leadership, and best wishes for a terrific spring semester.

Clayton T. Christian
Commissioner of Higher Education

As a result, beginning Monday, February 14, face masks will be recommended, but not required, for students, faculty and staff in campus buildings at Montana State University.

“For MSU students, faculty and staff who desire to continue wearing a more protective mask, the university will provide KN95 masks, free of charge, for the duration of the Spring semester. Up to two masks at a time can be picked up at the Plew Building at the corner of Grant Street and Sixth Avenue. Because we need to be judicious with the limited supplies of KN95 face masks, everyone else is welcome to continue wearing the face mask of their preference if they choose to do so," the letter stated.

"Montana State University will continue to provide free symptomatic COVID-19 testing for students at the MSU Student Testing Center; an appointment is not necessary. In addition, free COVID-19 vaccines and boosters will still be available to students through MSU's Student Health Partners.”

The letter also stated that: "Since hitting a record high of new COVID-19 cases on January 14, 2022, the number of new cases per day in Gallatin County has trended downward. The total number of active COVID-19 cases on a given day has also trended downward during the same period of time."

"I want to express my deepest thanks to all the MSU students, faculty and staff for the patience, solidarity and resilience they have demonstrated during this chapter in our history.

As we say at Montana State University, You are Pure Gold!

Waded Cruzado"