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Northern delaying spring graduation to fall, continues adapting

Classes online, meal service set to COVID-19 conditions


Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

Food service worker Morgan McCrary bags up Amos Taiswa's lunch Sunday inside the cafeteria at Montana State University-Northern. The cafeteria has been running on limited hours and shutting down between services to sanitize all surfaces.

Montana State University-Northern announced Friday it is postponing its spring commencement ceremonies and will combine them with its fall ceremonies, usually held the first Saturday in December.

Commissioner Clayton Christian, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, issued a directive Wednesday ordering all campuses in the Montana University System to to cancel in-person spring 2020 commencement ceremonies.

Northern  University Relations Director Jim Potter said Sunday Northern will remain online-only for the duration of the spring semester.

"Our tutors, faculty and coaching staff have already adopted tools such as Skype for Business and WebEx to conduct virtual meetings with students and ensure they are well supported through this transition and completing their coursework," he said. "Our Office of Teaching and Learning Excellence has been doing an outstanding job helping our faculty design their lectures and labs in a format that can be delivered online."

He said the campus's Tutoring Central team has been hard at work building a robust online tutoring and advising platform.

As for Northern's dining hall on campus the hours of operation have changed, he said.

Breakfast is from 8 to 9:30 am, lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., dinner is at 4:30 to 6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays is open 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 3 to 5 p.m.

Potter added that the dining hall will close between each mealtime in order to clean and prepare for the next meal and the convenience store will only be open during hours of operation.

"Only to-go and carryout meals will be served," he said. "Students with meal plans will only be able to get food from the food court during the scheduled hours of operation. Due to limited staffing, no calling in of orders or deliveries will be available."

He said two ways are available for students to order food: Students will be able to come up and order from the line and pre-orders for meals can be made ahead of time through the cashiers or Student Union Building information desk.

Menu options and prices will be posted daily, he said, adding that students who have any dietary, allergies, complaints, requests, etc. should call Food Services and Catering Director Becky Toth at 265-3796.

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

As of Friday, Potter said,  31 students were still living in the residence halls.

"Students have been asked to adhere to the governor's stay-at-home/shelter-in-place mandate and do not invite guests into the residence halls for the remainder of the semester," he said. "While our residence halls remain open to those who have opted to live on campus for the duration of the semester. We are providing a prorated refund for residence hall students who choose to leave campus for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester due to the COVID-19 emergency."

Students who need to talk about their residence hall housing situation, can contact Student Life Coordinator Scott Schroeder at 265-3561 or [email protected]


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