Friday Futurecast — November 20

Health and safety update for university community members

Welcome to this week’s Friday Futurecast.

These updates are archived on the UMaine Fall ’20–Spring ’21 website. The University of Maine at Machias also has a Fall ’20–Spring ’21 website.

Message from President Joan Ferrini-Mundy:

Dear members of the UMaine and UMM communities,

As we look forward to the Thanksgiving break and prepare to go fully remote with our classes for the remainder of the semester beginning Monday, Nov. 30, I hope you will keep in mind all the health and safety guidance you have followed so well throughout the semester for community well-being. With increased incidence of COVID-19 cases in the state and nation, I know you all will do all that you can to keep yourselves, your families and your communities as healthy as possible.

Wherever your journeys take you next week, including in this area and throughout Maine, or if you are staying where you are, please be safe. Do all that you can do to keep your loved ones safe. And know that whether we’re near or far, we’re all in this together.

Sincerely,

Joan Ferrini-Mundy

Partnering to address health 

  • This week, more than 4,000 members of the UMaine community participated in COVID-19 testing on campus, either as part of phase three randomized testing or departure testing for residential students and out-of-state students living off-campus. Some in-state students living off campus also requested departure testing. We recommend that you wait for your results before departing the area. Information about how to receive an authorized COVID-19 test through local testing sites is available online here and here

  • As many gather for the Thanksgiving holiday next week, it’s important to note that Governor Mills’ administration has announced more public health and safety measures due to COVID-19 cases rising in Maine. That information is online.

  • With the increased incidence of community spread of COVID-19 statewide and nationwide, the UMaine Emergency Operations Center has the following recommendations to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, especially in the office environment:

    • Social distance at all times.

    • Wear face coverings unless you are alone in your office.

    • Where possible, maximize office ventilation.

    • Office meetings must be able to accommodate minimum 6-foot social distancing; avoid in-person, in-office meetings of over 15 minutes. 

    • If a meeting of two or more people is necessary, seek an alternative, larger space.

    • Disinfect your hands prior to entering your office and when leaving anyone else’s office.

    • Frequently disinfect touch points in your assigned area, especially after someone has visited your office.

    • If you are sick, do not come to work.

Our employees are our greatest asset. Protect yourself and protect others.

Transparent and continuing communication 

  • A recording of the Nov. 17 virtual town hall for UMaine and UMM students is online. The town hall provided information and addressed questions regarding the last weeks of the semester, including the transition to remote learning, winter break and the spring 2021 semester. That information included Residence Life guidance for departing students, which can be found here.

  • UMaine and UMM students are encouraged to complete our final flash survey of the semester, focused on IT resources. The more we know about student needs, the more assistance we may be able to offer. The survey is here.

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

  • UMaine’s Keep Learning website provides the latest information on resources for remote learning, including information on internet access, Zoom and Brightspace resources, and student and academic support. Also on this site: virtual campus links.

  • A map of statewide study locations with internet access is online. The website includes information about the facilities’ hours and the technology available. 

Flexibility, responsiveness, empathy, and science

  • UMaine research staff, and graduate and undergraduate students returning to campus after the Thanksgiving break for work in laboratories and for other approved purposes will be required to participate in asymptomatic COVID-19 testing on campus, Nov. 30–Dec. 4, by appointment. Return to Campus/Laboratories COVID-19 testing emails will include a link with scheduling days and times. For questions, write um.covidtesting@maine.edu.

Continuing our missions for Maine

  • UMM will be the Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ newest “swab and send” site, providing free COVID-19 tests for people who think they need a test, regardless of symptoms and without the need for a referral from a health provider. Testing will be available by appointment from noon–4 p.m. on Mondays starting Nov. 23 and will continue on campus through at least the week of Jan. 25, 2021, when in-person instruction resumes for the spring semester. The testing site at UMM is made possible through an agreement between the University of Maine System and the Maine Emergency Management Agency. A news release is online. A list of all of Maine’s swab and send sites is on the state’s COVID-19 Response website.