Friday Futurecast — October 29
Health and safety update for university community members
Welcome to this week’s Friday Futurecast
Message from President Joan Ferrini-Mundy:
Dear members of the UMaine and UMaine Machias communities,
In October across the University of Maine System, we had more employees and students participate in campus-based COVID-19 asymptomatic and symptomatic testing than at any other time since April. From Oct. 1–28, UMaine administered 2,618 asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 tests on campus; UMaine Machias administered 91 asymptomatic tests this month. We appreciate everyone — those required to participate in weekly testing and those fully vaccinated and opting to test — taking part.
As indicated in yesterday’s messages from me and from the Chancellor, we now have a Dec. 8 deadline to meet the federal mandate for all full- and part-time employees of a federal contractor (UMS institutions are considered federal contractors) to be either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or seek a legally recognized exemption from vaccination for medical reasons or a sincerely held religious belief, practice or observance.
Throughout November, our Human Resources and labor partners will work to help every employee come into full compliance, using the PointnClick portal for status documentation, to meet the federal mandate, and as part of our ongoing community health and safety efforts.
Appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations are available from resources in the community, including Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC), Walgreens and Northern Light Health. We have reached out to our community partners, UMaine School of Nursing and PCHC, for on-campus COVID-19 vaccination clinics in November, and we will notify the campus community when dates are confirmed.
Thank you for continuing to do your part.
Partnering to address health
Face coverings are required indoors for all persons — students, staff, faculty and visitors — in our facilities on campus and statewide, regardless of vaccination status. The latest UMS guidance is online. A fact sheet on acceptable face coverings on campus is on our COVID-19 website.
Reminder: Please remember to continue practicing proper hand hygiene and social distancing whenever possible, and stay home if you are sick.
Transparent and continuing communication
The latest UMS guidance regarding visitor and event vaccination requirements, and general pandemic protocols was updated this week. It includes a reminder that proactive mandatory asymptomatic COVID-19 testing continues through the end of the semester. Students, staff and faculty should refer to their respective sections of the Together for Maine website (student guidance; employee guidance) for information regarding how “fully vaccinated” is defined and how to submit vaccination verification.
On or shortly after Oct. 31, withdrawals from all in-person courses at the University of Maine System will be processed for those students who have not complied with the university’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements. Students can withdraw themselves from in-person courses between now and then. Students who are withdrawn will not receive a grade or a refund for the courses in which they are enrolled. Students with noncompliance status as of Oct. 16 are not permitted in university classrooms, residence halls, laboratories or workplaces, and are not permitted to participate in on-campus experiences or university activities.
In-person, on-campus experiences and other learning modes
Halloween weekend happenings are scheduled on both campuses and in our communities. Tonight at UMaine is Humans vs. Zombies starting at 9; click here to register. At UMaine Machias tonight, there is a Trunk and Treat in the soccer field parking lot, 6–9. UMaine’s Halloween Bash is from 8–11 p.m. Saturday in the Union. Come in costume for the Monster Mash in Kilburn Dining Hall, 6–9 p.m. on Saturday, and the Not-So-Spooky Shindig, 6–8 p.m. on Sunday, both at UMaine Machias. Halloween at the President’s House is for children (ages 12 and under) of UMaine employees and students, 4:30–6 p.m. on Sunday; click here if your children plan to attend. Other Halloween happenings in the town of Orono are online.
UMaine Athletics is back in action today when the women’s ice hockey team travels to meet Holy Cross for a game at 7 p.m. before taking on Merrimack at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Both games can be seen live on College Sports Live. The men’s ice hockey team will take on Northeastern in Boston on Friday and Saturday nights with both games beginning at 7. Tonight’s game can be seen live on NESN; Saturday’s will be streamed on College Sports Live. Both games also can be heard on the Black Bears Sports Network (103.9 FM) and nationally at GoBlackBears.com. The men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams open their season at noon on Saturday at home when they host Maine Maritime Academy, live on AmericaEast.TV. Football looks for its third-straight win when it travels to the University of Rhode Island for a 1 p.m. Saturday contest, streamed live on FloSports and heard on the Black Bears Sports Network (103.9 FM) and on GoBlackBears.com.The field hockey team closes its regular season at 1 p.m. on Sunday when it meets New Hampshire, live on AmericaEast.TV.
Flexibility, responsiveness, empathy, and science
A campuswide nonperishable food drive to benefit UMaine Black Bear Exchange food pantry will be held Nov. 1–Dec. 17, sponsored by UMaine Auxiliary Services and the Green Campus Initiative. Donation boxes will be in the University Bookstore, Bear Necessities Fan Shop and dining facilities. More information, including a list of the requested food donations, is online. Information about the Black Bear Exchange food pantry, including instructions for requesting support, also is available online.
Continuing our missions for Maine
The benefits of joining a UMaine research center or institute will be the focus of a virtual faculty panel discussion from noon–1 p.m. on Nov. 1, moderated by professor and assistant vice president for research Sandra De Urioste-Stone. Registration is required. A listing of UMaine’s major interdisciplinary research centers and institutes is online.