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Northern adjusts food services during COVID-19 pandemic


Last updated 3/20/2020 at 8:15am

Havre Daily News staff

Montana State University-Northern issued an update on how Northern's food services will function in regards to restrictions in place due to novel coronavirus 2019 and the disease it causes, COVID-19, when Northern comes back from spring break.

Last Friday, Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian - who is one of Montana's presumptive confirmed cases of COVID-19 - issued a directive that, as of March 23, all Montana University System campuses will, in every case possible, transition all in-class instruction to online or other remote teaching methods and not require in-class presence.

Later Friday, Northern Chancellor Greg Kegel announced what would happen on the Havre university's campus:

• The campus will remain open. This includes the residence halls, food service, Financial Aid, Admissions, the Registrar's office, the library, the Student Union Building, and the rest of campus, except for the gym and weight rooms. The only change will be how students attend some of their classes.

• Per the commissioner's direction, Northern started the processes of transitioning as many classes as possible to online and WebEx. Hands-on labs and clinical will continue as usual.

• Students will be notified via email and Brightspace as classes make the transition.

• In accordance with the CDC's guidelines regarding social distancing, all large events of 20 attendees or more, outside of course labs, on Northern's campus have been canceled and or postponed through April 12.

• To safeguard the campus population, Kegel said he is implementing a restriction on all campus-sponsored travel outside of the state through the end of the semester.

The update on the food service issued Wednesday said that during spring break:

• Northern Food Services and the Food Court have been closed for spring break

• They have been conducting a thorough cleaning of the area to prevent the spread of illness

• They will reopen Sunday in order to support students, staff, faculty and guests

Changes in the Food Court are:

• The dining/sitting area in the Food Court will be closed

• All food will be prepared for carry out

• Hours of operation will be:

- Monday through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

- Weekends and holidays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

- Lights Lounge Snack Bar will be closed until further notice

• All food will be prepared by the food service staff and put into to-go containers

• Individually wrapped plastic utensils with napkins will be available

• There will be no charge for any to-go containers

• Salad bar and breakfast bar items will only be available in to-go containers.

• Salads, veggie cups, yogurt, fruit and so on, will be pre-packaged in the kitchen

• Baked goods will be individually wrapped or put into containers

• Mexican and sandwich lines will no longer be set up for guests to put on their own toppings, staff will make items as requested by the guest, while following proper food handling procedures

• All buffet-style service will be served by the staff - no more help-yourself

• Catering will still be available for any group of 10 or less

• All additional changes in food services will be in keeping with the latest health care guidelines.

People with any questions or concerns can contact Becky Toth, MSU-Northern's director of Food Services and Catering at 265-3796 or [email protected] .


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