GFC MSU extending spring break by a week to prepare for remote instruction due to COVID-19

Great Falls College MSU is extending spring break one week for students so that faculty and administration can best prepare to deliver classes remotely as we weigh the health and safety of our campus community with the rapidly evolving challenge presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Classes were set to resume for Great Falls College’s second eight-week block of the spring semester on March 16, but the Montana Board of Regents and the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education have directed all campuses in the Montana University System to transition all in-class instruction to online or other remote-teaching modalities that do not require in-class presence.

C.M. Russell Museum postpones Western Art Week events due to COVID-19

“Our faculty will need a week to make that transition possible,” said Dr. Susan Wolff, CEO/Dean of Great Falls College.

Community events scheduled for campus will have to find new locations.

Classes will resume March 23 for students.

Clayton Christian, Commissioner of Higher Education, directed all Montana University System campuses to implement the following decisions as soon as possible.

  1. All MUS campuses will, in every instance possible, transition all in-class instruction to online or other remote teaching modalities that do not require in-class presence. Individual departments, colleges, and universities should provide all material assistance and accommodation possible to faculty and students throughout this transition.
  2. MUS campuses will remain open and operational for students. This includes dining services, computer labs, and most other campus services. Employees will continue to report to work unless instructed otherwise or work-from-home accommodations are developed in individual cases.
  3. To protect public health, MUS campuses will implement appropriate social distancing measures in line with CDC guidelines and recommendations. This should include restrictions on large lectures, theater performances, academic conferences and other large gatherings.
  4. All MUS students and employees need to monitor their official email address for more communication and planning details.

Christian further states in a release:

“These decisions are in effect until further notice. Our COVID-19 challenge remains fluid. It is our responsibility to establish the current course of action while also preparing for new circumstances as they emerge. If and when we consider a return to face-to-face instruction, we will provide as much advance notice as possible and clear instructions for an orderly return to normal operations. Throughout, my office will continue to consult with Governor Steve Bullock, the Montana University System Board of Regents, health authorities, and other statewide partners as we assess our current policies. I ask that every campus leader be ready to answer questions and provide relevant information in a timely manner to students, faculty, and staff. I do not take these decisions lightly. I am committed to supporting the educational progress of our students and minimizing disruption to campus life whenever possible. I believe that the course of action outlined above is the best way to balance our commitment to protect the public health and safety of our students, employees, and communities.”