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Bullock Directs $20 Million To MUS For Coronavirus Prep

Montana Public Affairs Network
Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian discusses university system testing strategies during a press conference Aug. 6, 2020.

Montana is planning to send up to $20 million of federal coronavirus relief dollars to its public universities to support reopening efforts this fall.

State Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian said during a press call with Gov. Steve Bullock the university system will prioritize rapid testing, quarantining and contact tracing of symptomatic individuals.

“Our research and consultations have led to testing strategies that focus on trying to keep individual cases from turning into clusters, and trying to keep clusters from turning into bigger outbreaks,” Christian said.

The commissioner didn’t have an estimate as to how many students and faculty will be tested each day, though he said Montana State University will process results around the clock. Bullock says there needs to be a two to three day turnaround on test results.

Christian said the university system is also working to boost testing capacity for asymptomatic people.

He said testing is only one component of coronavirus safety, and that students must also socially distance, wear masks, wash hands regularly and self screen daily.