Updated health and safety guidance for UMaine/UMM communities — April 30

Dear UMaine and UMM community members,

I am happy to announce to all UMaine and UMM community members that University of Maine System COVID-19 health and safety guidance has been updated. These updates, effective April 29, 2021, are in keeping with the most recent orders of Maine civil authorities as announced April 27, and are discussed in Chancellor Malloy’s community message. These changes are next steps in our path toward a post-pandemic future.

Two of the most important updates to health and safety protocols on our campuses and at our locations statewide have to do with face coverings and asymptomatic testing.

Face coverings are recommended but not required to be worn outdoors when individuals are able to social distance. Face coverings remain required indoors.

Members of the UMaine and UMM communities now have the opportunity to upload their vaccination cards to the UMS Pointnclick Web App. Weekly asymptomatic testing will continue beginning the week of May 10 for summer. For all university community members who submit bona fide verification of vaccination, an exemption from asymptomatic testing is available effective that week. Asymptomatic testing continues for all, including vaccinated individuals, next week.

Details on this new guidance are available on the UMS Together for Maine website. A news release also is online.

Earlier this week, UMS provided a general operations update for the summer, developed in consultation with representatives from across the System. The guidance focuses on in-person courses and programs planned this summer with appropriate safety measures implemented, including a combination of remote and in-person work, instruction and research, along with physical distancing, face coverings and other such pandemic protocols. UMaine and UMM faculty, staff and students engaged in summer programs are already incorporating these ideas into their planning.

Based on the recommendations of the UMaine Emergency Operations Center we also will make changes, in two phases, concerning group size. For the May 9–23 period, the maximum indoor gathering limit will be up to 50% of permitted occupancy, with five persons per 1,000 square feet, or 50 persons, whichever is greatest and which allows for 6-foot physical distancing. The maximum outdoor gathering limit will be up to 75% of permitted occupancy that allows for 6-foot distancing. Beginning May 24, the maximum indoor gathering limit will increase to up to 75% of permitted occupancy that allows for 6-foot distancing, and maximum outdoor gathering limit will be up to 100% permitted occupancy that allows for 6-foot distancing. As circumstances warrant, and based on EOC recommendations, we may limit group gatherings on campus or for particular university events or gatherings to lower levels.

This is all great news for our university communities and our state as we move forward in this, the second year of the pandemic. We must remain vigilant of health and safety protocols, including avoiding large group gatherings, and get vaccinated for the well-being of ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. With this latest guidance, we are more hopeful than ever that we will be able to return to a traditional college experience on our campuses soon.

Joan Ferrini-Mundy