WVOM interviews President Ferrini-Mundy about fall reopening

WVOM interviewed University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias President Joan Ferrini-Mundy on Aug. 31 about plans to welcome students back to campuses. UMaine, UMM and other University of Maine System campuses shifted to remote learning during the spring semester in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. UMS released the Together for Maine: Principles for a Safe Return guidance, which includes a cascade of messaging to keep stakeholders informed of campus-specific plans and updates over the summer as officials plan to return to face-to-face instruction for the fall 2020 semester. The universities plan to end in-person instruction and ask students to depart residence halls before the start of the Thanksgiving holiday, with plans to complete the remaining semester instruction and exams remotely to limit travel-related spread of infection. President Ferrini-Mundy said UMaine and UMM will offer options for virtual instruction, as well as a hybrid of virtual and in-person instruction, to accommodate students and faculty who cannot physically attend classes. Class sizes will be smaller to accommodate for state coronavirus guidance, the President said. “We are and have been working with our faculty and staff for weeks now on what the course arrangements will look like in the fall, and there will be a wide variety of options for our students and our faculty as well.” UMS is partnering with The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) and ConvenientMD (CMD) to provide comprehensive COVID-19 testing across all campuses. President Ferrini-Mundy said the partnerships are crucial to preparing to reopen campuses. “We’re doing everything we can to ensure that safety is foremost and that we will be able to observe the kinds of requirements that are expected at this time,” she said. “We’re working with our scientists. They’re watching all of the modeling and all of the projections.” WABI (Channel 5) and the Portland Press Herald also quoted President Ferrini-Mundy in coverage of the system’s plans to reopen campuses.