Friday Futurecast — September 24

Health and safety update for university community members

Welcome to this week’s Friday Futurecast

These updates are archived on the UMaine COVID-19 website. The University of Maine at Machias also has a COVID-19 website.

Message from President Joan Ferrini-Mundy:

Dear members of the UMaine and UMaine Machias communities,

First, an important reminder that all students, including those who are remote, need to request an exemption (remote, religious or medical) or upload their vaccination information in PointnClick. After Oct. 15, 2021, unvaccinated, nonexempt students will not be permitted in classrooms, residence halls or other university facilities, and will not be permitted to participate in on-campus experiences or university activities. 

On Tuesday, the University of Maine System signed vaccine protocol memoranda of understanding with our employee unions. We appreciate all that everyone is doing for community well-being.

Currently, we have more than 80% of our full-time UMaine employees and over 95% of UMaine residential students, and more than 69% of full-time UMaine Machias employees and over 89% of UMaine Machias residential students with verified vaccination cards indicating full vaccination in PointnClick. Employees and students with exemptions or who have not registered their vaccination status are required to participate in weekly on-campus asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, scheduled through the portal. Fully vaccinated community members also can opt into weekly testing by scheduling through PointnClick.

An important reminder if you have COVID-19 symptoms: Students should make an appointment at Cutler Health Center; employees should make appointments with primary care physicians. Only those who are asymptomatic should be participating in COVID-19 testing at Estabrooke Hall.

As the number of COVID cases continues to rise statewide, the dedication of UMaine’s COVID Operations Group and mindful efforts of our community members continue to be critical. Please maintain your vigilance during the Delta variant surge and, now, flu season, for your health and safety, and for others in your lives.

Sincerely,

Joan Ferrini-Mundy


Partnering to address health 

  • All students, including those who are remote, need to request an exemption (remote, religious or medical) or upload their vaccination information in PointnClick.

  • This flu season, getting the influenza vaccine is especially important. While the flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, getting vaccinated will protect you and your family and friends from getting sick from the flu while COVID-19 is circulating. It also may potentially save health care resources in a season that could be particularly taxing. Many flu symptoms are comparable to COVID-19 symptoms. If you feel sick, please stay home. Students should contact Cutler Health Center; employees should contact their primary care physician. 

  • Face covering guidance applies in university facilities on campus and statewide. If eating indoors or working alone in an office where the door can be closed, face coverings are not required. That includes custodians cleaning offices on second and third shifts, who can be unmasked in any enclosed room with a closed door if they are alone, but must be masked in public areas of buildings. For anyone who leaves a closed office and enters a building’s public space, face coverings are required at all hours of the day and night. And note: face coverings must completely cover your nose and mouth. The CDC has more information about face coverings.

  • Our current face covering guidance is now in effect across the University of Maine System until further notice.

Transparent and continuing communication 

  • Per the MOUs with the bargaining units, employees need to upload their vaccination cards or request an exemption via PointnClick.

  • UMaine President Ferrini-Mundy, UMaine Faculty Senate President William Dee Nichols and UMaine Machias Faculty Assembly President James Moreira will lead a Virtual Town Hall for faculty and staff from 10–11 a.m. on Sept. 28. The forum will include updates on enrollment, budget, academic affairs, research, facilities, COVID-19 health and safety, Harold Alfond Foundation UMS TRANSFORMS, and UMaine Machias Regional Campus Task Force. The Zoom link to the event: https://maine.zoom.us/j/83665023656?pwd=YU94MDVNSjg4d1prMG1haENKbUIxZz09. (Password: 688513). UMaine and UMaine Machias employees are encouraged to send questions to umaine.alerts@maine.edu. As many questions as possible will be addressed during the live session.

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

  • The Division of Student Life is expecting over 3,000 family members on campus for Family and Friends Weekend, which runs through Sunday. In light of rainy weather conditions, outdoor events may be moved into the Memorial Union. Please watch the website for updates and remember our COVID health and safety protocols, including face coverings indoors except while eating, good hand hygiene and social distancing whenever possible.

  • “Privacy & the Power of Secrets,” a film created by UMaine Machias students enrolled in lecturer Alan Kryszak’s Downeast Documentary class, will be shown at 7 tonight at the Performing Arts Center on the Machias campus. The free screening is open to the public. More information about the film project is online.

  • The Office of International Programs is offering three workshops for international students in collaboration with the Career Center: noon–1 p.m. on Sept. 28, job and internship search resources and strategies; 4 p.m. on Oct. 28, resources and strategies for creating application documents (resumes, cover letters, etc.); 4 p.m. on Dec. 2, interviewing skills. Email international@maine.edu for a Zoom meeting link.

  • On Sept. 30, the Department of English New Writing Series resumes with an event featuring creative writing faculty members Hollie Adams, Greg Howard and Jennifer Moxley reading from new work. The free public event begins at 4:30 p.m. in IMRC.

  • Versant Power Astronomy Center public events and shows are listed online.

  • In UMaine Athletics, women’s ice hockey begins its season when it travels to take on Quinnipiac tonight at 6, live on ESPN+. Women’s ice hockey closes its series with Quinnipiac at 3 p.m. on Saturday, streaming live on ESPN+. Saturday, football is on the road to meet Northern Illinois at 2:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. CT live on ESPN3, and also heard worldwide on the Black Bear Sports Network. Field hockey continues league play on Sunday when it hosts Stanford at noon, live on ESPN+.

Flexibility, responsiveness, empathy, and science

  • To provide every UMaine Machias student the opportunity to access meals on campus, the dining team has launched the Swipe Out Hunger program. Eligible students have meal credits placed on their MaineCards to redeem at Kilburn Commons. The program is designed to help students make ends meet, provide nourishing meals and allow those in need an opportunity to confidently eat with friends due to the anonymity of the program. UMaine Dining partners with Black Bear Exchange to provide a food recovery program that benefits the community. 

  • At noon on Sept. 27, the Communication and Journalism Colloquium series presents a panel discussion, “Supporting UMaine Students,” moderated by associate professor Bridie McGreavy and featuring representatives from UMaine Student Accessibility Services, Counseling Center and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Advising Center. Attend in person in 424 Dunn Hall or via Zoom.

Continuing our missions for Maine

  • A shout-out to UMS Board of Trustees member and UMaine alumna Emily Cain and members of Sigma Chi fraternity for their appearances in vaccination promotional video “Hit me with your best shot,” produced by Northern Light Health.

  • UMaine has Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month events planned next week and into October, including a Lunch and Learn presentation, “Latinx/Hispanic Representation in Higher Education,” at noon on Sept. 30 in the Multicultural Student Center, 314 Memorial Union. For more information, email katherine.mccarthy@maine.edu

  • The Winter Session course list and schedule are available. This year, there will be 62 UMaine and three UMaine Machias online classes.