What is the latest guidance about phase six on-campus testing?

Note Feb. 12 update: Testing participants can hydrate with water up to 30 minutes before their appointments.

In the interest of community safety and well-being as part of a safe return to in-person instruction in the spring 2021 semester, University of Maine COVID-19 phase six weekly asymptomatic testing for all members of the UMaine community who are on campus in the spring semester began Feb. 1 and continues throughout the semester.

For phase six testing, the University of Maine System has partnered with Shield T3 to provide weekly on-campus COVID-19 PCR testing. A mobile testing laboratory at UMaine eliminates the need to ship collected saliva samples for processing. Test results are delivered electronically to participants within 24 hours. A news release with more details is online.

UMaine’s phase six testing is in Wells Conference Center and the Collins Center for the Arts. The noninvasive, saliva-based Shield T3 PCR diagnostic test is provided by the University of Maine System at no cost to you. The university’s existing partners may also be involved in testing as circumstances require.

During the first two weeks of phase six testing, Shield T3 test results are expected within 72 hours of testing; by mid-February, test results are anticipated to report within 24 hours.

Members of the UMaine community will receive an email with a testing date, time and location. This testing time is consistent for the entire phase six testing cycle. Because of the high number of UMaine community members being tested and scheduled following health and safety protocols, it is vital that you arrive for testing only during your assigned date and time.

The test requires a 1 milliliter to 1.5 milliliter sample of saliva. Do not eat, drink or smoke, chew gum, brush your teeth or use mouthwash within an hour of your test. Be sure to hydrate with water. Stop drinking water 30 minutes before your test time. No post-test quarantine is required.

Information about the T3 test, including a how-to video, is online. In addition, flyers about preparing for the T3 test and doing the T3 test are available.

Anyone participating in phase six COVID-19 testing on campus that involves the saliva-based Shield T3 is required to download and set up the Safer Community app by Rokmetro, available through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Please have the app available on your smartphone for your first appointment. The University of Maine System has a step-by-step user’s guide available. Note: the Safer Community app is not used for scheduling UMaine testing appointments; those participating in testing in Orono have received scheduling emails. Anyone who does not have smartphone technology available will be assisted at the test site. More information is online.

Students, please note: We have worked with faculty members to accommodate your testing appointments. You will be excused from class to attend your testing on your scheduled date and time.

Employees, please notify your supervisors of your testing appointments. You will not be required to take personal/sick time to participate in the weekly testing.

Alternative testing arrangements have been made for staff and faculty working at UMaine facilities beyond the Orono area.

Employees whose presence on campus is truly incidental will not be required to participate in the weekly spring testing. To be truly incidental, the presence must be a brief, one-time event or extremely infrequent (i.e., one or two unanticipated visits during the semester) and not involve in-person interactions with others on campus. Emergency exceptions for nontested persons seeking campus access may be granted on a case-by-case basis though UMaine’s Emergency Operations Center.

Other bona fide reasons for granting exemptions to testing include an individual’s verified medical exemption.

Persons who have a previous positive RT PCR SARS-COV-2 test result within 90 days from the test are required to bring documentation of their test result to their testing appointment. They will be excused from testing for 90 days from the positive result.

Persons who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 must still participate in on-campus testing.

If extenuating circumstances prevent anyone scheduled for testing from participating on assigned dates and times, they are asked to email um.covidtesting@maine.edu as soon as possible to request a preferred appointment date and time. Also email that address if you are not on campus this semester or working fully remote for the spring semester.

Public health and safety, community well-being, and cooperation by all members of our communities remain paramount in our efforts to protect the health of our university community members through the pandemic. We continue to be deeply grateful for the response of our community to wearing face coverings, maintaining hand washing and social distancing, and participating in testing to help ensure the health of our entire community.

As with all things related to the pandemic, this information is subject to change and we thank you for your continued flexibility and for doing your best to keep the community safe.

Here is a flyer about doing the T3 test.