Friday Futurecast — November 18

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,

Wherever your travels take you over break next week, I hope you will keep in mind the health and safety guidance that has been so critical to the well-being of our campus communities throughout this pandemic. Enjoy your time with those you love and care about, even if circumstances require that interaction to still be virtual. 

Get your COVID-19 booster shot and a flu shot. This week in Maine, we hit new records in COVID-19 daily cases, hospitalizations and positivity rates. As Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah noted yesterday, we’re all tired of COVID-19, but the virus, sadly, is not done with us. 

I look forward to having everyone safely back on campus after break for our last two weeks of classes, followed by finals week. On-campus COVID-19 testing will continue, with appointments scheduled via PointnClick.

Our next Friday Futurecast will be Dec. 3.

With heartfelt thanks to all that you have done and continue to do,

Joan Ferrini-Mundy

 

Partnering to address health 

  • As noted in the Nov. 16 message from Human Resources, the deadline is now Jan. 4 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. This requirement applies to temporary and student employees, as well. Our Human Resources and labor partners are working 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. It is important to note:
    • Employees who previously submitted an exemption on the basis of working fully online/remote or working fully outside or isolated will need to upload a vaccination record or submit proof of a religious or medical exemption no later than Jan. 4. 
    • Regular weekly testing will continue to be a requirement for unvaccinated employees working under a religious or medical exemption. 
    • Part-time faculty and other seasonal employees who are not actively working will need to be in compliance with these requirements prior to their return to work.
    • All newly hired employees must be in compliance with these requirements upon their start date. 
  • UMS announced today that employees are eligible for two hours of paid administrative leave that can be used to get a COVID-19 vaccination booster. All Mainers ages 18 and older who have been fully vaccinated for sufficient time are now eligible for a booster shot.

Transparent and continuing communication 

  • Students who are not enrolled this fall and are registering for spring 2022 without yet documenting their compliance with UMS COVID-19 vaccination policies will encounter registration holds. As students come into compliance — at least the first shot of COVID vaccine or an approved exemption — the hold will be removed. Students must be in compliance by Jan. 18 or, for late admits/returnees/nondegree, by no later than the end of add/drop/end of the 100% refund period. Information about how to document vaccination is online.

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

  • Fogler Library’s Thanksgiving Break hours for Nov. 23–28, as well as extended hours for finals, Dec. 7–17, are online. Merrill Library’s hours are on the UMaine Machias calendar.
  • In UMaine Athletics, the women’s basketball team hits the road to meet Yale tonight at 6, live on ESPN+. The men’s basketball team hosts the University of Maine at Fort Kent at 7 p.m. at The Pit in Memorial Gym, also on ESPN+. The women’s ice hockey team hosts Boston University at 6 p.m., available on College Sports Live. The men’s ice hockey team wraps up its series with Boston College at 7 p.m. on Friday, live on NESN. At 1 p.m. on Saturday, the football team concludes its regular season with a game at New Hampshire, live on NBC Sports Boston. On Sunday, the women’s basketball team travels to Boston University for a 1 p.m. game on ESPN+. The women’s ice hockey team hosts Providence at 2 p.m. on Sunday, streaming on College Sports Live. The men’s and women’s swim and dive team are participating in the three-day Harold Anderson Invitational at the University of Rhode Island.

Flexibility, responsiveness, empathy, and science

  • Reminder: We hope that community members, regardless of vaccination status, take advantage of our campus-based asymptomatic COVID-19 testing before they leave for break. At both UMaine and UMaine Machias, that testing occurs through Tuesday, Nov. 23. On-campus COVID-19 testing will continue after break, with appointments scheduled via PointnClick.

Continuing our missions for Maine

  • The UMaine Machias Wabanaki Voices series will feature a discussion with Lisa Sockabasin, co-director of Wabanaki Public Health & Wellness, at noon, Nov. 30, Science Building 102, in person and by Zoom. Sockabasin will provide an overview of WPHW programs, and discuss opportunities for collaboration with the UMaine Machias community and Washington County wellness organizations. Zoom link: https://maine.zoom.us/j/83111451033?pwd=Rlo3MG0rQi94SHR4SHlTamlQa0RlQT09. For more information, contact Jennifer Isherwood, Wabanaki Center, jishio@maine.edu.