Friday Futurecast — August 7

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

  • A new video for students focuses on campus COVID-19 testing. It features an interview with Richard Young, associate executive director of Auxiliary Services and university health services liaison. In addition, a new fact sheet now online details what students can expect in quarantine.

  • The Black Bear Pact is now on MaineStreet as part of the to-do list for all students. With a click, the Black Bear Pact is available, including a check box to indicate: “I have read and will help keep Black Bears safe.” More than 2,100 students have acknowledged the pact since Aug. 1. Staff and faculty also are encouraged to show their commitment to our campus community by reading and virtually signing the pact.

  • UMM students are encouraged to read and commit to the Clipper Pact.

  • An informal virtual town hall for UMaine and UMM staff, led by President Ferrini-Mundy, will be held Monday, Aug. 10 at 1 p.m. This is a link to the event. Questions can be sent to

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

  • The Racial Justice Challenge, a weeklong initiative offered by Fogler Library and the Student Life Office for Diversity and Inclusion, has had more than 3,000 participants of all ages from across the United States — Maine to Alaska — and from South Korea, Germany, Brazil and more. After today, the challenge will remain available through Fogler Library’s website for anyone who wants to view or share the materials.

  • University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H is hosting a virtual fun run along the Maine coastline Aug. 15–Sept. 15. Help ME Conquer the Maine Coastline, a free public event, invites participants to virtually run, walk and bike along all 3,478 miles of Maine’s coastline. An interactive map includes videos about points along the way. Register on the program webpage.

  • Look for information next week about resource carts supporting web conferencing classrooms, including where carts will be located and how departments and individual faculty can access them. 

Flexibility, responsiveness, empathy, and science

  • A COVID Response Team has been established with the Emergency Operations structure to manage a COVID-19-related event at the university. If a person within our community has been identified as being COVID-19-compromised, the team will focus the needed resources to protect that person and those who may have been in contact with the individual. More information is online.

High-quality learning in the pandemic context

  • The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) lists its Brightspace and other instructional workshops on a calendar of events. Among the upcoming sessions: Using Zoom in Your Classroom, Aug. 10; and Community of Practice sessions — Science of Learning, Aug. 11 and Active Learning Strategies, Aug. 12.

  • Academic Affairs and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) appreciate the inquiries received about the potential use of tents as classroom spaces. Unfortunately, a number of factors, including ADA compliance, security, safety and staff resource limitations, have led us to conclude that tents generally will not be viable for instructional use. On a related note, some units have inquired about how to schedule outdoor (open air) classes in the fall. The university does not have a formal designation for outdoor classes and does not schedule them through the Office of Student Records. Individual faculty who are interested in holding an in-person class session or sessions outside, and would like to know about any potential health-related implications associated with doing so, are encouraged to contact

  • University community members are reminded not to attempt to restrict access to buildings (or particular floors of buildings), drinking fountains, restrooms, etc., or to modify or rearrange a classroom or other public space in a manner not approved by the EOC. The university is closely adhering to Maine CDC and UMS Safe Return guidance, and cannot authorize local deviations from that guidance. Faculty or staff who have questions in this arena should contact

Continuing our missions for Maine

  • Emera Astronomy Center will reopen to the public on Sept. 1, with regular public shows starting on Sept. 4. The center is hosting a special, live online event Aug. 21, Secrets of the Universe with University of California Davis physicist Manuel Calderón de la Barca Sánchez. The full list of UMaine and UMM areas open on-site is online.

Partnering to address health

  • All faculty and staff are highly encouraged to review the Return to Campus Training Guide and related informative modules that are available online in UMS Academy:  Return to Campus Training in UMS Academy. And there is more helpful information on the University of Maine System Together for Maine website.

  • Reminder: An online COVID-19 Essential Supplies Request Form is available for offices of deans and departments to order as-needed supplies for faculty and staff use, such as hand sanitizer, face coverings, disposable face coverings, clear hygiene barriers and social distancing floor signs. These are available at no charge. To assist with efficient distribution, these orders should be placed at the unit or department level rather than individual employee orders.

  • Employee wellness kits are being distributed campuswide at UMaine and UMM, and are being sent to UMaine offices and facilities statewide. If you have returned to campus and have not yet received your wellness kit, please contact your supervisor.

  • A website is now available for members of the UMaine and UMM communities to voluntarily report illness or a positive COVID-19 test. The website is in addition to reporting illness to the COVID-19 information line: 207.581.2681.

  • Face coverings are required on our campuses and in UMaine facilities statewide, indoors and outside. The Division of Student Life has suggested guidance when assisting someone who does not have a face covering on campus or in a UMaine facility statewide:

    • Approach from a distance to be respectful of 6-foot distancing.

    • Politely ask the person if you can talk with them.

    • Ask them if they are familiar with the Black Bear Pact or the face covering policy.

    • Provide a kind reminder that everyone needs to wear face covering to keep everyone safe and to avoid transmission.

    • Use nonconfrontational language to ask them to wear a face covering: “We want to keep everyone safe, so please put a face covering on. Do you have one?” Provide resources as needed.

    • Let them know this is a policy and it must be followed.

    • Incidents of noncompliance can be reported to the COVID-19 information line, 207.581.2681 or online.