How are campuses in the University of Maine System preparing students for a safe return home at Thanksgiving?

In a Nov. 10 news release, the University of Maine System provided examples of initiatives occurring in response to the rise in community transmission and case counts statewide and nationwide. Those initiatives include:

  • Emphasizing Remote Work: Existing UMS return to work guidance encourages employees to be on campus only when necessary or substantially advantageous for academic purposes or other job duties. In-person instruction remains a priority. Supervisors and academic administrators will be asked to revisit and emphasize remote working options for employees within their units or departments whenever possible;

  • Limiting Community Access to Campus Facilities: Access to campus facilities used by the public (e.g. recreation facilities and libraries) will be adjusted at the discretion of university and program leaders to reduce activity on campus;

  • Two-Week Pause on Appointments and Nonessential Activities: Scheduling of new appointments for admission tours will prioritize dates and times coming after the Thanksgiving break with possible differences by campus. Previously scheduled tours may proceed with strict adherence to group size and face covering requirements or occur virtually. University leaders also are being asked to consider delaying any nonessential work or activity that requires a campus presence until after the Thanksgiving holiday. UMaine is Maine’s research university and this work is vital to the mission of public higher education in Maine. Guidance on continuing this work safely in the 2020–21 academic year has been posted all semester at this link.

  • Reduce Time on Campus for Commuter Students: Non-residence students are being asked to limit their trips and time on campus to only essential academic or health-related activities;

  • Staying Safe on Campus: Residence Hall Students are being urged to stay on campus for the final two weeks of the semester, to avoid travel beyond campus boundaries and to reduce their personal bubble of interactions as feasible.

  • Virtual Focus on Student Life Activities and Events: To the extent possible student organizations and activities will be transitioned to virtual events.