BILLINGS - Montana State University Billings announced Thursday it will require face masks in all of its indoor instructional settings starting Friday.
The mask requirement, which includes City College, will be in effect "until further notice," university officials said in a press release.
"The face mask requirement includes every classroom, lecture hall, laboratory, studio, and any other indoor space where faculty and students gather during a course session, where it is typically more difficult to physically distance," the press release states. "The current mask recommendation for indoor non-instructional spaces remains unchanged."
University officials said the decision was based on the high number of COVID-19 cases in Yellowstone County. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention data, the number of positive cases in Yellowstone County is up 600 percent, and new hospital admissions are up 350 percent since Aug. 1, putting a significant strain on the local health care system.
“We have a duty to keep our MSUB community healthy and safe and to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in Billings and Yellowstone County,” said MSUB Chancellor Stefani Hicswa.
Hicswa said she does not have a timeline for how long the new mask requirement for indoor instructional spaces will be in effect, but along with their COVID-19 Task Force the university will continue to monitor the situation closely.
If an MSUB student needs a special accommodation regarding the face mask requirement, they should contact Disability Support Services [msubillings.edu]. If an MSUB employee needs a special accommodation regarding this requirement, they should contact Human Resources [msubillings.edu].
Hicswa encouraged people to treat everyone with respect.
“You never know what others are going through in their lives, and kindness and respect go a long way,” she said.