Maine Memo — March 18

Dear members of the University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias communities,

I hope you are staying healthy, managing well, and getting and providing support during these uncertain and rapidly changing times. Thank you for your continued flexibility and efforts. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation, patience and courage. Circumstances and situations are constantly evolving, as is decision-making at the University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias. And we understand and appreciate that that also is true in the personal and professional lives of all of you.

From homes and communities, to the state, the nation and the world public health arenas, we are all in this together.

It is important that we stay connected and informed, which is my reason for writing today. The University of Maine System coronavirus health advisory website provides guidance ranging from workplace policies to technology resources for coursework delivery in alternative formats and event management information. The UMaine/UMM coronavirus website provides information specific to our universities. I want to share some of those latest updates with you. Note that all updates are reflected in the UMaine/UMM FAQs.

The FAQs are grouped by subject areas, and the newest can be found in a daily listing on the UMaine/UMM coronavirus website homepage.

Among the latest updates:

  • The transition of University of Maine System campuses to remote work or telecommuting to the maximum extent possible, March 19 through April 6. The universities will maintain operations, with limited numbers of employees remaining on-site, and others working remotely.

  • Additional information on a UMaine pass/fail protocol this semester that extends the time frame for students to choose a pass/fail option until May 1, 2020. UMM will be making decisions on its protocol March 25.

  • Extension of spring break, with classes starting March 25, in recognition of the personal and professional challenges faced by students, faculty and staff, particularly in light of school and preschool closings throughout the state.

  • Room and board adjustments to student accounts, one of the most-asked questions by students.

  • Research and Graduate School FAQs, and guidelines for research administration and compliance.

  • Latest closures — New Balance Student Recreation Center and Maine Bound currently through March 30; Children’s Center currently through March 30; Hutchinson Center currently through April 5. Mahaney Dome, New Balance Field House and Wallace Pool are closed until further notice. Please check websites for the latest information.

  • Fogler Library and Merrill Library buildings will close effective 8 a.m. March 19 for an indefinite period. Library staff will provide resources and services to our users and will be available to answer questions and research needs through online chat, Zoom, email, and telephone. Fogler provides e-journals and ebooks that are available 24/7.

  • University of Maine Cooperative Extension buildings are closed until April 6. UMaine Extension is operating and staff are working remotely from their offices.

  • Admissions virtual tours will be offered in place of Accepted Student Days this spring.

  • All University of Maine buildings are now posted with guidance for anyone entering facilities statewide. Students, employees, and visitors are asked to voluntarily call 207.581.2681, the University of Maine community information line, to determine their risk. Those who are awaiting COVID-19 test results for self or a close family member, who have been in close proximity to a known person with COVID-19 and/or who have traveled to an area where there is ongoing community spread of the COVID-19 virus are being thoughtfully asked to return home and connect with their health care providers.

  • Note that Gov. Mills has banned gatherings of more than 10 people. Her March 18 announcement is online.

  • A Systemwide decision on appropriate ways and timing to recognize graduation is expected by April 15.

  • In addition, we are exploring ways that the University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias can be of service to the state in this time of great need.

We are far from business as usual, but the University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias are operating in our new reality. And on that note, I am pleased to share the exciting news that the university was informed by NECHE, our regional accreditor, of the continuation of accreditation for the University of Maine and its regional campus at Machias. As a part of this continuation, the accreditation of the Maine Business School also was confirmed. I wish to express my sincere thanks to the members of the University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias communities for the participation and hard work in this critical evaluative process. See the letter online. Faculty and leaders from both campuses are centrally involved in UMS-level work toward unified accreditation, building on our experience.

We will keep the communication going. And we will keep the health and welfare of all our community members foremost in our hearts and minds.

Please be safe. Follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, and remain vigilant.

Our thoughts are with everyone who has or has loved ones who have contracted COVID-19.

The coronavirus has now touched the lives of all of us.


Joan Ferrini-Mundy