This page contains information most closely related to how Coronavirus precautions taken by SKC will affect our faculty's work experience.

Remember if you have any questions regarding our response to COVID-19 you can send an email to and the message will be received by the appropriate person to assist you. Or, fill out the form below.

In order to limit the number of individuals and interactions among those present on campus, departments should schedule partial staffing on alternating days. Such schedules will facilitate social distancing, especially in areas with large, common workspaces.

Face Mask Requirement

Face coverings are required in all indoor spaces and all enclosed or partially enclosed outdoor spaces. Face coverings will be required in all outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible or difficult to reliably maintain. The face-covering requirement applies to all Salish Kootenai College students, employees, and to all visitors, including service providers, contractors, vendors, suppliers, alumni, families, and community members.

Campus face-covering requirements will supplement measures such as social distancing, frequent handwashing, and frequent cleaning of office, work, and living spaces, already in place.

What Counts as a Face Covering?

Appropriate face coverings are those that cover the mouth and nose of the wearer. Effective face coverings include simple cloth masks, scarves, or bandanas.

Following CDC guidance, face coverings should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face;
  • be secured with ties or ear loops;
  • include multiple layers of fabric;
  • allow for breathing without restriction; and
  • be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damaging them or changing their shape.
  • Cannot have an “exhale valve,” as those allow droplets to escape the mask

Plastic face shields may be used in instances where an individual can consistently and reliably maintain appropriate social distancing or where a cloth mask is otherwise impracticable. Such instances may include, but not be limited to, ADA and other medical accommodations. If an individual chooses to use a plastic face shield the shield should cover from above the eyes to below the chin and wrap around the side of the wearer’s face to reduce the risk of the spread of respiratory particles. However, it is important to note that cloth face masks are preferred. Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single-use. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Plastic face shields for newborns and infants are NOT recommended.

Disposable, single-use paper masks are also acceptable when another face-covering option is not available. 


The following exceptions apply to students, employees, and visitors regarding face coverings:

  • when alone in an office, enclosed study area, or other space where permitted by official notice;
  • when inside campus residence hall rooms or apartments; however, face coverings are still required in common areas such as hallways, common restrooms, and when visiting other rooms;
  • when working or spending time outdoors (e.g. walking, exercising) and at least a six-foot distance can be consistently and reliably maintained;
  • in instances or spaces (such as welding labs, nursing labs, etc.) in which other requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) make it either impractical or unsafe to wear an additional face covering;
  • when alone in a vehicle or utility vehicle used for Salish Kootenai College business, however, face coverings are required in vehicles used for Salish Kootenai College business when there is more than one person inside the vehicle; and
  • when an accommodation is necessary as indicated by a medical professional and granted by express written permission of the College.
  • Children under the age of five and those who cannot physically remove a face covering without assistance. All children between the ages of two and four, however, are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering. Children under the age of two should not wear a face covering;


Individuals whose unique and individual circumstances require an exception to the face-covering requirement, as indicated by a medical professional, may request one in accordance with the campus ADA policies. Employees should contact Human Resources. Students should contact the Office of Disability Services. Students must make contact prior to arriving on campus in order to provide adequate time for their requests to be evaluated.

Responsibility and Accountability

The goal of the face mask requirement is to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. At Salish Kootenai College, we believe that the universal adoption of this measure will lead to better results when implemented in a civil and cordial environment. Therefore, Salish Kootenai College will communicate and promote the importance of compliance for the benefit of our faculty, students, staff, and visitors.

In the event of willful non-compliance, existing campus policies apply. Employees, students, and visitors engaging in sustained, willful non-compliance may be directed to leave campus spaces, taken off duty, and in certain cases subject to disciplinary action in accordance with existing campus policies applicable to policy violations and disruptions on campus.

Building use

Occupants are expected to follow signs in buildings regarding traffic flow, building entrances, exits, elevator usage, and similar common use areas.

Visitors and guests should be limited to those who are directly related to an individual’s or unit’s work.


The use of elevators by multiple individuals will be limited to avoid close proximity with others in a confined space. Elevator riders will wear a face mask or face covering regardless of whether they are traveling alone, Employees should also avoid touching the elevator buttons with exposed hands/fingers and should wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers after touching any surface.


Before and after eating, SKC strongly encourages students and employees to wash their hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of infectious diseases. Employees are encouraged to take food back to their office area or eat outside, if reasonable. Employees eating in their work environment (break room, office, etc.) must maintain social distancing. Employees must wipe all surfaces, including tables, refrigerator handles, coffee machines, etc. after use in common areas.


Convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or part using the available online collaboration tools. In-person meetings are limited by the restrictions set in Tribal, state, and federal orders, and employees shall maintain social distancing. All attendees must wear a cloth mask or face covering while sharing space in a common room. Employees, whether on-site or remote, are encouraged to communicate with colleagues and supervisors as needed electronically rather than in-person.

Office environments

  • SKC employees working in an open environment should maintain social distance from co-workers.
  • SKC employees are required to wear a cloth face mask or face covering at all times while in a shared workspace/room, when more than one person is in a room, and when inside any SKC facility where others are present. That includes while walking in hallways where others travel and in break rooms, conference rooms, and other meeting locations.
  • Cloth face masks or face coverings are required to be worn by any staff in a reception/receiving area.
  • Departments should assess open work environments and meeting rooms to institute measures to physically separate and increase the distance between employees, other coworkers, and visitors.
  • SKC employees will not use anyone else’s personal protective equipment, phones, computer equipment, desks, cubicles, workstations, offices, or other personal work tools and equipment.
  • In situations where work tools must be shared, employees will take precautions to sanitize tools between use, as well as wash their hands before and after use.
  • In areas where shared/split workspace is in use, cleaning supplies will be made available by the individual unit. SKC employees are expected to wipe down a shared/split workspace prior to and after using it.

Public health habits while at work

SKC employees should:

  • Remain home if they are sick.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep a supply of hand sanitizer.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Regularly clean all high-touch areas in homes and workplaces.
  • Do not touch eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.


The number of individuals in restrooms will be limited based on the size of the restroom to ensure social distancing. SKC employees are expected to wash their hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

Staggered reporting/departing

The beginning and end of the workday typically bring many people together at common entry/exit points of buildings. Staggering reporting and departure times will reduce traffic in common areas to meet social distancing requirements.

Guidance for SKC supervisors

SKC supervisors may ask employees who report feeling ill at work, or who call in sick if they have any COVID-19 symptoms so that the supervisor can determine whether the employee must stay home. The supervisor’s discussion about the employee’s health should be limited to asking only about COVID-19 symptoms. Employees who become ill due to COVID-19 but do not have sick leave should contact Human Resources. 

SKC supervisors should regularly remind employees reporting to work on campus that they should stay home if they are sick or have COVID-19 symptoms. If an employee does report to work and is exhibiting symptoms, supervisors may require employees to leave the workplace. Supervisors should work with Human Resources to prepare for any employees returning from leave or needing accommodation.

SKC supervisors may not mandate that an employee stay away from work because the employee disclosed, or the supervisor is aware of, a medical condition unrelated to COVID-19. Supervisors shall not inquire about underlying medical conditions. 

SKC acknowledges that it is a community of individuals with different abilities and circumstances. If an employee who has been instructed to return to work on-site has concerns about doing so due to a medical condition or other factors that place them at a higher risk from COVID-19, or if individuals wish to seek ADA reasonable accommodations related to returning to the workplace, they should contact Human Resources.


International travel

SKC has suspended all college-sponsored international travel on the part of faculty, students, and staff through December 31, 2020.

In-state work-related travel

In-state travel that is central to the mission of SKC and cannot be managed through remote methods may be deemed essential by the college. SKC  Faculty and staff who believe they must travel for work which is essential should submit a written request to their supervisor for approval explaining why the travel is necessary and cannot be accomplished remotely or in an alternative way.

If work travel is approved, faculty and staff should:

  • Take their temperature before traveling.
  • Maintain social distance from others while traveling and working.
  • Continue good hygiene practices including washing hands frequently and sneezing and/or coughing into a tissue or the elbow.
  • Do not report to work or travel if they are feeling sick or have an elevated temperature

While traveling, cloth face coverings are strongly encouraged and should be worn in situations in which social distancing cannot be maintained.

Out-of-state work-related travel

The same guidance applies to out-of-state travel as described for in-state travel. However, travel to a state that requires a 14-day quarantine upon entry is prohibited. Additionally, faculty and staff should be aware the conditions could change at any time and they may be unable to leave a state or they may have to quarantine for 14 days upon reentry to Montana. As with in-state travel, faculty and staff should submit a written request to their supervisors for approval explaining why the travel is necessary and cannot be accomplished remotely or in an alternative way.

Enhanced cleaning protocols

  • Additional sanitization supplies will be delivered to all academic and non-academic departments.
  • Students and faculty need to clean each area they use before and after use. This includes chairs, tables, lab instruments, etc.
  • Foggers or UV sanitizers will be used at the end of each class session before the next class can enter the room.
  • Classrooms, labs, and other instructional spaces will be cleaned daily.
  • Doorknobs and handles in the classroom, labs, and other instructional spaces will be cleaned daily.

Lengthening the academic day

To accommodate social distancing requirements, some classes may be shifted to earlier or later times and/or days of the week. Any necessary modifications to the class schedule will be done with the least amount of disruption for students.

Foot traffic

Students and faculty will not enter a classroom until the previous occupants have exited. Where two doors to a classroom exist, one will be labeled as the entrance and the other as the exit.

Directional pathways that increase one-way traffic flow in buildings will be identified and posted.

Personal sanitization

Faculty will sanitize the teaching technology and podiums or lecterns. Students will sanitize their chairs and desks. Supplies will be provided in each classroom.

Instruction and learning modalities

Salish Kootenai College will offer courses using four basic delivery models:

  • Face to Face–Traditional instruction approach in which students attend classes in-person according to the determined schedule with strict adherence to CDC COVID-19 guidelines. See Syllabus for more specific details.
  • Hybrid-Synchronous – An instructional approach where students and faculty work together synchronously through web-based technology.  There is an expectation that students connect with their instructor and classmates at specific dates and times.  See the syllabus for more specific details.
  • Hybrid-Face to Face – Students attend classes in a combination of in-person and virtual online class meetings during the set, scheduled class meeting times.
  • Online/Asynchronous – Instructional materials, coursework, and instructional guidance are provided in Schoology. Learning and dialogue does not require in-person meetings and allows students to access learning at their convenience

All four modes will be used for course delivery during the 2020 fall semester. Because of constraints on available physical space imposed by social distancing, there will be more courses available using hybrid synchronous, hybrid asynchronous, and online delivery methods in the fall. The primary method of communication and correspondence with students and faculty will take place in Schoology. 

Priorities and principles for course design

Student success and a positive academic experience marked by excellence, while reducing the risk to our students, faculty, and staff is the primary goal at SKC. SKC has provided to departments as decisions about the delivery models for courses are made

  • Face to Face delivery is prioritized for classes with small enrollment, hands-on competency-based programs (Construction Trades, Dental Assisting, Medical Assisting, etc.), Nursing, research labs, and upper-division capstone classes.
  • Hybrid-Face to Face delivery is preferred for courses that feature collaborative, active learning among groups of students. Such collaborative activities can safely be done virtually, while Face to Face instruction builds community and promotes common learning experience.
  • Hybrid-Synchronous delivery is preferred for classes that require active student engagement or complex learning objectives that can be effectively delivered in a virtual environment.
  • Hybrid-Synchronous delivery models will be used in large-enrollment classes that lack suitable space while distancing practices are in place.
  • Online sections will also be available for students in courses with multiple sections who do not feel safe returning to an on-campus environment.
  • Online classes will also be used in upper-division and graduate classes that lend themselves to effective delivery in the online mode.

Social distancing in the classroom

Federal and guidelines provide direction for SKC’s ongoing adaptation of spaces and scheduling to provide for social distancing in classrooms, computer rooms, instructional laboratories, studios, conference rooms, and other public spaces in campus buildings used in academic activities.

SKC has reconfigured existing classroom space, identified new space, and adjusted class delivery models for the fall 2020 semester to meet social distancing requirements.

Seating capacities

New maximum seating capacities for each instructional space have been established, consistent with social distancing, as well as fire and other safety codes.

Classroom furnishing has been rearranged to maximize the seating capacity while allowing for social distancing. Room capacity, adjusted to meet COVID-19 protocols, will be posted outside of the door of every classroom.

Specific practices for the proper use of spaces where students are engaged in experiential learning, such as instructional laboratories, studios, recreational facilities have been developed by the faculty responsible for the instruction in specific courses.

Priorities for enhanced technology in classrooms

SKC has been working to determine the best strategy for equipping more SKC classrooms with technology to support the teaching methods discussed above. A few of the decisions made to enhance technology in classrooms:

  • Equip as many classrooms as possible with the ability to support some form of synchronous lecture delivery.
  • Equip as many classrooms as possible with voice amplification technology to ensure students can hear lectures while instructors are wearing personal protective equipment.
  • Install equipment that will be sustainable and usable beyond the current emergency.
  • Maintain a system that supports the use of multiple conferencing tools.

Student remote learning spaces on campus

The diversity of student learning experiences will require students to move from in-person classes to online learning, to work virtually with their peers and instructors, access academic advising and student success resources both remotely and in-person. While students may access Wi-Fi in campus buildings using their personal laptops and devices, they also use computer labs, the SKC Library, and other offices on campus. Social distancing protocols will be in place for student use of common study spaces on campus.

Strategies to meet learning expectations

SKC will utilize a variety of strategies to deliver instruction that meets course learning outcomes, including:

  • Simulation experiences to create scenarios for students to practice technical, diagnostic, laboratory, and exam skills.
  • Applied assignments that draw on scenarios and ask students to embrace and wrestle with real-life complexities.
  • Specialized plans for courses and instruction in which social distancing is not possible.
  • The expanded ability for recorded or synchronous presentations using Schoology to deliver course content.
  • Expanded options for exams/tests/quizzes and other assessments to be administered virtually using Respondus or socially distanced using larger alternative locations.
  • Alternate class attendance schedules with one-half (1/2) of students meeting virtually one day and attending in person on the following class day in an alternating fashion to maintain social distancing.
  • Alternate instructional delivery methods including:
    • Distance education and virtual instruction
    • Flipped classrooms with synchronous presentations
  • A larger than normal quantity of fully online sections to meet the needs of students who do not wish to participate in in-person instruction.

1). What to do if a student in your class has tested positive for COVID-19 

If a student has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been placed in quarantine for possible exposure to COVID-19, the following steps will be followed:

  1. The student will contact the faculty member and let them know that they will not be in class for 5 or more days. 
  2. The faculty member will not ask if the student has tested positive. A student may volunteer the information, but you will not ask.
  3. The faculty member will immediately contact the COVID Support Team at and advise of the status.
  4. The faculty member will arrange for the student to continue their studies in an asynchronous online or synchronous online format. The faculty member will support the student academically while they are in Quarantine.

2). COVID-19 Status is Confidential Medical Information and is not to be shared

  1. Faculty members who become aware of individuals by name who are quarantined will not share the name of the student with anyone other than a representative of the COVID Support Team.
  2. Faculty, staff and student health information is protected by HIPAA Federal Regulation.
  3. Breach of HIPAA Regulation will result in disciplinary action.

3). If a person is ill, or thinks they have been exposed to COVID-19 they will be directed to immediately seek medical care.

  1. SKC Health Center has testing capacity.
  2. If the student tests positive, or may have been exposed, the health facility will direct the student to quarantine and they will begin contract tracing.
  3. If you have not been notified by a health professional, or the person who may be ill that you have been named as a possible contact, then there is nothing that you need to do.
  4. If you are contacted by a health professional, then you will need to notify the COVID Support Team and follow the instructions provided by the health professional as to whether or not you will be quarantined.
  5. If you are quarantined, you may continue to teach your classes if you are able, or a substitute will be found to cover the class while you are ill.

4). It is imperative that all COVID-19 protocols are followed in classrooms and offices.

  1. Do not share technology/materials (dry erase equipment, etc)
  2. Sanitize or Instruct the students to sanitize their personal space in the classroom (when they arrive and when they leave)
  3. Desks and chairs to remain 6 ft. apart, no small group activities that force students within 6 ft. of each other
  4. Sanitize common touch technology devices prior to using
  5. Use face shield or mask at all times while teaching
  6. Students must be masked/face covered at all times in the classroom (this will be enforced. If a student refuses, they must leave class. If they refuse, please call SKC Security)

Hands-on/experiential delivery models

Departments that require hands-on experiences for students must work with the SKC Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) and Tribal Health Department to identify methods to maintain important education experiences for students: 

  • Laboratories, simulations, and studios may require additional personal protective equipment (PPE) and will implement processes to allow for the reduction of risk in collaborative work and instruction.
  • Field courses will implement strategies to reduce the risk of travel to field sites that may include taking multiple vehicles or requiring PPE.
  • Activities courses will follow the college’s social distancing guidelines for classroom/gym activities and outdoor courses.

Office hours

Instructional faculty will hold regular virtual office hours during the fall quarter and may hold in-person office hours if they are able to do so in compliance with social distancing requirements. Course Syllabus must specify office hours as well as whether the faculty member will have face to face or virtual office hours.


Faculty will include in the syllabus plans for how the quarter will proceed if there is a transition to remote delivery and will be familiar with setting up virtual meetings via the LMS, Google Meet, or other remote delivery methods supported by SKC. Faculty will also specify in their syllabus that students should communicate with their instructors regarding changes in their ability to complete coursework and academic responsibilities.

Student attendance and absences

Faculty attendance policies need to acknowledge and support students who become ill, without creating barriers or requiring unnecessary visits to a physician for documentation of illness. Success Coaches are a resource that can assist faculty to engage students who are missing classes.

Switching to a remote delivery

Every instructor should be ready to switch to remote delivery if required by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council, state, or federal authorities.

Faculty will ensure that students know how to access and use the tools and technologies that will allow for an easier transition to remote learning if necessary.

Academic Advising Services

Faculty Advisors will observe the following guidelines:

  • Academic advisors will be available and respond to student requests within 24 hours.
  • All New Student Orientation sessions will be offered via distance methods. 
  • Subsequent to participating in an orientation session, each student will have a virtual appointment with their advisor to discuss the courses they can select and register online. While Google Meet is the recommended communication method, phone appointments are also available if preferred by the student.
  • If an in-person meeting is necessary, advisors will use offices or alternative locations where social distancing can be maintained.
  • Contact information for specific advising areas will be posted on the Admissions Webpage of the SKC Website.

Considerations for students

SKC students will be asked to evaluate their individual health status and refrain from attending class or other on-campus activities if they are sick. Students are encouraged to seek appropriate medical attention if they are not feeling well. Medical attention can be sought at the SKC Clinic in the Vanderburg Building.

SKC students who are absent due to illness will be given opportunities to access course materials online. If a student wishes to seek reasonable Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations, they should contact the ADA Coordinator ( to initiate a review.

Considerations for faculty

SKC Faculty will be asked to evaluate their individual health status and refrain from coming to campus and to seek appropriate medical attention if they are sick. Medical attention can be sought at the SKC Clinic in the Vanderburg Building.

SKC faculty will be encouraged to teach in-person and to combine mixtures of methods in their course structure. If faculty have concerns about their teaching assignment because of a medical condition that puts them at greater risk, they should contact Human Resources to discuss options. Faculty who have concerns about their work assignment should request a review by Human Resources.

Face shields and face masks will be available for instructional faculty to wear in classrooms, labs, and studios. These devices will be provided by the SKC Building Maintenance Department upon request. Requests are to be submitted in writing through email (for inventory purposes) to ( and

Faculty members who become ill with COVID-19 may need to transition their courses to an online environment. If the Faculty member is unable to teach from home, a qualified substitute will be found to provide instruction. This will be done with the least amount of disruption to student learning.

If a faculty wishes to seek reasonable ADA accommodations related to returning to the classroom, they should contact the Human Resources Department to initiate a review. The SKC Office of Human Resources will work with instructional faculty and department heads to determine any appropriate accommodation(s).

Classroom operations

  1. Common understanding for Faculty/Instructors personal safety in classrooms
    • Instructors “own” the classroom they are using for instruction
    • When possible do not share technology/materials (dry erase equipment, etc)
    • Either sanitize or Instruct the students to sanitize their personal space in the classroom (when they arrive and when they leave)
    • Desks and chairs to remain 6 ft. apart, no small group activities that force students within 6 ft. of each other
    • Sanitize common touch technology devices prior to using
    • Use face shield or mask at all times while teaching
    • Students must be masked/face covered at all times in the classroom (this will be enforced. If a student refuses, they must leave class. If they refuse, please call SKC Security)
  2. Protocols implemented to mitigate health risks for the safety of students, Faculty and Instructors
    Based on your class size, students and dynamics, you will want to engage students either individually as they enter the classroom or collectively to go through the following steps. Students may be more responsive and compliant if the following are not conducted where their answers are public in the event that they need to leave the space. However, each Faculty/Instructor has their own unique relationship with the students in their classes and can implement the protocol in the best way possible. It is not an option to choose not to implement the protocol:

    1. When entering a classroom to teach, or one on one prior to entering the classroom, ask students the following questions:
      1. Do you feel ill at all with flu like symptoms? Fever, sore throat, cough?
      2. Do you have a loss of taste or smell?
      3. Are you a direct contact to a COVID positive person or have you been in close contact with a person in quarantine?
    2. IF you are comfortable and there is a thermometer easily accessible take the students temperatures. A temperature greater than 100.4 requires they return home and seek medical attention.
    3. If anyone says yes to any of the above questions or has a temperature greater than 100.4 they need to be told to leave the classroom and seek medical attention.
  3. What to do if a student has to leave the classroom because they answered yes to the questions
    Faculty/Instructors will need to work with students who cannot attend classes due to the health survey, or illness by providing opportunities for them to make up classwork, attend the class virtually or other accommodations that the Faculty/Instructor and student agree upon.
  4. How to obtain sanitization materials.
    Faculty/Instructors can request Personal Protective Equipment (disposable masks, face shields, gloves, thermometers) through Kissflow. Classroom materials for sanitization will be in each classroom.

Research operations

SKC research activities will be conducted in accordance with levels of operation that will be determined based on a number of factors, including COVID-19 caseloads, guidance from Tribal, national, state, and local health officials, input from SKC administrative leadership, faculty and students, and others.

Disinfectant procedures for confirmed COVID-19 in a research laboratory

Laboratories must follow SKC guidelines for disinfecting facilities in the event that a laboratory member is confirmed to have COVID-19. The following are approved disinfection methods, and one of these two options will be determined in consultation with the principal investigator (PI), department head or director, and SKC Office of Risk and Compliance (ORC) in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case:

  • Option 1: Seven-day shutdown of the laboratory. Entrance into the laboratory is prohibited during the seven-day period unless approved by ORC for short-term, emergency entrance with appropriate personal protective equipment. This option will be the default unless a principal investigator (PI) has coordinated with ORC an acceptable plan for deep cleaning that will not harm equipment, experiments, and neighboring laboratories/spaces.
  • Option 2: Deep cleaning of the laboratory. Disinfection of porous items (lab notebooks, cardboard, etc.) sensitive equipment, reagents, and experimental samples may be impacted by this option. If it is determined that ORC-approved deep clean methods could harm neighboring laboratories and spaces, this may not be an option.

Field Research

In consultation with deans, department heads, and directors, Each research PI must outline their adoption of these guidelines before engaging in any field research.

Prior to Travel

  • SKC Field crews should follow local, regional, and federal guidelines for quarantines. Quarantines are not currently required following in-state fieldwork but may be imposed if the PI believes warranted.
  • SKC PIs will provide appropriate face covering, disinfectants, and other key supplies to field crew. If the research is deemed “essential” per Research Operations guidelines, and social distancing is not possible, appropriate masks must be used for all investigators and participants during those research procedures.
  • Before departure, each SKC research team member must fill out a medical screening form. If they answer yes to any of the questions, they should not participate in field research. The form must be signed by the PI and kept on file by the PI.
  • Before departure, the SKC field crew supervisor will provide a written contingency plan in case someone becomes symptomatic for COVID-19. This contingency plan will be reviewed with all field researchers prior to departure. A copy of the plan should be given to each research team member, who should then sign to acknowledge the plan. Signed and dated copies must be retained by the PI. There can be no coercion to participate and sign. At a minimum, those plans should include:
    • Identification of nearest clinic to the field location in case of emergency (including address, phone number, and hours operation).
    • If different from above, identification of the nearest clinic to the field location that could perform a COVID-19 test (including address, phone number, and hours operation). Preference should be given to a facility capable of performing COVID-19 testing.
    • A plan for if the clinic refuses to perform COVID-19 testing. This plan must include self-quarantine, informing the PI, and additional guidelines per healthcare professionals.
    • A plan to evacuate field crew in the event that individual(s) test positive for COVID-19.
    • Documentation of basic first aid supplies, including over-the-counter medications for fever (e.g., Tylenol, ibuprofen).
  • SKC PIs should be cognizant that not all individuals (including landowners and off-site research centers) will be comfortable with the continuation of fieldwork. PIs are encouraged to share their plans and mitigation strategies with applicable individuals and provide the opportunity for input and questions. PIs should not conduct field research with community members/groups who express that they are uncomfortable with the work.


  • The guideline is to limit vehicle travel to the driver only (no passengers). However, it is acknowledged that this may not be practical and/or may add risk (e.g., on long day trips that would benefit from rotational driving). Accordingly, PIs can pursue mitigation strategies (i.e., larger vehicles, wearing masks, proper disinfecting protocols, etc.).
  • Airline travel related to field research must conform with national, state, local, and college travel guidelines.
  • Field research that requires boating must abide by social distancing guidelines and follow all other applicable field research guidelines. If social distancing cannot be maintained, PIs can pursue mitigation strategies (i.e., wearing masks, proper disinfecting protocols, etc.).

Van and SKC Vehicle Use Guidelines

During COVID-19 operations at SKC Van and SKC vehicle usage will be restricted for the number of passengers allowed in a vehicle at the same time. Each SKC vehicle is allowed to operate with no greater than 40% of the passenger rating of the SKC vehicle. This ratio includes all persons in the vehicle. Masks must be worn at all times when people are in the vehicle together. Passengers should stagger their location and spread out as much as safely feasible. In vans with multiple benches only one person per bench is allowed, passengers should sit on opposing sides of the vehicle.

It is the responsibility of the SKC employee renting the vehicle to clean and sanitize both prior to and after usage of the vehicle. When possible, the driver should ensure air flow in the vehicle such as cracked open windows or air blowing on non-recirculated vents.


Every effort should be made to provide individual living arrangements for field researchers. Understanding this is not always possible, the following guidelines are provided for unique situations where individual living arrangements are not feasible.

  • Social distancing should be maintained during lodging, including sleeping arrangements, cooking, eating, and social time. For short intervals when social distancing cannot be maintained, an appropriate face mask should be worn by all individuals.
  • Individuals must wash hands often. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Cover all sneezes and coughs with a tissue or with your shirt sleeve. Wear protective gloves (latex, nitrile, or rubber) whenever using furniture, cookware, equipment, or vehicles shared among team members.
  • Regularly use disinfectant wipes on all surfaces used by multiple team members. As an alternative (when disinfectant wipes are not available) use a spray bottle with diluted 70% alcohol.

Additional guidelines specific to sleeping arrangements, cooking, and shared bathroom use include:

  • Sleeping: Everyone must have their own personal sleep space. For example, if sleeping in tents, the default should be that each individual sleeps on their own. In cases where teams must lodge in a hotel, outpost, or other commercial/state/federal establishment, budget is not an adequate justification to have people sleeping in the same room.
  • Cooking: When first entering the kitchen, wash hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. Sanitize cooking surfaces (while wearing rubber or plastic gloves) as part of kitchen cleanup. Wash dishes in hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
  • Bathrooms: Take all personal items (towels, hand towels, shampoo/conditioner) with you to and from the bathroom, and leave them in your personal space. Do not leave them in common space (including bathroom or kitchen).

To further mitigate risk, PIs may consider temporarily instituting a “pod” concept for their research teams.

  • A “pod” is defined as a group of adults who have been living in the same household for the past month or more. To qualify, a pod will certify that they have been following social distancing rules for a minimum of 14 days prior to field research and will continue to follow social distancing rules during research and for 14-days after the field research.
  • For short-term research-related endeavors, members of the pod may be hired to work together. The application of the pod concept would be most warranted in situations where field research should not be conducted by only one SKC employee. This concept is particularly relevant for long-distance or overnight field research where there are safety concerns or logistical limitations of an employee working by themselves.
  • In cases where a pod would require hiring and/or supervision rules that impact current Conflict of Interest (COI) plans, including nepotism, investigators should work with amending COIs with the Office of Risk and Compliance and/or work with Human Resources to pursue temporary exceptions. Temporary exceptions should only be for short-term events (e.g., several days to a week for mission-critical events, with up to a few events during the summer of 2020) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The justification for a nepotism exception would be that the benefits of this approach would be outweighed by the potential costs and risks of 1) failure to set up an experiment, 2) losing critical research data, or 3) decreasing the safety of an SKC researcher.

Conducting field research

  • To allow for contract tracing in case a crew member becomes ill, crews will record the date, time, place of contact, name, and, where possible, contact information for any people they interact with during the field research (i.e., landowner, agency staff member, etc.).
  • Each day crew members must self-assess their health and record in a journal their morning and evening temperature, as well as any potential symptoms of COVID-19. This journal must be made available upon request by the PI.
  • Shared field gear (nets, shovels, binoculars, etc.) must be disinfected before handing over to someone else.

Mental and emotional wellbeing

All employees can utilize the Employee Assistance Program, which provides a wide range of services including 24-hour crisis help, in-person counseling as well as access to online consultations with licensed counselors. 


Contact SKC Human Resources for Met Life EAP login information.

SKC Office of Risk and Compliance

The SKC Office of Risk and Compliance is available for COVID-19 risk, process, and grant-related questions. This includes consultation on allowable costs and extensions related to COVID-19 disruptions, as well as new funding mechanisms related to COVID-19 research. An ORC fiscal manager is available to help determine specific policies, which can vary depending on the federal agency.

The SKC Library is currently open only to SKC Students, Faculty, and Staff. 

Library operating practices will be modified as follows:

  • All Library patrons must wear face masks when in the library.
  • All staff working in the building will wear cloth face masks or face coverings, except when they are in their personal office space.
  • Sanitize select high-use areas multiple times per day
  • Communicate healthy practices to library patrons through messaging that will include signs, table tents, and spoken communication directly with people in the building.
  • Provide patrons with cleaning and sanitizing products to clean areas prior to or after use.
  • Create a logging system by which patrons in the building can indicate the space they used and for what duration.
  • Select technical equipment will be unavailable for checkouts, including headphones and virtual reality equipment.
  • Open public spaces for solo study or groups no larger than three who maintain social distancing.
  • Group study rooms are only available for solo use to accommodate social distancing.
  • Hold meetings online or in-person and observe appropriate social distancing.
  • Avoid high-risk, high-volume programs, and events.
  • Arrange furniture in open public areas to promote collaboration while observing social distancing.
  • Open classrooms according to SKC guidelines for appropriate classroom capacities.
  • There will be a limited number of computers available for library patrons' use. The rest will remain turned off for social distancing and ease of sanitizing available equipment.
  • Printing services will be available.

General operations of the SKC Fitness Center

  • Faculty, staff, and current students will be admitted. No day or week passes are available currently.
  • Occupancy is limited to (yet to be determined) patrons at a time.
  • Patrons will be asked before entering whether they have any symptoms of COVID-19 and their temperature will be taken before entering the Fitness Center. Employees have been trained to recognize the symptoms, and patrons may be refused entry based on their answers to the screening questions or the results of their temperature.
  • The facility and equipment will be continuously cleaned while the fitness center is open, as well as after closing, concentrating on frequently touched areas. All Recreational Sports and Fitness employees will wear cloth masks while working and gloves when appropriate.

Fitness Center member responsibilities

  • Patrons are to check themselves for COVID-19: high fever, dry cough, trouble breathing, chills, muscle pain, loss of taste or smell, and sore throat. Sick patrons are not to come to the fitness center.
  • Patrons are asked to keep their workouts efficient to limit their time in the center as much as possible.
  • Patrons are asked to skip the locker rooms when possible and come dressed-out.
  • Patrons are required to wear a cloth mask or face covering when possible while in the fitness center.
  • Patrons should bring their own water. Drinking fountains are closed. Bottle fillers are open, but patrons are asked to only use them when necessary. Bottle fillers will be cleaned hourly.
  • Patrons must maintain 6-foot social distancing everywhere in the building, especially in the locker rooms. There are floor markings in areas such as near the free weights to help patrons be aware.
  • Patrons should clean their hands regularly. There are several hand sanitizing stations throughout the facility, and patrons are asked to use them often.
  • Patrons must wipe down the equipment with disposable wipes before and after use. Disposable wipe dispensers will be located around the workout areas. A dedicated staff member will monitor overall sanitation and assist with sanitizing and social distancing.
  • No congregating is allowed. Patrons are asked to work out and exit the building when finished. Patrons can use a spotter for safety, but no groups larger than two people.
  • Patrons should be considerate and vacate equipment when they are finished exercising, as many machines are closed especially duplicate machines. Patrons should not text, read email, or make calls while seated on a machine.
  • Physical distancing during travel
  • Physical distancing protocols for visiting teams
  • Requiring club sports participants to share in the responsibility of cleaning equipment and facilities they use.

Disinfection of surfaces

The CDC recommends cleaning contaminated surfaces with liquid products. Many products recommend keeping surfaces wet for a period – this time can vary based on the product. When cleaning, use gloves. Cleaning supplies are provided in the Fitness Center.

Entrance screening to The Joe McDonald Health and Fitness Center

All staff, visitors, and student-athletes will enter through the Fitness Center.

A Screener will take temperatures and ask:

  • “Do you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath?” 
  • “Have you tested positive for COVID-19 or are you currently awaiting results of a test?”
  • “Are you a direct contact of someone who is COVID-19 positive?”

Individuals will be allowed entry if they show no fever or symptoms and are not awaiting a test result.


All SKC staff, visitors, and student-athletes will exit through the Fitness Center. All student-athletes will sign out each time they leave the building.

Face mask or face covering

All SKC staff and student-athletes are required to bring their own personal cloth face covering or mask when using any SKC athletics facility and to wear the mask or covering at all times while on the premises unless social distancing is practiced.

If a student-athlete refuses to wear a face covering, they will not be allowed to participate in Athletic Department activities and will be asked to leave the premises.

Group games and use of shared objects/balls

No activities that require direct (e.g., hitting in football) or indirect (e.g., high jump pit, basketball) contact between athletes are allowed at this time. It is not only difficult to avoid contact, but there is also uncertainty about shared balls and virus transmission.

  • SKC Student-athletes can use objects/balls for individual drills but may not participate in group activities using shared objects/balls at this time. Examples of prohibited activities include, but are not limited to, passing a ball regardless of sport, pick-up games, shooting drills where someone else collects the ball other than the individual student-athlete. 
  • If a ball is being used, make sure only one player is using a specific region of the court and/or basket at a time, and the court in that region needs to be cleaned before another player uses it to prevent indirect transmission from ball to ground and vice versa.
  • Athletic equipment must be sanitized after use. For example, after an individual student-athlete finishes a shooting drill or setting drill, they must sanitize the basketball or volleyball, and the court must be sanitized.

Hand hygiene

SKC Student-athletes will perform the following hand hygiene:

  • upon entering the building
  • before exiting the building
  • after using the restroom
  • before eating
  • after touching another student-athlete or another student athlete's immediate environment
  • after contact with blood, body fluids, or contaminated surfaces. This includes one’s owns body fluids (such as coughing or sneezing into hands)
  • cough into their elbow rather than hands

Laundering and clothing

This section is currently under review

Locker room use

Locker room use will be limited to changing clothes, showering and restroom use. The maximum number of occupants at one time will be limited as required to meet social distancing requirements. Other rules:

  • Locker room use will be limited to 10 minutes per athlete.
  • Six feet of distance will be maintained in the showers.
  • Athletes will use their own individual soap/shampoo. (Sharing of personal hygiene products is not allowed.)
  • No food or drink will be allowed.
  • Surfaces and objects will be cleaned at least once daily and after each use according to the disinfection protocol.
  • Athletic department staff and medical providers evaluating and treating student-athletes should wear a face mask at all times while in the training room/weight room.

Fitness Center protocol

  • SKC Student-athletes may use the Fitness Center and exercise in or on SKC athletic facilities and fields only under direct supervision by the Athletic Director or Fitness Center staff.
  • Social distancing will be maintained.
  • SKC Students and SKC Athletics Department staff will use a cloth face-covering within the Fitness Center. 
  • If an SKC student-athlete refuses to wear a face covering, they will be asked to leave the premises.
  • All individuals are strongly encouraged to minimize physical contact. However, physical contact may occur, such as in spotting to prevent injury. If physical contact occurs hand hygiene must be performed.
  • Shared equipment should be sanitized with a disinfectant after each use by the user. This includes free weights, mats, kettlebells, medicine balls, stability balls, bars, etc. If shared equipment cannot be sanitized between use, it should not be used.

Office of the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs (EMSA)

The SKC Office of the VP of EMSA works with individual students, student groups, and other campus offices to ensure student success and adherence to community and academic standards. Our goal in working with students, faculty, and staff is to foster a campus environment that is conducive to academic inquiry, productive campus life, and thoughtful study and discourse.

The Office of the VP of EMSA include:

  • Educating students, faculty, and staff about accepted classroom and community norms and expectations.
  • Enforcing the SKC Code of Student Conduct when classroom and community norms and expectations are not followed.
  • Offering workshops for student leaders on how to further a campus culture of safety, respect, and compliance.

The SKC Code of Student Conduct outlines the responsibilities of instructors and of students, including course expectations for classroom behavior. Students are required to follow the expectations described in course syllabi for classroom behavior.

Office of Disability Services

The purpose of the SKC Office of Disability Services is to provide access to all college programs, services, activities, and facilities for students with disabilities. This includes encouraging self-advocacy for students and connecting them with resources across campus to help them achieve their personal best.

The following guidelines will be observed:

  • Appointments with incoming freshmen can be made by contacting the SKC Disability Coordinator, 
  • Appointments will be conducted using Google Meet or phone.
  • The office will work with students to evaluate requests for temporary and permanent accommodations regarding COVID-19 or other pre-existing conditions.

SKC Student events and activities

  • Annual campus events, traditions, and other large-scale annual events will be modified to meet social distancing and group size guidelines; virtual resources and engagement opportunities will be provided.
  • The Student Engagement Coordinator will host virtual events, social media engagement opportunities, and asynchronous activities. The office will work on new ways for students to have social interaction and build communities. The office will support student organizations to redesign their traditional in-person student events.

Mental health impact

All SKC students are affected by the pandemic and will experience a range of impacts on their mental health. Measures intended to limit the spread of the coronavirus have also led to experiences of anxiety, fear, grief, and uncertainty. These emotional reactions are normal responses to an unexpected and scary situation. The effects of social distancing, loneliness, isolation, economic losses, and grief will continue to take their toll on all of us. For those with previous histories of trauma or mental disorders, the pandemic could exacerbate symptoms or contribute to a new episode of a mental health disorder that had been stable. CPW remains committed to supporting the SKC community and will continue to provide counseling and outreach to students and consultation services to faculty and staff.

Although the number of cases and loss of life has been less in Montana compared to other parts of the country and world, many students have been impacted by grief and loss. They are working to continue their education while they are cut off from their usual support systems, which may typically be an important part of the grieving process. Some students may be feeling unsafe as they fear or experience discrimination and/or bias incidents related to the pandemic. Many students are dealing with significant financial stressors, food insecurity, lack of housing, and other economic stressors. Each of these may contribute to the need for more professional mental health support.

Clinical Services and Telemental Health

CPW provides access to clinical services via telemental health. Students who contact CPW are connected with a counselor via telephone or zoom. During that appointment, the counselor conducts a brief assessment to ensure the student is appropriate for the telemental health modality and helps them get established for ongoing telemental health appointments with a CPW counselor. These sessions take place over a video conferencing platform. Students complete necessary forms online in advance of the appointment through a secure web component.

While telemental health is an important option and has certainly helped many students during this time, it is also less than ideal for many. Students may struggle to have a stable internet connection, lack a private space in which they can share the most intimate and private details of their lives, or be in an unsafe environment. These challenges, and others, are important considerations as CPW considers future services and the role of telemental health as a service option.

 CPW will continue to prioritize telemental health options for students seeking mental health services. Two senior staff clinicians will be available throughout the summer to respond to any urgent situations via telemental health. CPW and community partners will work together to triage and schedule appointments as needed. Clinicians will conduct a brief assessment and schedule follow-up telemental health appointments. Crisis procedures have been considered and determined in collaboration with the Campus CERT Team, Campus CARE Team, and community partners.

Contact Information:

CPW Remote Access Line 406. 212.5454

CPW Office 406.275.4913

CPW  Program Director 406.275.4744

Student COVID-19 Emergency Funding

The COVID-19 Emergency Funding is available for students to help pay for food, housing, Internet access, and other needs that are impacting their need to work on their education. We have a limited amount of money available, and there is a review committee that will determine how to distribute these funds. Completing this application does NOT mean that they will receive funding.