Friday Futurecast — July 10

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 UMaine Return to Campus website. The University of Maine at Machias also has a Return to Campus website.

Transparent and continuing communication

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

  • Plans are underway for Welcome Week activities for returning students. A Student Organization Fair Sept. 2 is being planned according to federal and state health and safety guidelines, including safe pathways and social distancing.
  • This fall, UMaine will be hosting esports tournaments, facilitating team creation and more. Details are on the Center for Student Involvement website.
  • Sorority recruitment will be held virtually Sept. 14–20; details are on the registration website. Fraternity registration also is online.

Flexibility, responsiveness, empathy and science

  • UMS Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) has assembled relevant evidence-based guidance from the CDC, EPA and other authorities on cleaning and disinfecting during the pandemic. In an information sheet, SAB has organized these tips for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, electronics, laundry, and indoor and outdoor areas, including community spaces.
  • We are in the process of noting classes as online, remote, hybrid or in person, and may change the designations of courses in discussion with faculty between now and Aug. 1. We also are engaged in designing student experiences to enrich learning, whether students are taking courses on campus or at a distance. Students can call 207.581.1561 for more information related to their class schedules and other academic questions. The Enrollment Management team will connect callers with the right people to provide assistance. Those resources include the following:

High-quality learning in the pandemic context

  • IT is providing 10 mobile web conferencing carts that will contain a 65-inch display, computer, camera bar and a microphone extension. The carts will be available in early August and plans are underway for how they will be managed. We are all working to enhance the quality of learning during this transformative time in higher education.

Continuing our missions for Maine

  • In a new economic impact study, researchers from the UMaine School of Economics and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center found that Maine’s 38 colleges and universities, including UMaine, generate a total annual economic contribution of an estimated $4.5 billion in output, 31,267 full- and part-time jobs, and $1.7 billion in labor income. In addition to employing 14,621 non-student workers and generating $2.2 billion in annual revenue, public and private colleges and universities across the state support jobs in 125 sectors. They also contribute to the state’s economy through new company startups, research and technology transfers, business assistance and arts and culture. A news release and copy of the report are online.
  • University of Maine Cooperative Extension is hosting weekly wild blueberry virtual field days in July. In addition, a discussion about the process of safely harvesting Maine wild blueberries during COVID-19 will be held on July 14. UMaine Extension wild blueberry specialist and assistant professor of horticulture Lily Calderwood leads the field days webinars and the session on harvesting.
  • Ten UMaine areas have now received approval to resume on-site staffing and operations. This month, those include the Darling Marine Center, Collins Center for the Arts and New Balance Student Recreation Center. Check their websites for details.

Partnering to address health

  • Campuswide, and in UMaine offices and facilities statewide, health and safety preparedness efforts continue. An introduction to those efforts, including changes that community members will see on campus, are highlighted in this video. We also are planning to have locations on campus where students can pick up face coverings if they don’t bring one on a particular day.