UMaine Now: New face covering guidance for the last half of the semester

Dear University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias community members,

Our university communities returned from spring break as determined as ever to make the last half of the semester the best it can be. Our individual and collective commitment to health and safety so we could continue to work and learn together, in-person, has paid off. 

Across the University of Maine System, we currently have approximately a 1% COVID-19 positivity rate among everyone who has tested since March 20, which is a lower positivity than prior to spring break. We appreciate everyone continuing to test and pursue their booster shots, when eligible. And wearing face coverings as required.

As a result of the current status of COVID-19 on our campuses and in Maine, we will go into the last six weeks of the semester with new face covering guidance. Effective tomorrow, March 26, face coverings will be optional for students, faculty, staff and visitors in non-classroom facilities on campus and in our facilities statewide, both indoors and out, regardless of vaccination status.

We will continue to wear face coverings in all classrooms, research spaces and instructional areas unless the requirement is waived by a faculty member. Signs in our classrooms will remind all of us that face coverings are required in class unless waived by the instructor.

UMS health and safety guidance also now requires face coverings for indoor public events with 75 or more persons, unless proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result is required. Any UMaine or UMaine Machias event organizer has the option to require face coverings.

We have come a long way in this pandemic with the help of face coverings. They remain recommended and all have the option to wear them. All of us should carry a mask at all times while on campus to use as needed. 

As Chancellor Malloy noted in his community message today, it’s been your discipline and concern for your own health and that of our campus communities that have allowed us to stay safe together through the pandemic. The updated face covering guidance, which is detailed on the Together for Maine website, brings welcomed changes for our university communities. It is good news that provides more options for how we are together on our campuses and in our facilities.

Thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do for UMaine and UMaine Machias.

 

Joan Ferrini-Mundy
President