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University of Montana president confident as campus heads into "pandemic winter"

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Posted at 8:07 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 22:07:55-05

University of Montana President Seth Bodnar is grateful for the way faculty, staff and students are responding to calls for safety during the pandemic.

The University of Montana has received national attention for its efforts to continue learning and operations through the fall, and outside of a spike in daily cases Oct. 1, the university's case count has leveled out in recent weeks. There are 68 active cases right now.

The new challenge starts this week, as some people move outside that campus "bubble" into holiday travel and socializing.

"You know, we're entering a really critical time in the in the life of this pandemic. You know, despite the inevitable COVID fatigue that we're seeing, we have to keep up those precautions," Bodnar said.

Outside of staying safe, elements of the university continue to play an active roll in the pandemic, whether that's helping Missoula and state health officials with modeling, or doing research on a COVID vaccine.

“Each week it's our public health experts providing county health officials with data models and trends to help the county and the state make informed decisions. And for our students, terrific to be able to participate in hands-on learning that that's really putting public health into action," said Bodnar.

He also encouraged to see UM have a hand in other varied roles as we navigate the pandemic.

“It's our business faculty working together with Missoula Economic Partnership to help local businesses generate resources from small business relief funding," said Bodnar. "Our history faculty and students have been working to document the experience of people dealing with this so future generations can understand what it was like to live through the COVID pandemic.”

Bodnar said students will continue to have access to testing services during the holidays, and UM's COVID Task Force will continue meeting daily to review case counts and further measures that may be needed in response.