The University of Montana and other Montana University System campuses announced classes will move online starting March 23 due to the spread of COVID-19.

The Office of the President issued a campus-wide email Thursday that each department is responsible for providing students with necessary material to work remotely from class in every instance possible.

The Montana Commissioner of Higher Education’s office issued this decision for all MUS schools. This will affect 16 colleges and universities in the state and over 44,000 students.

Employees are expected to report to work unless individual accommodations are made according to the email. Most facility services at UM will remain open including residence halls and dining services.

UM and MUS campuses will also implement social distancing in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. This restricts large gatherings on campus.

There are still no confirmed cases of the virus in Montana, according to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. However, there are 1,215 confirmed cases in the U.S., according to the CDC website.

All students and faculty are recommended to monitor their school email accounts for future information between now and March 23. This will be updated as more information is available.

Keegan Whalen, a second year student in the pharmacy program, thinks professors will still be able to teach their material, but without in-person professor student interaction, it will be harder to ask questions.

“I think that getting the content to us won’t be necessarily interrupted,” Whalen said. “I just think that losing that in-person ability to ask questions and things like that might make it a little more challenging.”

In a follow up email Thursday afternoon, UM announced that UM Dining locations, Campus Recreation, Financial Aid, Admissions, the Registrar’s Office, the library, the University Center and the rest of campus will remain open despite classes moving online. Campus Dining is also introducing new measures including using disposable gloves for self-serve food items, according to the email.

All students and faculty are recommended to monitor their school email accounts for future information between now and March 23.

This story will be updated as more information is available.