Montana Public Radio

University of Montana

University of Montana's Main Hall.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The University of Montana’s COVID-19 numbers are going to be shared each week by the Missoula City-County Health Department. Both confirmed COVID-19 cases and close contacts of COVID-19 cases will be included.

Advocates for Montana inmates say their fears of COVID-19 outbreaks within correctional facilities are coming true. They’re demanding state officials take bigger steps to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading further.

Signs in hand, organizers stood outside the governor’s residence in Helena on Wednesday afternoon denouncing what they call inaction on behalf of the incarcerated.

University of Montana's oval and Main Hall.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

As college students returned to class, Montana’s two largest universities are not disclosing COVID-19 cases on campus. Local health departments are taking different approaches when it comes to reporting the numbers. Some faculty say they’d feel safer knowing the details of COVID-19’s movement at their school.

The global pandemic will likely lead to revenue shortfalls at the University of Montana, according to its president, despite the school’s improved recruitment efforts.

UM’s annual start-of-semester State of the University address normally provides the chance to boast about campus achievements and outline a vision for the future. But, like almost everything else in 2020, Thursday’s address was like no other.

As college students move in to dorms on Montana university campuses this week, some are already moved into isolation units, sick with COVID-19.

Classes will begin at Montana State University and the University of Montana next week. Officials from both universities say they won’t be publishing how many students are sick with the COVID-19 illness during the semester.

Griz football game at the University of Montana
flickr user MuddyRavine (CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

The Big Sky Conference has postponed its football season to spring 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The conference includes Montana State University and the University of Montana.

Smoke from the Rice Ridge Fire hangs over Seeley Lake, MT, August 2017.
Inciweb

As the number of coronavirus cases in Montana rise, public health officials and researchers say smoke from the upcoming wildfire season could make people more susceptible to catching the virus, and make patient outcomes much more deadly.

Could a Japanese-style elder care insurance program work in Montana?

Jul 10, 2020

Last week in Graying Pains, the Missoulian’s David Erickson examined the introduction and implementation of Kaigo Hoken, or care insurance, in Japan, the world’s demographically oldest country. This week’s conclusion of that story explores how a similar policy might translate to Montana, the oldest state in the American West.

A full 13% of Montanans are in their 60s, and the “baby boomer” generation is nearing or entering retirement age. Care for the elderly will become an increasingly pressing issue in Montana as larger and larger numbers of voters enter the older brackets of the state’s demographics.

 


This story is part of our series that looks at lasting ways Montana is adapting during the pandemic. It’s funded in part by the Solutions Journalism Network.

Criminal justice system reformers for years have sought to reduce county jail and state prison populations in Montana. The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the process, mostly at county detention facilities across the state.

UM geographer and social scientist Sarah Halvorson during her fall 2019 run of Bhutan's Snowman Trek.
Courtesy of Sarah Halvorson

University of Montana geographer and social scientist Sarah Halvorson studies the mountainous region across the Pacific Ocean known as High Asia.

“High Asia just offers just an incredible foray into amazing mountain geography and mountain building processes, but also the opportunity to interact and learn from really unique communities that have been living in that landscape for thousands of years,” Halvorson said.

Last fall, Halvorson joined three other Missoula women on a 21-day expedition in the Himalayas known as the Snowman Trek. It takes hearty travelers across 14 high-mountain passes, all over 14,000 feet in elevation.

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