Rocky, MSUB discuss fall semester reopening plans

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 12:40:19-04

Montana colleges announced their 2020 fall semester plans this week.

In Billings, both Montana State University Billings and Rocky Mountain College have both implemented new plans to keep faculty, staff and students safe when returning to campus in the fall.

Both universities have implemented a mask policy, where individuals will need to wear masks in all common and high-traffic areas.

Melinda Arnold, provost and vice chancellor for MSUB, said Monday morning that the university's staff has been working closely with students to ensure the changes made will fit their needs.

Arnold says faculty will be implementing hybrid class schedules, giving professors the ability to teach via online or face-to-face.

“We have classrooms that are flexible. We have course modalities which are flexible. If we should have to go back to a fully online learning environment, we are ready to do that,” said Arnold.

Arnold said that students on campus will have the option to choose either single or double rooms. She said that due to the pandemic, many students have chosen single dorm rooms.

Brad Nason, executive vice president and dean of student affairs at Rocky Mountain College, said Monday afternoon that the private university will be operating like semesters prior to the pandemic.

“We do have a few faculty members that will be teaching online courses but, really few. And that is a result of their own personal health needs that they will just be at a high-risk population and so teaching online is the better option for them,” said Nason.

He added John Felton, Yellowstone County's health officer, is a member of Rocky Mountain's board of trustees, which has helped school better navigate the reopening.

Nason said some classes will be on a hybrid model. Like MSUB, these classes will allow teachers to teach either online or in person.

Nason said there are new policies put in place for students in dorms. He says dorms will be operating with limited capacity. Dorms that usually hold four students will be limited to three.

Both MSUB and Rocky Mountain College have eliminated student and faculty travel related to curriculum. Nason said that Rocky Mountain College usually doesn't offer travel opportunities in the fall anyway.

For more detailed information on the fall semester plans, visit or