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Students Return To Montana State University Billings Campus

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Kayla Desroches, Yellowstone Public Radio
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Staff welcome students back on first day of classes on Montana State University Billings campus

Students returned to the Montana State University Billings campus Aug. 19 amid coronavirus concerns. MSUB's coronavirus protocol includes a mask requirement and suggested social distancing. YPR News talked with students on their first day of classes during the pandemic.

"My name is Taylor Noble. Honestly, like, I'm okay with it. Everyone has been following the guidelines. Our teachers are super strict and my art teacher just wipes down all the tables in front of us to make sure that we're safe. And then she wiped them down before we left. I see a lot of people following protocols, definitely.

"But when we're outside, if we're away from people, we usually take them off because they get so sweaty. Most of my professors actually told me that if I can't breathe, just go out in the hall real fast and take it off and I'll be fine. And then go back. So if no one's around me."

"Christian Harshbarger. I am at City College for the science of metal fabrication and welding.

"It's just weird wearing masks in class and with the teachers with the face shields, I don't know. It's just weird to me. Very weird. You don't want it and you don't want to spread it to other family members that have weaker immune systems."

"I'm Summer Miles. I'm from Utah. I am on the woman's soccer team. Our season got canceled. So that is kind of up in the air. We don't know if we're going to have a season in the spring, so potentially that could affect my eligibility, if I have like an extra year to play, if I'm going to stay another year or if I'm just going to leave. So I have to consider that now."

"Emmalith Phipps. I felt really off about coming back in the first place, um, funding-wise and how swamped the offices are with students, you know, like needing a lot of help. "I'm also concerned because I have family back home that's in a susceptible group. So if I'm exposed here and take that home, that's always something that makes me nervous.

"But I am happy to be back here and finishing my degree," Phipps says.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.