Friday Futurecast — March 26

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 Vice Chancellor and President Joan Ferrini-Mundy:

Dear members of the UMaine and UMM communities,

I hope everyone was able to find time to pause this week, whether on the Reading Day or mini-break, or both, to safely enjoy the spring weather marking our halfway point of the semester. With the warmer temperatures and sunshine, coupled with the optimism that stems from greater accessibility to vaccinations, comes the inclination to get outdoors and be with others. I urge you to not let your guard down. Remember the Black Bears Care and Clippers Care pacts, and remember to keep your COVID-19 testing appointments.

Over the past two weeks, UMaine’s Emergency Operations Center has noted an upward trajectory of positive COVID-19 cases. This rate of rise exceeds that of the previous weeks and all but the most difficult period of the fall semester. Tracing efforts indicate there are multiple clusters of infected persons affecting different segments of the university community. 

The University of Maine System intends to increase gathering limits starting April 5 in line with a change in state guidance. Other pandemic protocols, including 6-foot distancing, are expected to remain in place. As with all pandemic guidance, the group-gathering limit is subject to change if circumstances warrant. In addition, UMS authorized each campus to modify that guidance based on relevant factors. We will be carefully reviewing the disease status and whether any changes or deferrals of pending larger group gathering limits are warranted at UMaine.

We are in the second year of the pandemic. The numbers of COVID-19 cases at UMaine are on the rise, and we must recommit to the health and safety guidance that has brought us this far this academic year. I thank you for all that you are doing to keep yourselves, each other and our community safe. We have six more weeks to go to complete our semester. Take care of yourselves and others.

Sincerely,

Joan Ferrini-Mundy

Partnering to address health 

  • Participants in on-campus COVID-19 asymptomatic testing will no longer need to use the Safer Community app. Please log into umaineportal.pointnclick.com with your university username and password, and complete the profile information to enable notifications. Testing appointments will continue to be emailed to participants, not scheduled in PointnClick. Continue to bring your MaineCard and ticket to your appointment. For help with PointnClick, email help@maine.edu.

  • For members of the UMaine and UMM communities who are now fully vaccinated for COVID-19, all health and safety protocols are in effect on UMaine and UMM campuses, and in our facilities and offices statewide. At this time, testing is still required of all who are on-site, even after being vaccinated. More information is online.

  • A free virtual symposium, Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19, will be held from 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m. April 5. The program is online and advance registration is required to receive the webinar link. For questions, email jonathan.bowen@maine.edu.

Transparent and continuing communication 

  • Chancellor Malloy will visit UMaine on March 31 as part of his Spring ’21 Campus Tour of all the UMS universities and Maine Law. He and President Ferrini-Mundy will lead a virtual town hall at 9:45 a.m. that will include discussion of UMS TRANSFORMS and other campus initiatives, pandemic-related community health and safety on campus and at offices and facilities statewide, and unified accreditation. This is a link to the town hall: youtu.be/fOWBuT-dBLQ. Questions can be submitted to umaine.alerts@maine.edu.

  • All 2021 and 2020 graduates are asked to complete the online survey on the commencement website to help us plan the in-person stage walk and virtual recognition components. The deadline for completing the survey is April 1.

  • Volunteers from the UMaine community are needed 3:30–8:30 p.m. April 23, and April 26–29 and May 3, to assist 2021 and 2020 graduates participating in the in-person component of the virtual commencement. A volunteer sign-up sheet is available online.

  • In April, Title IX Student Services is working with campus and community partners to host a series of programs, webinars and educational initiatives in recognition of the national Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign to promote awareness and prevention. The calendar of events will be released shortly on the UMaine TIXSS website.

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

  • Tora Johnson, director of the GIS Laboratory and Service Center and chair of the UMM Environmental and Biological Sciences Division, will host a live, virtual info session on geographic information systems coursework, certificates and degree programs at 6 p.m. on April 8. Registration is online.

  • In UMaine Athletics: Baseball also holds its home opener when it welcomes UMBC to Mahaney Diamond for a doubleheader at noon on Saturday, live on AmericaEast.TV and heard across the Black Bear Sports Network. Baseball closes its weekend series with UMBC with another doubleheader on Sunday, also at noon. The baseball series finale will be streamed at AmericaEastTV and heard locally on the Black Bear Sports Network. Softball travels to Central Connecticut State where it will compete at 1 p.m. on Saturday and at noon on Sunday. All games can be seen via the NEC Front Row Network. The men’s swimming & diving team is competing at Colby at 2 p.m. on Saturday and the women are at Colby at 2 p.m. on Sunday; see both online. Women’s soccer travels to Stony Brook at 1 p.m. on Sunday, live on AmericaEast.TV.

Flexibility, responsiveness, empathy, and science

  • Professors Rich Powell and Shannon McCoy host an informal, bimonthly forum for faculty to discuss teaching in the time of COVID-19 — an opportunity to share ideas and strategies. The next forum is 2–3 p.m. April 2. The zoom link is available here

Continuing our missions for Maine

  • This year’s Maine Sustainability & Water Conference will be a virtual gathering March 31 and April 1. Penobscot Nation Tribal Ambassador Maulian Dana will deliver the keynote address: “Connection, Not Ownership: The Sacred Relationship Between the Penobscot Nation and Ancestral Territory.” The conference will feature 11 concurrent sessions on both days. A poster competition will feature some of Maine’s most innovative high school, undergraduate and graduate students presenting their research. Conference registration is on the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions website

  • Issues of diversity in children’s literature will be the focus of an online panel discussion with authors, illustrators and editors April 6, hosted by Fogler Library. The free public event, “Mirrors, Windows & Sliding Doors: A Panel Discussion on Diversity in Children’s Literature,” begins at 4 p.m. Register online for the event. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, email brad.beauregard@maine.edu.