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Tribal college in Montana waives tuition, fees amid COVID

September 9, 2020 GMT

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A tribal college in southern Montana is waiving tuition and fees for the fall semester in an effort to ease hardships created by COVID-19, school officials said.

Little Big Horn College on the Crow Indian Reservation announced the waiver last month, The Billings Gazette reported. Course registration closes in mid-September.

The college plans to offer a mix of online only and hybrid courses to limit the number of students on campus President David Yarlott said. The college is using federal coronavirus relief funding to offset the loss of tuition, Yarlott said.

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Big Horn County, where the college is located, has been hit hard by COVID-19, with 735 cases and 19 deaths, two of which were announced by the county health department on Wednesday.

Montana reported 90 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, as the total number of known cases since mid-March neared 8,500. The number of cases is thought to be far higher because not everyone has been tested and people can be infected with the virus without having symptoms.

The number of people who are known to be currently infected in Montana has surpassed 2,000, 124 people have died and 163 people are hospitalized, the state said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.