The University of Providence plans to welcome students to campus for the fall 2020 semester. Fall semester is scheduled to begin on August 24 for all students in on-campus programs, and students in distance education programs through the School of Health Professions will begin online on August 31.

UP President Father Oliver Doyle said that a robust plan has been developed to protect the health and safety of the entire campus community from the COVID-19 virus. The University will track recommended guidelines throughout the summer in planning for fall semester, and adapt as necessary.

UP sent students home on March 12 and completed the spring 2020 semester via remote instruction. The campus has been conducting other business remotely for much of the time since then.

“It was a smooth adjustment for us because we have many of our students already learning online,” said Father Doyle. “But we are happy to be able to welcome back our returning and new students and our staff to the campus. We’ve really missed them.”

The University will coordinate with the Cascade City-County Health Department and local healthcare providers to ensure that comprehensive testing for COVID-19 is available and contact tracing occurs when necessary. The University has established quarantine and isolation protocols, social distancing and mask requirements, and enhanced cleaning of all campus spaces.

“We recognize that students attending the University will come from different parts of state and the nation. We will work with UP officials to establish the best practices to implement and protect the health of our community,” said Health Officer, Trisha Gardner.

Higher education, with its on-campus resident students, has been challenged by the COVID-19 virus as the fall semester approaches. Montana has been fortunate that just over 500 confirmed cases have been reported, one of the lowest rates in the country.

“And yet, many parents are concerned about sending their children far away,” said Father Doyle. “The University is pleased that we can continue to serve students and the community in this time of crisis, as in the tradition of the Sisters of Providence who served these communities in the times of smallpox, scarlet fever, typhoid and the flu pandemic.”

In addition to the traditional liberal arts curriculum, the University of Providence has a growing School of Health Professions that is designed to advance careers in the largest and fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy.

UP is a private Roman Catholic university in Great Falls, Montana. It is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.