COVID-19 Updates

Updates for Fall 2021

An illustration of Champ, the USM mascot

The health and well-being of students, faculty, and staff, and visitors is of paramount importance. All decisions and actions pertaining to our campus activities are grounded in protecting all members of the University of Southern Maine (USM) community from the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

  • Current students, faculty, & staff: Visit us on MyUSM (Login required) 
    We’ve moved our COVID-19 FAQs and other information for current students, faculty, and staff to MyUSM — streamlining access through our secure, single sign-on portal. Login required.

  • Prospective students, parents, families, & community members: Please see the information below for the latest USM and University of Maine System announcements.

Important Announcements

Hey, Hey Huskies! Happy Monday! We hope that you are having a lovely semester thus far and are enjoying the courses you are taking for your educational pathway. We are so delighted that so many of you have chosen to come back to campus, which is why the following information is especially important.

On Friday, October 15th, if you have not uploaded a vaccine card to the University of Maine Systems’ coronavirus vaccine portal, PointNClick, you will not have the ability to participate in any on-campus activities. On-campus activities pertain to classes, sporting events, club events, guest lectures, and any general event held on campus. There is an exemption process for those with sincerely held religious beliefs or documented medical conditions. The exemption forms are easily accessible from the PointNClick website. The University of Maine system is doing this with no malicious intent, we simply would like to keep all of our campuses as safe as possible. The mission of having the entire System vaccinated is to keep you and your loved ones safe while attending university.

The COVID-19 pandemic threw all of us into a mixed bag of different situations. For some, it was a way to spend time with family while still attending school, whereas for others, it could have been a dark time living in uncomfortable situations. We are hoping to grow and learn from the coronavirus pandemic, so that we can be a model for other institutions to encourage the importance of health safety and protect others by getting vaccinated. The University of Southern Maine is unique as we are, “the university of everyone,” thus being a group of students that come from different backgrounds, environments, and situations. Statewide, Maine has hundreds of locations where you can receive the coronavirus vaccine. Do your part by getting your shot today; be a part of our #USMVaxPack.

Thank you all for reading and your cooperation in keeping our campus safe. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out by email to hussein.maow@maine.edu, brianna.demaso@maine.edu or usm.studentsenate@maine.edu ! (-:

Sincerely on behalf of the Student Government Association,

Hussein Maow, USM Student Body President

Brianna L. Demaso, USM Student Body Vice President

Dear Colleagues,

We’d like to provide an important update in regard to employee vaccination, exemption, and testing compliance on our University of Maine System campuses.

Nearly eighty percent of our on-campus employees have uploaded their vaccination or exemption status into the UMS COVID-19 Portal. We appreciate this effort to meet the requirements as set down in the Chancellor’s message of September 10 and are grateful for this dedication and commitment to our community health and safety.

We continue to encourage those who have not yet reported their status to do so no later than September 30. This is the deadline agreed upon in the memoranda of understanding reached with each of our collective bargaining units during the week of September 13th and applies to non-represented employees as well.

If you’re not certain of your current vaccination or exemption status within the UMS COVID-19 Portal or unsure of exactly where and how to upload your information, please visit:

https://www.maine.edu/information-technology/support/it-resources-and-tools/vaccination-verification-guide/

An important note to keep in mind is that the memoranda of understanding with each of the units provide for employees to continue to request exemptions on medical or religious grounds or in connection with working remotely or in an outdoor setting. Those exemption request forms are currently available on the UMS COVID-19 Portal and must be completed and submitted no later than September 30. Even if you have previously confirmed your remote work status with your campus officials, you must submit a remote work exemption request.

In addition, those employees and spouses/domestic partners covered under UMS medical insurance are eligible for Level 2 credit with self-reporting of vaccination through the myCigna.com website.

Important: Entering information for satisfying Level 2 incentive does NOT meet the requirement to enter vaccination information into the UMS COVID-19 Portal.

Employees are required to appear for COVID-19 testing at least weekly if they work in-person on campus at any time and (1) have not submitted proof of COVID vaccination information, (2) have an approved medical, religious, or outdoor/isolated area work exemption to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, or (3) have not registered any status or exemption request with the UMS COVID-19 Portal before the deadline. Any non-compliance with COVID public health protocols can lead to the initiation of progressive discipline.

Please watch for additional updates as we approach the September 30 deadline and working together, we can ensure a safe and healthy completion of the semester and successful academic year.

Thank you,

Your HR Team

UMS Community Members:  

We returned to our campuses around Maine this fall because we wanted the most normal college experience possible. And yet, COVID’s Delta variant has the pandemic surging around us again. We responded as we always have -- we adjusted to the realities of the pandemic and responsibly adopted science-based public health safety measures that allow us to stay together safely to teach and learn, research and work, and yes, socialize, gather on the university mall, attend football games and other sporting events, and so many other things that make the college experience together special.

To do these things safely requires that we take advantage of every public health tool we have. We reinstituted indoor masking requirements. We moved up our plans to require safe and effective COVID vaccinations -- including the now fully-FDA approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine -- for UMS community members coming to campus except for medically necessary or legally required exceptions. We’re testing, isolating, and quarantining as necessary. 

More than 21,000 UMSers have verified their vaccination status with our PointNClick portal so far, including nearly 95 percent of our residence hall students and 82 percent of our full-time employees. Those who have sought an exemption or not established their vaccination status will have regular COVID tests, currently weekly, so we can identify and isolate cases of infection within our community. And we'll be reviewing the executive orders President Biden announced yesterday to be sure that UMS fully complies with both the spirit and letter of all new regulatory requirements necessary to end the pandemic.

Doing all of these things together is what gives us the best chance of staying together safely this fall.

Everyone has a Responsibility to Protect Public Health

Despite our outstanding progress, there is still work to do. Nothing less than full participation with our vaccination and testing requirements will allow us to stay together safely on our campuses. Starting this week, our universities began stepping up compliance communication and outreach to ensure that every student learning or living on campus verifies vaccination status or, if exempted, participates in their testing appointments. We continue our discussions with our faculty and staff to do the same and are grateful to those labor leaders who've already signified their support for these critical requirements.

The consequences of not complying with the COVID requirements in place thus far are clear.

Student Consequences for Failing to Register Vaccination or an Exemption

Students who choose to not become fully vaccinated by October 15 or seek an exemption by that date will no longer be eligible to live or learn in person on our campuses. By their choice, these learners must be prepared for their education and housing to be disrupted this semester. 

The University of Maine System cannot guarantee that a change in instructional delivery will be an option for those who willingly give up their privilege of living and learning in person on campus. And there will be no special refund policies for tuition, room, board or other fees for those few among our in-person population learners who choose not to comply. 

The guidance we have posted for students also clearly states that withdrawal from courses could hamper an individual’s ability to complete their degree and federal financial aid eligibility. We want every student to stay with us and to succeed, but I cannot be more clear that choosing not to get vaccinated when you can do so puts both academic progress and our communities’ health and safety at risk. 

Faculty and Staff Vaccine and Testing Requirements

I have been saying that I want our faculty and staff to meet the same expectations we have for our students. I want every faculty and staff member who can be vaccinated to do so, and I’ve invited our labor leaders to join me in encouraging full vaccination for everyone who can. I recognize that some employees are unable to be vaccinated, and those who can’t will have to be tested regularly to continue work on campus. In our current public health environment in our university living and learning environments, refusing to be either vaccinated or tested regularly is simply not acceptable. Earlier this week, I discussed these expectations with the leaders of our bargaining units, and I hope to finalize our faculty and staff protocols as soon as possible.

If you work on any of our campuses but haven’t yet been vaccinated, please do so as soon as possible if you can. Please be a part of making our university community the state’s most vaccinated and safest workforce. 

It has been remarkable to experience the energy on our university campuses and the enthusiasm for being together as a community so far this fall. We can get through the Delta variant surge, but only if we act responsibly together to protect the public health of our entire university communities.

We've nearly finished two weeks of the semester now. Let's commit to staying safe together.

Regards,

Dannel P. Malloy

Chancellor

Short term - Parking 

For parking, most notably, the former Bedford Street surface parking lot has been transitioned to the staging area for the campus development project. Even though this area will be fenced off, the driveway in front of Masterton will remain open, allowing vehicles access to the Luther Bonney-Masterton Lot. We just ask that pedestrians please remain on the sidewalk for safety. Additionally, as a result of the City of Portland's roundabout project at the northwest corner of campus (intersection of Falmouth Street, Deering Avenue and Brighton Avenue) the Brighton Avenue extension that ran diagonally through that part of campus to Bedford Street has been removed and the small parking lot there (adjacent to the Deering Farmhouse) has been removed, as well. Due to that construction project, please allow yourself extra time the first week of school for traveling to and from the Portland campus and extra time for your bus trip.  To alleviate these parking lot closures, the University has opened parking on the green in the Wishcamper lot. Also, we are implementing a temporary "any-pass / any-lot" policy, allowing anyone with a current, valid USM hang-tag to park in any lot on the Portland campus regardless of the pass / lot color designation, to help maximize use of open spaces. This policy does not apply to the Gorham campus. For the first two weeks of school, there is a grace period on needing to have your hang-tag since hang-tags are still being distributed. For questions about parking, please visit: the Parking site. On net, there will be a small reduction in campus parking spaces this semester. Combined, however, with the various impacts of Covid-19 to campus life (more online courses, more remote work, etc), parking options should remain sufficient for the Fall. That said, the University will continue to monitor parking options in Portland and make further adjustments as necessary. Lastly, using alternative modes of transportation to-and-from campus helps USM reach its carbon neutrality goals, so please consider bikingtaking the "METRO" Bus, taking the train or carpooling. Every trip, even if only once per week, helps. 

Long term - Parking Garage

To accommodate additional parking needs that will accompany the project, USM is currently engaged in the City of Portland's permitting process to build a new parking garage on the site of the Wishcamper Parking Lot (adjacent to the existing parking garage). Due to the shorter construction timeline for the garage, the University plans to complete the project in tandem with the campus development project. As we move closer to construction of the garage, more updates will follow. As construction will require elimination of the Wishcamper Parking Lot, future updates on the new parking garage will address any additional necessary changes to Portland campus parking.  

Long term - Portland Campus Development Project

The University and its partners broke ground on the Portland Campus Development Project in March, and it is scheduled for completion in June 2023. The $99.3 million project consists of a new 580-bed residence hall, a three-story, 42,000 square foot Career & Student Success Center and a one-acre green quad that will replace the former Bedford Street surface parking lot. The project will provide a natural, welcoming campus entry point, residential housing on the Portland campus for the first time in USM's history, and significantly upgraded career advisory space as well as dining and student center experiences. For more information, please see the project website here.  Thank you for your consideration. This is an exciting time to be part of the USM community, and we look forward to welcoming you back to campus. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any questions or for any additional background information. Sincerely,Alec PorteousChief Operating Officer & Chief Business Officer

USM Dining Services is excited to welcome students back to campus for the 2021 – 2022 Academic Year.  We have missed seeing everyone’s smiling faces during the Pandemic and it will be nice to have some semblance of normalcy as we open back up this week.  While you have been away, or if you are just joining us (welcome to a great community), we have been busy creating destinations to enhance your everyday dining experiences.  Our team is excited to welcome you back into our operations and continue our reputation for great customer service.  Things may look a little different than in the past, but we are fully embracing the new way of interacting with our guests. 

We continue to live our commitments to purchasing local foods wherever possible, though the current markets are making it challenging to get all of the products that we hope to have available to you.  That being said, we are constantly looking for additional local partners to help meet the needs of our business as some of our other partners struggle on a national level with labor, distribution, and product shortages.  We are excited that, despite all of the challenges in the world last year, we were able to beat our goal of hitting 25% local products.  This year we will continue to advance that goal by moving our target to 26.5% of all of our purchases coming from within 150 miles of the schools in the University of Maine System.  Make sure you stop in and support your local community!

Your campus dining plan is the most versatile and convenient way to dine on campus.  It can be used at all of our retail and residential locations.  For your convenience, we have created an encompassing list of all locations below so that you can plan your dining experience.  Find out more about dining plans, hours of operations, catering, events, and more on our website:  https://usm.sodexomyway.com.  All dining venues open up on Monday, August 30th for normal hours.  Prior to that time, Brooks Dining Hall and Husky Hideaway will be operating at reduced hours.  Stop by the units themselves or reach out with questions about these hours.

Gorham Campus

Brooks Dining Hall (Monday – Friday 7:00am – 7:30pm; Saturday – Sunday 8:30am – 6:30pm) [Accepts: Meals, Meal Plan Dollars, Husky Bucks, Cash and Credit Cards]

Your main dining hall on campus that serves all you care to eat local dining options including a grill, hearth stone pizza oven, full salad bar and deli, vegan station, Mongolian grill, dessert, Simple Servings Allergen Free home cooking and so much more!

Husky Hideaway Snack Bar and Spirit Store (Monday – Thursday 8:00am – Midnight; Friday 8:00am – 11:00pm; Saturday – Sunday 1:00pm – 11:00pm)  [Accepts: Meal Exchange (after Brooks closes for those who missed dinner), Meal Plan Dollars, Husky Bucks, Cash and Credit Cards]

A student favorite!  This location features Portland Pie, Grilled Favorites, Simply to Go Snacks, Prepackaged Groceries, Clothing and Spirit Store items and more!  New this year, we have added an espresso machine to make handcrafted beverages and a smoothie station that runs all day long for folks looking for a delicious beverage on the go.

Bailey Café (Monday – Thursday 7:30am – 4:00pm; Friday 7:30am – 1:00pm)   [Accepts: Meal Plan Dollars, Husky Bucks, Cash and Credit Cards]

Stop by and grab a morning pastry, breakfast sandwich, coffee or prepackaged item on the go from this location. 

Portland Campus

(Meal Exchanges are like meals but are a defined package that includes an Entrée, Side and Beverage)

Luther Bonney Café (Monday – Thursday 7:30am – 7:00pm; Friday 7:30am – 4:00pm)  [Accepts: Meal Exchange, Meal Plan Dollars, Husky Bucks, Cash and Credit Cards]

While you are in Luther Bonney Hall, stop by and grab a prepackaged snack, salad, sandwich, hot or cold beverage, and many hot prepackaged entrée options for those on the go. 

Glickman Starbucks (Monday – Thursday 7:30am – 3:30pm; Friday 7:30am – 1:30pm)  [Accepts: Meal Exchange, Meal Plan Dollars, Husky Bucks, Cash and Credit Cards]

Need a pick me up?  We have handcrafted We Proudly Brew Starbucks beverages, pastries, salads, sandwiches, and hot prepackaged entrée options for those on the go.  Trying to avoid lines?  Check us out!

Payson Smith Bento Sushi (Monday – Thursday 11:00am – 7:00pm; Friday 11:00am – 2:00pm)  [Accepts: Meal Plan Dollars, Husky Bucks, Cash and Credit Cards]

We are very excited to be introducing this new partnership with Bento Sushi!  Bento Sushi is a well-respected partner in the sushi field and will offer a sushi bar, ramen bowls, and a noodle bar.  Stop in and try this delicious offering!

Abromson Ghost Kitchen (Monday – Friday 11:00am – 2:00pm)  [Accepts: Meal Exchange, Meal Plan Dollars, Husky Bucks and Bite Pay Credit Card]

We are jumping into the Ghost Kitchen arena!  Place your order and pay using the Bite App and then pick up your meal on the second floor of Abromson.  Available during lunch daily.  Menu items will change frequently, so check this out!

Law Café (Monday – Friday 7:30am – 2:00pm)  [Accepts: Meal Exchange, Meal Plan Dollars, Husky Bucks, Cash and Credit Cards]

A campus favorite.  Swing over and grab a cup of coffee, hot soup, breakfast sandwich, salad, prepackaged snack, and more. 

USM Food Concessions (Monday – Friday 11:00am – 2:00pm; Monday – Thursday 4:00pm – 7:00pm) [Accepts: Meal Exchange, Meal Plan Dollars, Husky Bucks, Cash and Credit Cards]

Looking for a burger, grilled chicken, or hot item off the grill?  This is the location to check out.  It will be located behind Luther Bonney and will serve as the temporary service until the USM Food Truck arrives in early October!  At that point, the USM Food Truck will be available all day in the same location.  We can’t wait for this newest addition to campus!

Lewiston Campus

LAC Café (Monday – Friday 8:30am – 1:00pm)  [Accepts: Meal Exchange, Meal Plan Dollars, Husky Bucks, Cash and Credit Cards]

Stop by the café to get made-to-order favorites!  Looking for an omelet?  Hungry for grilled cheese?  You can get it all while visiting our LAC Café right in the center of the LAC Campus Building.

Online

USM Dining rolled out the Bite App over the last year and it has quickly become a campus favorite.  Peruse the menu, place your order ahead of time and pay so that your food is available for pickup on your timeline.  All of the locations above are available for orders through the Bite App.  Available in both the IOS and Android App Stores.

We look forward to seeing you in our operations this year and can’t wait for you to try out the new options available.  We are constantly looking for ways to connect with our guests and will be offering new innovative solutions as we move through the semester!  From all of us at USM Dining Services, have a great year!

See President Cummings' message on the System's update face covering policy that was sent to USM students, faculty, and staff on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.

  • Face coverings are required for all persons – students, staff, faculty and visitors – regardless of vaccination status when indoors at a University facility. This is effective August 18, 2021 through September 30, 2021.

    This requirement may be ended or extended depending on civil guidance, the trajectory of the pandemic and public health considerations. The University of Maine System carefully monitors public health guidance and data, and will update its requirements, including this face covering requirement, as warranted. This face covering requirement specifically will be reviewed by September 30, 2021. Continuation or easing of this protocol are both possible depending on circumstances. 

    Individuals working in an office by themselves with the door closed need not wear any face covering.

    For more information, please see the System's Together for Maine website.

On August 4, 2021, Chancellor Malloy announced that University of Maine System students engaged in an on-campus experience this fall are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

  • Students participating in an on-campus experience this fall must begin the process of becoming fully vaccinated by Friday, August 20.

  • Students who verify their status or get their first shot toward full vaccination by Friday, August 20, will remain eligible to participate in on-campus activities in the fall semester. Students also have an opportunity to request and receive an exemption to the vaccine requirement for a documented medical contraindication or a sincerely held religious belief.

  • Discussions are underway with bargaining unit partners regarding a similar policy for UMS faculty and staff.

  • For full details, please review the information provided in the Chancellor's message at the link above. 
  • If you haven’t yet been immunized, please see this list of clinics where you can get vaccinated. You can also text your ZIP code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233 to find vaccine locations near you anywhere in the U.S.

  • Among your vaccine clinic options are three that may be very close to home and work. USM will be offering three upcoming walk-in vaccination clinics in mid-August and early September:

    • 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 12, Sebago Brewing Co., 616 Main St., Gorham (in partnership with Northern Light Health)

    • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 19, 156 Upton Hall on USM’s Gorham Campus (in partnership with Sacopee Valley Health Center)

    • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 2, 156 Upton Hall on USM’s Gorham Campus (in partnership with Sacopee Valley Health Center)


    Brought to you by the VAX PACK, a committee of USM students, faculty, and staff focused on promoting COVID-19 immunization, these clinics will be open to all USM students and employees. Community members are welcome to get vaccinated at these clinics as well. The vaccines offered are free. And if you need another incentive to protect yourself and your loved ones against the virus, Sebago Brewing Co. will offer a free beverage of choice with vaccination at the 4 to 7 p.m. clinic on Thursday, Aug. 12. For more information please contact usmcovidinfo@maine.edu.

Thank you to the thousands of Huskies who reported for testing when requested during the 2020–2021 academic year. Your participation helped with our efforts to curb the spread of the virus and keep the pack safe. 

Course Modalities Explained*

  • Asynchronous Online (Dates and times on MaineStreet will be listed at “TBA.”)
    With Asynchronous Online classes, 100 percent of course instruction is online (Brightspace), with no specific meeting times required and no expectation that enrolled students will come to campus. Asynchronous is not self-paced; students will be responsible for meeting assignment deadlines as determined by the course instructor.
  • Synchronous “Online Live”
    If a course is listed on MaineStreet as “online live,” it will be taught online via Zoom at specific times during the week. Students will be required to be present on Zoom at the specified times. The days and times the course meets each week will be listed on MaineStreet.
  • Blended
    Blended courses can be listed as any combination of asynchronous online, synchronous “online live,” and/or face-to-face in-person instruction. The number of required in-person or online-live sections may differ for each blended course. Specific dates for these meetings should be listed on MaineStreet within the course notes and/or in the syllabus provided by the course instructor.
  • Face-to-Face
    Face-to-Face courses consist of required in-person instruction on campus at specific days and times that are listed on MaineStreet. Courses that are fully face-to-face or blended with an in-person component will have COVID-19 safety protocols in place that include physical distancing, sanitation measures, and required face-coverings for all students, faculty, and staff.

*USM's Advising Team generously provided these course modality descriptions.


Questions?

For additional information, please contact USM's COVID-19 Ombudsperson, COO & CFO Alexander Porteous

University of Maine System and Archived Communications