Warmest greetings to the Montana Bible College community!
Good news! Montana Bible College is still on track to be fully open and resume in-person classes for fall semester 2020. Our approach in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is to exercise common sense by evaluating actual data and assessing real risk to the best of our ability. We are seeking to live in submission to governing authorities and to implement directives in the way that makes best sense given our situation. (As of this publication, the MBC administration was aware of the local COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths within 24 hours, as well as the CDC composite predictive modeling for the next four weeks, as well as the pandemic death curve and science related to the virus life-cycle. The administration also took into account the college’s geographic location, size, demographic, and other factors. Finally, we took into account the applicable government mandates and the Evangelical Free Church of Bozeman’s COVID policy.)
What students can expect, given current mandates:
- Risk Mitigation Measures:
- All students will be screened and assessed for COVID risk level shortly before the start of the school year (it doesn’t make sense to screen earlier, or the screening would be out-dated).
- Screening measures will also be in place for visitors traveling to MBC’s campus.
- Students will sign an Acknowledgment of Risk and Pledge of Good Faith Compliance form.
- Hand sanitization stations will be strategically located around campus.
- Student residences will incorporate common sense sanitation measures.
- MBC is making its courses available in hybrid format to students whose ability to physically attend has been altered by the pandemic.
- Compliance with the “mask mandate”: MBC will comply with the governor’s mask mandate as issued on July 15, 2020.
- Student Residences: Masks are not necessary in student apartments. Masks only need to be worn in “indoor spaces open to the public”. Likewise, the Student Union and entry spaces to the apartments are not public spaces since access is by key card only. However, MBC will ask that masks be worn in the Student Union and entry spaces if non MBC visitors are invited in.
- Office and Library: Masks do need to be worn in the MBC office and library since they are open to the public. MBC staff will wear face coverings while interacting with students and visitors in MBC’s public office and library. Face coverings are not required for employees in non public-facing work spaces. (Per mandate exception stating “Only those employees, volunteers, and contractors in public-facing work spaces are required to wear face coverings as specified in this Directive”) If a student or visitor is invited in to an MBC employee’s personal office space, he or she may remove the face covering, though social distancing should be maintained as possible. (This is in keeping with the intent of the Directive as we understand it under definitions of “indoor spaces open to the public” which lists example spaces “or other spaces where people gather” and states, “The term does not include private residences not open to the public.” A private meeting in an employee’s private office, which is not a public gathering space, is a time when face coverings may be removed if desired.)
- Classes: According to the Evangelical Free Church of Bozeman’s COVID policy, masks must be worn by everyone at all times while in their building. It is MBC’s desire to be good tenants, and we will comply with this request of our brothers and sisters. There will be a designated room where students can hang out and eat. Masks will not be required while eating. Also, masks may be removed when a student is asking a question/making a comment in class. We will all hope for the soonest possible lifting of the mask requirement, but for the time being, we’ll be patient and considerate of others, especially given the spectrum of opinions and convictions on the matter. We’ll keep OUR focus on God’s kingdom!
- Medical Exceptions: For any medical exceptions regarding mask wearing, as allowed per the governor’s mandates, please send an email to our VP of Academic Affairs, Andre Gazal, at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contingency Plans
- MBC will work with the Gallatin County Health Department and local healthcare providers should testing or treatment measures be necessary.
- MBC has the ability to quarantine single apartment units or to provide a quarantine apartment for students who are positive or being tested for COVID-19 or have had close contact with others who have tested positive. We successfully navigated the quarantine of apartments during the Spring 2020 semester, and we can do so again if needed.
- MBC has the ability to quarantine a whole building or suspend in-person classes for a time if necessary.
We eagerly anticipate the start of the new semester! Let the mission of MBC continue ahead as we follow Jesus our Lord!
Ryan Ward – President