Friday Futurecast — February 5

Health and safety update for university community members

Welcome to this week’s Friday Futurecast

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

Message from President Joan Ferrini-Mundy:

Dear members of the UMaine and UMM communities,

I hope that everyone is beginning to hit their stride this semester — in academics, in research, as well as socially, athletically, in the arts and more. 

I also hope that you enjoyed Tuesday’s snow day — whether you watched movies, cross-country skied, caught up on reading, or prepared your class. For those of you who worked that day, including those who prepared food, plowed campus roads and sidewalks, and worked in our testing program, thank you.

I also want to apologize to all of you who had long wait times Monday — the first day of Shield T3 asymptomatic COVID-19 testing at UMaine. As you likely know, we experienced technological challenges with scanners and with the check-in process. We are working to resolve those issues so that testing will go more smoothly when it resumes next week.

Our goal during this phase six period is to test everyone who comes to campus to learn, teach and do research every week. And to get the test results back within 24 hours, so that we can have a safe and rewarding semester. Thank you for your participation.

During these past extraordinary 11 months, we’ve sought to adapt and innovate to provide the best college experience possible. We’ll continue to do just that. Thank you for your understanding and patience as we work through whatever comes next, together. 

I wish you all a safe, healthy and enjoyable weekend.


Joan Ferrini-Mundy

Partnering to address health 

  • Phase six weekly asymptomatic COVID-19 testing at UMaine resumes Monday, Feb. 8, and continues throughout the semester. We provided an update on Wednesday, including reminders of how participants should prepare for their testing appointments. The Shield T3 appointments that participants selected remain the same for the entire spring semester. If you need to reschedule due to an unplanned event, email to request another appointment time. 

  • At UMM, COVID-19 testing for the week of Feb. 8 will be offered 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m.–noon Thursday in the Clipper Lounge. Vault saliva tests will be used for the week of Feb. 8; UMM will begin administering Shield T3 tests on Feb. 15.

Transparent and continuing communication 

  • Important reminders: Anyone at UMaine participating in phase six COVID-19 testing on campus that involves the saliva-based Shield T3 is asked 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 during the week beginning Feb. 8. The University of Maine System has a step-by-step user’s guide available. Note: the Safer Community app will not be 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.

  • In addition to downloading the app for phase six testing at UMaine, please review the information about other preparations you need to consider prior to your testing appointment. That information is online, and includes a flyer about how to do the Shield T3 noninvasive saliva-based test. Please remember to:

    • Wear your face covering and maintain social distancing.

    • Bring your cell phone with the Safer Community app downloaded. (See instructions above.)

    • Bring your appointment ticket, either on your phone or printed.

    • Bring your MaineCard.

    • Bring this form, filled out, to your first appointment (only if no smartphone capability available to you).

    • Do not eat, drink or smoke, chew gum, brush your teeth or use mouthwash within an hour of your test. Clear saliva samples are required. Samples can’t be discolored, cloudy or contaminated with food particles.

    • Be sure to hydrate with water. Stop drinking water 60 minutes before test time.

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

Flexibility, responsiveness, empathy, and science

  • The Provost’s Office, in collaborations with the college deans, has an updated list of departmental rooms throughout campus where students can go to study or log in to a remote or online class this semester. The list of places where you can study is on the Keep Learning website. This resource, which was made available in the fall semester, was created to better serve students, especially those with a combination of in-person and online schedules. Students are encouraged to contact their college’s associate dean for additional assistance if needed. 

Continuing our missions for Maine

  • President Ferrini-Mundy’s State of the University address begins at 10 a.m. Feb. 11. This is the link to the event:

  • University of Maine museums and the planetarium have a rich library of online resources available to support remote K–12 instruction during the pandemic. See what’s available at the Page Farm and Home Museum, Versant Power Astronomy Center, Hudson Museum and Zillman Art Museum.

  • Construction of the Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center is about to reach a milestone with placement of the last and highest beam. A live, virtual Topping Off Ceremony is planned for mid-February. Watch the University of Maine Foundation website for the event date and time, and a link to the livestream.

  • Nicole Redvers, a member of the Deninu K’ue First Nation Band and an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota’s School of Medicine & Health Sciences, is the first speaker in the University of Maine’s Institute of Medicine Seminar Series. She will talk about how microbes and the concept of social equity apply to Indigenous Peoples and their traditions at noon Feb. 10. Register online; see full seminar schedule.

  • Women’s Basketball is competing this weekend at home against UMass Lowell. Tune in tomorrow for the live video and audio at 4 p.m.; and on Sunday, there’s live video and audio at 1 p.m. Spring sports schedules also are now online.

  • Black History Month events coordinated by the Black Student Union continue at UMaine, with highlights online. The McGillicuddy Humanities Center’s free public events for Black History Month: MHC fellow Leela Stockley will discuss her research on racial bias in the media in relation to recent Black Lives Matter protests in “The Double Standard: Protest Coverage and Racial Bias” on Feb. 24;  Karen Sieber, MHC humanities specialist, will present “Using Technology to Document Racial Violence: On Finding History We Don’t Want to Remember” on Feb. 25 to conclude the Waldo Reads Together discussion of the February book selection, “The Nickel Boys”; and the Atlantic Black Box, a public history project, will host “Reckoning with New England’s Complicity in the Slave Trade,” also on Feb. 25.