Since the emergence of the coronavirus, the lives of UM students have changed dramatically. In a matter of weeks, our classes commuted to our laptops. Students were asked to leave their homes in the dorms by all means possible. In almost all of the ways that count, campus is shut down.

Our staff is comprised entirely of students like you. As we distance ourselves at our respective homes, we will not be able to shoot photos at the latest Logjam concert or cover the next Griz game (which won’t be happening because all spring sports have been canceled). And as we do what we need to do, as we change our way of thinking, creating and producing, we are deeply saddened.

On March 12, this year’s Montana Kaimin staff met for what may be the last time in the same room. Together, we decided that no matter what, we will deliver the news.

As I write this letter to you, our readers, there are two of us sitting in my living room, designing this paper. Our section editors are mad-messaging back and forth, making their page edits, hoping this paper is as close to perfection as possible for those of you who can pick up the Kaimin. There are two reporters making phone call after phone call from their homes, trying to break the latest news.

We are apart, without a newsroom and without a campus.

What we will always have is you. As long as we have our readers, we have a purpose. Each week, we will print the Kaimin. We know that students are far and few on campus, but abandoning our identity as a newspaper is not an option. And for that reason, we will continue to make this paper. Every day, our website, montanakaimin.com, will be updated with the latest news. There you’ll find the news that impacts UM students most. We know you aren’t reading the Kaimin to find out how long to wash your hands or how many cases of COVID-19 are in the state of New York. That’s not what we’re here for.

As a student, you need to know how to get that refund for the dorm you already paid for and the meal plan you’re probably not using. You need to know what’s going to happen to your friends who went abroad this semester. You need to know if graduation ceremonies are canceled, a decision that seems more and more inevitable with each day’s news.

That’s what makes the Kaimin different. We are reporting for students first and always. The coronavirus won’t change that.

So please, read the Kaimin. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or just by Googling “Montana Kaimin.” We don’t know what’s going to happen at UM, Missoula, our state, this country or the rest of the world. But no matter what happens, we promise to be here.