Students are set to arrive on the UM Campus for the start of the fall semester on August 19, with new student orientation on August 17 and 18, and a big part of that experience in 2020 will be dealing with COVID 19.

Enter ‘Griz Health’ volunteers.

Lily Apedaile, health science education program coordinator, for UM Health and Medicine said on Tuesday that over 40 volunteers are already trained to greet new students and help guide them through the new normal.

“We're starting a program called ‘Griz Health’ and it's going to recruit and train students at U of M to do contact tracing if needed in coordination with the Missoula City County Health Department, and then their main role will be providing the most accurate and up to date information on campus,” said Apedaile.

Apedaile outlines some of the services offered through ‘Griz Health’.

“They'll have booths set up, and they'll just be a place for students, faculty staff to go and ask questions related to COVID and the response on campus,” she said. That, along with doing symptom and temperature checks randomly on campus, in front of dorms or some of the big lecture halls, and then potentially working with Grizzly athletics to help them at their events.”

Apedaile said the specially trained volunteers will be strategically positioned around the campus to help anyone with a question.

“We'll also be present at any of the welcoming events that happen at the beginning of the school year, just so that new students can be aware of what Griz Health is and that it's a resource for them,” she said. “If they are feeling anxious or have some questions about COVID, they can come and talk to a Griz Health student, so just making sure that our presence is known and what we're doing will be one of our main goals at those welcoming events.”

UM Health and Medicine, in collaboration with the Western Montana Area Health Education Center, coordinated the overall development of Griz Health, with assistance from UMOnline.