Friday Futurecast — June 26

Health and safety update for university community members

Welcome to this week’s Friday Futurecast, providing the latest updates on our plans for fall, how we are preparing, and what to expect.

These updates are archived on the Return to Campus website, with specific information currently provided in categories.

Transparent and continuing communication

  • Students — check out Navigate to receive updates on courses, schedules and announcements from colleges. Some colleges, with permission, are also texting students with helpful reminders and links.

  • Virtual Orientations began this week, offering incoming students opportunities to learn about their colleges and majors, and Student Life resources. Multiple resources for new and transfer students are online.

  • Our next informal virtual town hall will be July 1 at 5:15 p.m. for incoming students and their parents.

In-person, on-campus experiences and other learning modes

  • As of June 19, the COVID-19 Research Continuity Task Force has approved 327 requests to restart essential research and scholarly activity at UMaine or UMM, including facilities statewide. Effective June 1, we are in Phase Two of the Plan for Phased Continuity of the Research Enterprise when essential research and scholarly activity (that require working on campus or in the field) have been expanded. The latest research guidance is online.

Flexibility, responsiveness, empathy and science

  • In the latest Maine Question podcast, faculty experts on the UMS Scientific Advisory Board discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and how this team helps us stay up to date on the latest developments in testing, treatments, transmission mitigation, contact tracing and vaccines.

High-quality learning in the pandemic context

  • Faculty are investing time this summer to prepare for exceptional learning environments this fall. Brightspace is the learning platform and early adopters commend its features and ability to adapt to phones.

  • Faculty are collaborating on their plans to offer an array of class delivery possibilities for the fall. If the decision is to offer in-person classes, plans are underway for faculty to include recorded lectures or online exercises. Classes could also be offered remotely that may include in-person coaching sessions; online classes may have synchronous meetings and asynchronous learning activities; and hybrid courses could be offered. We are focused on being flexible and ensuring that we have the resources students need to progress in learning and making progress to degrees.

Continuing our missions for Maine

  • University of Maine Cooperative Extension offices statewide will reopen in stages after July 1, with a focus on the safe return of employees to facilities throughout the month. UMaine Extension facility reopenings will follow University of Maine protocols based on the latest federal and state health and safety guidance.

  • Zillman Art Museum staff are returning next week to make health and safety changes in the facility and to install five exhibitions. New protocols in the museum, following state and federal guidance, include one-way traffic flow when touring the six galleries, and signage highlighting safety measures and expectations of visitors. Face coverings are required for museum visitors and staff. When it reopens, 15 visitors will be allowed in the museum at any time. The museum’s website will have details on the reopening.

  • The Children’s Center programs will reopen July 6, initially for a small number of children. The childcare facilities will follow Maine Department of Health and Human Services safety guidance, including a COVID-19 symptom check for staff and children upon arrival, and new protocols throughout the day.

Partnering to address health

  • Signage at street entrances confirms that face coverings are required by everyone while on campus.

  • If we are able to return to campus safely, all members of our community will receive wellness kits containing face coverings, hand sanitizer, an information card and more as part of our Black Bears Care public health campaign. We also have a Black Bear Pact for our community members focused on protecting each other and emphasizing our collective responsibility for health and well-being — protect yourself, protect others and protect the College of Our Hearts Always.