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Montana State University’s president is reassuring students that they can have in-person classroom experiences this fall, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

President Waded Cruzado wrote a message to the MSU community on this week offering details about how MSU plans to conduct classes – some face to face, some online and many a blend of both methods.

“This will be a fall semester unlike any other at Montana State,” Cruzado wrote. “I look very much forward to welcoming you back for a new academic year and to all the promise and potential it brings.”

Cruzado told students how they can find which format is planned for their classes and also offered tips about the electronic gear students will need for classes that will be conducted either partly or wholly over the internet.

Her message goes out at a time when American students and their families are struggling to decide whether it’s worth it to pay thousands of dollars for college this fall – when classes could end up totally online because of the virus — or whether students would rather take a gap year off instead.

Cruzado wrote that MSU has been communicating closely with public health experts on everything from how classes are scheduled to how furniture is arranged, “to minimize risk from COVID-19.”

The most common question MSU is getting from students is what will classes look like this fall, she said.

Classroom layouts have been changed to allow social distancing, so there will be fewer students in a classroom at one time

This fall some classes will be taught in person, some will be taught over the internet and many will be a blend of in-person and remote learning. Classes are labeled in the online class schedule to show if they’re “internet/online” or “blended.” Classes without such labels will be taught face to face.

“Blended courses are offered partially via remote platforms (internet/online) but with a significant portion of them conducted in-person,” Cruzado added.

Some remote classes will be taught in real time, while others will be taught with video or offered in ways that students can watch lectures or learn material whenever they want to.

She suggested students keep checking the classes they’ve signed up for, “as delivery may continue to change in response to new information and circumstances.”

With MSU relying heavily on teleconferencing and online classes, students will need the right electronic gear. The university offers an educational discount on Apple and Dell computers. The library can offer short checkouts on laptops and there are computer labs.

Cruzado advised students to come with good quality headphones for virtual classes, and getting a microphone and webcam, if those are not already built into students’ computers.

“Be well, and I look forward to seeing you next month.” Cruzado concluded.

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Gail Schontzler can be reached at or 582-2633.