Maine Memo — November 22

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

We are three days away from dispersing, some of us, from Orono and Machias, to join our families and friends after 12 weeks of being “together for Maine” this semester. Communities of learners, teachers, researchers, supporters, resources, and friends are enabling more than 12,000 students to continue their educational journeys toward becoming tomorrow’s leaders, innovators, and community members. As this deadly virus rages on across the world, and as the numbers of cases in Maine and New England now grow exponentially, we have relied on science, followed civil and university guidance, changed so much about how we work and behave, and worked to be safe and care for one another.

Today, UMaine has 13 new cases involving students — four residential students and nine students living off campus. UMM has no new cases. At UMaine, we have a total of three residential students in quarantine or isolation on campus, including students who chose to remain on campus rather than travel home and pose a health risk to their families. We appreciate the sacrifices these students are making to keep themselves, those they care about and the community safe. UMaine care managers are keeping in touch with all students, on campus and off, who are isolating due to positive COVID-19 tests. For those residential students quarantining and isolating on campus, we will help ensure that they are healthy, safe, and fed. That will include a holiday meal on Thursday according to students’ dietary preferences, thanks to the tremendous dedication of our Dining Services team.

We have three big messages for everyone, now:

Students: From today through to the end of the semester, keep up your commitment to taking care of yourselves, your community, and your university. Observe the Black Bear and Clipper pacts wherever you may be in the coming weeks. Those returning home to families in Maine and beyond, be careful. The guidance all around us is to test, quarantine as directed, maintain only small gatherings outside if possible, and pay attention to any symptoms you have. You have done so well up until now. Maintain your discipline as you head away from Orono and Machias. People’s lives depend on it.

Faculty, staff, graduate teaching assistants, residence life personnel, and administrators: In the next three days especially, and always, our students come first. Exercise forbearance as our students make their shifts from whatever their living and learning situation is now to what it will be beginning next Monday. Offer your patience, your flexibility, and your help. Be compassionate and open; make remote options available; remind UMaine students of the pass fail option; and go yet one more extra mile to accommodate our students’ questions and to allay their concerns.

All members of the community: As we transition from what has been, for many, a semester based on presence in campus offices, facilities, and labs to a time when our “density” will be greatly reduced as of Nov. 30, please plan, adjust, and anticipate. Our universities remain open and our work to educate our students and to serve the state of Maine as its land grant university continues, resuming on Monday after only a short break. Many of you will again be working, now with several months of experience behind us, on maintaining our high standards and commitment to service in an array of “work modalities” that mirror our “course modalities.”

All of us — the members of the President’s Cabinet — want you to know how thankful we are for how the University of Maine and the University of Maine at Machias have succeeded this semester. We are proud to be members of these caring, committed, and resilient communities, and to be moving through this pandemic together. We are grateful for the outstanding effort, above and beyond in so many ways, by so many groups here. And we are glad that the majority of those in our community who have contracted COVID-19 so far fortunately have had mild cases.

We wish you all a peaceful, restful and refreshing break, and look forward to resuming on Monday, Nov. 30. Until then, be well and stay safe.


Joan Ferrini-Mundy, President
John Volin, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Robert Dana, Vice President for Student Life and Inclusive Excellence, and Dean of Students
Chris Lindstrom, Vice President for Human Resources
Jeffery Mills, President and CEO of the University of Maine Foundation
Daniel Qualls, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Head of Campus
Ken Ralph, Director of Athletics
Christopher Richards, Vice President for Enrollment Management
Kody Varahramyan, Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School
Jake Ward, Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development
Kimberly Whitehead, Vice President and Chief of Staff
Joanne Yestramski, Interim Vice President and Chief Business Officer