Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
This week’s Healthy Huskies Update includes several pieces of important information from the University of Maine System regarding updates to the face-covering policy and why getting vaccinated now has benefits beyond keeping you healthy.
Before getting to those updates, I want to emphasize how important it is — especially at this time of year — that we do all we can to avoid coming into contact with the virus. Please remember that if you are not fully vaccinated (two weeks after your final dose) and you are identified through contact tracing as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, you will need to quarantine on campus until the required isolation is complete. If you are a senior, this would impact any Commencement activities you are participating in, and if you are transitioning home, this would impact your ability to do so in a timely manner. The next two weeks are a critical time to minimize your close contact.
Thank you for your ongoing vigilance. We’re almost there. Let’s make sure we finish strong and healthy.
With all best wishes for good health and success on your end-of-semester projects,
President, The University of Southern Maine
Fully Vaccinated Can Be Exempt from Testing and Quarantining
Per the Chancellor's recent announcement, asymptomatic students, staff, and faculty who would otherwise be required to participate in asymptomatic COVID-19 testing (which currently involves weekly testing) and who otherwise would be required to quarantine when determined to be a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, may be exempted from testing and quarantining if they are fully vaccinated and provide verification of their fully vaccinated status to the University.
In general, people are considered fully vaccinated
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
To voluntarily provide verification of vaccination, select the “Enter My COVID-19 Vaccine Information” option on the PointNClick website.
The quarantine exemption is available now to those who submit verification and upon review of the specific circumstances. The testing exemption from asymptomatic testing is available effective May 9, 2021, to all those who submit bona fide verification of vaccination. Your participation in this process is voluntary. If you choose to participate in this voluntary process, your vaccination record will be stored within the PointNClick System ONLY. The PointNClick system is a secure electronic medical record system used by healthcare providers and universities around the globe. By providing your vaccination record, you are consenting to and authorizing the University of Maine System to verify and use your COVID-19 vaccination status ONLY for pandemic management purposes, including in compliance with the state of Maine, CDC, and other applicable laws, regulations, guidance or standards, which may include exemption from quarantine or testing in certain circumstances.
System Issues Updated Guidance on Face Coverings
As indicated on the Together for Maine website, face coverings are now
- Required at all times when indoors on University of Maine System campuses, property, and facilities, and at all other times when indoors on University business. More details, exceptions, and information are available on the Together For Maine website (please see the "When do I need to wear a face covering on campus? (04/29/2021)" entry).
- Recommended but not required when outdoors in circumstances that make physical distancing difficult to maintain.
- Not required when outdoors in circumstances when physical distancing is readily maintained.
The University of Maine System asks everyone to aim for not just technical compliance with the face-covering requirement but also meeting the spirit and intention of the face-covering requirement when wearing your own face covering.
Current exceptions to the University’s face covering requirement include:
- When a person is alone in an office or other room with a closed door
- When eating or drinking in a space where eating or drinking is permitted
- When a medical accommodation has been granted by the appropriate University official
- When a situation (e.g. childcare settings) or a person (e.g. children younger than 2) are specifically exempted by Maine civil authorities
- In other special circumstances as may be determined by campus leadership.
There is no exception to the face-covering requirement for instructional purposes. Physical barriers, such as clear plastic screens, may be used in combination with a face covering but are not a substitute for face coverings.
These updates, effective April 29, 2021, are in keeping with updated orders of Maine civil authorities as announced April 27, 2021. These changes do not alter the University’s physical distancing requirements. See "University of Maine System and campuses summer 2021 general operations (04/29/2021)" for the latest physical distancing and group gathering requirements.
Chancellor Malloy Issues System Update on Pandemic Response
The Consequences of Being a Close Contact Right Now
Please remember that if you are not fully vaccinated (two weeks after your final dose) and you are deemed to be a close contact of someone with COVID-19, you will need to quarantine on campus until your quarantine duration is complete. If you are a senior, this would impact any Commencement activities you are participating in, and if you are transitioning home, this would impact your ability to do so. The next two weeks are a critical time to keep your close contacts low. COVID-19 is still very strong in Maine. The light at the end of the tunnel is not far off, but make sure you are still taking precautions in the present.
Make Sure You Test Before You Go
If you have been a member of our on-campus population and will be traveling home at the conclusion of the semester, please be sure to get your last COVID-19 test this coming week. Knowing your status before you travel protects those you will come in contact with along the way and the community and loved ones you are returning to.
No Insurance Is Required for Getting A COVID-19 Shot
The headline says it all. Show your USM ID Card at a vaccination clinic, and it will be accepted as proof of eligibility.
New Vaccination Option: The Portland Expo’s Walk-in Clinic
The Portland Expo-based COVID-19 vaccination site is now offering shots on a walk-in basis. The clinic, operated by Northern Light Mercy Hospital, is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments can still be scheduled ahead of time; walk-in vaccinations will be dependent on weekly shipments.
Please also consider these options:
- Northern Light Health is booking appointments now
- Transittogether.org has compiled a list of vaccination sites and provides information on free transportation to and from COVID-19 vaccination appointments
Testing Continues This Summer
Phase 7 weekly summer testing for all students, faculty, and staff with an in-person presence on campus starts the week of May 10. (As indicated above, students, faculty, and staff who are fully vaccinated are exempt from participating in asymptomatic testing.) Learn more about testing times and locations at usm.maine.edu/covidtest. Faculty, staff, and non-residential students who are not fully vaccinated, please continue to let us know your anticipated weekly presence on campus by completing the One-Time or Intermittent Visit to USM Form. If you have questions about the form, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and see the FAQ page on USM’s Asymptomatic COVID Testing site.
Dining Services: ‘Use it, don’t lose it’
USM’s Dining Services provider Sodexo reminds you not to leave any meal plan dollars unspent as residential meal plan dollars and bonus dollars do not roll over to the fall. (Commuter meal plan dollars, however, do roll over into the fall semester.) Please see the Soedexo website for meal plan information.
Advising is Available During the Summer
USM’s Advising Team reminds you that advising support is available all summer through Zoom, email, or phone: 207-780-4040 (Portland) or 207-780-4555 (Gorham). Students can use the 'You Can Book Me' pages to set up an appointment, just as they would during the regular school year. Learn more about how to access Advising support via Zoom and the team's Virtual Front Desk.
Watch: Advising's Tip of the Week
The Counseling Team’s Update on Summer Support
As the end of the semester draws near, many of the Counseling Team’s groups and workshops are coming to a close. Counseling Services will still be open during the summer with reduced staff. Please see the Counseling Team’s recent email for information on how to connect with the office and use the SilverCloud online mental health tool.
Introductory Stress Relief Sessions, Thursday Evenings Through Mid-May
Academic Advisor and Nationally Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) Katie Tomer will offer special Introductory Breathwork and Meditation sessions Thursdays from 7:30 to 8:15 p.m. through mid-May to support staff, faculty, and students. These Zoom-based sessions are open to all USM community members along with friends and family. Participants are invited to learn and practice evidence-based breathing and meditation techniques that have been shown to lower stress levels and increase well-being. Sessions will be held April 29, May 5, and May 13. The zoom link for the sessions will be maine.zoom.us/my/katietomer.
Thinking Matters Starts Today
Thinking Matters, USM’s signature annual student research symposium, begins Friday, April, 30, at usm.maine.edu/thinking-matters. At this virtual event, you’ll be able to view prerecorded oral presentations and posters created by students and faculty collaborators. Visitors to the Thinking Matters Digital Commons site also will be able to engage with student research in the comments section of each presentation once the Symposium goes live Friday morning.
Saturday is the Shaw Innovation Fellows Application Deadline
Incoming and current graduate students, please note that the deadline to apply to become one of the first Shaw Innovation Fellows is this Saturday, May 1. To learn more about this opportunity to receive a $5,000 fellowship award, please see the Shaw Innovation Fellows website.
Watch: Hannah, Jon, and Dr. Shah's Vaccination Video
Testing During Ramadan
For Huskies who will be fasting in observance of the holy month of Ramadan, from the evening of April 12 through May 12, USM's Asymptomatic Testing Team encourages you to take your COVID test as early in the morning as possible. This will provide you with the best chance of being hydrated enough to produce a valid sample. Test centers will be open at 8 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday at the Gorham Ice Arena, 8 a.m. Tuesday through Friday at 109/110 Abromson in Portland, and 9 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday in Rm. 283 at Lewiston-Auburn Campus. If you are have having difficulty making this work, please email email@example.com.
Scheduling Your Next Testing Appointment with PointNClick
The Safer Community mobile app has been replaced by PointNClick, a more straightforward web portal that can be accessed by smartphone, tablet, or computer.
For the remainder of this semester, please sign up for weekly testing using the PointNClick web portal.
- Sign in to the PointNClick portal using your USM username and password.
- Step-by-step instructions are available and for PointnClick support, please contact the IT Help Desk.
- Testing Ambassadors will be available on-site to answer questions.
Watch: Connor’s Pro Tips on How to Pool Your Drool
What To Do If You Test Positive
Students who test positive as part of the UMS asymptomatic screening may receive notice of their result through an alert sent from the ClicknPoint web portal. If you receive a notice that you have tested positive or you have been informed that your roommate or housemate has tested positive, there are some important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind. And perhaps the most important don’t is don’t panic. Please see these instructions for on-campus students and off-campus students to know what to do, what not to do, and what supports are in place to help you. (Scroll down to the "Students: If you test positive for COVID-19" option on the page at the link above.)
Housing Waitlist Is in Effect
USM's Housing team reports that the self-select housing process is complete. Four hundred and seventy-three students went through the process and have selected their spaces for the fall. If you are interested in applying for fall 2021 housing but have not done so already, you can access the application in the housing portal. Once you have applied, you will receive a waitlist position and will be able to see in real-time where you are in line for a space. Over the summer, the Housing team will communicate with all fall 2021 residential students and share move-in information, housing policies, and other details.
The Spring 2021 Pass/Fail Option Deadline Is May 28
Concerned about a grade you earned this semester? Thinking about asking to change a letter grade to pass/fail grading in one or more of your classes? Making the switch to P/F isn't difficult. Just follow these steps by Friday, May 28.
SilverCloud Online Mental Health Tool Available for Students
In addition to Zoom workshops, support groups, and individual counseling appointments, USM's Counseling Team offers SilverCloud, a free, online mental health tool for USM students. SilverCloud provides self-guided programs to help students cope with anxiety, depression, stress, sleep issues, and resilience. Based on cognitive behavioral therapy principles, the self-guided modules are available anytime, on any device. The SilverCloud website provides an overview of options and a brief quiz to help you find the right program and get started. (Log in with your USM email and password.)
Campus Food Pantry Offers Pre-Order and Pickup
With this Google form, you can now pre-order a weekly bag of groceries for pickup from the Campus Food Pantries in Portland (102 Bedford Street) and Gorham (in the UCU Den of Brooks Student Center). Pickup times for the Portland and Gorham CFP are listed on the Google Form. LAC students can find food security support in the LAC Library or by emailing CFP staff. Please see the CFP website for hours of operation in Portland, Gorham, and LAC.
Sometimes Required, Sometimes Recommended: When to Use the COVID-19 Reporting Form
Employee and student use of the COVID-19 Reporting Form is sometimes required and sometimes recommended, but not required. Learn more about when the COVID-19 Reporting Form must be used and when it can be used at your discretion at the Healthy Huskies website.
Need a Study Buddy? Use Navigate USM
With the free Navigate USM app, you can easily find a study buddy for a class, see campus events, build to-do lists, manage your class schedule, explore careers related to majors and interests, find out if you have holds on your accounts, and check out campus resources — all in one place. Learn how to find and download the app.
Find a Zoom Lounge Location
USM has designated several spaces on all three campuses for socially distanced group study, individual quiet study, and Zoom/online course participation. Please see this updated list of Zoom lounges and study spaces for the spring semester — and don’t forget to stay socially distanced and bring headphones for use in these spaces.
How to Be More Successful on Brightspace, Zoom
With spring semester courses starting on Monday, Jan. 25, now is a good time to revisit resources on how to be a more successful learner on Brightspace and Zoom. Find out how to submit an assignment, engage in a discussion and take quizzes on Brightspace in the Student’s Guide to Brightspace video series. And the Learning with Zoom video series is just as full of pro tips. These academic resources and many others are brought to you by USM’s Academic Gains Through Improved Learning Effectiveness (AGILE) program.
Monitor Your Symptoms with #CampusClear
System-wide, hundreds of students, faculty, and staff have downloaded and signed up to use #CampusClear, the free app that provides a daily prompt to indicate any symptoms you may be experiencing. Self-screening is easy and takes only a few seconds. Learn how to download and use #CampusClear for iOS and Android.
See System-wide Campus COVID Counts
There are two ways to see the latest positive-case counts at USM and each System campus: The University of Maine System provides daily announcements of positive counts at each campus and other testing-related updates on the Together for Maine website. You can also find aggregated test result data on the System’s COVID-19 Testing Summary dashboard. (Scroll down a bit at the link to see the dashboard.)