Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
Anna Schwartz, our asymptomatic testing chair, tells me that USM students, faculty, and staff are leading the way with downloading and using the Safer Community App and scheduling their saliva-based tests at our Portland, Gorham, and Lewiston–Auburn campuses. What's more, Anna reports that despite some day-one issues with QR codes and processing consent forms, the testing went fairly smoothly and participants demonstrated patience and flexibility.
To all of our community members who have an on-campus presence this semester and are participating in testing, thank you. Your efforts are critical to keeping the pack healthy and COVID-free. My gratitude is just as deep to everyone for continuing to mask up, stay distanced, and follow the best practices outlined in the Healthy Huskies Promise.
In closing, whoever you're rooting for on Sunday, please avoid the temptation to gather with others when watching Super Bowl LV. Passing on an invitation could be the best play of the day.
With best wishes for good health and success,
President, The University of Southern Maine
Your Saliva-Based Test: How to Ace It on the First Try
Follow these five simple steps at your testing appointment to make sure your saliva sample is valid and you're on your way as quickly as possible.
Fasting Requirements for Next Week's Saliva-Based Testing
Please keep these four things in mind to make sure your saliva sample is viable:
- Your saliva sample must be clear — meaning free of food particles and not cloudy or discolored.
- You’ll need to fast for 60 minutes prior to your scheduled testing time. That means don’t eat, drink or smoke, chew gum, brush your teeth, or use mouthwash within an hour of your test. When in doubt, don’t put it in your mouth in the 60 minutes before the test.
- Make sure you hydrate with water so you can produce the 1 to 1.5 milliliters of saliva needed for the test. But make sure you stop drinking water 60 minutes before the test time!
- Bring your smartphone to the testing appointment.
Before you participate in your first saliva-based screening, you will need to download and set up the Safer Community App by Rokmetro, which is now available through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
The Safer Community App is the most convenient, most secure, and most direct tool for managing your COVID-19 testing. It’s the tool for
- Scheduling your testing
- Seeing available testing locations
- Checking in at your testing location
- Receiving your test results
For testing to go smoothly, everyone selected for participation needs to download and use it.
The Safer Community App supports Single-Sign-On, meaning you should be able to log in with your @maine.edu email address and password.
- If you need assistance with installing and setting up the Safer Community App, please see the UMaine System’s Step-by-Step User’s Guide.
Advising Team’s Tip of the Week: Set Up a Semester-at-Glance Calendar
Among AGILE’s student success resources are several organizers that you can fill in with your own study schedules, assignment deadlines, and test dates. Be sure to check out the Google Sheet monthly semester-at-a-glance calendar, a printable semester-at-a-glance calendar, and a weekly study planner.
Updated: Add-Drop Deadline Extended to Monday, Feb. 8, at Midnight
Please note that midnight this coming Monday, Feb. 8, is the deadline to drop a 12-week course for a full refund and no grade notation on your transcript. Starting Feb. 8, students who drop a class will not be eligible for a refund and will receive a grade of “W” for the dropped course.
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.
How to Report a Positive COVID-19 Test/Exposure/Concerns
If you need a refresher on how to report that you have tested positive for COVID-19, that you have been identified by an outside/community case investigator as a close contact of a COVID-19-positive person within the past 10 days, or you believe you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please see USM’s COVID-19 Reporting Form.
New 'SilverCloud' Online Mental Health Tool Available for Students
In addition to Zoom workshops, support groups, and individual counseling appointments, USM's Counseling Team is now offering 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.)
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.
Black History Month Activities, Courtesy of ISE and SEAL
The Office of Intercultural Student Engagement (ISE) in collaboration with the Office of Student Engagement & Leadership (SEAL) have developed a great deal of impactful educational and social programming for this year’s Black History Month celebration, much of it in a virtual format. ISE and SEAL have helpfully curated a BHM '21 Programming Calendar to provide us access to all of the Zoom and event links. Please contact the Office of Intercultural Student Engagement if you have any questions about the series of events.
Don’t Miss Weeks of Welcome Activities
Now through Sunday, Feb. 7, Student Engagement & Leadership is hosting its Weeks of Welcome events that offer fun opportunities to engage with fellow students, faculty, and staff. and faculty. Taking advantage of social media accounts, Zoom, and other online agencies, the majority of Weeks of Welcome events are virtual with no large in-person gatherings. From the Madden 21 Esports Tournament to Tie-Dye Grab-and-Go to Virtual Open-Mic Night, you can see all the activities on the Weeks of Welcome website.
Your Passport to Fun Activities
USM’s Passport Initiative is your ticket to access campus programs, events, and the USM community. With uniquely numbered and assigned passports, undergraduate students can earn multiple chances to win valuable prizes — all for nothing more than having fun. The more passport-approved events you attend, the more times your name gets added to end-of-semester raffles for a PlayStation 5, an Xbox Series X, an iPad Air, Apple Watch, a book stipend, and Husky Bucks among other prizes. Check the Passport Initiative website for information about upcoming events.
Your Chance to Win AirPods Ends Friday at Noon
One lucky Hired Huskies Podcast listener will soon be tuning in with a new set of Apple AirPods. To celebrate the launch of the podcast, the Career Hub is giving away the wireless earbuds that are perfect for use in USM’s many study spaces and Zoom lounges. You can enter to win by a) following @USMCareerHub on Instagram, b) liking the giveaway post and tagging three USM students, and c) sharing the giveaway post on your Instagram story with a @USMCareerHub mention. For a bonus entry, screenshot the Hired Huskies podcast playing on your device, share it on your story, and mention @USMCareerHub. The giveaway ends at noon on Friday, Feb. 5.
New Zoom Lounge Locations
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.
Spring Semester Counseling Workshops and Groups Announced
USM’s Counseling Team has developed a preliminary — and growing — schedule of workshops and groups for the spring semester. The Counseling Team will email students, faculty, and staff during the first week of classes with an updated list of workshops and groups that includes new additions. Remember: workshops are FREE to all enrolled students.
Mindful Mondays Continue for Spring Semester
Academic Advisor and Nationally Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) Katie Tomer will continue to offer Mindful Mondays from 4:45 to 5:15 p.m. every Monday, excluding university holidays. This ongoing Zoom-baed program is open to all students, faculty, and staff. 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. Join Mindful Mondays through this Zoom link.
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.
Which Face Coverings Are OK
By now, you know face coverings are required on campus. If you need a refresher on which face coverings are acceptable for use on campus, please see the System's Face Covering Guidelines.
For Faculty and Staff: Please Tell Us Where You Are Working
In order to support the Public Health Testing Ambassador Team with the implementation of weekly asymptomatic screening that begins February 1, we are asking all employees to fill out the Work Location Submission Form. We need to understand if you are already working on campus, when you will return to campus, or if you are not planning on returning to campus at all this semester. We also need to know which location would be most convenient for you to be scheduled for testing. If you have questions about the surveying of employee work plans through the Work Location Submission Form, please contact email@example.com.
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.)